Sunday was a very exciting day for all baseball fans with the start of the MLB draft, but it was a particularly exciting day for three of the Baltimore Orioles top prospects for a different reason. Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo and Chayce McDermott were all promoted, getting one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming major league players.
For Jackson Holliday, the number one overall prospect in baseball, this is the second time this season that he has been promoted. Holliday started the season with the low-A Delmarva Shorebirds but proved too talented to remain at that level after only 14 games. Holliday spent the next two and a half months with the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds and continued to but his skills on display.
In 57 games with the IronBirds, Holliday has slashed .314/.452/.488 with 11 doubles, five triples, 5 homers, 35 RBI's and 17 stolen bases. A shortstop by trade, Holliday has also spent time at second base, but versatility is the name of the game in Baltimore. Holliday recently played his first professional game at third base where he only got one chance but he fielded it cleanly and made the putout.
Holliday will head to double-A where the Bowie Baysox have used a combination of Greg Cullen, Joseph Rosa and Anthony Servideo to man the middle infield, but find themselves with a new hole at third base. I expect Holliday to remain at shortstop while Cullen and TT Bowens will probably get more reps at the hot corner, though Holliday could find himself there on occasion.
The reason the Baysox now have a hole at third base is because of the promotion of fellow top prospect, Coby Mayo, to triple-A Norfolk. Mayo, the Orioles number seven prospect (#76 overall), has had a stellar season for the Baysox and is slashing .307/424/.603 with a 1.026 OPS. He's been a extra base expert this season hitting 30 doubles, two triples and 17 homers while driving in 44 runs.
Mayo has handled third base well but has recently gotten reps at first base. His 6'5 stature would make him a solid candidate for first base and his right handed power bat could fill the spot Ryan Mountcastle just vacated after completing his stint on the IL. Mayo will have to compete with the likes of Lewin Diaz, Josh Lester, Connor Norby and Joey Ortiz for playing time at the corner infield spots.
Joining Mayo on the trip from Bowie to Norfolk is the Orioles number 17 prospect, Chayce McDermott. McDermott, who pitched the first five innings of combined no hitter for Bowie earlier this season, has put up solid numbers in Bowie and has a 3.56 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts). His strikeouts have dropped a bit this year but are still at a very good 11.6 K/9, and he's reduced his hard contact allowed giving up a career low 0.8 HR/9.
McDermott has struggled with his control this season, allowing 5.8 BB/9, but his WHIP is down significantly from last year which shows he's not allowing hits. My hope is that McDermott will step into the rotation spot that should soon be vacated by Grayson Rodriguez when he gets called back to Baltimore.
The Orioles are bursting at the seams with top prospects. The future looks good from here.