Salisbury – Twenty-three years ago, when Matt Holiday was just 19, the future All-Star player found himself at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium in Salisbury, playing for the Asheville Tourists. It was the beginning of Holliday’s career, and he marked that streak against the Delmarva Shorebirds by running at home.
Now another holiday kicks off his career at Perdue Stadium, as Orioles outfielder Jackson Holliday will make his Low-A Delmarva debut on Thursday. Holliday is a year younger than his father at this point, jumping from the Florida Compound League to a subsidiary after Baltimore selected him with the first overall pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft.
Holiday learned of the affair with his father at Purdue Stadium the night before his debut. While Holiday hasn’t spoken to his dad about it yet, he laughed and said “maybe I need to call him, see what the secret is” to hit his teammates on the field, he’ll call home the last two and – half week of the season.
This is where Holiday wanted it to be, ASAP. The 18-year-old from Stillwater, Oklahoma, has shown what he can do in the Florida Complex League, scoring 409 with 1,167 OPS in eight games. When he first arrived in Sarasota, Holiday admitted that he “was a lot” – adjusting to professional baseball as a fresh graduate high school student.
Then he stood up for his first professional combat strike. He said.
“Everything became easier after the first hit,” Holiday said. “That just made everything a little easier from there. It was like a summer baseball camp to start. And then once you start playing, everything goes a lot smoother.”
Holliday wasn’t alive when his dad played that series against the Shorebirds, but he’s seen minor league clubs before this week. When Matt was going through rehab assignments with Albuquerque and Grand Junction – affiliated with the Colorado Rockies – Jackson would occasionally hang along.
After the games, Holliday checks in with his dad. If you feel his beating, Holliday will send videos of his dad and they will discuss any adjustments that need to be made. But Holiday said since pro ball started, the Oriole hasn’t made adjustments to his swing.
However, working against throwing machines is something he hasn’t done much before. It has helped him adapt to the pace he sees every night, as fit on the field as he does at the club.
“He and I are good friends,” said the defensive player. Jude Fabianwho was picked with the 67th overall pick. “Because he’s 1-1, he’s a really humble kid. You’d never know he went 1-1. He’s about the team and the other players, not about himself.”
There’s a different feel to being with a subsidiary compared to FCL, as players are centered around their Sarasota-based Baltimore headquarters.
Holiday now lives alone, growing up to fly. “Grubhub and I are good friends,” he said, and when he’s not on the field, Holiday is 18.
“I watch a lot of movies and hang out with some guys, so it was fun,” Holiday said.
Except that Holiday isn’t a typical 18-year-old. Draft his position, with a record $8.19 million signing bonusIt appears the same. His performance in FCL only backed that up, plus the fact that he started on the Shorebirds on Thursday.
“It’s crazy to think he’s 18,” said Adam Crampton, a ninth-round pick from Stanford. “He has matured beyond his years. He is very talented and doesn’t carry himself like any normal 18 year old person. He is also a wonderful kid too. I love hanging around and working with him, I feel lucky to work with him and I hope we can progress together.”
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Carter Young, a Round 17 pick who starts second next to Holliday, added: “His punch is obviously too advanced for his young age. I wasn’t at that point when I was his age.”
However, on Thursday, they all play for the Shorebirds as the Orioles coaching class takes their first steps toward follower ball. Holiday is one of the youngest here, but he’s not wide-eyed.
After all, Holliday has already taken a deep ball at Purdue. Jackson probably won’t be far behind.
>> Young said he signed with the Oriole to attend LSU because of the “developmental aspect of the minor leagues.” He arrived at LSU as a transfer from Vanderbilt and spent two weeks on campus before choosing to sign with Baltimore “an hour before the deadline”.
>> Catcher Silas Ardoin, taken in the fourth round by Texas, is the son of former MLB player Danny Ardoin. He said he “gets a lot of advice” from his father. “I call him at every game, ask him how attractive I look, ask him what my bat looks like or what he was thinking,” he said. “He gives me some great advice, but at the same time, I take his advice and apply it to myself how I think it will help me better. But I want to be my player by the end of the day.”
>> Fabian said the main adjustments to his game were in his approach to the painting. “Don’t swing in close balls, on the edges, because it’s hard to hit,” he said. “No matter how high you get in baseball, it’s hard to hit a hit. If you help a bowler, it’s a lot easier for him, so basically making the bowler’s job difficult for him is what I focused on.”
This story may be updated.