On June 11, 2020, the Baltimore Orioles brought six new prospects to the organization in the shortened Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The coronavirus pandemic caused the 2020 draft to be unique; the draft was just five rounds instead of 40 and teams were not sure when their picks would see the field due to the cancelation of the Minor League season.
The Orioles held the second pick in the draft and were looking to continue to build on an up-and-coming farm system. Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias’ selections were viewed as a success. MLB.com’s Jim Callis highlighted the Orioles as one of six clubs that crushed the 2020 draft the day after the event.
This season, Baltimore’s 2020 draft class is already surging through the system. Competitive Balance pick, infielder Jordan Westburg, earned a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk on June 6 after stellar play at Double-A Bowie and fourth-round pick, infielder Coby Mayo, earned a promotion to Double-A Bowie on June 28 after hitting 13 home runs in 63 games at High-A Aberdeen.
Prior to the 2022 season, Baltimore ranked as the best farm system in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. Here are the picks from the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, highlighting their performances within the organization thus far.
#9 OF Heston Kjerstad | Age: 23 | HT: 6-3 | WT: 220 |
B: L | T: R | Current Level: Low-A Delmarva
Second overall pick Heston Kjerstad had a long, strenuous path and did not make his professional debut until June 10, 2022, exactly two years after he was drafted. Kjerstad had a case of myocarditis that kept him sidelined through the 2021 season and suffered a left hamstring injury in March 2022, further delaying his debut.
Though his professional debut was delayed, it has not hampered his performance on the field. As of June 7, the Texas native is slashing .446/.533/.622 (33-for-74) with seven doubles, two home runs, and 15 RBI through his first 20 games. He hit safely in 14 straight games from June 15-July 2 and has current on-base streak of 17 games dating back to June 15. The outfielder hit his first professional home run on June 24 vs. Lynchburg.
Kjerstad put up video game-like numbers during his three-year career at the University of Arkansas. He hit .332 as a freshman, .327 as a sophomore, and .448 as a junior after his season ended after 16 games. As a junior, Kjerstad was named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List, as well as being named a First-Team Preseason All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball.com, and Perfect Game. After his first season at Arkansas, he was named SEC Freshman of the year, All-SEC Second team, and a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) First Team Freshman All-American. He is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Orioles organization by MLB Pipeline.
#26 INF Jordan Westburg | Age: 23 | HT: 6-3 | WT: 203
B: R | T: R | Current Level: Triple-A Norfolk
Jordan Westburg batted .247/.344/.473 (45-for-182) in 47 games with Double-A Bowie this season before earning a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk on June 6. The infielder has continued to swing the bat well with Norfolk, batting .330/.360/.642 (35-for-106) with 11 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 22 RBI in 24 games through July 7.
After being selected 30th overall in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State, Westburg made his professional debut with Single-A Delmarva in 2021. He was named an MiLB Organization All-Star by MLB.com after slashing .285/.389/.479 (121-for-424) in his first professional season between Low-A Delmarva, High-A Aberdeen, and Double-A Bowie.
The Texas native became Mississippi State’s highest-drafted shortstop in program history and the program’s 17th first-round pick. In his sophomore year (2018) at Mississippi State, Westburg tied the NCAA College World Series single-game record with seven RBI against North Carolina and hit the tournament’s only grand slam. As of July 8, he ranks as the 94th-best prospect in baseball and fifth-best in the Orioles organization according to MLB Pipeline.
#10 OF Hudson Haskin | Age: 23 | HT: 6-2 | WT: 200
B: R | T: R | Current Level: Double-A Bowie
Through July 7, Hudson Haskin has swung a hot bat in 62 games with Double-A Bowie this season. The outfielder is batting .270(61-for-226) with 16 doubles, 10 home runs, 32 RBI, and a .347 on-base percentage. Haskin leads the Baysox in doubles, total bases (107), and is tied for the lead in home runs.
He made his professional debut in 2021 with Low-A Delmarva before receiving a promotion to High-A Aberdeen, where he finished the season. The New York native appeared in 83 games between the Shorebirds and IronBirds, slashing .276/.381/.406 (85-for-308) and was named an MiLB Organization All-Star by MLB.com.
Haskin attended Tulane University where he slashed .333/.452/.500 (22-for-66) as a sophomore in 2020. He was named a Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball.com, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), and Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason All-American Second Team, as well as being named to the All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team, and to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. He ranks as the 14th-best prospect in the Orioles organization according to MLB Pipeline.
#3 INF Anthony Servideo | Age: 23 | HT: 5-10 | WT: 175
B: L | T: R | Current Level: Low-A Aberdeen
Some Orioles fans may have experienced some nostalgia when the club selected Anthony Servideo in the third round of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. His grandfather, Curt Blefary, played three seasons with the Orioles from 1965-1968. He won rookie of the year in 1965 and was on the 1966 World Series winning team.
In 2021, Servideo participated in the team’s Fall Instructional League camp at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex in Sarasota and made his professional debut with Low-A Delmarva, appearing in 20 games, hitting .246/.489/.311 (15-for-61), before being placed on the injured list and missing the remainder of the season. Since being activated off the injured list on June 5, he has played in just 12 games in 2022.
The Florida native attended the University of Mississippi and hit .390/.575/.695 (23-for-59) with three doubles, five home runs, 24 runs, and 17 RBI in 17 games during his junior season in 2020, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Week 2), as well as a Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American. As a sophomore in 2019, hit .287/.429/.388 (60-for-209) with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 62 runs, and 26 RBI in 66 games. He ranks as the 29th-best prospect in the Orioles organization according to MLB Pipeline.
#3 INF Coby Mayo | Age: 20 | HT: 6-5 | WT: 215
B: R | T: R | Current Level: Double-A Bowie
In November 2019, Geraldo Cabrera, the Orioles’ Latin American Supervisor, attended an event in Puerto Rico with a team of Florida amateurs and saw Coby Mayo and thought of him as a can’t-miss prospect. After Baltimore scouted him throughout his senior season at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and evaluated his off-field makeup on Zoom calls, they selected him in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft.
Mayo has not skipped a beat since making his professional debut in 2021. He appeared in 53 games in his first professional season, including 27 games with Low-A Delmarva and batted .319 (58-for-182), including .311 (33-for-106), with 24 extra-base hits, nine home runs, 41 RBI, and 46 runs scored. He hit .250 (60-for-240) with 14 doubles, 13 home runs, and 42 RBI with High-A Aberdeen before earning a promotion to Double-A Bowie on June 28.
He batted .455/.613/.772 with one double, two home runs, nine runs, and six RBI in eight games during his senior season in 2020, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayo was Named a Rawlings-Perfect Game First Team Senior Preseason All-American and to the Florida Region All-High School Senior First Team. As a junior in 2019, played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego. Mayo was committed to the University of Florida before signing with Baltimore. He ranks as the 6th-best prospect in the Orioles organization according to MLB Pipeline.
#37 RHP Carter Baumler | Age: 20 | HT: 6-2 | WT: 195
B: R | T: R | Current Level: Low-A Delmarva
A fifth-round pick, Carter Baumler was the lone pitcher selected by the Orioles in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft out of Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, Iowa. He signed with the club, forgoing a commitment to Texas Christian University to play baseball and football.
Baumler did not make his professional debut until May 25 of this season due to having “Tommy John” surgery on October 28, 2020. As of July 7, he has made four starts, recorded 20 strikeouts and a 1.54 ERA (2 ER/11.2 IP) with Low-A Delmarva.
In high school, the right-hander was named to the Rawlings-Perfect Game Central Region All-High School Senior First Team in 2020. He played in the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego, striking out two batters in a scoreless inning. He ranks as the 26th-best prospect in the Orioles organization according to MLB Pipeline.
The 2020 draft class has dealt with a lot of adversities such as injuries and the pandemic, but the group is showing potential to make a significant impact on the organization. The future at Oriole Park looks to be bright as this class has helped the Orioles rise to the top of the farm system rankings and will only add talent with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft.
Next week, Birdland Insider will highlight the 2021 Orioles draft class, featuring Colton Cowser, Connor Norby, John Rhodes, Carlos Tavera, and Peter Van Loon.