Jackson Holliday is expected to go in the top three picks, but should he fall to Detroit, the front office should waste no time selecting the son of former big-leaguer Matt Holliday.
The Detroit Tigers hold the 12th overall pick in the upcoming first-year player draft to be held from July 17-19 in Los Angeles. Currently there are two legacy players who are aiming to go one and two, Druw Jones, son of former Braves’ outfield Andruw Jones, and the aforementioned Jackson Holliday.
Like most of the top-ranked players in this draft class, Jackson Holliday was identified as a high-level prospect at a relatively young age. Per the MLB.com player prospect page, the Stillwater, Oklahoma native committed to playing at the college level at Oklahoma State, where his uncle Josh is the head coach, and his father Matt is a volunteer assistant.
But as Jackson Holliday continued to grow and perform, it became less and less likely he would actually make it to campus. By the summer of 2021 he was considered one of the top prep hitters in the class, but some scouts were wary after he seemed to sell out for power and struggled with consistent contact during the showcase circuit.
Ordinarily that would be bad news for a high-school prospect, but scouts stayed on him this spring and saw a player who improved across the board. He steadily rose up draft boards once again, and he now seems like a lock to go in the top ten picks.
The Skill Set
According to Perfect Game, Holliday stands 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 180 pounds, with room to fill in. At the professional level Holliday projects to play up the middle of the field, either at shortstop or second base. Scouts have noted his ability to barrel the baseball, and makes hard, consistent contact often. Jackson bats from the left side, and is very quick with his hands through the zone. Holliday will be hard to shift against since he has the ability to hit to all fields.
Defensively, Holliday boasts very clean mechanics and has good arm speed that will only improve the older he gets. Jackson’s lineage is apparent in the way he plays, and being a good student of the game, he should be able to make the necessary adjustments at the professional level.
Would Jackson Holliday fit in Detroit?
Yes, plain and simple. Holliday is the type of “gamer” type players the Motor City faithful flock to. The problem is, as stated before, there is little-to-no chance he makes it to twelve. Holliday’s stock has only grown as the high school season got deeper, and there’s a good chance he could go first overall this July.
There are never enough shortstop prospects in a system, and a year after the Tigers passed on the likes of Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawler, it would be a dream come true if Holliday could give them the present they missed out on last year.