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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles prospects Heston Kjerstad, Noah Denoyer named Arizona Fall League all-stars

Heston Kjerstad spent much of this season making up for lost time, and that continued with his assignment to the Arizona Fall League.

The Orioles’ outfield prospect was named an AFL “Fall Star” in the American League on Friday alongside Baltimore pitching prospect Noah Denoyer. The second overall pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, Kjerstad waited two years after that selection to make his professional debut because of the heart condition myocarditis and a strained left hamstring.

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In addition to Fall Stars Game on Sunday, Kjerstad will participate the AFL Home Run Derby on Saturday. During his time in Arizona, the 23-year-old showed off the left-handed power the Orioles drafted him for, tying for the AFL lead with five home runs and ranking fifth with an OPS of 1.009.

The former Arkansas star was even more successful after joining Low-A Delmarva in June, hitting .463 with a 1.201 OPS in 98 plate appearances. He struggled after a move to High-A Aberdeen, with his batting average falling 230 points while his OPS dropped to .674, though that performance came in a challenging offensive environment.

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During his time in the Arizona Fall League, 23-year-old Heston Kjerstad showed off the left-handed power the Orioles drafted him for, tying for the AFL lead with five home runs and ranking fifth with an OPS of 1.009.

In Baseball America’s latest ranking, Kjerstad was the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, trailing two of the players Baltimore selected after him in 2020.

While one of the Orioles’ Fall Star selections comes with the pedigree of a first-round pick, the other went undrafted. Denoyer, a 24-year-old right-hander, signed with Baltimore after going unselected in 2019′s 40-round draft. Across three Orioles affiliates this season, Denoyer had a 2.89 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings, allowing fewer than one base runner per inning while working mostly as a bulk reliever. Five of his six AFL outings were starts, and he had a 4.50 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 20 innings while limiting opponents to a .227 batting average.

Denoyer is eligible for next month’s Rule 5 draft if the Orioles do not add him to their 40-man roster, meaning another team could take him but be required to keep him in the majors all season to retain him.

Around the horn

  • The Orioles avoided arbitration with outfielder Jake Cave, claimed last month from the Minnesota Twins, by agreeing to a one-year deal, they announced Friday. The agreement is a split contract, according to a source with direct knowledge, meaning Cave will receive a pro-rated amount dependent on how many days he spends in the majors. The Orioles have seven remaining arbitration-eligible players.
  • Right-hander Chris Ellis and catcher Aramis Garcia declined their outright assignments to Triple-A Norfolk and elected free agency, the Orioles announced. Both cleared waivers earlier this week, creating an opening on Baltimore’s 40-man roster.

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