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Orioles Send Holliday and Top Prospects Back To Minor Leagues

Jackson Holliday will have to wait a little bit longer to make his major league debut. In a surprising move, the Baltimore Orioles reassigned top prospect Jackson Holliday to minor league camp on Friday. Among the players in the latest round of roster cuts were outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby. Catcher David Bañuelos and right-hander Albert Suárez will also begin the season in the minor leagues.

Jackson Holliday To Start The Season With Triple-A Norfolk

The decision to send Holliday, 20, back to Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season surprised many. Orioles general manager Mike Elias said during the Winter Meetings that Jackson Holliday making the Opening Day roster is “definitely a very strong possibility.” Elias said in December that Holliday would split time between shortstop, his primary position, and second base this spring. With Gunnar Henderson at shortstop, Holliday would serve as his double-play partner on days they were both in the lineup. 

Holliday spent most of his time in camp at the keystone, boasting a perfect fielding percentage through 54 innings. He batted .311/.354/.600 in 15 games, with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and six RBI. Elias cited Holliday’s lack of familiarity at second base and limited experience facing upper-level left-handed pitching as the primary reasons for the decision. Holliday played 18-games with Triple-A Norfolk after his September promotion and has just 25 starts at the keystone in his young career. “He’s very, very close,” Elias said. “He’s done remarkably well. We couldn’t be more excited about his future.”

Kjerstad And Stowers Among Players Returning To Triple-A Norfolk

Holliday will reunite with four of his Tides teammates from a year ago, starting the season with Triple-A Norfolk. Norfolk will welcome back Holliday, Kjerstad, Stowers, Mayo, and Norby, each part of the Tides 2023 Triple-A National Championship team. Both outfielders Kjerstad and Stowers were optioned back to Triple-A but will remain a member of the Orioles 40-man roster. Kjerstad, 25, has had a relatively quiet spring, batting just .265/.294/.286 with a double and three RBI. He made his Orioles debut in September and had a nice run, hitting two home runs in 30 at-bats. Stowers, 26, struggled in 14 games with the Orioles last season but had much better numbers in the minor leagues. He’s had a great spring, batting .256/.267/.744 with seven home runs for the Orioles in Grapefruit League play.

Infielders Norby and Mayo both played well in camp this year but will begin the year in Norfolk, where they will play more regularly. Baltimore already has the top-ranked farm system and figures to have one of the best Triple-A teams this season. Opening Day for the Norfolk Tides is Friday, March 29th.

Main Photo Credits: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports


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