Heston Kjerstad

24-Year-Old First Baseman1B
Baltimore Orioles AA
2023 Fantasy Outlook
There's a feel-good element to Kjerstad's 2022 season. He was selected by Baltimore with the No. 2 overall pick in 2020, but a heart condition sidelined him through the 2021 season and he missed the first two months of last season with hamstring strain before finally making his pro debut in June. Kjerstad did what he needed to do as a 23-year-old at Single-A, logging a 228 wRC+ and quickly forcing a promotion to High-A. His 25.3 K% and 71.2 Contact% at High-A are concerning marks, given his age and pedigree. We can forgive his limited power output somewhat given how much Aberdeen suppresses home runs, but the hit tool concerns are real. He made noise in the Arizona Fall League with a .357 average, five home runs, a runner-up finish in the home run derby and the league MVP award, but his 30.0 K% and 4.8 BB% against mediocre AFL pitching is quite worrisome. Kjerstad has legitimate excuses for the fact he will be old for the remaining minor-league levels he will play at, but it's possible, if not probable that he will be overmatched as a 24-year-old at Double-A. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
$Signed a $5.2 million contract with the Orioles in June of 2020.
Sent to minor-league camp
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
March 22, 2023
Kjerstad was reassigned Wednesday to the minor-league side of Orioles camp, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports.
Kjerstad was never really in the running for an Opening Day roster spot in Baltimore after finishing out the 2022 campaign with High-A Aberdeen. However, he certainly made an impression during his time in major-league camp, slashing .390/.419/.829 with four home runs, four doubles and a triple across 43 plate appearances in Grapefruit League play. The 24-year-old outfielder is again drawing top-prospect attention after missing all of 2021 due to a heart condition.
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2021 Fantasy Outlook
Kjerstad had a 21.7 K% and a 7.0 BB% as a sophomore at Arkansas and a 10:3 K:BB in 43 AB with Team USA in 2019. Those aren't the plate skills of a middling defensive outfielder who would typically go No. 2 overall in the draft, which is where Baltimore selected him last year. He improved his swing decisions (9:7 K:BB) in 16 games as a junior, but the majority of those games came against mediocre competition. In 150 games for Arkansas, he slashed .343/.421/.590 with 37 home runs. He is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and bats left-handed, profiling as passable in left or right field. It will have to be his all-fields power that carries him to the majors. He seems unlikely to log high OBPs by corner outfield standards, and it would be a win if he develops into a .265 hitter, as there are questions about his ability to hit premium stuff. A non-sports related medical issue prevented him from taking part in fall instructs.
More Fantasy News
Making impression in spring
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
March 19, 2023
Kjerstad is hitting .389 (14-for-36) in Grapefruit League play.
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Getting some work at first base
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
March 10, 2023
Kjerstad has been getting some reps at first base this spring, Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun reports.
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Poor results in High-A
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
August 31, 2022
Kjerstad has hit just .214/.306/.317 with two home runs and one steal in 33 games since being promoted to High-A Aberdeen.
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Advances to High-A
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
July 11, 2022
The Orioles promoted Kjerstad from Single-A Delmarva to High-A Aberdeen on Monday.
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Ready for professional debut
1BBaltimore Orioles  AA
June 10, 2022
Single-A Delmarva activated Kjerstad (hamstring) from its 60-day injured list Friday, Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com reports.
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