Peter Schmuck: Jackson Holliday is not in the Orioles' lineup, which should not concern anyone - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Peter Schmuck

Peter Schmuck: Jackson Holliday is not in the Orioles’ lineup, which should not concern anyone

Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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Top prospect Jackson Holliday is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s late afternoon game against the Milwaukee Brewers, but manager Brandon Hyde and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said that the day off had little to do with his start at the plate.

“I just want to give him a little bit of a breather,’’ Hyde said. “It’s been a long three days for him and he’s played like 18 or 19 days … he’s played a lot of games and it’s a lot to handle for a 20-year-old kid and just all the attention. I just wanted to let him breathe for a day.”

That makes sense from just about every angle. It would have been his first big league game against a left-handed starter – prized former Orioles prospect DL Hall – and a potentially challenging day at second base with a brisk wind cutting across the ballpark from left field to right.

Elias acknowledged that it was no coincidence that the opposing pitcher was a left-hander and indicated that Holliday may be treated to a few other strategic lefty-on-lefty days off, as will some of his team’s other left-handed hitters. But he expressed no concern about the new kid’s inability to have an immediate impact on the Orioles’ inconsistent offensive attack.

“He’s way, way ahead of the curve for his age group with what he has done in the minor leagues,’’ Elias said during a pregame media scrum, “and the full expectation is that any young player, let alone a 20-year-old which we haven’t seen in a long time, there’s some adjustment to be had at the major league level. And we’ve already seen a little bit of that.”

Holliday is hitless in his first 11 big league at-bats and has struck out seven times, but he did score two runs and drove in another.

Elias pointed out that several of the highly anticipated call-ups have had to learn at this level the hard way. Last year’s American League Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson didn’t raise his batting average above .200 for good until June and top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez had to be sent back to Triple-A Norfolk before re-emerging as a front-line major league starter later in the 2023 season.

“Zero surprise for me,’’ Elias said. “Just our Orioles prospects, it seems like every one of them has gone through a pretty good struggle … The majors are really hard.”

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