Holliday impressing O's players and brass alike

May 28th, 2023

BALTIMORE -- During Ramón Urías’ two-game rehab assignment with High-A Aberdeen earlier this week, the 28-year-old infielder’s primary focus was making sure his injured left hamstring was good to go. But he couldn’t help but notice the player batting in front of him in the IronBirds’ lineup.

Of course, makes everybody take notice. The Orioles’ No. 1 prospect (and MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect) stands out on a nightly basis.

“He’s nasty,” Urías said. “He looks pretty advanced. I couldn’t believe he was only 19 years old. He’s really good with pretty good instincts, and he’s raking right now.”

Urías spent time with Holliday during Spring Training, but this was the first time the two batted consecutively in a lineup for two full games. In Wednesday’s 12-10 seven-inning loss to Jersey Shore (the first game of a doubleheader), Holliday went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored from the No. 2 hole, while Urías batted third and went 0-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored.

In Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Jersey Shore, Holliday and Urías were second and third in Aberdeen’s lineup again. Holliday went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Urías went 1-for-4 and then left to rejoin Baltimore’s active roster on Friday.

Holliday remains in Aberdeen, where he’s batting .387/.504/.667 with six doubles, four triples, four home runs and 20 RBIs through 26 games (entering Sunday). But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft shouldn’t be there all season, as Orioles general manager Mike Elias indicated Friday that Holliday is on a trajectory to likely reach Double-A Bowie this year.

“Can’t say enough about how well he’s doing, and I’ll say, I’ve been a part of a lot of big Draft picks and I’ve probably never had one where I’ve worried this little about him and how he goes about his business and his skill level,” Elias said. “Really glad we have him in the organization.”

That’s high praise, considering Elias was around former top Draft picks such as Carlos Correa (No. 1 overall in 2012), Alex Bregman (No. 2 in ‘15) and Kyle Tucker (No. 5 in ‘15) during his time in Houston and Adley Rutschman (No. 1 in ‘19) and others since arriving in Baltimore.

Mayo enters MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list
The Orioles have lost two players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list this season, as infielder Gunnar Henderson and right-hander Grayson Rodriguez each accumulated enough big league time to graduate from prospect status. But Baltimore’s system runs deep, and it still had seven players ranked upon Rodriguez’s removal from the list earlier this month.

Make that eight again. On Saturday night, infielder entered the rankings, moving onto the No. 100 spot on the list. The 21-year-old is the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect.

Mayo, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft, entered Sunday batting .272/.393/.517 with 13 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 22 RBIs through 41 games with Double-A Bowie this season.

Westburg continues to knock on MLB doorstep
No pitching staff can seem to slow down (Baltimore’s No. 3 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 49 overall prospect) this season. In Triple-A Norfolk’s 11-6 win at Memphis on Saturday, the 24-year-old infielder swatted his 13th home run of the year, which was tied for third most in the International League entering Sunday.

Westburg went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the victory, as he also collected a double. The 2020 Competitive Balance Round A pick was batting .311/.383/.600 with 25 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs through 43 games with the Tides entering Sunday.

It may be only a matter of time before Westburg gets called up to the Majors for the first time.

Armbruester continuing to deal in Bowie
Right-hander (the Orioles’ No. 30 prospect) has been one of the most impressive pitchers in the organization over the first two months of the season. On Saturday, the 24-year-old lowered his ERA to 1.40 with five scoreless innings in Double-A Bowie’s 3-1 win at Akron.

Armbruester, who struck out six in the outing, hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his first nine starts. The 2021 12th-round pick has a 1.09 WHIP over 45 innings.