It has not taken Jackson Holliday long to get comfortable in professional baseball. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles ended 2022 with a .297 batting average and one home run over 20 games in rookie ball and Single-A.
He then started strong this season back with the Delmarva Shorebirds in Single-A and collected 20 hits in 13 games. That earned him a promotion to the Aberdeen IronBirds in High-A, where he is hitting .395 through his first 21 games.
His batting average only begins to tell the story, though. Nearly half of his 30 hits are doubles (five), triples (four) or home runs (four). He is getting on base in more than half his at-bats while essentially averaging a run scored and an RBI per game.
In Aberdeen’s series with the Winston-Salem Dash that ended Sunday, Jackson collected eight extra-base hits, drove in 14 runs and stole two bases in five games. He had more doubles, more triples and more home runs than strikeouts in the series.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2023
His .619 batting average earned him South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors.
Congrats to Jackson Holliday for being named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week! In 5 games, Holliday went 13-for-21 for a .619 batting average, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs and 14 RBI 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/9RX1ZsgQlW
— Aberdeen IronBirds (@IronBirds) May 22, 2023
After getting promoted to High-A, the 19-year-old acknowledged it did take him at least a little while to settle in at the pro level.
“It’s been a little bit of an adjustment at the beginning, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now,” he said earlier this month. “The more pitches that you see, the more comfortable that you get.”
Jackson enjoys a certain level of comfort in the pro game because he’s been around it his whole life. He’s the oldest son of seven-time MLB All-Star Matt Holliday. Being the son of a well-known major-leaguer and being the top pick come with some expectations, but Jackson has learned to lean on the faith in God that was modeled for him by his parents.
“There’s a lot that comes with being the first pick,” Jackson’s mom, Leslee Holliday, said in a feature on Jackson for the Spring 2023 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine. “There’s a lot that comes with his dad playing in the big leagues, but I think [Jackson] hasn’t made it too big of a deal. I think he knows that his story is his story, and that God’s prepared him for his story.”
His immediate success in the minor leagues and the Orioles’ strong start to the season (31-16) has people even more excited about the promising young group of players the organization has assembled. Jackson is third on MLB.com’s list of top prospects.
He tries to embrace any pressure by placing everything in God’s hands.
“We like to say that pressure is a privilege,” Jackson said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in December. “If you have pressure on you, you’re probably doing something right. It’s just about being able to rely on God, and being able to pray, and being able to put it all in His hands to just take it day by day and play the game I’ve grown up loving.”
Playing in the minors is not exactly glamorous and comes with plenty of temptations. It’s only natural for players to want to fit in with their teammates.
What Jackson sees, though, is an opportunity to build new relationships and share God’s love with people from all kinds of different backgrounds.
“I love meeting new people and learning about my teammates and becoming friends with them, so I love that part about the minor leagues so far,” he said on the podcast. “And hopefully I’m able to share my faith and grow the Kingdom.”
The IronBirds are back in action Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. The teams will face each other seven times in six days.
– SS PODCAST: Orioles No. 1 pick Jackson Holliday on staying humble, trusting God
– Jackson Holliday goes No. 1 to Orioles, aims to glorify God through baseball
– Top-5 prospect Jackson Holliday wants to ‘honor the Lord’ ahead of MLB draft
– SS PODCAST: 7-time All-Star Matt Holliday on the right ‘yes,’ his son Jackson
– TABLE FORTY PODCAST: Inside MLB Draft Day with Matt & Leslee Holliday