Orioles Prospects Erupt for 26 Runs in Record-Setting Blowout

Mar 5, 2024; Clearwater, Florida, USA;  Baltimore Orioles shortstop Jackson Holiday (87) steps up to
Mar 5, 2024; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Jackson Holiday (87) steps up to / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles showed Wednesday why their farm system is regarded as the best in baseball, as the team’s Triple A affiliate scored a whopping 26 runs.

The Norfolk Tides beat the Charlotte Knights (the White Sox’ top farm team) 26–11, with several of Baltimore’s vaunted prospects leading the way. Infielder Jackson Holliday, the consensus top prospect in the game, was 4-for-6 with two doubles and two walks. First baseman Coby Mayo (MLB.com’s No. 29 prospect) went 5-for-7 with a triple. Outfielder Heston Kjerstad (MLB.com’s No. 31 prospect) went 5-for-7 with 10 RBIs and two homers. Kyle Stowers, a former second-round pick who made his big league debut in 2022, went 4-for-7, including three home runs.

The Tides actually needed to come from behind to win. They trailed 7–4 after three innings but scored 22 runs over the final six frames to win it.

Norfolk set franchise records for runs scored, home runs (eight) and hits (29), according to MiLB.com. The 26 runs were the most scored by an International League team since the Buffalo Bisons scored 27 on April 18, 2013.

The Orioles have been No. 1 in MLB.com’s farm system ranking for three straight years. Baltimore stockpiled prospects using the high draft picks it earned by spending 2017 through ’21 at the bottom of the standings, and those picks have developed into some of the best young players in baseball.

Catcher Adley Rutschman, the top pick in the ’19 draft, was the first of those marquee prospects to graduate to the majors. Holliday, the top pick in the ’22 draft, isn’t far behind. The Orioles chose to have him begin the season in the minors, in part so that he could gain more experience playing second base after spending most of his life playing shortstop.

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).