MLB

Orioles select Jackson Holliday with first overall pick in MLB Draft, Rocker shocker at three

By Sports Desk July 17, 2022

The Baltimore Orioles took Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holliday with the first overall pick of a 2022 MLB Draft that went top-heavy on sons of former standout players.

Holliday, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, went one spot ahead of Georgia prep outfielder Druw Jones, taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks at pick two. Jones’ father, Andruw, made five All-Star teams and earned 10 Gold Gloves over a 17-year career spent mostly with the Atlanta Braves.

With the third overall pick, the Texas Rangers made onetime Vanderbilt hurler Kumar Rocker the first pitcher selected in an unexpected move, with most predictions having him in the teens at the earliest. Rocker was taken 10th overall by the New York Mets last year, but did not sign and spent this season in the independent Frontier League.

Holliday hit .685 in 41 games as a senior at Stillwater High School while setting a national prep record with 89 hits in a season, breaking the mark previously held by Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-handed hitter also won two national Gold Glove awards and was named Baseball America’s 2022 High School Player of the Year.

Matt Holliday hit .299 with 316 home runs in 16 major league seasons, mostly spent with the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies, winning four Silver Slugger awards and capturing the National League batting title in 2007.

Jackson Holliday has verbally committed to Oklahoma State, where his uncle, Josh Holliday, is the head coach. However, the 18-year-old is expected to sign and enter the pro ranks.

Jones hit .570 with 13 home runs and 32 stolen bases as a senior at Wesleyan High in Peachtree Corners, Ga. The six-foot-four, 180-pound Vanderbilt commit was ranked as this year’s number-one overall draft prospect, one spot ahead of Holliday, by MLB.com.

Rocker, who helped Vanderbilt win the College World Series as a star freshman in 2019, is the second straight former Commodores pitcher taken by the Rangers in the first round. Texas selected Jack Leiter, son of former All-Star pitcher Al Leiter and close friend of Rocker, with the second overall pick of the 2021 draft.

Rounding out the top-five, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected powerfully built high school second-baseman Termarr Johnson at fourth overall, before the Washington Nationals selected IMG Academy outfielder Elijah Green with pick five.

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