Outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard will embark on his ninth season with the Brewers organization after the team decided to retain him on a new minor league contract for 2014.
The 27-year-old Canadian led the Southern League in home runs with 24 in 2014 and was two ahead of Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year Jason Rogers.
Kjeldgaard was extended on three different occasions with the Brewers and also was Designated For Assignment in 2012 to make room on the 40-man roster for shortstop Jean Segura, pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena following the Zack Greinke trade.
In his eight professional seasons in the Brewers system, he connected on 111 home runs with 404 RBI and 129 doubles.
Additionally, he is among the franchise leaders in home runs with multiple Brewers’ affiliates since he converted from pitcher to outfielder following the 2007 season at Pioneer League Helena.
Kjeldgaard pitched in 33 games for the Helena Brewers but was ineffective allowing 93 hits and 50 earned runs through 81.1 innings.
Transition to Outfield
Kjeldgaard made an immediate impact on the Helena Brewers’ history books when he blasted 14 home runs in 75 games for the Pioneer League club in 2008.
Furthermore, his 14 home runs still sits atop the Pioneer Brewers’ team single-season team leaderboard.
Two members of the 2013 Helena Brewers came two short of tying Kjeldgaard with 12 home runs, including Pioneer League Most Valuable Player Michael Ratterree.
Kjeldgaard followed up his efforts when he made the move to Single A Wisconsin in 2009 where he belted 20 home runs, which was among the team’s top five until the arrival of Khris Davis and Victor Roache. Both Davis and Roache tied for the team record with 22 in 2010 and 2013, respectively.
With High A Brevard County, he owns two single-season home run records with 18 in 2011 (fourth all-time) and 17 in 2010 (fifth).
The outfielder was one shy of tying the franchise record of 19 set by Hunter Morris in 2011 and Nick Ramirez in 2013.
Plate discipline has plagued Kjeldgaard for his entire career with five seasons of more than 100 strikeouts, including 175 with Brevard County in 2010 and with the 2009 Timber Rattlers where he fanned 172 times.
While it remains a concern, Kjeldgaard has demonstrated the ability to hit in clutch situations including a four-RBI game in Huntsville’s 6-2 victory May 24. The outfielder batted 2-for-4 in the game against Tennessee.
He also kept the Double A Stars in each game, including another four-RBI game in a 6-5 loss against Mississippi. He went 2-for-4 with two home runs.
Kjeldgaard will provide a stopgap solution for the Huntsville Stars as players from Single A and High A make the inevitable arrival to Double A.
It was imperative the Brewers retained Kjeldgaard for another year due to Timber Rattlers’ prospects Tyrone Taylor, Victor Roache and Michael Reed a year away from reaching Double A.
With Timber Rattlers’ Tyrone Taylor, Victor Roache and Michael Reed a year away from reaching Double A, it was imperative the Brewers decided to retain Kjeldgaard.
However, he could have company with the potential of Mitch Haniger making a leap from Brevard County to Huntsville in 2014 along with D’Vontrey Richardson.