Three Players to Watch at Orioles Fall Instructional League Camp

Feb 27, 2021; Sarasota, Florida, USA; A general view of Ed Smith Stadium the home of Baltimore Orioles spring training. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2021; Sarasota, Florida, USA; A general view of Ed Smith Stadium the home of Baltimore Orioles spring training. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Led by a star-studded group of prospects, the Orioles begin their 2021 Fall Instructional League Camp this week

On Monday, The Baltimore Orioles began this year’s Fall Instructional League Camp at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL. The 50-man roster set to participate in camp includes 19 of the team’s top 30 prospects from MLB Pipeline and 17 players taken by Baltimore in the 2021 MLB Draft.

The Fall Instructional League Camp, which is scheduled to begin October 18th and run through November 20th, will focus on helping young players improve their individual skills and accelerate them through the Orioles’ minor league system.

From the list shared by Orioles Player Development on Twitter, a handful of players jump off the page. Top 100 MLB prospect Gunnar Henderson, 2021 first-round pick Colton Cowser, Bowie Baysox late-season star Jordan Westburg will each garner plenty of attention for their development over the next four and a half weeks. However, these three players should see lots of intrigue from those who follow along with camp this fall:

D.L. Hall

Ranked third among Orioles prospects by MLB Pipeline, left-hander D.L. Hall will look to fine-tune his skills while rehabbing from an elbow injury that sidelined him in mid-June of this season. Prior to the injury, Hall posted a 3.13 ERA across seven starts at Double-A Bowie, paired with a staggering 15.9 K/9.

The area of concern with Hall that will surely be worked on at camp is pitch command. If the 23-year-old can limit walks and maintain the elite pitch mix he currently possesses, he will be a threat in the Orioles’ big league rotation for years to come.

Beyond what happens on the field, Hall’s presence on social media has proven to make him a fan favorite. He routinely shows support for his teammates and takes serious pride in being a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

Heston Kjerstad

After last year’s myocarditis diagnosis, 2020 first-round pick Heston Kjerstad is finally returning to baseball activities with his involvement at camp this fall. The former Arkansas Razorbacks outfielder is a player that Orioles fans have been looking forward to seeing progress through the team’s minor league system and begin contributing at the Major League level with his powerful plate approach.

In his 150-game career at Arkansas, Kjerstad slashed .343/.421/.590 with 37 home runs and 129 runs batted in.

Samuel Basallo

Although Baltimore’s future catcher role is firmly in the hands of MLB’s top prospect, Adley Rutschman, the emergence of 17-year-old Samuel Basallo would be a badge of honor for the Orioles’ newly developed international signing presence under GM Mike Elias.

Here’s an excerpt from MLB Pipeline’s prospect bio for Basallo:

"A left-handed-hitting backstop with potential plus power, Basallo wowed scouts by registering triple-digit exit velocity readings with wood bats as a 16-year-old. He stands out for his physique and raw power to all fields, producing precocious strength from his 6-foot-3, 180 pound frame. Basallo is an imposing presence in the box, using a high leg kick and strong hands to drive pitches consistently."

Currently ranked as Baltimore’s 24th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, Basallo signed the largest international bonus in franchise history this past winter.

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