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Heston Kjerstad promotion: Orioles bring up former No. 2 pick as another top prospect arrives in Baltimore

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The Baltimore Orioles have recalled outfielder Heston Kjerstad from Triple-A Norfolk, the team announced Tuesday. In order to clear room on the 26-player roster, the Orioles optioned catcher David Bañuelos back to the minors. Bañuelos had been promoted on Monday, after the Orioles placed outfielder Austin Hays on the injured list with a strained calf.

Kjerstad, 25, was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft. In 21 games this season, he batted .349/.431/.744 with 10 home runs, 30 RBI, and a stolen base. His average exit velocity was 91.6 mph, and more than 51% of his batted ball cleared the 95 mph threshold. Kjerstad made his big-league debut last season, appearing across 13 big-league games and posting a .233/.281/.467 slash line (105 OPS+) with two home runs and three RBI. 

Kjerstad ranked just outside of CBS Sports’ top 50 this spring. (Three other members of the Orioles organization did, however, as you can see for yourself by clicking here.)

The Orioles selected Kjerstad over the likes of Max Meyer, Austin Martin, and Emerson Hancock. The most productive players from that round to date have been Los Angeles Angels lefty Reid Detmers and, coincidentally, Orioles infielder Jordan Westburg. Detmers was the No. 10 pick while Westburg was not selected until No. 30.

In addition to Westburg, Kjerstad joins an Orioles roster that is loaded with talented young players. That group includes fellow top-10 selections Adley Rutschman (No. 1 in 2019), Colton Cowser (No. 5 in 2021), and Jackson Holliday (No. 1 in 2022), as well as star shortstop Gunnar Henderson, who was a second-round selection in 2019.

The Orioles, off to a 15-7 start this season, will continue their series against the Angels on Tuesday night.

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