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The sudden halt for Jackson Holliday


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Luke Jones and Nestor gather on Friday afternoon at Faidley’s Seafood in Lexington Market to discuss the news that Jackson Holliday is headed back to Norfolk after struggling mightily against major league pitching in his first two weeks with the Orioles.


year, orioles, major leagues, talked, jackson, swing, numbers, norfolk, struggled, team, baseball, playing, hitting, quantify, ball, weekend, elias, holiday, mckenna, question


Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome home we are W n s t test Baltimore Baltimore positive we are positively doing the Maryland crab cake tour yet again. It is a Friday afternoon we are right here to New Lexington market we’re at Feedly SuFu which is the new faily seafood they waited a long time to dissolve the Pac Man scratch offs in Maryland lottery Big thanks to our friends at Liberty pure as well as Jiffy Lube multi care, we’re gonna be bringing the show out on the road, but looks the most overworked dude in the business right now. Yeah, well, but up late. And then, literally as you’re pulling in today, this Jackson holiday thing happened two weeks ago today we’re sitting here with his great hope and this great like, you know how how’s it going to go and


Luke Jones  00:44

hasn’t gone? Well, in the early going? Right? I mean, literally, this hasn’t gone? Well. And the team being where they are in the pennant race need to maneuver right now. NFL draft be damn that you were up all night? Yeah. Look, going back to spring training. This has been handled very strangely. And this just continues that look, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m shocked that a 20 year old struggled in the major leagues. We saw it with colon cancer last year big time, to the point where now he’s one of their two or three best players. Every legend in the history of the team has talked about this, right? I mean, for for every rookie that comes up in as a stud. From day one, you’ll find a few guys including future Hall of Famers who really struggled early on. So I can’t say I’m shocked by that. But it’s just the latest step in the sequence that goes all the way back to the beginning of the offseason, where Mike Elias was talking up, Jackson holidays, Major League chances. And then we saw him have a good spring. And then they sent him down. And we talked about it at that point. We talked about the fact that he was called up after 10 games at Norfolk. That was apparently they saw enough in terms of left handed pitching and playing second base. And then we see him struggle, albeit not a gigantic sample size. And now he’s back down. So look, Mike Elias and this baseball operation staff more than deserves the benefit of the doubt for what they’ve done over the last five years. The results speak for themselves. That doesn’t mean they’re not beyond reproach. And this is weird, and I’m not gonna sit here and go. I’m not gonna go atomic bomb over it. Because he was our first place. And he’s to for 34. Right. So we played his way back to Norfolk to some degree, you’re sure you get your 30 more batch tweeting me? How long do you you? Well, and we talked about this, we talked about this at the beginning of the week where I even said on this road trip, I thought he needed to start showing more and it wasn’t about being one for 20 or one for 24 or two for 34. Look at the makeup of it striking out and half of his plate appearances. Look at his minor league numbers over the course of a full professional season. This is a kid who walked the same number of times that he struck down never overmatched any lights. So there was enough. They’re beyond just looking at the batting average. But looking at the batting average only tells us so much right? Watch the at bats, watch the contact rate, all the different things that we’ve been talking about when you’re really peeling back the onion.

Nestor Aparicio  03:14

Whether you want them to play five days a week, the next two weeks, or whether you wanted to play seven days a week, and maybe get out and hit 390. Again, I don’t we always say they have nothing left to prove it triple and there is that tweener area. And look this is what I said to you two weeks ago while I’m enjoying some delicious shrimp salad of your families.

Luke Jones  03:34

Because you’re going to be in and out you got press conference got really real real news. We got a got a second day of a draft, he might take a lineman at some point. They need to but this is the worst nightmare of any employer in any line of work is to put somebody in a position where they’re overmatched. Well that that means the traffic here at fade Lee’s that means like whatever would overmatch you whatever that next step up is in any level anywhere, right when you haven’t done it, and you’re 20 years old, and that you say sample size, how much sample size is there for 20 year olds in the history of the game, period. But the idea is once you bring them up your worst fear. I mean, it’s all call your dad we put videos out and none of that’ll be coming out today. No, I mean, none of that on today when they go in and in the old days, it would have the pink note right above your locker. Right? That was like a major league right? But that is very much how it was done back in the day. I mean, if you read seasons in hell with the Texas Rangers, that’s the way they did it. And you know, you literally had something in your locker that said you made it or didn’t make it come see the manager manager wants to see you know, the Turk, whatever that would be. Today’s a bad day for Jay. It’s a tough, tough day for 20 year old kid. I just did my documentary and um, you know, like, I’m a nerd now to my wife’s illness and pictures of her being sick and like all this stuff. We were editing it two days ago and Greg Landry and I talked about the day I lost the radio station but didn’t even know

Nestor Aparicio  05:00


Then I lost the radio station to dark day. Sure. You know, I was up in the big leagues for 15 months, and then I lost my radio station, even 30 years later, like, you want, am I coming back? Is it over? Is it you know, it’s not over for Jackson holiday from it. But you know, he’s gonna have to go down there and figure out how to do three ad again and wait for his turn when it comes back up. What cows are went through whatever, what Jim Palmer went through what every shirt one of those got Mike Boddicker went through that 100 times,

Luke Jones  05:27

there’s certainly an element to regaining some confidence that it’s, it’s human to be shaken, especially for someone who has very likely never failed at any level of baseball, going back to T ball going back to being three years old, and running around in a major league outfield with his father. So there’s some of that, but I don’t think it’s so much about hitting 380 at Norfolk.

Nestor Aparicio  05:47

I think it is dad down today. How about that bone? Sure,

Luke Jones  05:49

right now, right. But um, but it’s process. I think this is much more, okay. Ben McDonald talked about this on some of the recent telecast talking about the fact this kid has a high leg kick and might be something that he needs to adjust. I don’t think he’s necessarily going to eliminate it permanently. But maybe he has to maybe not as pronounced maybe it’s adjusted or you


Nestor Aparicio  06:08

don’t have seconds in the big leagues.

Luke Jones  06:10

It’s exactly I mean, your margin for error is nothing. It’s nothing. I mean, Elias talked about this. I mean, I cited the MLB Network radio, think it was two weekends ago that he did, where he said he wasn’t surprised that he was scuffling, because the jump from triple A to the major leagues is already so immense, then take into account, the number of injuries we’re seeing with pitchers are around the game. Triple A is even more depleted. So I don’t again, I don’t think it’s about going and hitting 380 at Norfolk I think it’s, Hey, this is what we’re seeing with your swing. This is what you want. We want to adjust for, for you to have better timing. You know, you look you look at where he was, as I cited, I mean, next one, you come up you won’t strike. Right. I’m looking at his minor league numbers right now. So this tells you this goes beyond being truth to for 30 for any player has a one for 25 At some point in time, right. I mean, even Hall of Famers. But you look at his minor league numbers over parts of three seasons, but really just one full season 138 walks 138 strikeouts, again, any level of baseball, that’s impressive. You just don’t see that in this day and age with so much swing and miss in the major leagues, two walks 18 strikeouts in 36 plate appearances that tells you right there, this isn’t just some tough luck and hitting the ball at at some fielders and needing a couple to fall and having good at bats. I mean, even when he’s having good at bats, it’s just too much swing and miss his timing for me just seemed really off. I don’t even think necessarily his pitch selection and swing decisions were terrible. I think he just his timing just seemed off. And you know, it’s it’s really difficult to do. I want to be very clear

Nestor Aparicio  07:45

on seeing 97 down there. Right? Not

Luke Jones  07:48


not with the movement, not with the secondary pitches that come with your game with it. They’d be the big Exactly, exactly. So 97 You’ll see below in the minor leagues, but the combination the full package that you see in the mate in the Major League, so I don’t think there’s any reason at this point in time with Colton cows are being a great example illustrating why because Colton cows are looked completely overmatched last year, and he’s a few years older than Jackson Holliday.

Nestor Aparicio  08:13

Well it also is he’s a guy that can come over in the locker room and say, Hey, dudes, you know, like, this happened to me. Keep shit, you know, like,

Luke Jones  08:20

you know,

Nestor Aparicio  08:20

you’re gonna need all that, right?


Luke Jones  08:22

I mean, you don’t want to sugarcoat this. It’s disappointing. I mean, I don’t think Mike Elias was thinking two and a half weeks into Jackson holidays major league career, he’s gonna have to send them back down. This is why again, why were spiritual weeks ago we’re sitting Your face was like five minutes ago. That’s why I thought it was so weird when they made the decision to send him down, that he came back so quickly. That’s why I thought it was odd as far as the timing. So now, I think it is important to recognize some of the elements that work here in the same way that we talked about him being caught up at a time where he could still accrue a full year of service. This is now putting him in the position where if he’s down two months, I mean, even if it’s three weeks, we’re now we’re at that territory where they’ve now regained that year of service potentially now takes them out of that incentive program but he wasn’t gonna win rookie of the year anyway, the way this thing was going back Colton Couser is looking like he’s gonna be Rookie of the Year at this point. So there are some other deciding you know, some other mitigating factors at work here but at the end of the day, this is a team that is in a division race with the Yankees right now that hey, their aspirations are not just winning the division not just big game coming up here winning the World Series Yeah, as big as late April early May can be right so they they want to have the best team now. I’ll say this. I do question why Ryan McKenna and we talked about this a little bit when Austin Hays was placed on the aisle they caught up first ad you and I had our conversation as far as you know, as Kirsten had the best fit there.

Nestor Aparicio  09:53

The benches the bench in like, by the way, I was at Green mount bowl the other day during the show remount station You’ll never believe who was there the great Terry Crowley, there

Luke Jones  10:02

you go. The Crow, the crow crow hidden out in the crow.

Nestor Aparicio  10:08


I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. We missed each other like ships in the night but I tried I know crow a little bit. And I thought that’s that’s a that’s gone Jim Dwyer cherry Crowley Marino the professional pinch hitter. It’s a very difficult thing. It’s it is more of a bench position glove in a Mateo case or speed in the midst of a case or, you know, some level of specialty that makes you that guy, but it’s not designed for Heston. Curse that to be that guy. It’s more designed for Ryan McKenna to be that yeah,

Luke Jones  10:40

I guess for me, my question would be, okay, holiday is down. So this means that Reus or Matteo are playing every day. I’m Westberg. That’s why I mean, Westford is already playing every day. So he’s either gonna be playing third or second. I guess my question would be, why not Connor Norby who is an infielder, second baseman where you could keep Westberg a third. See what kind of norB he can do? He’s put up numbers at triple A, it’s like, okay, see if you can find out from him. Because I’m, I understand not wanting to trot. Jackson Holliday out there every day when he’s too for 34. I’m not at all enthused about giving more at bats to Jorge Mateo or Ramona Reyes at this point where the Orioles are at this new roster, not done as starting players. Yes, I am. So that’s where I would look at this and say, Okay, if you want Ryan McKenna, because he’s a better fit for your fourth outfielder, send kirsta head back down and promote Connor Norby and let me see what that looks like for a couple weeks. And if he struggles, and he could, then you send them back just like you did with with Jackson holiday. So. So that’s where I, where my question is, and as far as the corresponding move because I get it for right now. Again, Austin Hays had kind of become the new Ryan McKenna, because of what Kaiser was doing. So he’s on the shelf. So I understand. Fine, gonna bring up McKenna. But, you know, I just I kind of

Nestor Aparicio  12:01

turning last year is guys, all stars into platoon players, right. You’re promoting 20 year old you then don’t make it. You’re still playing 600 ball? Sure. I mean, it’s, it’s let me be clear. I’m not pressing on these things. Yeah. And not be as wrong as if the Ravens stumbled on Nate Wiggins on Thursday night. Fair

Luke Jones  12:19

enough. Fair enough. Let me be very clear, as we’re breaking this down and talking about and I’m scrutinizing it, because I do think it’s been handled. I think it’s been weird. I don’t think it’s necessarily been handled in the best way. That said, this is not me. indicting the organization, this is a


Nestor Aparicio  12:36

second guess, question to go in and say, No, I

Luke Jones  12:39

mean, I would just flat out so why not counter nor would you second guess yourself at this point did she make? Did you sure, you know, and look, it’s not an exact science. We’ve seen this. I mean, look at what Willie Mays did at the beginning of his career, arguably the greatest player in the history of baseball, I mean, you can make that argument for Willie Mays being the best step has been done, and look at how he struggled. Now, he was also very young. Now, he was also in a position where, you know, didn’t have extensive modeling, and obviously, you know, Negro Leagues and all that. But, you know, it’s difficult. It’s not easy to do. And as I’ve said to you many times, whether we’re talking about ravens draft picks, or whether we’re talking about guys getting to the major leagues on the Orioles side, development does not finish just because you’re in the big leagues. I mean, there’s a lot that still goes into that. And there’s a lot of growth. And it’s very rarely linear. There, there are peaks and valleys and there’s going to they’re going to be some downtimes and look, Colton Couser right now, we’re already saying he’s gonna be Rookie of the Year, Colton Couser is one. He’s a one for 30 away from suddenly being jacked, having having different, you know, different conversations. The only difference is he now has a track record of success in the major leagues where his Jackson holiday as two hits. So you know, until he gets his next opportunity. Sure, there’s gonna be a little bit of angst there. But that said, I don’t think there’s any

Nestor Aparicio  13:55

reason what’s the measurement? This is my question for what what’s the measurements

Luke Jones  13:58


when you bring it back? Which it’s going to be proprietary. I don’t think it’s going to have anything to do with any numbers that are going to show up on baseball reference or fan graphs. As far as what he does at Norfolk, I’m guessing there are going to be some swing adjustments. As I said, it could be something pertaining to the high leg kick. It could be. They use so much technology. I mean, these guys literally have apps on their phones, that will they get information as far as evaluating their swing decisions. And what I mean by that is, it’s not really having anything to do with the result. They look at where you swag, they know a batter’s hot map in terms of where they get pitch to where they swing and have the most success you know, whether you’re someone who handles inside pitches better whether you’re someone who handles the outer half of the plane whether you’re a low ball hitter like Mike Trout, whether the shakers in his game yeah, so but the point is, these guys get that data sent to them. I mean, it’s sent to their phones literally, that’s what kind of information these guys have, how much Tony

Nestor Aparicio  14:53

grim would love that have been alive. I mean, you know, people come usually,

Luke Jones  14:59

people talk about law Changle and exit velocity and all that. Ted Williams was well aware of all that he may not have called it that. But he was well aware of that position. He just didn’t have a way to quantify it in the way that these guys have had Statcast and track man data and, you know, the airtronic cameras and all the different stuff that they’ve used over the last nine quadrants. Exactly, exactly. So, so it’s always been scientific. To some degree, it always had that potential. But in recent years, this is just quantifying it, right. I mean, we’ve talked about it, we’ve talked about spin rate, how that’s been talked about a lot. Yeah, that used to be called a high spin was you had late life on your fastball almost to the point where it’s got some rising action, right. So these are all ideas that are not brand new, it’s just we have data to quantify it. And as is the case in a lot of fields, including, you know, going back to when I was a teacher, I mean, you’d have buzzwords as ideas loves all different things where it would be cyclical, right, you know, you’d have phonics, you’d have whole language read, like, all these different things. So I’m not saying baseball is exactly like you is what? You always have trends. Yeah, right. Yeah. You always have trends, you always have something new the new flavor of the week. And, you know, the Orioles, their player development have they’ve done a fantastic job implementing these things. After the Orioles were frankly, way behind in that department, under Dan to Captain Buck show Walter and even further behind prior to them coming. So, you know, it’s part of that process. And, again, I don’t think there’s any reason to be meaningfully concerned about Jackson Holliday in a big picture sense. I think this is a bump in the road.

Nestor Aparicio  16:41

But I think so not gonna be contributing to this team in the way that we were two weeks ago talking about a way he could contribute to the team. You’ve now swapped him out for McKenna, you reinsert Matteo, in pragmatic terms as to who’s gonna get


Luke Jones  16:53

it. And they’ve still been a 667 team with him doing nothing the last two and a half weeks, basically, right. So there’ll be okay. There’ll be okay. And look, Jackson holiday could be back by Memorial Day. I mean, I don’t think that’s remotely out of the question. But like I said, I don’t think it has to do with oh, he’s got to hit 400. Or he’s got to walk. You know, as many times as he strikes out, those are the things he’s proven he can do it the minor leagues. Now it’s much more swing adjustments, you know, are they making a mechanical adjustment, like I said it, and I don’t know, if the leg kick the leg kick, they might find to be fine. It might be something else about his swing that they’re trying to figure out. Colton cows has talked about this. There were some adjustments he made in his swing of where he is now compared to where he was last summer when he was caught up in the major leagues and, and look completely overwhelmed. So this is not something that’s brand new, it’s disappointing. In the short term, there’s no question about that. They’d much rather him be hitting 250 right now with three home runs and eight RBIs. And looking like, Hey, he’s gonna be a real thing, real real player for them now, and certainly in the future. So none

Nestor Aparicio  17:54

of that changes and obey your 30 right now,

Luke Jones  17:58

it wouldn’t be much right? Well, and I

Nestor Aparicio  18:00


even we wouldn’t be bragging on it. But we wouldn’t be getting shipped I even

Luke Jones  18:03

said, but I said this to a different level of failure. I said this to you when he was one for 20, whatever it was, and I said to you, if it wasn’t a case that he was striking out in over half of his plate appearances. Let’s say that strikeout rate was 20%, or 25%, not 50%. And he was walking a few more times, and the average exit below because you measure this, this is how you quantify it. Back in the day, we would say, Man, that guy is hitting some tough luck lately. Now you can literally quantify it. That’s why like Gunnar Henderson, the first couple weeks, he didn’t put up monster numbers, but his average exit Velo and all this stuff was telling you he was crushing the ball. And what has he done since then crushing crushing the ball and getting the results with it? It was predictive. So all of the you know, not just the batting average, not just being two for 34 was looking at the strikeouts, the lack of walks, contact rate, timing off all those different things. And in the Orioles mind, they said it’s time to make an adjustment. So he’s gonna go down. Again, I assume there’s going to be some some tweaks to his swing and, and all that. And he’ll probably put up really good numbers at AAA. Or maybe he’ll struggle for a week or two as he’s trying to make these changes or adjustments. But I think this kid is way too good. He’s way too talented. I think he has way too good of a head on his shoulders for a 20 year old. I’m not saying he’s disappointed. Not or not that he’s not disappointed. I’m not saying that his confidence isn’t shaken a little bit right now it very well could be it’s It’s human. We’re all human. We all deal with failure and it’s difficult at different times. So but I think the makeup is there. I don’t think they would have even done what they’ve done to this point with him if they didn’t have full confidence that he’s going to be fine in the big picture. But all that being said, I’m not going to back down from this still feeling really weird how they’ve handled him the last two months.

Nestor Aparicio  19:55

Aside from that, you know, we sit you’re talking about this kid and he’s the last guy at the edge The roster now isn’t here anymore. A’s are in town. You know, this is always the weirdest thing and we’re gonna go out there Fourth of July and play for nobody. Yankees are gonna come to town Monday through Thursday for what is a big series and we have the football went top draft and we’ll be doing that in the aftermath of all this. But for this series, this is, man, this is a first spring, April time people are going to be down at the bottom 80 degrees on Sunday. We’re really going into a week here of new ownership and some sort of sense of normalcy in the middle of the year that we haven’t had before. Yeah, yeah.

Luke Jones  20:34

I mean, do I think the ballparks gonna be sold out for the Oakland A’s? Probably not. But you’re hoping to see good crowds because it’s a good team weather’s getting nicer. Brandon Hyde bobblehead this weekend. So you know, there’s there’s some bells and whistles,


Nestor Aparicio  20:47

too and Sunny. Sunny Monday at five and sunny Tuesday at Two and sunny Wednesday 79 and sunny Thursday. I don’t see any rain in there. And I see like afternoon games like this exists. city’s going to be a buzz next week. It really is. And this is sort of the precursor that plus you have the draft plus you have the Ravens bringing players in plus you’re not getting any sleep at all

Luke Jones  21:12

right? Getting good food at fade, Liza

Nestor Aparicio  21:14

anything else you wanna say my baseball because we’ll do football? More. But I mean, just for the weekend in the age being?

Luke Jones  21:19


I mean, I think the A’s they’ve struggled but they’re not in last place. The Houston Astros are I mean, I know we’ve mentioned it in passing, but at some point in time, that’s starting to look like that’s not necessarily going to get better. We get injuries. They’ve been bad. The run differential is not very good. I mean, it’s just bizarre, right? But windows are open until they’re not anymore, right? I mean, sometimes stop cheating. This is what I mean the Orioles in 2017 until early September, they were in the wildcard race and then it fell out the bottom fell out and then 2018 We know what happened there were they were historically the worst team in in franchise history. So I mean it it can end and that doesn’t mean it’s over over for them but feels like it’s increasingly likely that this year might be lost nice jerseys but they’re cheaters so what can I scores although, although most of the cheap Oakland A’s have nice jerseys, they don’t have a home. Yeah, you know what I mean? That’s gonna be a shame because they have that that really attractive green Oakland script that’s just gonna go away. I mean, they’re just gonna call them the A’s for two years.

Nestor Aparicio  22:23

Kelly Green and Gold man. So that was always I always felt like I had a little Reggie Jackson in me. Yeah, had a goal and not in a bad way but in a good way. For them pitching, starting pitching all the things we talked about West Coast going out where you are with the bullpen. The Yankees will show warts in that if there was such a thing next week, right? Four in a row seven in a row playing seven games in a row right? Whether it’s going to be a little nicer ball is probably going to jet out a little bit more. Not that John Martin the Maryland lottery wants to hear that giving away all the money. But there’s going to be all of that here in the next week in the pitching is gonna get packed. It’s gonna get called upon no question about it. I

Luke Jones  22:59

mean, we’ve seen Albert Suarez do what he’s done Venezuelan, I mean, it’s been such a great story, John means and Kyle Bradish continuing in their rehab, and we’ll see means you would think I mean, the 30 days it’s gonna be coming up fairly soon. So where is he? You know? Bradish I would think still a couple more starts until you’re at a point where you’re making that decision but

Nestor Aparicio  23:20

not under the knife like we spent January


Luke Jones  23:23

right knock on wood cross your fingers say a prayer whatever because I mean if you add Kyle a Kyle Bradish That’s right. And again, I don’t want to say I’m skeptical but I’m still concerned big picture wise because spraying UCL is or not it’s not good. I mean, that’s a captain obvious thing. But if he is right if he has avoided a major injury that’s going to require surgery. You add him to Corbin burns and Grayson Rodriguez last last bad start aside in Anaheim. I mean, that top three in October, I’ll take my chances against most teams with that. You’re

Nestor Aparicio  23:56

dreaming man. Things are gonna go wrong gonna be bumps in the road. Jackson. Oh,

Luke Jones  24:00

of course they will but things haven’t gone perfectly for them anyway and when they’re playing 667 ball so they’re doing something right when two

Nestor Aparicio  24:08

out of three win two out of three win three out of four. Jones here we are at Bally’s. We’re giving away the Pac Man scratch offs of Maryland lottery with the new market really is beautiful. Like it’s third time I’ve been in the space here. It’s great high ceiling a beautiful light in here got a lot of light in on the camera as well. And just a long fly ball from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Luke can walk out of your three blocks away. He will be down in the centerfield bullpen area. He’ll be covering all things draft I’ll be covering all things. Cleanup. I don’t know what else to say. But Luke will be at the ballpark over the weekend and also out in Owings Mills staying up late. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re back from orphan families. I am Nestor. He is Luke follow him at Baltimore positive

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