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(Press Release) The Baltimore Orioles tonight announced that they have selected outfielder HESTON KJERSTAD (KERR-stad) from the University of Arkansas with the second overall selection of the 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
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. He was ranked as the No. 10 overall draft prospect by MLB.com and the No. 13 prospect by Baseball America.
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. For the season, Kjerstad hit .327/.400/.575 (87-for-266) with 13 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs, 53 runs, and 51 RBI in 65 games. His 17 home runs were a career-best and were tied for the second-most in the SEC. He became the first Razorback since Rodney Nye in 1998-99 to have 50-or-more RBI in his first two seasons. He was named to the All-SEC Second-Team.
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.
A native of Amarillo, Texas, Kjerstad attended Canyon Randall (Texas) High School. He was named the District 3-5A Newcomer of the Year in 2015 and the District 3-5A MVP and First Team 5A All-State Player in 2016. He was a member of the Amarillo Glove-News 2016 Baseball Super Team and attended the 2016 Perfect Game National Showcase. Kjerstad was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 36th round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft following his senior year of high school but did not sign in order to attend the University of Arkansas.
The 2020 First-Year Player Draft marks the first time in Orioles history that the club has had the second overall selection in the MLB Draft. The Orioles have had the number one overall selection twice: in 2019, when they selected C ADLEY RUTSCHMAN out of Oregon State University, and in 1989, when they selected RHP BEN McDONALD out of Louisiana State University. It is the first time they have had picks in the top five in consecutive years since 2011-12.
The 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft continues tonight with the completion of Round 1 and the Competitive Balance Round A. The Orioles will make one additional selection tonight, with the No. 30 overall pick. The Draft will conclude Thursday, June 11, on MLB Network and ESPN2 with rounds 2-5, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. The Orioles will make four additional selections in these rounds, with picks No. 39, No. 74, No. 103, and No. 133.