Orioles prospect Heston Kjerstad ‘enjoying the crap’ from strong start for Delmarva after two lost years – The Mercury News

If there’s any doubt that Heston Kjgerstadt won’t be the same player he was before the two losing years, neither of them is his.

After developing the heart condition myocarditis shortly after becoming the Orioles’ second overall draft pick in 2020 and then suffering from a strained left hamstring during his first spring training, the Baltimore’s No. 10 prospect has prompted many questions about his future. have encountered. They haven’t changed his belief in his ability.

“It’s still there,” Kjrstedt said on Tuesday. “As soon as you step back in the box, it comes right back to you.

“I felt like I was at home again.”

Kjerstad has certainly looked like this in his nearly two weeks with Low-A Delmarva. Since starting his professional career until two years after being drafted by Baltimore, the 23-year-old outfielder has been batting. 400 .957 . with ops in his first eight Play

Taking a break between several rounds of Shorebirds batting practice, he sat in the stands at Perdue Stadium in Delmarva on Tuesday before starting his first full homestand with the Orioles affiliate with the bat resting between his legs. Kjerstad is working on his timing and approach, he said, something any hitter will do, regardless of the last time they played.

If anything, he feels he is a better player than when he last took the field for Arkansas, describing himself as “more mature as a person and a player.” What I’ve done.” He also believes that he has achieved much more than just watching baseball, the brainchild of his predecessor among the likes of “high-level players” such as Adley Ratschman, Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, Baltimore’s first-rounder. Picking up

However, he misses being part of a team, and the camaraderie that comes with it. He is adjusting to the schedule of being a professional, with more games, earlier reported times and longer bus rides. But after the last two years, he would have it no other way.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m enjoying the crap out of it,” he said. “Instead of going to the training room every day, it’s fun to take it back. It’s nice to go out on the baseball field to play a game.

“Once I get on the field between the lines, it’s like, ‘Okay, we’re playing baseball,’ and everything else slowly fades into the background.”

On top of sports, his days also included allied ball adoption, especially the time and energy management involved. Delmarva hitting coach Brink Ambler said it is the coaching staff’s goal to help them get involved regularly.

“He can do some things that not everyone else can do,” Ambler said. “We all obviously know he’s a very good player. We don’t really do much to steer Heston in the right direction. It’s kind of like, ‘Hey, your only goal is to be here,’ Have to be a part of it, and do your best and continue to try to be comfortable in this environment.

Kjerstad himself has done well in doing this. He’s already familiar with many of his teammates, having been around them in Florida either during rehab or at spring training. Right-hander Carter Bommler, a 2020 teammate who missed last season while in rehab from Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery, said Gerstad is an expert clown, noting that “he’s got new material weekly.”

Shorebirds manager Felipe Alou Jr. said, “You’re really, really happy for that guy, all the stuff he’s gone through has really come to the place he is now.” “Hell of man. … Kid, there’s no doubt why he was picked in the first round. It’s fun to watch him. I’m pretty sure his teammates feel the same way. When he’s on the field, Some bring a different kind of energy.”

That energy is part of what prompted the Orioles to take on Kjrstad with the second overall pick of the draft two years ago. After a career in Arkansas in which he scored 37 home runs in 150 career games with 1.011 ops, he was expected to go early in the first round, but not that much. Savings from his signing bonus allowed Baltimore to take on infielder Kobe Mayo, who is now the organization’s No. 5 prospect, and Bomler in 20th. In the system, in the final round of the short draft.

But the strategy’s notion rests largely on Kjerstad, and he is aware that his health condition has prompted an outside investigation into Pique. The following three selections in 2020 – Miami Marlins right-hander Max Meyer, Kansas City Royals left-hander Asa Lacey and Minnesota Twins shortstop Austin Martin – are all ranked among the league’s top 65 prospects, According to MLB Pipeline,

“I heard it, I saw it, stuff like that,” he said. “It’s part of being an athlete. But for me, I understand who I am as a player, and I understand that this is baseball and this is life. I am not the first to be in my shoes and I experience something like that, and I’m not going to be the last. I’m playing back, so now it’s time to prove it on the field.

“The expectations that everyone else puts on me are not even close to the expectations I have placed on myself.”

Those expectations, for now, are focused on controlling what he can do to improve in a given day. In those days together, he said, “I will eventually become the player I want to be.”

Those watching the start of his professional career with Delmarva have no doubt that he will do the same.

“It’s really nice to see him get opportunities to be that guy, hit those big spots, do things he loves to do that he hasn’t been able to do for a while,” Ambler said. “Her career is going to be great. It’s going to go a long way from here.

“For them, this is just the beginning.”

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