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Jackson Holliday demoted: Orioles top prospect sent to Triple-A Norfolk after struggling in first 10 MLB games

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The Baltimore Orioles have sent top prospect Jackson Holliday back to the minors for more seasoning. On Friday, the O’s announced Holliday has been demoted to Triple-A Norfolk, with outfielder Ryan McKenna called up to fill the roster spot. 

Holliday, 20, is 2 for 34 with two walks and 18 strikeouts in 10 big league games. It works out to a .059/.111/.059 slash line. Our R.J. Anderson recently dug into Holliday’s struggles and found that, while he’s been terrible at the plate, there were some reasons to be optimistic. Clearly, the O’s believe the young man will benefit from more time in Triple-A.

Holliday must stay in the minor leagues for 10 days before being recalled again unless he’s replacing an injured player on the roster.

The demotion does have service time implications for Holliday. The timing of his call-up on April 10 meant Holliday would still have been credited with a full year of service time had he remained with the team all season. Now, he’ll fall short of a full year, pushing his free agency back from the 2029-30 offseason to the 2030-31 offseason.

That said, the demotion is not egregious. Holliday struggled mightily at the plate, he’s only 20, and the Orioles do not lack infield options. Holliday had started only two of the team’s past five games, with Jordan Westburg and Jorge Mateo stealing away playing time at second base. The bench is no place for a top prospect, so he’ll play every day in Triple-A.

Baltimore selected Holliday with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft and he annihilated the minors last season: .323/.442/.499 while climbing four levels and reaching Triple-A. He hit .333/.482/.595 in 10 Triple-A games before being called up this year. We ranked Holliday as the No. 1 prospect in the game entering 2024.

The O’s are 16-8 and percentage points ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games.

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