Orioles call up former top hitting prospect as Kyle Stowers returns to MLB, Heston Kjerstad demoted


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The Baltimore Orioles have called up yet another notable young hitter, promoting outfielder Kyle Stowers from Triple-A Norfolk, the team announced Monday. He’ll be taking the roster spot of Heston Kjerstad, who has been optioned back to Triple-A.

Stowers, 26, has appeared in 48 big-league games over the last two seasons, hitting .207/.267/.331 (70 OPS+) with three home runs and no stolen bases. He’s fared much better on the minor-league side of things. To wit, this season in Triple-A he’s batted .240/.315/.541 with 11 home runs and 32 runs batted in across 36 games.

Stowers has displayed a particular skill for hitting the ball hard. His average exit velocity is 91.2 mph and more than 45% of his batted balls clocked in at 95 mph or above. Additionally, he hit the ball 109 mph or harder on four separate occasions, including three extra-base knocks.

Unfortunately for Stowers, he has been overshadowed in the Orioles organization by the presence of former top-10 picks Colton Cowser and the aforementioned Kjerstad among other top young hitters. Cowser has gotten off to a tremendous start this season, entering Monday with a 145 OPS+. Kjerstad, meanwhile, has struggled to find his sea legs at the game’s highest level, hitting just .143/.294/.143 in the majors this year. Baltimore will now hope he can get back on track in Norfolk.

The Orioles originally drafted Stowers back in 2019 as a second-round pick by way of Stanford. That draft has become a significant one in franchise history —  that’s because the Orioles also selected Adley Rutschman (the top pick in the entire class), Gunnar Henderson, and Joey Ortiz (since traded in the Corbin Burnes deal) that summer. Stowers still has a chance to add to the draft’s legacy.

The Orioles enter Monday with a 26-13 record on the year, good for first place in the American League East. They’ll host the Toronto Blue Jays for three games beginning on Monday night.





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