Heston Kjerstad Latest Top Orioles Prospect to Reach Majors

Baltimore adds yet another elite talent to its big league roster.
Sep 28, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Heston Kjerstad (13) hits an
Sep 28, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Heston Kjerstad (13) hits an / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Orioles are calling up yet another top prospect. On Tuesday, the team announced they were bringing former first-round pick Heston Kjerstad back to the big leagues, making him the fifth homegrown top 30 position player prospect on the current roster.

Kjerstad was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 MLB draft and had a brief stint in the big leagues last season. The 25-year-old outfielder opened the 2024 campaign at Triple-A Norfolk and has been crushing the ball. In 21 games, Kjerstad has hit 10 home runs, driven in 30 runs and posted an OPS of 1.176 while slashing .349/.431/.744. He has nothing left to prove at that level.

In 2023 at Double-A and Triple-A, Kjerstad combined to hit 21 home runs and drive in 55 runs. He slashed .303/.376/.528 for an OPS of .904. Entering this season, MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the 29th-best prospect in baseball.

The Arkansas product was a September call-up in 2023 and while he didn't look overmatched, he needed more seasoning. In 13 games, he slashed .233/.281/.467 with two home runs, three RBIs and 10 strikeouts against two walks.

Kjerstad joins an Orioles team with a wealth of former top prospects who all play the field. According to MLB Pipeline's rankings, he is the fifth position player on the current Orioles roster called up in the past three years who was a top 20 prospect. Shortstop Gunnar Henderson, catcher Adley Rutschsman, outfielder Colton Cowser and second baseman Jackson Holliday were all former top prospects who have debuted since 2022. It's worth noting, four of those players were first-round picks, while Henderson was a second-rounder.

Baltimore has become a model of prospect drafting and development over the past five years. That work is paying off big time as the franchise's top homegrown players now litter the big league roster. At the same time, the Orioles already sit atop the American League East with a 15-7 record after winning the division in 2023.

The Orioles are building a juggernaut and aren't done adding talent to the roster yet.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.