Orioles’ 2020 Top Pick Won’t Report to Spring Training
By Arrick Joel
The Orioles’ top outfield prospect will not play in the Grapefruit League
Baltimore Orioles 2020 first-round pick Heston Kjerstad will report directly to the team’s alternate site in Bowie, MD once he’s ready to play according to general manager Mike Elias, missing out on this year’s Spring Training camp in Sarasota, FL.
A report from Joe Trezza of MLB.com shared the complete statement from Elias regarding Kjerstad. According to the report, the decision to hold Kjerstad out of Grapefruit League play is not based on any setback in Kjerstad’s recovery from myocarditis, a condition that causes heart inflammation.
Elias said Kjerstad will report to the alternate site “as soon as we start” following the conclusion of Spring Training. The alternate site will be active until the start of the Minor League season, which was recently delayed as a safety measure for fans and players.
"“We’re all eager to see him in action,” said Elias. “I know he’s eager to join the activities finally after what he’s been through.”"
Kjerstad, 22, was selected with the second overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and has yet to play in the Orioles system. During his 150-game career at the University of Arkansas, Kjerstad posted a 1.011 OPS, hitting 37 home runs in 691 plate appearances.
Prospect rankings from Baseball America (#62), Baseball Prospectus (#66), and MLB Pipeline (#69) each include Kjerstad in their preseason 2021 top 100 prospect rankings.