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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Will Jackson Holliday make the Orioles Opening Day roster?

Updated: Apr 21

*Cover Photo Credit: Grant DeVivo

Baseball’s top prospect, 20-year-old infielder Jackson Holliday, is in Sarasota competing for a roster spot in Spring Training. The panorama around the phenom is real, and there is not another question being asked more than this one:

Will Jackson Holliday make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster?

This winter, vice president of baseball operations Mike Elias hinted towards the possibility of Holliday making the roster, though he did not confirm or make anything official. He did confirm that fans can expect to see a lot of Holliday action during Spring Training exhibitions.

“I think he’s gonna be a huge factor in our Spring Training,” Elias told MLB Network. “he’s gonna be in Spring Training as somebody that’s trying to crack the club and win the job.”

Holliday is aware of the panorama surrounding him. However, he is remainig focused during camp and confident that he is ready for a chance at the show.

"I'm as ready as I can be," Holliday told reporters during camp on Saturday.

When I talk Orioles baseball with fellow fans, Jackson Holliday is always one of the first people we discuss.  I saw Holliday play maybe ten times last year, and I can confidently confirm that Holliday is the real deal on the rise for the Orioles.

When you read the stats, you read that Holliday has nothing left to prove in the Minor Leagues. A guy who hits .323 across all four Minor League levels in one season and posts a .941 OPS alongside that has pretty much both dominated and graduated the minors.

No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday signing autographs after a Baysox game. Photo: Grant DeVivo

When you’re like me, constantly going to Aberdeen and Bowie games and constantly watching Holliday play, you see that this is a young man who carries himself extremely well on the field and has better maturity than other older professional athletes in sports. He hustles everything out and he gives 110% effort on every play. I cannot read Holliday’s mind, but from where I sit in the bleachers, he seems to handle adversity, focus, and hyper-excited autograph seekers well.

He has been trained to play second base, shortstop, and third base, and he covers each position extremely well. I could watch him field ground balls and cover ground all day, as he is one of the smoothest, most fluent-fielding infielders that I have ever seen.

Have you ever seen him swing a bat? If we feel the same way, we would never get bored of him in the batter’s box. Holliday has a very quiet load and stance, and he has a level swing that puts the ball to all fields, not just pull side. He won’t hit 30 or 40 home runs in the season and he is not built to be a powerful Gunnar Henderson-type hitter, so he knows how to utilize the line drive and simply hit to keep the offensive chain going. That is why his offensive numbers are so high.

Jackson Holliday could potentially make the Orioles' Opening Day roster this year. Photo: Grant DeVivo

If you’re asking for my answer to the question regarding Holliday’s Opening Day status, I say that he will report with the Orioles to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. We know he can play a great infield, and we know he will be tested mentally and emotionally the entire year. For me, the only boundary between him and the call is how he handles quality big league pitching during Spring Training exhibitions.

Not just intersquads where he faces future teammates like Corbin Burnes, or his own Minor League teammates like Cade Povich. He will be getting opportunities to face Cy Young winners, the best arms in the entire sport. He will face names like Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, Shane McClanahan, and Spencer Strider. If he can hit off of those guys, he will have no problem making the Opening Day roster.

So if you ask me if Jackson Holliday will make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, I will tell you everytime that if he can handle quality big league pitching in the coming weeks…

Yes. He will run the orange carpet on Opening Day, make his Major League debut, and begin his career.

Yes. Jackson Holliday will make the Opening Day roster.

It will be a happy Holliday when that happens.


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