We all understand that the Orioles have a great farm system. We have constantly talked about how good the system is, and we have discussed why the system is so strong. From great trades, top draft picks developing into potential superstars, and a better international presence, it has all led to the system being in one of the best spots it has ever been in. The amount of excellent prospects in this system is remarkable. Yet, when looking at the list, one group of prospects from a draft stands out. That would be the 2020 draft class, and it stands to be one of the most important classes. There are two reasons for this: the first is that it contains a lot of young and upcoming talent that will help fill out the farm system once other prospects graduate; and two, the upside of this class is tremendous.
So today, let’s talk about the 2020 draft class and discuss why each of these prospects is important to the Orioles’ future.
First, we’ll obviously look at Heston Kjerstad.
Kjerstad was the O’s first pick in this draft class at number two overall. Kjerstad has been one of the most talked-about prospects due to being a bit of a surprise pick at two and the rocky start to his career. Look, I wouldn’t say I liked the pick either when it happened, but the more I look into Kjerstad, the more I realize how good he could be.
Kjerstad’s debut was unfortunately delayed due to myocarditis; however, he has been a full participant in fall and winter instructional leagues, and he will be playing at an affiliate in 2022. Kjerstad might have the best power in the farm system outside of Adley Rutschman. He annihilates baseballs, and he uses his modern uppercut swing to launch balls into the air with ease. While he has a slight jerk in his wing, he mainly uses it for timing, which doesn’t seem to limit him. I will say that from some videos of his swings I have seen (s/0, Eric_Birdland on Twitter), it does look like the big leg kick he had in college seems to have calmed down a bit. Kjerstad does have some strikeout concerns, but he has enough power that strikeouts shouldn’t haunt him.
Follow me I posted video of several bp sessions
Thats Kjerstad pic.twitter.com/YqkNWxLOhT
— Eric_Birdland (@Eric_Birdland) January 21, 2022
Kjerstad’s defense in right is hard to judge because we don’t have enough information. However, I think he can be solid enough to stick in the right with a good throwing arm. Kjerstad’s bat is the most intriguing part, yet he still has enough in the outfield that I think he can stick in right.
Kjerstad is a great prospect, yet is only the beginning of the potential of this class.
I want to combine two players from the class into one section and talk about Jordan Westburg and Anthony Servideo. Westburg is one of the most well-rounded players on the farm. Westburg’s hit tool is his primary tool, and it might be one of the best in the system. Westburg had 121 hits last year with 27 doubles and 15 doubles, boasting a .389 OBP % with a .479 Slug %. He also offers some defensive versatility as he played third and shortstop last year. Westburg has one of the best floors in this system, with his excellent hit tool, good power, and versatility to play anywhere on the left side of the infield.
Servideo is one of my sleeper prospects for this upcoming 2022 season. He is a defensive wizard at short, with some intriguing offensive tools. He doesn’t have much power, but he has some of the best on-base abilities in the minors. He walked 28 times last year while only striking out 26 times and having a .489 OBP %. Servideo only played in 20 games due to injuries, so he will have to get back up to speed, but that defense, speed, and on-base ability make him so intriguing.
Hudson Haskins is the next player I want to talk about. Haskins has one of the best pure fielding tools in the farm. He glides around center field and has a plus run tool as well. Haskins mixes this in with a good hit tool with an ability to get on base at a solid enough clip. Haskins doesn’t have much power, but I still feel he can unlock more of it as he gets older. Haskins is another one of these prospects with a great floor that adds so much depth to the Orioles farm system.
To this point, I have talked about the depth in this class with some good prospects with high floors, so where does the ceiling come in? It comes in with the fourth and fifth-round picks from this class, Coby Mayo and Carter Baumler. These guys were the over-slot picks in the fourth and fifth round because they saved money on Kjerstad.
Mayo is such a fun prospect to talk about. He has power for days as he uses his long swing to crush baseballs. Mayo also can stick at third as he shows so much more athleticism and fielding ability at third than many seem to appreicate. He also has a bazooka attached to his shoulder. Mayo can be the best player in this class.
Baumler hasn’t pitched yet due to Tommy John Surgery, but he is healed from it and will be pitching this year. He is a bit of a mystery since we haven’t seen him yet, but he is throwing with incredible velocity now. With a prospect that had reasonable control already, it is exhilarating. I can’t wait to watch Baumler pitch this year.
Baumler, Mayo, and Kjerstad add in the ceiling for this draft, while Westburg, Servideo, and Haskins add a floor for this class. This combination of floor and ceiling make this class so intriguing and important to the Orioles.
This class is essential for the Orioles because it adds a perfect balance of floor and ceiling. They become more critical as they add talent to the major league team and more prospects graduate. These prospects can take their place to give the Orioles still a great system while also being more competitive at the Major league level. I am excited to watch how these prospects grow and see how this class works out.