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Draft  | Rankings  | 3/23/2020

MLB Draft List Update

Brian Sakowski     
Photo: Ed Howard (Perfect Game)

Top 400 Prospects, 2020 MLB Draft

For the sake of transparency, we don’t know when the draft will be. We don’t know if MLB is going to hold it in June or not. We don’t know if they’ll delay it or cancel it outright. We don’t know if the possibility will even exist for teams to further scout the players you’ll see listed on Perfect Game’s updated draft list as linked above. We don’t know if the draft size will be cut. We don’t know much, because no one does right now in the midst of a global pandemic.

Since we don’t recklessly or uselessly speculate, let’s talk about things that we DO know: players, tools, scouting and rankings.

This draft is a very strong one, maybe not historically good, but very strong, most especially in the college pitching crop. The bats at the top are obviously elite, but this class will likely end up being known for how many impact major league arms come out of it, and also how quickly they get to the show. It’s obviously a unique year and given that baseball, like the world, basically just stopped about four weeks into the college season, it’s tough to pick out trends and it’s tough to pick out risers.

Obviously players rose way up boards in the early going, guys like NC State’s Nick Swiney, Clemson’s Sam Weatherly, Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen and Texas prep two-way Masyn Winn. Many others turned really positive early season showings into rises up draft boards.

At the top, it’s more or less what we at PG – as well as a significant part of the industry – thought at the top, with Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin, Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson and Georgia’s Emerson Hancock making up an expected 60 percent of a projected top 5. Texas A&M’s Asa Lacey entered the season comfortably in the top 10, but pitched his way up into the top handful, and, as you can see on the PG Draft Board, is the No. 1 arm available.

Nick Gonzales continued to rake, the aforementioned Zac Veen seems to be the best prep in the class, and while Austin Hendrick didn’t even get to start playing yet, he’s still viewed quite highly by an industry who saw him rake all last summer.

Top 10 Prospects, 2020 MLB Draft

Rk. Name L Pos. B-T HT WT School Hometown ST
1 Austin Martin C OF/2B R-R 6-0 175 Vanderbilt Jacksonville FL
2 Spencer Torkelson C 1B R-R 6-1 220 Arizona State Petaluma CA
3 Asa Lacy C LHP L-L 6-4 215 Texas A&M Kerrville TX
4 Emerson Hancock C RHP R-R 6-4 215 Georgia Cairo GA
5 Nick Gonzales C 2B R-R 5-10 190 New Mexico State Vail AZ
6 Zac Veen H OF L-R 6-4 190 Spruce Creek Orange FL
7 Austin Hendrick H OF L-L 6-1 205 West Allegheny Oakdale PA
8 Cade Cavalli C RHP R-R 6-4 226 Oklahoma Bixby OK
9 Patrick Bailey C C B-R 6-2 192 North Carolina State Greensboro NC
10 Max Meyer C RHP L-R 6-0 165 Minnesota Woodbury MN

L=level; C=College, H=High School

The northern players are the ones who seemingly will be hurt the most by this pandemic, from the perspective of the draft. Most of the players north of the Mason-Dixon line, at least on the prep side, had barely started practice, let alone played games. Chicago-area shortstop Ed Howard is one of these players, as well as Hendrick, as players who entered the spring as pretty comfortable first rounders who had a chance to really establish their stock high on boards, but never got that opportunity. Teams will have to rely on their evaluations and data accrued on those two, among many others, over the course of last summer and fall.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the draft, as well as the uncertainty surrounding pretty much everything, including collegiate eligibility and scholarship limits or the removal thereof, this figures to be a very college-heavy draft, even aside from the subjective strengths and weaknesses of the players themselves. Teams will lean more towards what they have longer histories with, and that’s unequivocally college players for the most part.

We still have a lot to figure out as an industry, but with no end to the pandemic in site as of this writing, it’s tough to speculate on anything that will or won’t or should or shouldn’t happen, so we won’t. It’s a pretty useless exercise.

So for now, we present our updated Top 400 MLB Draft Board, a compilation of our own evaluations as the best “public sector” scouting staff in the world, as well as from conversations with scores of contacts throughout the industry. We’re treating this process, for now, like we would in any other year: 400 now, 500 in April and then the full Half-Draft board of 610 a few weeks before the draft itself, operating under the assumption right now that it’s still to be held in June.

We’ll have a ton of draft-related content rolling out over the next couple weeks, with our first mock draft due out Tuesday followed by a series of position-by-position and other category rankings with plenty of analysis along the way. We surely hope that a glimpse into the draft world right now will at least provide a momentary distraction from everything else going on.

Until next time, stay safe, stay home, practice social distancing and thanks for reading.