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Holliday Value Pick to win AL Rookie of the Year

The Baltimore Orioles made waves on April 10 by promoting Jackson Holliday, the first pick of the 2022 draft and the top prospect in MLB, to the majors. This move comes as the Orioles, seen as World Series contenders, have struggled offensively this year, ranking 18th in wRC+ after a top-10 performance last season.


Holliday Value Pick to win AL Rookie of the Year
Jackson Holliday #7 of the Baltimore Orioles | Paul Rutherford/Getty Images/AFP

Holliday, expected to energize the lower part of the Orioles’ batting order, is well-positioned to support critical players like Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, who are in the running for the American League MVP award.

Despite beginning the season in Triple-A and slipping to third in the American League Rookie of the Year odds, the 20-year-old’s second-gen star brief minor stint suggests that Holliday could quickly close the gap.

Here’s a look at how Holliday’s debut could shake up MLB futures bets, with our predictions and picks for AL Rookie of the Year and other markets.


Why Wasn’t Holliday on the Opening Day Roster?

The answer is simple but infuriating for those wondering why Holliday wasn’t included in the Opening Day roster, only to bring him up after a few weeks.

It all comes down to a bit of good old-fashioned service-time manipulation.

MLB’s history of service-time manipulation, where teams delay top prospects’ debuts to extend contract control, has sparked debate.

Service time, crucial for arbitration eligibility and free agency, ties directly to compensation, with free agency marking significant earning potential. The new collective bargaining agreement introduces the Prospect Promotion Incentive, encouraging early promotions by offering teams an extra first-round draft pick if a prospect wins Rookie of the Year and earns a full year of service.

Holliday, a top contender for the award, will achieve a full year of service by staying with the Orioles for the remainder of the season. Unlike in 2022 with Rutschman, the Orioles capitalized with Henderson in 2023, securing an extra draft pick by having him on their Opening Day roster, following a more aggressive promotion strategy.

If this sounds like it doesn’t make much sense, that’s because it doesn’t. The Orioles attempted to get an extra year of Holliday by leaving him in the minors to start the year. But by calling him up after just a few weeks, the choice to leave him in Triple-A to start the season was pointless. If the Orioles had waited until late April to call up Holliday, they could have kept him from burning the first year of service time on his rookie contract.


What to Expect from Holliday?

Jackson Holliday dazzled in the minors this year with a robust .333/.482/.595 batting line, including two homers in 56 plate appearances, highlighted by a remarkable 21.4% walk rate against a 14.3% strikeout rate. These stellar on-base skills will now be tested in the majors, where he’s scheduled to bat ninth in the Orioles lineup. However, his potential for getting on base might quickly earn him the leadoff position, enhancing opportunities for Henderson and Rutschman to drive in runs.

Holliday’s high on-base percentages could position him as a top contender for the AL Rookie of the Year, especially if he secures a higher spot in the lineup. Achieving a spot higher up in the order could also see him crossing home plate around 100 times, solidifying his claim to the award. Holliday’s inaugural MLB season is poised to be significant, with his performance potentially setting a new benchmark for rookies in 2024.


MLB Odds and Picks on Holliday

With all the hype surrounding Holliday, the MLB line for him to win the AL Rookie of the Year is a phenomenal value at +325. Due to missing a few weeks of the year, Holliday went from preseason favorite to third on the odds board behind Wyatt Langford (+225) and Evan Carter (+300).

The good news for Holliday is he won’t have much catching up to do. Langford is hitting .240 in 50 at-bats while Carter is under the Mendoza line, batting .189 in 37 plate appearances.

With the competitions slow out of the gate and the current Vegas betting odds on our boy, I like Holliday’s chances to come out swinging and compete for the ROY trophy. At +325, he’s an excellent bet online to show us that he’s not just hype.



Questions of the Day

Who are the favorites for AL Rookie of the Year?

Wyatt Langford (+225) and Evan Carter (+300) have the best AL rookie odds.

Are the Baltimore Orioles expected to make the playoffs?

Yes. Baltimore’s odds are -250 to reach the postseason.



The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.

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