Orioles 2021 #9 Prospect Heston Kjerstad – OF

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Yet to play professional baseball due to complications from Myocarditis, the Orioles 2019 #1 pick is reportedly doing

Heston Kjerstad
Pos: OF
Bats: L
Throws: R
Age (as of Jun 30th) : 22
2021 Level: DNP

Tools (current/future value)
Hit: ??/50
Game Power: ??/60
Raw Power: ??/70
Run: ??/55
Defense: ??/50

Most Likely Future Role: Starting right fielder
Ceiling: Starting right fielder, occasional All-Star

What we know: The Orioles 1st pick (2nd overall) in the 2020 draft has yet to play a professional game due to complications from Myocarditis. The good news is as of this writing, he’s doing baseball activities like taking BP and flyballs down in Florida at the Orioles Sarasota complex and is on schedule to be ready to play in games by next spring.

Until he can be observed in game action, its hard to know what the toll of being off for a year and half while doing very little physical activity due to his condition has done to the left-handed power hitting outfielder. Before the injury though, he was considered the top left-handed power hitter in the draft and was off to a great start during his Junior year at Arkansas slashing .448/.513/.791/1.304 through his first 78 plate appearances when his season was cut short.

In his first two college seasons, Kjerstad had some minor plate discipline issues, but got off to a good start with seven walks to nine strikeouts in his abbreviated season. If his plate discipline improvements were for real, he could very well end up a high average, high OBP power hitting outfielder.

While he’s an average to slightly below average runner, Kjerstad’s defense has never been his calling card. He does have a solid right fielder’s arm and some believe he looked better in the outfield during his junior year, but most do not think he will be anything but an adequate defensive outfielder at the major league level.

What we don’t know: We don’t know almost anything at this point besides what kind of player he was in the spring of 2020 so this is a total upside selection at this point. Saying that, he has the most upside and ceiling of any prospect not on this list yet and has the upside to be an impact major league player if he can come back fully healthy and able to play to his potential.

What we think: Right now, the Orioles just hope he’s healthy and can play a while season next year. The first rung he needs to get through is being ready for a full season club next spring. If that happens, the hope is he can move quickly and show that he’s back to being the player the Orioles thought he could be when they drafted him in 2020.


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Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.