Peter Schmuck's Random Thoughts: Orioles can afford to be patient with Holliday, but… - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Peter Schmuck

Peter Schmuck’s Random Thoughts: Orioles can afford to be patient with Holliday, but…

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The Orioles are on a terrific roll right now, and the early struggles of top prospect Jackson Holliday haven’t made a dent in it. So, the team can certainly keep chugging along while the kid tries to get a handle on major league pitching.

The way fellow rookie Colton Cowser and third baseman Jordan Westburg have been producing in the back half of the lineup, the O’s could leave the nine hole in the lineup empty and keep winning.

Given enough time, Holliday will figure it out, but if his career-opening slump goes on too much longer, the question will be more about what’s best for his development than what’s best for the team.

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For the moment, just keep in mind that he has played in a grand total of nine major league games.

Rutschman’s new approach

Adley Rutschman appears to be taking a slightly more aggressive approach at the plate this season, swinging at more first pitches after arriving in the majors with plate discipline well beyond his years.

Is that good or bad? Time will tell, but at the moment, the results are mixed. His batting average (.297) is higher for the second straight year since he arrived in the big leagues in 2022, but his on-base percentage (.348), slugging percentage (.393) and OPS (.741) are significantly lower than his two-year average coming into this season.

Through 20 games, he’s on pace to hit 16 homers and drive in 96 runs, compared with last year’s 20 homers and 80 RBIs. Those are all great numbers for a catcher, but this year’s small sample is skewed heavily by his grand slam on Friday.

Without that one swing, he would be on pace for just eight home runs and 68 RBIs, though it’s way too early to put any stock in those stats, which can skew a lot either way in a matter of days. The only significant statistic that is relevant at this point is his on-base percentage, which is lower because his walk rate is down dramatically. He is on pace to walk just 48 times, which would be barely half as many times as he walked last season.

I don’t want to draw any sweeping conclusions here, but with the power that is being displayed by the rest of the Orioles’ lineup, I like the old Adley better.

What to do with Urías 

Lest anyone forget Ramón Urías   won the Gold Glove at third base a couple of years ago, and – until this past weekend – I was wondering if he had been put in witness protection.

He is a valuable player and the challenge for executive VP/general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde is finding a way to fully exploit that value.

This is in no way a suggestion that he play more in place of Westburg, who clearly is now the future at third base, but Urías needs to play enough somewhere to stay sharp until some other team has an urgent need and comes knocking.

He deserves credit for staying ready and making a contribution when called upon, but he will not thrive for long on three or four at-bats a week.

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