The Orioles and first overall draft pick Jackson Holliday have agreed to an $8.19 million contract, subject to pending a physical transfer, The Baltimore Sun reported.
As the son of former MLB All-Star Matt Holliday, Holliday set a new record for the highest signing bonus ever given to a high school draft pick, narrowly beating out the one given to catcher Adley Rutschman in 2019. At $8.846,900, the first overall pick, Holliday’s worth is slightly lower. Check out the top new bookmakers for betting on Baseball.
Holliday is the Orioles’ third top draft pick overall in the team’s history and the second under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.
Besides Holliday, a signing bonus of $8.189 million was agreed with by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Dru Jones following the draft, according to several reports. Beating the record set by Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. for the highest signing bonus in high school draft pick.
Baseball America ranked Holliday as the third best prospect in the draft, and MLB Pipeline rated him second. Outfielder Jones’s son Andruw Jones was passed over by the Orioles, who instead selected Holliday, making him the first high school player Baltimore has chosen since Manny Machado in 2010.
“It’s hard to explain what it means,” Holliday said. “It’s like a video game, honestly. Every video game you play, you’re the first pick, so that’s kind of what it felt like. Something that I’ll never forget, and it’s a true honor.
“I want to honor the Orioles for selecting me, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to make it to the major leagues and have a great career for them and for their fans.”
Elias anticipates Holliday to play shortstop in the major leagues because the team already has numerous high-level infield prospects on the way, including 21-year-old Gunnar Henderson with Triple-A Norfolk.
“The advantage for him is enormous,” said Elias on Sunday. “It’s a potential star that plays shortstop and bats in the middle of the order and does it for a very long time. In a way, I don’t know that the ceiling gets much higher than someone with that profile.”
Orioles and other teams just learned about Holliday’s rise to No. 1 pick somewhat late in the process of the selection. With the support of his father, Matt, Holliday achieved great success last year. It wasn’t long before Ken Guthrie, and Jim Richardson made their way to see Holliday play, and Elias joined them in Stillwater for three games and one practice session.
In the week before the draft, Elias said there was still no consensus among the organization on which player to select, but he nearly received one when it came down to it.
“I think ‘consensus’ is the right word for it,” said Elias. “It wasn’t unanimous. It never is. … But this was a player that everyone involved felt worthy of being selected.”
Even though Holliday began his professional career as a high schooler, Elias, who has been in charge of the Baltimore Orioles organization for the past season, has frequently favored college bats. However, he has a positive outlook on Holliday’s future in the majors.
“I’ve seen high school picks move just as fast, if not faster, than college players. It just depends. Everyone is different,” said Elias. “But that was the view we wanted to add to our pipeline.”
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