Holliday swats second Triple-A homer in cycle bid

September 24th, 2023

’s expeditious rise through the Minors made its fourth stop of the season on Sept. 5, when he was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. And for the fourth time, his talent is evident.

Baseball's No. 1 prospect has tallied seven multihit performances in 17 games with the Tides, his most recent coming Saturday during Norfolk’s 15-10 win over Buffalo. Holliday led off the game with a homer, drove in four runs and reached safely five times, finishing a triple shy of the cycle in the process.

The 19-year-old Holliday is the second youngest player in Triple-A -- he's three months older than MLB’s No. 2 prospect -- and yet he's already shown he belongs.

“Starting off with a homer always helps,” Holliday said. “Then I was able to put a few more at-bats together and help the team win. We got our 90th win today, so that was pretty cool.”

Holliday’s leadoff jack -- his 12th of the season and second with Norfolk -- left the shortstop’s bat at 103.9 mph and cleared the right-field fence.

After depositing a single into right in the fourth that plated the Tides' fifth run of the contest, Holliday’s next RBI opportunity came in the eighth. With runners on first and second and no outs, the Oklahoma native cashed in, scorching a double into the left-center-field gap to score two more, giving him his first four-RBI game in Triple-A.

“I’m always looking to hit the heater,” Holliday said. “That’s kind of been my plan all through the Minor Leagues and it’s got me here, so I try not to change too much.”

An ascent like Holliday’s can be overwhelming for any player, especially one who was in high school just over a year ago, but the top pick in the 2022 Draft has taken it in stride.

“It’s second nature,” said Holliday, whose father Matt played in the Majors for 15 years. “Traveling for baseball is nothing new. Moving around from city to city in the Orioles organization has been pretty easy compared to some of the things I’ve had to do.”

Growing up, Holliday moved 27 times, priming him for the baseball lifestyle, and lessening its impact.

“It’s definitely beneficial to be able to grow up in the baseball world and in the clubhouse and that’s definitely helped me really get along with a lot of guys,” Holliday said. “Understanding how things work in a clubhouse is very important as a team guy.”

Now part of the Tides’ clubhouse, Holliday is slashing .268/.381/.408 against pitchers who are significantly older than him. In Saturday’s game against the Bisons, the average age of the opposing pitchers was 29, a full decade older than Holliday.

“The experience that these pitchers have is a lot different than Double-A. A lot of these guys have thrown in the big leagues, or have been up here a while,” Holliday said. “They can miss your barrel a lot easier, that’s probably the main difference. As far as stuff goes, it’s very similar, they just know how to locate a bit better.”