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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch: Three Insane Orioles Prospects

Kyle gives an update on four prospects you need to know for your fantasy baseball teams.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 24: Heston Kjerstad #13 of the Baltimore Orioles runs in action against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on September 24, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Welcome to Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch! This weekly feature will list and give updates on the best minor-league prospects who are trending up with a chance to make an impact in the MLB – and for your fantasy baseball teams – sooner rather than later.

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch

OF Heston Kjerstad, Baltimore Orioles

Kjerstad is the most MLB-ready prospect in Minor League Baseball, and finding everyday at-bats in Baltimore is the only thing holding him back from being called up by the Orioles. Kjerstad finished last season obliterating AA and AAA pitching, slashing .303/.376/.528 with 21 home runs and 55 RBIs. He was a late-season call-up and appeared in 13 MLB games, accumulating two home runs and three RBIs. This season has seen him on a torrid start, slashing .358/.443/.778 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs through 20 games at AAA Norfolk. Fantasy managers in Redraft leagues will be racing to the waiver wire to claim Kjerstad as soon as he’s recalled, and he looks ready to produce at a high level. A career .300 hitter in three minor league seasons, Heston Kjerstad will provide a high average and power for all fantasy teams. It would not be a shock if Kjerstad finishes the 2024 season as the Orioles’ leader in home runs.

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3B Coby Mayo, Baltimore Orioles

There is a saying about the rich getting richer, and this is the case for the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles already called up prospect Jackson Holliday, and along with Heston Kjerstad, third baseman Coby Mayo is on the list to see his call-up within the upcoming months. The 6’5” 230-lb Mayo is coming off a monster 2023 campaign in which he slashed .290/.410/.564 with 29 home runs and 99 RBIs between AA Bowie and AAA Norfolk. He has started the AAA season where he left off a season ago, slashing .326/.372/.651 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs. Like his AAA teammate Heston Kjerstad, everyday at-bats are holding Mayo back from arriving in Baltimore. Mayo’s bat would immediately be an upgrade in power to the Orioles lineup, and he has the potential to be a perennial Gold Glover defensively. It is only a matter of time before Mayo develops in the AL version of Atlanta’s Austin Riley.

LHP Cade Povich, Baltimore Orioles

Povich has made a name for himself in the minors with his blistering fastball. The southpaw has great mechanics, but the focus for him was learning how to pitch to Major League-ready hitters as he’s progressed at different minor league levels. Povich pitched at AA and AAA in 2023, finishing with a 5.40 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, and 171 strikeouts in 126.2 innings. He made 10 starts at AAA Norfolk, but hitters tended to get the best of him when he was behind in the count, seeing him finish with a 5.36 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Starting 2024 for Norfolk, Povich has made four starts to greater success, posting a 0.83 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Should he stay at this pace, there is reason to believe he will find himself in Baltimore by the All-Star Break. There will be bumps and bruises along the way, but the left-hander should provide respectable strikeout numbers and could be a great addition as nearly every fantasy team will be looking for pitching as the season progresses.

RHP Mason Black, San Francisco Giants

Black doesn’t feature on MLB’s Top-100 prospect list, but he is off to a great start for AAA Sacramento, posting a 1.53 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, and 20 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. His high-90s fastball and slider are his go-to pitches and have been the two pitches he trusts the most. He finished last season with a 4.15 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and 155 strikeouts in 123.2 innings between AA and AAA. Should Black see his changeup develop into an adequate pitch, he can be a strong third or fourth starter for the Giants, but his current lack of feel for his changeup projects him as a fifth starter or high-leverage reliever. Black is an interesting name to follow during the 2024 season because he will provide value when he arrives in San Francisco, but he would be more valuable as a starter, which isn’t guaranteed.

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