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Draft | Mock Draft | 3/24/2020

2020 MLB Mock Draft Version 1

Brian Sakowski         Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State Athletics)

2020 MLB Draft: Top 400 Prospects | MLB Draft List Update

Welcome to our first attempt at predicting the first 37 picks (all picks before the beginning of the second round) for the 2020 MLB Draft. It's too early to attempt to match players with teams specifically, so for the purposes of this exercise, Brian Sakowski and Vinnie Cervino rotated picks and acted as the GM for each team, with Brian taking the even-numbered picks and Vinnie taking the odds. There's personal evaluation/preference, historical trends, following the board and whispers of team preference all rolled into this mock. As we get closer to the actual draft, we'll roll out more mocks with more and more actual tying of teams to players involved. 


1. Detroit Tigers | Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Sometimes it’s easy to nitpick prospects at the top of the draft for what they cannot do as opposed to what they can do and Torkelson is a good case study of taking the benefits of a player. Torkelson is a high impact hitter with 80 grade raw power and should move quickly through a Tigers system that gives them a franchise bat to pair with Riley Greene to support a deep pitching farm.


2. Baltimore Orioles | Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
With Torkelson off the board, the Orioles could turn their attention to having their pick of the litter in terms of arms. They go with Texas A&M starter Asa Lacy here, who entered the season in the top 10 but now sits as the top arm on the PG draft board, with power stuff from the left side, into the high-90s, with a vicious slider. 


3. Miami Marlins | Austin Martin, OF/2B, Vanderbilt
Martin is the top-ranked player on the PG draft board but carried a bit of uncertainty at the end of the spring with a seemingly long-term move to center field along with an injury tweak in Southern California. The bat plays anywhere with tremendous barrel control and the athleticism to potentially stick in center with additional reps.


4. Kansas City Royals | Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Fla.)
The Royals make it back-to-back years of grabbing the best prep bat available, with Bobby Witt Jr last year and now Zac Veen here. Veen’s offensive upside is limitless, with a smooth, easy lefthanded stroke that already produces huge power, projection for top-of-scale raw and a very good overall hitting toolset. 



5. Toronto Blue Jays | Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
If you told Blue Jays fans that the top of their lineup on Opening Day in 2024 would include Nick Gonzales at second base, Bo Bichette at shortstop and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at third base, they’d likely be ecstatic. Gonzales also has a claim to being the best hitter in the draft and has put up monster numbers at hitter-friendly New Mexico State, but his performance on the Cape should assuage some small school concerns.
 

6. Seattle Mariners | Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
The Mariners have taken college arms with their first picks recently, and while they’d likely love for Lacy to fall here, we’ll give them Georgia ace Emerson Hancock in this projection. Hancock has some fastball quality concerns but the velocity, slider, changeup and strikes are all plus with a starter’s operation. 


7. Pittsburgh Pirates | Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)
The Pirates are entering what appears to be a full rebuild and they could make the slam dunk choice of prep outfielder Austin Hendrick, who lives just minutes outside of Pittsburgh. Hendrick could be a game-changing bat, drawing comps with as high of praise as Bryce Harper, as Hendrick has some of the best bat speed and raw power out of anyone in the class.



8. San Diego Padres | Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
The Padres like athleticism and electricity, and Meyer fits both of those to a tee. He’s undersized, but is a freak athlete with elite arm speed, velocity into the triple digits and a slider that is better than plus, at times into the 90s with it. The upside of his right arm is substantial, to say the least. 



9. Colorado Rockies | Patrick Bailey, C, NC State
The Rockies haven’t selected a prep prospect since taking Riley Pint in 2016, and they could keep that trend going by taking the top catcher in the class in Patrick Bailey. He’s viewed as a safer selection, but really there’s an exciting package of above average juice from both sides of the plate with the long-term capabilities to stick behind the dish.

 

10. Los Angeles Angels | Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
The Angels may start the run on prep arms, but for now we’ll stick with a prep bat in Hassell, whose combination of athleticism, projection and advanced feel for hitting has him right there amongst the top prep bats, along with guys like Veen, Hendrick and Soderstrom right now. 



11. Chicago White Sox | Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
There are a number of high-end prep prospects who could be in play starting here with the White Sox, but we’ll slot them with Illinois native Reid Detmers in this spot. Detmers is arguably the top lefthanded pitcher in the class with a hammer curveball and plus strike-throwing ability. He’s drawn some comps to former top five pick – and Louisville Cardinal – Brendan McKay as Detmers projects to be a starter at the next level.



12. Cincinnati Reds | Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
The Reds grabbed a potential No. 2-3 starter last year in Nick Lodolo and we’ll give them another one here in Oklahoma righty Cade Cavalli. He’s got excellent size, with his fastball touching triple digits and living mid-90s to go along with a plus slider, above average changeup and a lot of strikes. 


13. San Francisco Giants | Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)
There might not have been a prep prospect who’s raised his stock more than Soderstrom. A PG All-American with a smooth lefthanded stroke, he’s added significant size and strength with a chance for a plus hit tool with plus power. The bat might be good enough to not even risk sending him out as a catcher, but he’s got the athleticism and arm to work with behind the dish.



14. Texas Rangers | Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
The Rangers are known to love athleticism and tools, so why not slot them with arguably the toolsiest, most athletic college bat? Mitchell is a physical specimen who can run, defend and throw all while coming on like gangbusters with the bat, and there’s a lot of untapped power in there as well. 



15. Philadelphia Phillies | Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
The first prep righthander goes off the board to the Phillies who have stayed with college bats for the last three years. They could buck this trend by selecting Abel who has the highest ceiling of any prep arm in the class as he’ll show you a bevy of starter traits highlighted by a plus, hammer slider. He also has tons of projection left as Abel has a lot of growing to do.



16. Chicago Cubs | Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
Wilcox is the 1B to Hancock’s 1A in the Georgia rotation, and prior to the shutdown was climbing up boards a bit as he’s found better command. The fastball quality is electric and his slider is now a plus offering as well to go along with the advanced feel for a changeup that he’s always had. 



17. Boston Red Sox | Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
The Red Sox stick with the best player available here and grab the massively strong Kjerstad out of Arkansas. The lefthanded slugger has double-plus raw pop along with the bat speed and impact generation to crush balls with wood. There are some positional questions long-term, but the Red Sox have shown the willingness to take prospects with big power and figure out how to get them into the lineup later.

 

18. Arizona Diamondbacks | Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)
One of the players who could be among the most effected by the shutdown, Chicago-area prep Ed Howard could be the first prep infielder off boards. With excellent athleticism and defensive tools to go along with very good feel for hitting, Howard’s overall upside is vast and the projection is very strong. 


19. New York Mets | Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Texas)
The Mets draft a year ago was mostly based around grabbing three high profile preps in Brett Baty, Josh Wolf, and Matt Allan and plugging in a lot of college seniors after that. This won’t be exactly the case in this scenario, but they’ll go after the big fish and there may be none bigger than Kelley. The righty looks like a big leaguer on the mound with two potential plus secondary offerings and a fastball that’s touched 100 mph.

 

20. Milwaukee Brewers | Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)
The Brewers took a somewhat similar SoCal prepster in Brice Turang a couple years ago, and PCA fits well in this spot in 2020. A highly-athletic lefthanded hitting center fielder, Crow-Armstrong has the tools to impact the middle of the diamond along with ever-developing offensive impact, and he was very good prior to the shutdown. 



21. St. Louis Cardinals | Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks-East HS (Pa.)
The third of the trio of righthanded prep arms, Bitsko has been seen the least by professional scouts as he reclassified over the winter into 2020 from the 2021 class. He’s a big, physical righthanded pitcher who can spin a hammer breaking ball while his athleticism and advanced pitch metrics all bode well for a prospect with less miles on his arm than other senior pitchers.


22. Washington Nationals | Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
A high-end college arm who had a minor injury prior to the shutdown and may fall a bit down boards as a result? Sounds like a recipe for a Washington first rounder, and Crochet may be a steal here. Healthy now, the Tennessee lefty is into the upper-90s with his fastball along with a dynamic breaker. 


23. Cleveland Indians | Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS (Ga.)
The Indians love their Georgia preps and Walker fits the bill for 2020 as he’s got one of the biggest ceilings in the class. He’s a big, long-limbed third baseman with excellent athleticism and body control to go with a huge offensive ceiling from a power perspective. There’s big potential for the Duke commit who could blossom into a significant power hitter when it’s all said and done.


24. Tampa Bay Rays | Blaze Jordan, 1B, DeSoto Central HS (Miss.)
Jordan presents an interesting case study in this year’s class, and the Rays, shrewd as ever, could see him as an impact bat long term, even if the peripheral tools and overall profile aren’t sexy. Jordan can smash and has prodigious raw power and could be a very interesting pick late in the first like right here, or as a second pick in the comp round to an early-selecting club. 


25. Atlanta Braves | Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
The biggest riser on the PG draft board is Texas Tech’s Friday night starter, Clayton Beeter, whose seamless transition from the bullpen to Big 12 ace has been remarkable. Beeter is routinely into the upper-90s and fills up the strike zone with starter command, but the selling point of the profile is his hammer curveball in the mid-80s that has all the makings of a plus-plus pitch and is one of the best in the class.
 

26. Oakland Athletics | Nick Swiney, LHP, NC State
Perhaps the single biggest riser this year, NC State’s Nick Swiney has been utterly untouchable, and the performance combined with an uptick in stuff puts him way up boards. He’s mostly 88-93 mph with his fastball along with a dynamic plus changeup as well as a solid average breaking ball and commands all three with ease. 


27. Minnesota Twins | Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
Sabato had a big early season face off in Minneapolis during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and the Twins decided to take the best bat they saw that weekend in Sabato. He’s a big, physical hitter with an efficient, functional stroke that results in some off-the-chart offensive impact metrics. He launched seven home runs before the season was canceled and his bat will play, even if he is a first base-only prospect at present.


28. New York Yankees | Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
The Yankees did well taking a USC arm with some injury concerns in Clarke Schmidt, so we’ll go back to that well here with Mlodzinski. Into the upper-90s at times with his fastball to go along with a full arsenal complete with a slider, cutter and changeup as well as solid command of the stuff. 


29. Los Angeles Dodgers | Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Miller has done about as well for himself as any other college arm this spring and the Dodgers could grab him here with the last pick of the first round. Miller is a super athletic pitcher with a true four-pitch mix highlighted by his power slider and a fastball that’s been up to 100. This would be the first college arm for the Dodgers since Jordan Sheffield in 2016, but they did go college-heavy last year as well. 


30. Baltimore Orioles | Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.)
With the Orioles grabbing Lacy with the second overall pick, we liked the idea of pairing him with a high-upside prep bat. Tucker has flown up boards in the early going, looking seriously more physical and his tools have exploded. Now a plus runner with projection to stay at short as well as serious power, he’s got tremendous upside. 


31. Pittsburgh Pirates | Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
The Pirates couple Austin Hendrick with an ace college arm in Tanner Burns out of Auburn. This class is especially deep with college pitchers and there’s a possibility that some of the top ones could slip to the first round-comp range. Burns is a bulldog on the mound with a fastball that’s been up to 96-97 mph and he misses a ton of bats with it as it complements his secondary stuff nicely.


32. Kansas City Royals | Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida
The Royals drafted both Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar out of Florida a couple years back, so we’ll pair them with Florida ace Tommy Mace here to go with Veen earlier. Mace is a high-level athlete with good stuff and remaining projection, highlighted by a fastball that can reach the mid-90s at times along with a sharp, bat-missing slider. 


33. Arizona Diamondbacks | Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
Miami has a pair of weekend starters who could be day one selections and right now we have McMahon going first. The righthander has been electric early on in starts, working in the upper-90s with a plus slider while having shown a plus change in the past. He typically settles in the mid-90s with the heater that gets plenty of sink and projects to remain a starter long-term.


34. San Diego Padres | Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State
There are a pair of Mississippi State bats who will be in play around here, with Westburg as well as teammate Justin Foscue. Foscue rakes, but Westburg has more tools, so we’ll go with him for this exercise. A plus runner with a plus arm and plus raw power, Westburg has a chance to stick at shortstop and be an impact MLB player. 


35. Colorado Rockies | Masyn Winn, RHP/SS, Kingwood HS (Texas)
The top true two-way prospect in the class, Winn would likely be a first rounder as either a shortstop or a righthanded pitcher. After going Patrick Bailey early, Colorado can spend on Winn’s ceiling as he’s been up to 98 mph with a hammer breaking ball on the mound while also being a sure-handed defender at short with the twitch and bat speed to project offensively.

 
36. Cleveland Indians | Daniel Cabrera, OF, LSU
A personal favorites in the class, Cabrera can really hit, and does so with a good approach and quality power as well. He’s a corner outfielder with an average arm who is likely best suited for left field, but the offensive projection is a very good one, with a chance for above average hit and power tools. 

 
37. Tampa Bay Rays | Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
After going with the thunderous bat of Blaze Jordan with their first pick, the Rays can slot in a college shortstop in Nick Loftin. He’s one of the better shortstops in the class with the chops and instincts to stick up the middle while being versatile enough to play anywhere. The Rays could be creative in using Loftin as the bat is not super loud but he has a relatively high floor in terms of projected impact.



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