Baltimore Orioles: Draft Day One Recap and Analysis

Stillwater High School senior Jackson Holliday is projected to be the Baltimore Orioles first-round pick in July's MLB Draft.
Stillwater High School senior Jackson Holliday is projected to be the Baltimore Orioles first-round pick in July's MLB Draft. /
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Round 1 Pick 1: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater High School (OK)

Jackson Holliday tosses the ball to second base during a Stillwater High School baseball game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, April 30, 2022.Stillwater Baseball
Jackson Holliday tosses the ball to second base during a Stillwater High School baseball game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, April 30, 2022.Stillwater Baseball /

There were five players who were in serious consideration for the number one pick coming into draft night and high school shortstop Jackson Holliday out of Oklahoma ended up being the pick. The pick came somewhat as a surprise to baseball fans (including us) as many experts had either Termarr Johnson, Druw Jones, or Brooks Lee as the number one overall pick but Elias decided to go with Holliday.

Jackson is the son of former Major League outfielder Matt Holliday who played the majority of his career for the Rockies and Cardinals and earned seven All-Star appearances in his fourteen-year career. Jackson is a great all-around player who likely has the athleticism to stick at shortstop at the Major League level which could prove important for the Orioles who will need to move infield prospects such as Gunnar Henderson, Coby Mayo, and Connor Norby away from short.

According to most scouting reports, Holliday is above average in every aspect of the game with his biggest strength being his hit tool. He had an eye-popping slash line of .685/.749/1.392 for an OPS of 2.141 on the high school circuit this season and broke J.T. Realmuto‘s record for most hits in a season in high school history with 89 in 41 games. One concern for Holliday has been his offensive struggles in national showcase circuits throughout his high school career, particularly in the summer before his senior year when many scouts believe he was too focused on hitting home runs which caused his swing to become too long. The Orioles clearly were not swayed by these offensive struggles and believe that Holliday has the chance to be an elite hitter at the highest level.

As with any high school prospect, there is plenty of room for growth and Holliday will likely spend several seasons in the minors before playing home games at Camden Yards. As far as high school picks go, Holliday has about as safe of a ceiling possible as he has all the tools necessary to be an above-average MLB player, but the Orioles will need to develop his power and defense to ensure that Holliday can be a superstar.

If Holliday pans out, it is likely that he and Henderson will patrol the left side of the Orioles infield for many years which might force prospects such as Mayo, Norby, Cesar Prieto, and Jordan Westburg to compete with each other for roster spots in the coming years. Holliday is also a rare left-handed hitting shortstop, and this is the third consecutive year that Elias has selected a lefty with his first pick after Heston Kjerstad in 2020 and Colton Cowser last year.