Heston Kjerstad signs with Orioles

By: Seth Campbell
Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad (18) runs around the bases after hitting a solo home run against Alabama during an NCAA college baseball game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday, March 22, 2019. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)
Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad (18) runs around the bases after hitting a solo home run against Alabama during an NCAA college baseball game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday, March 22, 2019. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)

Former Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad has signed with the Baltimore Orioles, the club announced Tuesday.

Kjerstad, the No. 2 overall pick, signed for $5.2 million, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com. It is the highest signing bonus ever for an Arkansas player. 

Kjerstad finished the shortened 2020 season with the Razorbacks batting a team-best .448. He also led the team in hits (30), home runs (6), RBI (20), total bases (53), on-base percentage (.513) and slugging percentage (.791).

The junior from Amarillo, Texas, played and started in all but one game in his three seasons at Arkansas. Kjerstad began the 2020 season as a unanimous first-team preseason All-American and was on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list. 

Kjerstad is the ninth Razorbacks player to be drafted in the first round and fourth to be selected in the top 10, joining Jeff King (No. 1, 1986), Andrew Benintendi (No. 7, 2015) and Kevin McReynolds (No. 6, 1981).

Kjerstad helped lead Arkansas to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 2018 and 2019.

The Orioles have signed two other draft picks, Jordan Westburg of Mississippi State and Hudson Haskins of Tulane. Westburg, the 30th overall selection, and Haskins, the 39th overall pick, signed directly at their slot value, according to MLB Network reporter Jon Heyman.

Westburg's bonus value is just over 2.35 million, while Haskins' bonus value is just over $1.9 million.

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