Orioles sign second overall draft pick Heston Kjerstad

A third 2020 draft selection by the Orioles is under contract.

The team announced today that it signed outfielder Heston Kjerstad, the second overall pick from the University of Arkansas. The biggest fish in their draft pond.

Infielder Jordan Westburg, the 30th overall pick, and outfielder Hudson Haskin, the 39th, signed on Saturday for $2,365,500 and $1,906,800, respectively. Both at full slot value.

Kjerstad has signed for $5.2 million, according to a source. Terms were first reported by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

The slot value for the second overall pick was $7,789,900.

Westburg and Haskin are represented by the Boras Corporation. Kjerstad is repped by SSG.

Kjerstad, 21, batted .448/.513/.791 (30-for-67) with five doubles, six home runs, 20 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 16 games as a junior before baseball shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. He led the Razorbacks in batting average, hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases (53), on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias called Kjerstad “the best left-handed hitter in the country.”

“This is somebody who’s going to hit for power and average and hit in the middle of our order for a long time while playing a quality right field defense,” Elias said in a June 10 video conference call with the media.

Kjerstad Swings Arkansas White Sidebar.jpgKjerstad made 69 starts as a freshman and hit .332/.419/.553 (87-for-262) with 16 doubles, 14 home runs, 58 RBIs and 65 runs. His 14 homers set an Arkansas freshman single-season record and his 87 hits tied for first.

Elias didn’t meet in person with Kjerstad, who in the executive’s words was more of a dark horse candidate to join the organization. Their Zoom call proved to be an important step in sealing the deal and scout Ken Guthrie kept tracking him.

The 2020 First-Year Player Draft marked the only time in Orioles history that they owned the second overall selection. Kjerstad was the eighth Arkansas player chosen by the Orioles all time and he became the second-highest pick in Razorback history behind infielder Jeff King, who went No. 1 to the Pirates in 1986.

The Orioles have approximately $1.2 million left in their bonus pool. They still don’t have an agreement with Anthony Servideo, their third-round pick from the University of Mississippi.

Slot value for the 74th overall selection is $844,200.

The Orioles went over slot to reached agreements with their two prep selections, third baseman Coby Mayo a fourth-rounder from Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Fla.) High School, and right-hander Carter Baumler, a fifth-rounder from Dowling Catholic High School in Iowa. Mayo will receive $1.75 million and Baumler $1.5 million, per sources and reports.

The 103rd overall pick had a slot value of $565,500 and the 133rd overall had a value of $422,300.

Mayo also is repped by the Boras Corporation.

Note: The Orioles’ full-time and year-round, part-time staff will be paid through July 17.

The last update had the payments guaranteed through June 30.

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