O's announce instructional camp roster

Kjerstad among top prospects with much to prove during camp

October 18th, 2021

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles opened their second annual instructional camp in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday, where 50 of the organization’s priority prospects will train for the next month with an eye toward advancing their development goals. Nineteen of the club’s top Top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, and 17 members of its 2021 Draft class will participate in the camp, which runs through Nov. 20. It is closed to the public.

The camp roster includes notable ’21 draftees like first-round pick Colton Cowser, rehabbing players like and D.L. Hall, top infield prospects Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg and international signs Maikol Hernandez and Samul Basallo, among others. It does not include Nos. 1 and 2 prospects Adley Rutschman nor Grayson Rodriguez, who both excelled amid career-high workloads this season.

One of the few other notable absences is No. 13 prospect Terrin Vavra, who was limited to 48 games this summer due to a lower back injury. The full roster can be found here:

Of those attending, who has the most to prove? Let’s take a closer look at three prospects who fit that mold:

OF Heston Kjerstad
Propsect ranking:
No. 7 (club)

Back on the field for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown, Kjerstad is medically cleared from what stretched into his year-long battle with myocarditis, a viral heart condition. The condition kept Kjerstad sidelined since last summer, surfacing shortly after the Orioles drafted him second overall out of the University of Arkansas in ’20. Kjerstad has yet to make his professional debut as a result, with this camp marking his first foray back into facing competitive pitching in roughly 19 months. How his body performs should inform the organization’s outlook for him for 2022 and beyond.

RHP Carter Baumler
Prospect ranking:
No. 27 (club)

The Orioles were thrilled when they used their 2020 Draft savings to snag Baumler in the fifth round, signing the big right-hander away from a commitment to TCU. But they hardly saw him pitch in '21, after Baumler tore his right ulnar collateral ligament two outings into instructional camp last fall. He’s still not fully recovered from Tommy John surgery on Oct. 28, 2020. Roughly a year removed from the operation, however, Baumler can begin working his way back in earnest.

SS Adam Hall
Prospect ranking
No. (15 club)

Hall was the Orioles’ top middle-infield prospect not too long ago, but things are radically different in their system these days. The club has stockpiled college position players in the Drafts under GM Mike Elias, and as a result (and also due in part to the pandemic), Hall’s standing has trended downward as a result. Hall looked like a fast riser in 2019, posting .780 OPS and 33 steals at Class A Delmarva as a 20-year-old. But COVID restrictions held the Canada native back from participating in alternate site training last summer, and he struggled to drive the ball (.337 slugging percentage, .672 OPS) as a 22-year old at High-A Aberdeen in ’21.