Orioles call up another top prospect in OF Heston Kjerstad, who hit 10 HRs in 21 games at Triple-A

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles brought up another top hitting prospect Tuesday, recalling outfielder Heston Kjerstad from Triple-A Norfolk.

The Orioles also announced that they optioned catcher David Bañuelos to Norfolk.

Kjerstad is ranked 29th on MLB Pipeline's prospect list. He was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft and made his big league debut last season, hitting .233 with two home runs in 13 games.

Kjerstad got the start in right field and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in Tuesday night's 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Although he did not make the opening day roster this year, he has hit 10 home runs in 21 games for Norfolk. His return to the majors comes after the Orioles put struggling outfielder Austin Hays on the injured list with a calf strain.

“He's got off to an unbelievable start in Triple A. He's put up some huge power numbers and hit the ball to all fields,” manager Brandon Hyde said before the game. “We have a good lineup, but Heston's got big-time power. Hopefully it can impact us offensively.”

The Orioles took over first place in the AL East with a win over the Angels on Monday night. Baltimore hasn't gotten much production from infielder Jackson Holliday, the game's top-ranked prospect, but a couple of other young hitters — outfielder Colton Cowser and infielder Jordan Westburg — have been excellent so far.

Kjerstad was one of four top-10 picks in the lineup for Baltimore. That included top overall picks catcher Adley Rutschman (2019) and second baseman Jackson Holliday (2022), as well as Cowser, the fifth overall selection in 2021.