It didn’t take long for seven-time MLB All-Star Matt Holliday to realize his oldest son, Jackson, had a special gift at the plate. During a slump in his time with the Colorado Rockies, Matt found himself looking at Jackson’s swing in an effort to fix his own.
“I remember watching how fundamentally sound his swing was … and I remember thinking, ‘He’s got a better swing than I do,'” Matt said on a recent “Table Forty” podcast episode that featured Jackson as a guest. “He’s like 3 at the time, and he just naturally got into a good position.”
Fifteen years later, Jackson is one of the top prospects eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft following a standout career at Stillwater High School in Oklahoma. MLB.com has Jackson ranked as the No. 2 prospect, and The Athletic’s Keith Law has him going third to the Texas Rangers in his most recent mock draft.
The Baltimore Orioles have the first overall pick, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. Multiple high schoolers, including Jackson, could go No. 1. It would be the first time since 2017 a high schooler was taken with the first pick.
Jackson was named the Baseball America High School Player of the Year after hitting .685 in his final season. His 89 hits broke a national record set by current Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 28, 2022
As Matt played in the big leagues and helped his son develop his baseball talents, Matt and his wife, Leslee, also raised Jackson to know the Lord. In the lead-up to the draft, Jackson spoke to His Huddle about his faith journey and the impact his parents have had on him.
“Faith has always been important to me,” he said. “I’m so grateful to be raised in a Christian home and have such great examples around me of how to be a follower of Christ.”
Jackson will have a decision to make once he hears his name called in the draft. He can either sign with the team that drafts him and begin his professional career, or follow through on his commitment to Oklahoma State, where his uncle, Josh, is the head coach and Matt is an assistant.
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Were Jackson to go to Oklahoma State, he would not be eligible to be drafted again until he completed his junior year of college. Whatever decision he makes will be driven by his desire to glorify the Lord through baseball.
“Faith plays a major role in baseball and my life,” Jackson told His Huddle. “I want to honor the Lord in everything that I do and I try to represent that on the field, through my actions and how I carry myself on and off the field.”
As he prepares to take the next step on what he hopes is a path to the big leagues, Jackson remains focused on being an ambassador for Christ.
“I just want to be able to share the Good News and try to let as many people know who Jesus is and how much He loves you,” he said.
The 2022 MLB Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET Sunday. Round 1 will be broadcast on ESPN, and MLB Network will have Round 2. It continues with Rounds 3-10 Monday and concludes with Rounds 11-20 on Tuesday.
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– GET IN THE GAME PODCAST: J.T. Chargois – Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher
– Years after incredible comeback, Aaron Barrett retires: ‘I wouldn’t be here without God’
– TABLE FORTY PODCAST: Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Mark Appel