The Baltimore Orioles announced June 30 that they have signed their first-round selection, second overall, of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, outfielder Heston Kjerstad from the University of Arkansas.
Kjerstad, 21, hit .448/.513/.791 (30-for-67) with five doubles, six home runs, 19 runs, and 20 RBI in 16 games during his junior season, which was shortened due to COVID-19. He led the Razorbacks in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, total bases (53), on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He started all 16 games in right field and recorded at least one hit in each game. He 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.
As a sophomore in 2019, Kjerstad helped lead Arkansas to their second-straight College World Series. Kjerstad homered in each of the Fayetteville Regional, Fayetteville Super Regional, and College World Series. He became the first Razorback since Rodney Nye in 1998-99 to have 50-or-more RBI in his first two seasons. As a true freshman in 2018, Kjerstad was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, along with being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the All-SEC Second Team, after helping lead Arkansas to the College World Series. He made 69 starts for the Razorbacks, all of which came in the outfield, and hit .332/.419/.553 (87-for-262) with 16 doubles, 14 home runs, 65 runs, and 58 RBI. Kjerstad’s 14 home runs set an Arkansas freshman single-season record, and his 87 hits tied the freshman single-season record. He was named a NCBWA First-Team Freshman All-American as well as a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American.
The 2020 First-Year Player Draft marked the first time in Orioles history that the club had the second overall selection in the MLB Draft. Kjerstad was the eighth Razorback taken by the Orioles all-time in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He became the second-highest draft pick in University of Arkansas history (Jeff King, 1986 No. 1 overall). Kjerstad was the ninth Razorback in school history to be selected in the first round, and his selection marked the 46th-straight year an Arkansas player has been selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. The deadline to sign 2020 draftees is August 1.
— Baltimore Orioles press release
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles