Orioles INF Jackson Holliday, MLB's top prospect, reassigned to minors

Baltimore Orioles infielder Jackson Holliday won't make his major-league debut on Opening Day. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Jackson Holliday will have to wait for his Major League Baseball debut.

On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles reassigned the league's top prospect to the minor leagues to begin the season.

It came as somewhat of a surprise for two reasons: The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft is coming off a spring training in which he hit two home runs and had six RBI while going 6-for-14 with two steals in the Grapefruit League.

Secondly, during his 125-game stay in the minors last season, Holliday recorded a .323 batting average, .442 on-base percentage, 12 homers, 75 RBI and 24 steals. He did so while playing for four different minor-league teams in 2023. That said, he played only 18 games at Triple-A.

When Holliday finally reached Triple-A Norfolk, he helped the Tides win the International League title and the Triple-A National Championship. His success led Orioles general manager Mike Elias to say during the winter that there was a strong chance Holliday would make the 40-man roster this spring.

“Definitely a very strong possibility,” Elias said during MLB's winter meetings. "I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. But he had a historic first full season in the Minors. Probably you have to go back into like the ‘80s or ‘90s to find something similar to that, in my opinion, for an American kid out of high school.”

Baltimore played Holliday at shortstop and second base during spring training after he spent 112 games at shortstop, 25 at second and two at third base in the minors in 2023.

For now, the Orioles are expected to utilize veterans Ramon Urias and Jorge Mateo, as well as young players Gunnar Henderson, the reigning Rookie of the Year, and Jordan Westburg, to stabilize the infield.