Holliday headlines O's non-roster invitees

February 2nd, 2023

Jackson Holliday is only 19 years old with 20 games of professional experience. It's been less than seven months since he was selected by the Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Yet, Holliday will soon be getting his first taste of big league Spring Training.

Holliday, the No. 12 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, was among the 30 non-roster invitees announced by Baltimore on Thursday. These players aren't on the club's 40-man roster, but they'll begin the spring in Major League camp.

In addition to Holliday, other O's top prospects among the list of NRIs include outfielder Colton Cowser (No. 40), infielder Jordan Westburg (No. 74), outfielder Heston Kjerstad (No. 80), left-hander Cade Povich and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby.

Most (if not all) of those prospects are unlikely to break camp with the big league team -- and it's a certainty that Holliday won't. But it's a good experience for youngsters to be around the Major League clubhouse and get some Grapefruit League action before being reassigned to Minor League camp later in Spring Training.

Holliday has likely visited a big league camp before, though. His dad, Matt, was an All-Star outfielder who played for four teams over 15 MLB seasons.

Some players on the Orioles' list of NRIs have a more legitimate chance of winning a spot on the 26-man Opening Day roster. Especially the ones who are left-handed hitters capable of playing first base.

Baltimore ideally would like to carry a lefty hitter who can back up the right-handed-hitting Ryan Mountcastle at first, and there are no prime options on the 40-man roster. Franchy Cordero, Lewin Díaz, Ryan O'Hearn and Josh Lester are all non-roster candidates who fit that bill and will be in camp.

Cordero and Lester each signed Minor League deals in December. Díaz has been with four organizations this offseason, but he was most recently claimed by the Orioles off waivers from the Braves on Jan. 5. O'Hearn came over in a trade with the Royals on Jan. 3.

Curtis Terry, who signed a Minor League deal last Friday, is another non-roster invitee who plays first base. But the 26-year-old bats right-handed.

Another notable name on the NRI list is outfielder Nomar Mazara. The 27-year-old, who signed a Minor League deal in December, is a former top prospect who has flashed some potential over seven big league seasons with the Rangers, White Sox, Tigers and Padres.

The Orioles could invite more non-roster players to big league camp in the next couple of weeks. Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 15, while the rest of the position players will arrive by Feb. 20.