Yay or Nay: Kjerstad ready for 2023 O’s debut

Boy, when I originally had the idea for this piece, there was a pretty even debate for both sides of this. Now, he’s really tipping the scales in favor of “yay.”

Heston Kjerstad looked good in his games playing for High-A Aberdeen last season, but he looked even better with Low-A Delmarva, where he put up a .463 average and kept consistently producing hits and finding his way on base. He didn’t show off the most powerful bat, but he really showed great plate presence and contact.

Needless to say, he looked like the guy the Orioles envisioned when they selected Kjerstad with the second overall pick in 2020. However, it’s still early, and the organization is loaded with depth and talent.

So, what should the team do when handling Heston Kjerstad? I’m going to state my case for why we could see the lefty slugger debut for the O’s this season and why we might have to wait until 2024.


As I mentioned before, Kjerstad had good success thus far on the farm. He’s looked very comfortable at the plate and is flashing his ability on both offense and defense.

In the first two spring training games for the O’s in 2023, Kjerstad has been practically unbeatable at the plate. He’s a perfect 4-for-4 and has two home runs to his line.

The man can’t miss so far, and that’s speaking quite literally. He’s got a hot bat, and I’m eager to see how long he can keep it up.

There’s not much to say for his defense. He has solid range and doesn’t make many errors. For a guy to play good defense and really put wood to the ball on a consistent basis, you can’t ask for much more.

Needless to say, his first two games have been really strong. It’ll be interesting to see going forward in spring training, but the promise for him is there.

There’s really zero chance Kjerstad makes the big league club out of camp, as he’ll likely begin the year in Double-A Bowie. But, if he displays consistency and shows the power stroke we all know he possesses, we could definitely see him in orange and black by September.


The Orioles have plenty of options in the outfield, including a few notable young bucks. It’s going to be really tough to truly earn a spot with all that talent and depth at the outfield position.

I mentioned how well Kjerstad played for Delmarva and Aberdeen. He had a solid batting average, but strikeouts plauged him at times last season.

Kjerstad’s swing isn’t very fluid and tends to be very hit or miss. In a league with overpowering pitchers, the strikeout bug is something you have to adjust. He might still be young, but a problem with whiffs can really hurt a guy’s confidence.

His struggle with strikeouts and the depth at the outfield position presents a worthy argument for allowing him a full year to develop on the farm.


At the end of the day, this Orioles team is loaded with young talent. They have a plethora of prospects with a ton of upside.

Kjerstad’s first two games have promised that maybe his mechanics aren’t quite as dangerous as people might have thought. I think he has a ton of potential, but we just have to wait and see how he performs in Double-A and Triple-A.

Many insiders and fans said Kjerstad was a reach for the Orioles when they selected him from the University of Arkansas. Plus, with all the health obstacles thrown his way, the young man is lucky to even be playing the game.

The sky is the limit with this young man. Whether we see him this year or next, he will be an impact bat for the Birds for many years to come.

Do you think we’ll see Heston Kjerstad in an O’s uniform this season? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Kyle’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @BMoreBeats_

2 thoughts on “Yay or Nay: Kjerstad ready for 2023 O’s debut

    1. I think he could be there by end of the year if his hitting keeps progressing. He was considered the best pure hitter in the draft in 2020 and has above average defense. If he can regain the form he had before myocarditis cost him two years, he could make an intriguing late season call-up.

      Liked by 1 person

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