Orioles’ No. 4 Prospect, Minor League HR Leader Listed as Trade Candidate

Heston Kjerstad

Getty Heston Kjerstad during a September 2023 game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Even as MLB’s home run leaders this season, and having won 12 of 18 games, the Baltimore Orioles‘ farm system keeps them front and center of all baseball trade talk.

Heston Kjerstad and Coby Mayo headline the latest, from ESPN’s David Schoenfield.

In an April 16 column centered on the 2024 season’s trade deadline, Schoenfield listed both prospects as trade candidates.

He cited them both playing out of position in the minors as a primary reason to think they could get shipped out.

“Here’s what I see,” Schoenfield wrote. “Kjerstad is an outfielder also playing some first base. Mayo is a third baseman also playing some first base. There’s a reason for that: Neither is that good at those positions (otherwise they wouldn’t be playing first base).”

As well as Orioles’ number two prospect, Samuel Basallo, projecting as a strong hitter in the club’s system.

“In Double-A,” Schoenfield continued. “The O’s have Samuel Basallo, a 19-year-old catcher whose bat is more advanced than his glove. In other words: There could be a future logjam at first base/DH … freeing the Orioles up to make another blockbuster trade for a pitcher.”

Despite being ranked lower than Mayo (No. 3) on the team’s prospect list, Kjerstad is more surprising to see listed.

Baltimore’s number four prospect, he’s slashing .343/.425/.726 with 28 RBIs and a minor-league leading 9 home runs.

Twitter user Zach Bollinger, tweeted on April 18 that he considers Kjerstad “untouchable.”

And while it’s unlikely that’s how the Orioles view the 25-year-old slugger, it speaks to his standing over Mayo.

Schoenfield went on to mention the Baltimore Orioles as a potential suitor for one Seattle Mariners ace.

Orioles Linked to Logan Gilbert

Later on in the column for ESPN, when addressing the Mariners, Schoenfield listed ace Logan Gilbert and infielder Michael Arroyo as trade candidates.

And he mentioned the Orioles, amongst others, as a team to watch for the Seattle righty.

“Trading Gilbert,” Schoenfield wrote. “Who is under team control through 2026 and whose contract starts getting expensive next season, could jump-start that by landing them the impact hitter this lineup desperately needs. In that case, turn to the Orioles, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers as potential trade partners.”

Gilbert made 32 starts for the Mariners last season. He finished the year with a 13-7 record and a 3.73 ERA.

Under team control for an additional two seasons, he’s a worthy investment for any team, not just Baltimore.

But do the Orioles need another starting pitcher? Their rotation is just getting healthy.

The Latest on Kyle Bradish

One ace is working his way back to the Baltimore rotation.

Kyle Bradish, recovering from a right UCL strain, made a rehab start for the AA affiliate Bowie Baysox on April 16.

He pitched three innings, giving up just one hit and no runs, and striking out four batters.

Bradish led all Orioles starters with a 2.83 ERA in 30 starts last season. He’ll be a welcome addition to the Baltimore bullpen once he works through a few more rehab starts.

Jacob Calvin Meyer, who spoke with team manager Brandon Hyde on April 19, reports that the Baltimore starter will make his next rehab start on April 21.

How well he plays when he returns could determine the Baltimore Orioles interest in acquiring Logan Gilbert, or any starting pitcher.

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