Jim Callis on Jackson Holliday: "He is still the same guy to me" (2024)

In some circles, after his struggles earlier this year in the majors with the Orioles, Jackson Holliday’s prospect status may have taken a bit of a hit. Whether it was just that other players deserved to move up or Holliday dropped a bit, he fell to second twice this season on the Baseball America top 100 list.

But he has remained No. 1 all season on the MLBPipeline.com top 100.

In June, Baseball America rated Pittsburgh right-hander Paul Skenes No. 1. He graduated from the list, however, and in an update released just days ago the publication rated Washington Nationals outfield prospect James Wood No. 1 and Holliday No. 2. Wood, who produced an OPS of 1.058 at Triple-A this year, was promoted to the majors July 1.

But Holliday, for now, remains at Triple-A and atop the MLBPipeline rankings.

Analyst Jim Callis from MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com said he didn’t see Holliday losing any prospect status, even after his 2-for-34 with the Orioles from April 10-23.

On April 26, Holliday was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk.

“I don’t think so. They (the big league struggles) were so brief,” said Callis. “Look, he is still 20 and that is the biggest thing. I think the biggest surprise with his MLB struggles is not that he went 2-for-34, but he did strike out 18 times and that was kind of shocking. Because I do think he has as much hitting ability as anyone in the minor leagues.

“Now if Jackson Holliday had gotten 200 at-bats and he hit .120 with a 30 percent strikeout rate, then I think it would be, ‘Oh man, what is going on here?’ But he is still young, so you wouldn’t bury him.

“The Orioles are in such a unique situation. They are one of the best teams in baseball. And yes, it seems like everyone is close to qualifying for the playoffs right now. The races are wide open. But of the teams that legitimately have a shot to get there and win it, the Orioles are on that short list. This isn’t a team that is getting in with 82 wins and going out in the wild card round.

“They don’t have the luxury of 'Let’s let Jackson have two months to figure it out.' He was in over his head, and I admit that surprised me. I didn’t think he would struggle that much. So, they sent him down. Other teams may have given him longer to snap out of it.”

Through Thursday, in 57 games for Norfolk, Holliday was batting .274/.444/.476/.920 with 19 doubles, eight homers, 63 runs, 65 walks, 62 strikeouts and 29 RBIs. He has a 23.3 Triple-A walk rate and 22.2 strikeout rate with the Tides.

Holliday was on the Triple-A injured list June 14-25 with right elbow inflammation, an issue the team said is minor. He is active now and will DH for several weeks as he continues to rehab the elbowbefore he returns to playing the field.

“But he is still 20 with amazing hitting ability and amazing discipline at the plate. He has power," Callis said. "I think the only question on him, tools-wise, is maybe the arm. He is probably more second base in the long run, especially with Gunnar (Henderson) there. A nice problem to have, too many position prospects.

“He is still the same guy to me. Yes, I was surprised, but he is the same guy. The other thing l like: The makeup is there. Comes from a baseball family and he knows what it’s all about and he’s mature beyond his years. I have no worries that Holliday is doubting himself. He is built right is the best way to put it.”

On the most recent MLBPipeline top 100 update, Holliday is No. 1 with Samuel Basallo No. 12 and Coby Mayo No. 15. For some reason, Heston Kjerstad is no longer rated.

Via Baseball America, Holliday is No. 2, Mayo No. 12, Basallo No. 16, Kjerstad No. 23 and pitcher Cade Povich is No. 87.

Holliday ended last year ranked as the sport’s No. 1 prospect, and in January he was No. 1 in the Baseball America initial list for this year. That day the Orioles officially became the first team in the 35-year history of the Baseball America rankings to have three straight No. 1 players. It was Adley Rutschman in 2022, Gunnar Henderson in 2023 and Holliday this year.

Jim Callis on Jackson Holliday: "He is still the same guy to me" (2024)
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