BALTIMORE (AP) — Outfielder Heston Kjerstad agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles that includes a $5.2 million signing bonus, well below the slot value of $7,789,900 assigned to the No. 2 overall pick.
“Just the beginning of a new journey! Excited to be an Oriole!” Kjerstad wrote on Twitter.
Kjerstad batted .448 with six homers and 20 RBIs over 16 games as a junior with Arkansas this year before the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. He started every game in right field and had at least one hit in each outing.
He joins a rebuilding Orioles team that has lost at least 100 games in two straight seasons and used the No. 1 pick in 2019 to secure catcher Adley Rutschman out of Oregon State.
As a true freshman in 2018, Kjerstad was selected the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year after batting .332 and hitting 14 home runs.
The following season, Kjerstad helped lead Arkansas to a second straight appearance in the College World Series. In the process, he became the first Razorback since Rodney Nye in 1998-99 to have 50 or more RBIs in his first two seasons.
Kjerstad was the eighth Razorback drafted by the Orioles. He is the second-highest draft pick out of Arkansas, behind Jeff King, the No. 1 selection in 1986.