Orioles will look closely at Holliday this spring; Mayo, Ortiz on trade talk; Cowser trying for a better 2024 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles will look closely at Holliday this spring; Mayo, Ortiz on trade talk; Cowser trying for a better 2024

Photo Credit: Patrick Stevens


Perhaps the most enjoyable story to follow during spring training will be Jackson Holliday’s chance to start the season with the Orioles. Holliday just turned 20, and has been a professional for just over 18 months, yet he’s already the game’s top prospect and could be an addition to an already formidable Orioles lineup.

“Somebody who’s gone through the minors that fast, that young, that’s a big decision and it’s something that we’re going to be very careful about,” manager Brandon Hyde said on Thursday on the first day of the Birdland Caravan. “But we’re going to watch him play as much as possible. He’s checked a lot of boxes.

“This is the first time he’s ever tried to win a major league job and a lot goes into that. We’re going to give him a good look.”

Holliday will get a look at his natural position, shortstop, and second base, too.



“I’ve never seen anybody out of high school [challenge for a job] this fast,” Hyde said.

Holliday was the overall top pick in the 2022 draft, and his ascension from Single-A Delmarva to Triple-A Norfolk last year has some other top Orioles prospects marveling.

“It’s a 19-year-old in Triple-A with some 30-year-olds on our team,” Coby Mayo said. “It doesn’t matter your age.”

Mayo was a fourth-round pick in 2020, and he’s only 22.

Colton Cowser was the Orioles’ top pick, and the fifth overall in 2021, the year before Holliday. Unlike Holliday, Cowser, who’s rated 19th in the MLB Pipeline rankings, was a college player.

“Jackson, he’s special man,” Cowser said. “He’s got a work ethic that I definitely didn’t have as a 20-year-old, and he’s really talented. I’m just really looking forward to watching him during the spring and seeing how he progresses.”

Holliday was again named as the game’s top prospect by MLB Pipeline in its newest rankings.

Hearing trade talk: Mayo has been rumored to be part of trade talks as the Orioles continue to look for a frontline starting pitcher. The Orioles aren’t eager to part with Mayo, a corner infielder.

“Nowadays on social media, it’s hard to say no, you don’t see that stuff, but you do,” he said. “It’s part of that business. It doesn’t matter if they say your name or not. It’s rumors and whatnot. I’m here now. I’m going to make the most of that.”

Infielder Joey Ortiz wants to ignore the chatter.

“I try not to listen to it too much,” Ortiz said. “I just go about my business. I do what I have to do and let things handle themselves. If another team wants you, it’s always flattering. I’m with the Orioles right now, so I’ve got to plan on being here.”

Cowser’s debut season: Cowser had a rough introduction to the major leagues last season. He hit just .115 (7-for-61) with four RBIs, and didn’t get a major league at-bat after August 11th.

“I wouldn’t say frustrating,” he said of his first 26 games. “Just because you struggle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always frustrating. I think that there were some certain struggles I couldn’t really control.

“I think it’s all about the frame of mind you’re in. Whether you take that as a learning experience or just kind of sulk in your sorrow. I choose to take it as a learning experience.”

Ortiz’s debut season: Ortiz, who’s ranked 63rd by MLB Pipeline in its newest rankings, didn’t get as long a look as Cowser. The infielder played in just 15 games, none after June 23rd, and hit .215 with four RBIs.

At Norfolk, Ortiz hit .321 with an .885 OPS with nine home runs and 58 RBIs.

“I feel like my whole career, I’d been labeled as ‘glove first,’ he said. “Now for my bat to finally come through, and come to fruition, that’s nice.”

Ortiz celebrated a Triple-A championship with the Tides but wasn’t around for the Orioles’ celebrations.

“I understand how everything goes,” Ortiz said. “The team was winning and why change what was winning?”

Jorge Mateo and Ramón Urias remain on the roster, but Ortiz would be fine being a super utility player since he’s played second and third base in addition to shortstop.

“I’m open to anything. I don’t have to play one position,” he said. “I’ll play any position as long as I’m helping the team win.”

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