Fantasy Baseball Farm Report: Heston Kjerstad gets the call

Heston Kjerstad #13 of the Baltimore Orioles
Heston Kjerstad has officially entered our fantasy baseball plans. (Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Heston Kjerstad is simply too good for Triple-A, gets the call

It had become clear that Kjerstad needed a new challenge, so the O's are giving it to him. He's reportedly getting the call on Tuesday. Kjerstad hasn’t really slowed down after his obnoxious opening week and he now leads the International League in runs (25), home runs (10), RBI (30) and total bases (64) while slashing .349/.431/.744.

We wondered if it might take a trade to get Kjerstad back to the big leagues, because the O’s lineup hasn't exactly been struggling. His arrival is obviously an actionable event.

Orelvis Martinez powering his way through the minors

One of the more emphatic ways for a prospect to announce their MLB readiness is to simply hit a home run every single day. Toronto’s Orelvis Martinez has begun doing just that:

Martinez has launched six bombs in his last seven games and is now slashing .333/.392/.681 with 13 extra-base hits with 18 RBI and 20 runs scored. He’s hit at least 28 homers in each of his past three minor league seasons, so his power credentials are firmly established. There’s no speed in his profile, but he’s brought his K-rate down while retaining the ability to hit moonshots, so there’s a lot to like here.

Over the past two seasons, Martinez has split his time defensively between second, third and short, so he offers unusual versatility to both the Blue Jays and fantasy managers. He’s forced his way into the call-up conversation and can be stashed by anyone looking for a deep-league lottery ticket.

Drew Thorpe, still dealing

Very little has gone right for the White Sox at the major league level, but let the record show that the team managed to score a decent return in the mid-March trade that sent Dylan Cease to the Padres.

The centerpiece prospect in the deal was Thorpe, a 6-foot-4 right-hander with an exceptional changeup who struck out a whopping 182 batters over 139.1 innings at two minor league levels last year. He opened the 2024 season at Double-A Birmingham, where he’s been nearly flawless through three starts. To date, he’s pitched 18.0 innings and allowed just one run, 10 hits and four walks, striking out 18 batters. He’s lowered his career WHIP to 0.96 and his ERA to 2.29.

Upon being acquired by the White Sox, Thorpe was immediately identified as a candidate to debut in the majors in the current season. Everything he’s done so far suggests that he remains on schedule.

Kyle Manzardo had himself a pretty fair weekend

All Manzardo managed to accomplish over the weekend was to deliver seven hits, two doubles, three homers and 18 total bases in three games while scoring five runs and driving in four. Cleveland's first base prospect has raised his season slash to .308/.400/.585. He has a sweet left-handed swing and positionally appropriate, out-of-the-stadium power:

Manzardo has walked nearly as often as he’s struck out this season (12 vs. 14), which isn’t unusual for him historically (.385 career OBP).

Cleveland is currently sitting atop a wide-open division and the team definitely has a 1B/DH spot available alongside Josh Naylor. If Manzardo keeps raking, we should see him soon enough.

Bryan Woo, rehabbing as well as anyone can possibly rehab

So this is a pretty great development for Mariners fans. Woo tossed three perfect innings in his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. You might have written him off when he opened the season on the IL with elbow irritation, but it appears he’s going to be helping us by May at the latest. Woo of course had a promising start to his MLB career last season, striking out 93 batters over 87.2 frames while delivering a WHIP of 1.21.

Cade Povich has been striking out the world

Just in case you thought all they had at Norfolk was a collection of hitting prospects, please take note of Povich’s numbers through four starts: 21.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 9 BB, 33 Ks.

Command has been the biggest problem for Povich, and that issue is far from resolved. But the K-potential is exceptional:

He whiffed 171 hitters over 126.2 innings in the high minors last year and he’s well ahead of that pace so far. Povich has posted an outrageous (and admittedly unsustainable) 0.74 WHIP while allowing just one homer through four starts.