Draft | Rankings | 4/3/2020

2020 MLB Draft: Top 10 Risers

Brian Sakowski         Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Anthony Servideo (Ole Miss Athletics)

2020 MLB Draft: Top 400 Prospects | Top 10 RHP | Top 10 LHP | Top 10 OF | Top 10 CIF | Top 10 MIF | Top 10 Catchers

Every year, without fail, players rise and fall on draft boards. Increases in stuff and strength over the course of an offseason can see pitchers rise up, while at the same time the lack of making those improvements can see them fall. For hitters, it can be any number of factors, but seemingly the most common is when a player adds some serious physicality over the course of an offseason and shows up in his draft spring with significant increases in power. In this class in particular, and as you'll see below, there were far more rising arms on the college side while at the same time, on the prep side, it seems that the bats were the ones who gained the most helium collectively. 

To view where the top 10 college and top 10 high school risers rank overall, please click on the Top 400 Prospects link above for PG's full draft board.

Up=number of spots each player rose up since the last draft list update in early December; players listed are those ranked in the Top 100 of the updated draft list as linked above.

Top 10 College Risers

Rk. Up Player School Hometown ST
1 NR Clayton Beeter Texas Tech Colleyville TX
2 155 Nick Swiney NC State Huntersville NC
3 152 Anthony Servideo Mississippi Jupiter FL
4 151 Jared Shuster Wake Forest New Bedford MA
5 144 Ian Seymour Virginia Tech Westborough MA
6 133 Seth Lonsway Ohio State Celina OH
7 120 Gavin Williams East Carolina Fayetteville NC
8 70 Jordan Nwogu Michigan Ann Arbor MI
9 58 Bryce Jarvis Duke Franklin TN
10 57 Sam Weatherly Clemson Howell MI

Clayton Beeter, rhp
A physical, strongly-built righthander, Beeter has seen his profile rise up in a big way over the last couple years. He redshirted in 2018, then served as the Texas Tech closer in 2019, picking up eight saves in 21 innings, with 33 strikeouts though also 20 walks. He transitioned to the Friday night role in 2020, and absolutely blew up from the get-go. Now a zone-pounder with premium stuff, Beeter holds mid-90s velocity deep into games, commands his fastball, and also has one of the better breaking balls in amateur baseball that misses bats with ease. He's vaulted himself all the way up into the first round, seemingly. 

Nick Swiney, lhp
Swiney was well-known to scouts heading into 2020 and was certainly on draft boards, though mid-late day two seemed to be the consensus. He took gigantic strides over the offseason, and was pitching about as well as anyone else in the country at the time of the shutdown, at 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA across 28 innings, having allowed just 13 hits and six walks while racking up 42 strikeouts. He rose because of an uptick both in stuff and command, now into the low-90s with his fastball with a vastly-improved breaking ball to complement his always-plus changeup, and he's throwing way more strikes now as well. 

Anthony Servideo, ss
Servideo played second base in deference to '19 second rounder Grae Kessinger for Ole Miss, but slid over to short in '20 and flew up boards in the process. He's always been a high-level athlete and defender speed and contact skills, Servideo has shown that he can play shortstop and has added some serious punch to his bat, hence the rise. He was OPS'ing 1.270 with nine steals at the time of the shutdown, and was one of the players who could have really risen even further had he continued that type of performance into SEC play. He still looks like a probable top two rounder in 2020. 

Jared Shuster, lhp
Shuster, like many of the names on this list, was certainly known to scouts heading into the 2020 campaign, though it's unlikely that many projected this meteoric of a rise. Shuster has always had a plus changeup that misses bats, but he increased not only his command and velocity to raise his profile this year, but the breaking ball also took significant strides forward. He now sits low- to mid-90s and can touch higher with his heater, misses bats with that changeup, and scouts now see solid-average projection on both his command and breaker, giving him the potential for a starter profile at the highest level. 

Ian Seymour, lhp
Seymour had a very good sophomore season in 2019 and followed it up with an excellent showing on Cape Cod last summer, but scouts still saw just a solid mix of average-ish pitches from the lefthander. He's always thrown strikes, so that wasn't a real worry, but still managed to increase his command as well as his stuff in 2020. He's usually low-90s with the fastball, average velocity that plays up due to excellent fastball traits/analytics, and while he's still working with solid average breakers, the changeup is now at least plus, with some 70s being thrown on it. He's risen up in a big way as a result. 

Seth Lonsway, lhp
A late-riser in his own way out of high school, Lonsway jumped onto boards in the spring of 2017 with jumps in velocity as well as a very good curveball. Now a college redshirt sophomore, Lonsway rose up boards this spring following a solid 2019, though command issues are still problematic. He touches the mid-90s with his fastball from the left side and still features an excellent curveball that earns plus grades, and he's now added an above-average slider as well. After walking 59 in 92 1/3 innings a year ago, Lonsway had 18 walks in 18 innings to start 2020, though it's hard to ignore the 126 strikeouts in 2019 or the 42 (literally 21 K/9) in 2020. 

Gavin Williams, rhp
Williams has always been known as a high-octane arm with plenty of velocity, and though he barely threw in 2020 prior to the shutdown (5 innings), he's still in the 2-3 round range on draft boards due to the fastball quality. He's up to 100 mph just in terms of raw velocity, but the spin data on the fastball is excellent, and the projection for him to have a true 80-grade fastball in terms of quality is potentially there. He's a reliever to be sure, but has closer upside, and in addition to that fastball he mixes in a breaking ball that is plus at times. 

Jordan Nwogu, of
One of the more physically-impressive prospects in the class, Nwogu came to Michigan as a physically talented but extremely raw player, but his elite-level makeup and work ethic have helped him rapidly develop. There's some unorthodox elements to his hitting approach, but tremendous hand-eye coordination as well as excellent physical strength allow him to barrel the ball at a high level, and he walks a lot as well. He's likely a left fielder long term, and has the chance to be an average defender there, though the profile draw here is assuredly the righthanded bat. 

Bryce Jarvis, rhp
Jarvis has had a solid bit of success both as a starter and reliever while at Duke, but his stuff and performance ticked up in a big way this spring, hence the huge rise up boards. At the time of the shutdown, he was sitting at 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA in 27 innings, having allowed just 11 hits and 2 walks while striking out 40. He's athletically-built with a quick arm, earning plus grades both for his athleticism and arm speed, running his fastball into the mid-90s at times and showing excellent feel for his breaking ball along with an idea of a changeup. He pounds the zone and may be as high as late first round right now on boards. 

Sam Weatherly, lhp
A two-way player in high school known as a special athlete, Weatherly transitioned to being a full time pitcher once he got to Clemson. He saw limited time as a freshman, pitched quite a bit out of the bullpen in 2019 with a lot of walks and a lot of strikeouts, and was explosive to start 2020 in a starter role, ending the abbreviated season with a 0.79 ERA in 22 2/3 innings with 14 walks and 43 strikeouts. "Effectively wild" command could make him a reliever long term, but he's into the mid-90s at times with a plus, hammer breaking ball. 

Top 10 High School Risers

Rk. Up Player School Hometown ST
1 NR Justin Lange Llano Dallas Baptist TX
2 NR Owen Caissie Notre Dame Catholic SS Burlington ON
3 149 Isaiah Greene Corona Eastvale CA
4 123 Steven Ondina International Baseball Academy Gurabo PR
5 120 David Calabrese St. Elizabeth Catholic Maple ON
6 96 Tanner Witt Episcopal Houston TX
7 64 Carson Tucker Mountain Pointe Phoenix AZ
8 60 Petey Halpin Mira Costa San Mateo CA
9 48 Kevin Parada Loyola Pasadena CA
10 35 Tyler Soderstrom Turlock Turlock CA

Justin Lange, rhp
Lange has long been on scouts radar since the summer and he was a notable pitching prospect last year when he was working in the low-90s on a consistent basis. As is the case with prep arms come the spring, Lange was near the top of the pack of prep arms that popped from a velocity standpoint. He's been into the upper-90s, pitching mostly in the 90-95 mph range with his fastball and as the fastball velocity has ticked up so have the secondary offerings. He's now firmly in the latter half of day one consideration after his improvement.

Owen Caissie, of
A Michigan signee, Caissie has had big tools to dream of since last year with a large and projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame to go along with a host of peripheral tools. He's a very good runner for his size with both a plus arm and plus raw power from the left side of the dish. There has been some hit tool concerns leading into the spring but Caissie was well on his way to answering those questions with an improved approach and the ability to show that pop in game. The tools are obviously loud but the adjustments he's made in front of big audiences make him a riser from this limited spring. 

Isaiah Greene, of
The athleticism, physical projection, and raw tools were always extremely enticing from Greene, whose summer was inconsistent, but the physical improvements has allowed him to make strides from an offensive standpoint and now he stands as a potential day one pick. He's added significant strength and size to his build without sacrificing any of the quick-twitch athleticism which gives him a very good strength and speed combination and couple that with the quick stroke from the left side in the ever-scouted Southern California and you have a recipe to rise. 

Steven Ondina, ss
Ondina is no stranger to Perfect Game and coming off a very strong summer he was able to maintain that consistency throughout the fall and into the early portion of this spring over in Puerto Rico. Ondina has tools galore with potential pluses on the speed, glove, and arm strength but his bat and the consistency of his play has allowed him to rise. He's got great feel in the box, doesn't try to do too much, and knows how to handle the barrel and despite his relatively smaller stature, he's shown scouts that his tools don't taper off. 

David Calabrese, of
Calabrese suited up alongside Caissie in the outfield, with Calabrese in center and Caissie in right, and his glove and defense combined with the increased exposure that a week in Florida will garner helped Calabrese rise. The hit tool is solid with good bat-to-ball skills and some pitch recognition while his speed and defense are the current carrying tools on the profile. His ability to impact the game both in centerfield covering a ton of ground and on the base paths make him a potential impact player and showing that in game during this spring helped Calabrese rise. 

Tanner Witt, rhp/3b
Scouts are mixed on Witt's ultimate home on the diamond as some envision a power-hitting third baseman while others see him as a power righthanded arm. The raw power of the swing at present coupled with the amount of strength he's going to grow into make him an enticing hitting prospect, though the hit tool causes some pause, but others see an impact arm whose just scratching the surface of his potential. In the early goings, Witt was hitting long bombs and missing a ton of bats as his early start out of the gate helped him gain some steam ahead of an abbreviated spring. 

Carson Tucker, ss
Tucker, similar to Greene, is a prospect that scouts were familiar with from the course of the summer circuit and made significant strides during the last few months to change their game entirely as a player. Tucker vastly improved both his size and athleticism, showing double-plus run times with some mammoth raw power at times. He's also solidified his ability to stick at shortstop with the arm strength from the left side and the marked improvements across the board put Tucker in play starting in the first round. 

Petey Halpin, of
Halpin's rise is a combination of the things that he does best along with potentially garnering more exposure in Southern California. Halpin has been a consistent hitter on the national stage with above average bat speed and a preternatural feel to hit. He's solidified himself as more of a plus runner than an average one which gives scouts more comfort projecting him to stay in centerfield. His start to the season was also fast as he transferred into Mira Costa and had a lot of eyes on him early in this draft cycle. 

Kevin Parada, c
Another Southern California bat, Parada made his rounds across the summer circuit as one of the better power-hitting catchers to go along with his cannon for a right arm. He impressed in early looks showing improvement both in his skills behind the plate along with the hit tool as he was off to a start where he was slugging .866 through ten games. Parada's exposure during the summer coupled with his quick start and clear refinement of his skills are the recipe for an early season rise. 

Tyler Soderstrom, c
Soderstrom played in the PG All-American Classic and was already regarded as a fairly well-thought of prep catching prospect. The reason for his rise is that he went from being a "fairly solid prospect" to "potential top fifteen pick" due to his developments. Soderstrom has excellent power projection with a very aesthetically-pleasing stroke from the left side. The position is still a bit up in the air as he could likely fit anywhere long term, but the bat is going to play and that's what had teams excited coming out of this spring.  

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