Constructing an Orioles infield with Jackson Holliday right in the middle

Where does Jackson Holliday fit in a crowded Orioles infield picture?
Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins
Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Winter meetings are a fun time for baseball fans to gather as much information on their favorite teams as they can. Executives and Managers do multiple interviews that are immediately broken down and dissected on social media these days. While some statements are cryptic and left to the masses for interpretation, others are straight to the point.

When Baltimore Orioles GM Mike Elias was asked about baseball's top prospect Jackson Holliday, he stated there's "definitely a strong possibility" that Holliday will make the opening day roster in 2024. Holliday, having just turned 20 years old earlier this week, is one of the best prospects in recent memory.

He excelled in Spring Training and tore through four levels of minor league baseball, culminating in a National Championship in AAA. He finished the year with a .323/.442/.499 slash line, 30 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 101 walks, 113 runs and 154 hits in 125 games, and was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.

There's no doubt that Holliday will be in Camden Yards in 2024, but what position will he primarily play? Holliday was drafted as a shortstop and has spent most of his time in the minors at that position.

In most cases, the top overall prospect and Minor League Player of the Year will be able to remain in his primary position but the Orioles aren't like most cases. Holliday is blocked by Gunnar Henderson, who was the top overall prospect and minor league Player of the Year in 2022 and the newly named AL Rookie of the Year.

Where does Jackson Holliday fit best in the Orioles infield?

Henderson is a very capable third baseman and played there slightly more than he played shortstop in 2023 but he looked more comfortable at shortstop. Holliday has learned to play second base and has been successful there but is also more comfortable at shortstop. These two will combine with Jordan Westburg to be the primary defenders in those three positions.

The most likely scenario is that Brandon Hyde will rotate the player through all three positions. Henderson played third base and shortstop an almost identical amount in 2023 and he figures to do the same next season. Westburg showed that he was more than capable of playing both second base and third base at a high level. He played significantly more second base last season but he was stellar in both spots, combining for only one error in 207 chances. Elias stated that the plan is to split Holliday's time between second base and shortstop.

The three of those players together is very exciting for every O's fan. Westburg is a good player with a lot of potential but the idea of a Henderson - Holliday double play combination or the two of them sharing the same side of an infield is especially exciting.

The Orioles still have Ramon Urias and Jorge Mateo that will be able to give Westburg, Holliday and Henderson some time to rest, but they will need to perform at the top of their games with guys like Joey Ortiz, Connor Norby and Coby Mayo just one stop behind them.