2020 MLB Mock Draft: B/R’s Final Round 1 Picks
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Sam Craft/Associated Press
The 2020 MLB draft is officially upon us.
Over the next two days, 160 amateur baseball players from the high school, junior college and college ranks of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will hear their names called over an abridged five-round draft.
The Detroit Tigers hold the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft after finishing last season with the worst record in baseball. Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson is widely regarded as the best player in this year’s class.
Behind him, Vanderbilt outfielder Austin Martin and Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy are joined by Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen and New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales as the consensus top prospects in a draft class that skews extremely college-heavy at the top.
Before the draft begins at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening, we present our final mock draft of the year.
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Spencer TorkelsonRick Scuteri/Associated Press
1. Detroit Tigers: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
The Tigers have been zeroed in on Torkelson since the onset of this year’s draft process, and rightfully so after he launched 48 home runs and showed an extremely advanced approach during his first two years at Arizona State.
Adding his power bat to a pitching-rich farm system would be a boon to the ongoing rebuild, and he could easily be the first player from this class to reach the majors. If they decide to go in a different direction, which is unlikely, Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy is the one to watch.
2. Baltimore Orioles: OF Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
The best pure hitter in the class, Martin did not get the opportunity to show he can handle shortstop this spring at Vanderbilt. He spent his sophomore season as the starting third baseman at Vanderbilt before moving to center field in the early parts of 2020.
His ultimate defensive home remains a question mark, but there’s little doubt he has the offensive tools to make an impact wherever he settles in. He might max out at 20-25 home runs, but he’ll immediately have one of the best hit tools in the minors. If he proves capable at shortstop, all the better.
3. Miami Marlins: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M
There’s a clear trio of prospects sitting atop this draft class, and the Marlins will happily scoop up whoever is left on the board at No. 3 overall.
With a strong 6’4″, 215-pound frame and a polished four-pitch arsenal that includes a fastball that touches 97, a plus slider and a solid changeup, Lacy is the best college pitcher in this class and one of the better college lefties to come along in some time. He slots nicely alongside Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera as future impact starters in Miami.
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Max MeyerAndy Clayton-King/Associated Press
4. Kansas City Royals: OF Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (FL)
There’s an outside chance that Veen might go No. 2 overall, which would put the Royals in a great position to snag one of the draft’s elite prospects. Otherwise, it looks like they’ll be choosing between the draft’s top prep hitter and New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales here at No. 4 overall.
With a strong 6’5″, 200-pound frame that offers further projection, Veen has a profile reminiscent of Houston Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker when he went No. 5 overall in the 2015 draft. His upside might be too tantalizing to pass up for the rebuilding Royals.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota
With a 1.95 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 27.2 innings this spring, Meyer solidified his standing as one of the top arms in the draft. He tallied 16 saves in 26 appearances as a freshman before moving into a starting role during his sophomore season.
With a fastball that touches 100 mph and a hard-biting slider that sits in the low 90s, he has prototypical late-inning stuff, and he could move extremely fast in a relief role. He’s undersized at 6’0″, but he’s also a terrific athlete with smooth mechanics and a low-effort delivery that give him a chance to stick as a starter. This is a high-floor, high-ceiling pick.
6. Seattle Mariners: 2B/SS Nick Gonzales, New Mexico State
Gonzales offers a profile similar to Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, albeit with a little less power and a better overall defensive profile. While scouts remain split on whether Gonzales can stick at shortstop long-term, per Baseball america, he should have no problem settling in as an offensive-minded second baseman if the need arises.
Playing in a hitter’s paradise at New Mexico State, he posted eye-popping numbers throughout his career, including a .448/.610/1.155 line with 12 home runs and 36 RBI in 16 games this spring. However, he also backed up his strong regular-season numbers by winning Cape Cod League MVP honors last summer, and he stands as one of the safest picks in the class.
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Reid DetmersDarron Cummings/Associated Press
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia
Hancock has slipped a bit since looking like a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the middle of a dominant sophomore season, but he’s still part of the top tier of prospects in this draft.
The 6’4″, 213-pound right-hander allowed 22 hits and 10 earned runs in 24 innings this spring, but he also posted a 34-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio while showing the advanced stuff and plus command that made him a top prospect. He’s one of the safest bets in this class to be a future MLB starter, and he has frontline upside if everything clicks.
8. San Diego Padres: OF Robert Hassell, Independence High School (TN)
The Padres seemingly hit on CJ Abrams at the top of their 2019 draft haul, and they could again turn to the high school ranks to grab the best pure hitter among this year’s prep prospects in Robert Hassell.
He’s more hit tool than power at this point, and there’s a good chance that will always be the case. However, it’s an awfully good hit tool with a smooth left-handed swing, excellent bat-to-ball skills and an all-fields approach when he’s not selling out for power. Also a legitimate prospect on the mound who has touched 93 mph with his fastball, he has the athleticism to handle center field or the arm strength to slide over to right field.
9. Colorado Rockies: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville
With a mid-90s fastball and a plus-plus curveball that has excellent shape and depth, Detmers piled up 284 strikeouts in 191 innings during his time at Louisville.
His strong 6’2″, 210-pound frame and quality changeup as a viable third offering give him a great chance to carve out a spot in the middle of an MLB rotation. He doesn’t offer the same upside as Lacy, Meyer or Hancock among the top college arms, but he has an extremely high floor, and a safe pick on the pitching side of things makes a lot of sense for the Rockies.
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Patrick BaileyBen McKeown/Associated Press
10. Los Angeles Angels: C Patrick Bailey, NC State
A defensive standout behind the plate with questions about his bat coming out of high school, Bailey hit .302/.411/.568 with nearly as many walks (86) as strikeouts (93) during his time at NC State to emerge as the top catching prospect in the 2020 class.
His receiving skills and power potential are enough to give him an everyday profile, and he should move quickly relative to most catching prospects. For an Angels team that has lacked stability behind the plate since Bengie Molina left town in 2005, he looks like a perfect fit.
11. Chicago White Sox: OF Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
The White Sox have not taken a high school player with their first pick since Courtney Hawkins in 2012, and he turned out to be a bust. There’s no reason to think they’ll buck that trend, and Kjerstad is the clear choice here among the remaining college crop.
The 6’3″, 205-pound outfielder has power that rivals projected No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson’s, and while there will always be some swing-and-miss to his game, he should have enough hit tool to consistently tap into it. He also boasts a strong throwing arm, giving him a prototypical right field profile.
12. Cincinnati Reds: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (OR)
With an intriguing mix of size, stuff and present pitchability, Abel has emerged as the top prep arm in an admittedly thin class. His 6’5″, 190-pound frame offers ample projection, and he already shows the makings of three plus pitches and above-average overall command.
His fastball already touches 95 mph, and his slider might be the best breaking pitch among this year’s prep hurlers. His floor is actually quite high for someone who still offers so much physical projection. The Reds would add him to Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene as future rotation staples.
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Garrett MitchellKyusong Gong/Associated Press
13. San Francisco Giants: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School (PA)
Originally viewed as the top prep arm in the 2021 class, Bitsko graduated early to enroll at Virginia, making him draft-eligible in 2020.
As a result, he was not scouted as heavily last summer, making him a bit of an enigma. That said, he checks all the boxes for a high-ceiling, projectable right-hander with a mid-90s fastball and a high-spin curveball that already flashes plus. There’s a good amount of risk-reward here, and that’s a good approach for a rebuilding Giants team.
14. Texas Rangers: OF Garrett Mitchell, UCLA
A sure-thing pro center fielder, Mitchell has the best collection of tools among college hitters with plus speed, an advanced hit tool and a high floor.
The UCLA standout hit .349/.418/.566 with 14 doubles, 12 triples and six home runs as a sophomore, swiping 18 bases in 22 attempts. Despite an athletic 6’3″, 215-pound frame, he hasn’t shown much in-game power. There’s reason to believe that will eventually come, but even if it doesn’t, he offers enough value with his across-the-board skills to be an asset.
15. Philadelphia Phillies: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (CA)
It remains to be seen whether Soderstrom will stick behind the plate, but he has one of the best hit tools among the prep class and enough athleticism to handle a move to third base or the outfield if that is deemed necessary.
That said, his value is obviously higher if he can remain in the crouch, and anyone taking him inside the top 20 will give him every chance to prove he can catch. He has a strong throwing arm and good raw receiving skills, and it may simply be a matter of getting more reps. Regardless, his bat will play elsewhere, and he has significant offensive upside.
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Cade CavalliDan Anderson/Associated Press
16. Chicago Cubs: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma
With a 6’4″, 226-pound frame and smooth, easy mechanics that produce a fastball that touches 98 mph and a plus curveball, Cavalli has the highest ceiling among the second tier of college arms.
He spent most of his freshman season at Oklahoma playing first base before flashing electric stuff and huge upside in 60.1 innings as a sophomore. A limited track record comes with some obvious risk, and he also missed time last spring with a stress reaction in his arm, but the upside he showed in posting a 37-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23.2 innings this spring has made him one of the most intriguing arms in the class.
17. Boston Red Sox: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (CA)
Crow-Armstrong is the best defensive outfielder in the 2020 class, and while he doesn’t offer a ton of power potential, he has shown a strong enough hit tool to be a two-way standout.
He has suffered a bit from prospect fatigue as someone who has been on the scouting radar since he played for Team USA as an underclassman, and his stock slid a bit with an inconsistent summer. The Red Sox don’t pick again until No. 89 overall, so rolling the dice on someone who was once viewed as the top high school position player in the class makes sense.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel High School (IL)
After wearing out mediocre high school pitching in Illinois, Howard established himself as the top prep shortstop in the 2020 draft with a stellar showing on the showcase circuit last summer.
He’s a lock to stick at shortstop with the best collection of defensive tools at the position in this class, and his 6’2″, 185-pound frame offers further physical projection to enhance his offensive tools that currently grade out as average across the board. The D-backs went high-upside with their early picks last year, and this would fit that strategy once again.
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Dillon DinglerNati Harnik/Associated Press
19. New York Mets: OF Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (PA)
According to Baseball america, Hendrick possesses “the quickest pure bat speed in the class and complements it with light tower raw power, giving him arguably the best power/hit combo of any high school hitter.”
He has also been inconsistent at times and there are some legitimate swing-and-miss concerns, but he has the highest ceiling of any prep hitter. The Mets took a similar prospect in third baseman Brett Baty at No. 12 overall last June, and they could look to add another high-ceiling bat to a thin farm system.
20. Milwaukee Brewers: C Dillon Dingler, Ohio State
A center fielder during his freshman season at Ohio State, Dingler brings rare athleticism to the catcher position with all the tools to be a standout defender. Few players did more to boost their draft stock during the shortened 2020 season.
After tallying just seven home runs and 27 total extra-base hits in 405 plate appearances his first two seasons on campus, he hit .340/.404/.760 with four doubles and five home runs in 13 games this spring. That has moved him squarely into the first-round conversation, and for a Brewers team that has long been searching for an answer at the catcher position, he’s a solid choice.
21. St. Louis Cardinals: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee
Crochet is a 6’6″ left-hander with a fastball that touches 100 mph and a plus slider. He’s also one of the biggest unknowns in the draft. He has a limited track record of starting, and he dealt with shoulder soreness during the spring.
He struck out six of the 12 batters he faced in 3.1 scoreless innings in his lone appearance this spring, reaching 99 mph with his fastball, yet he finished his college career with a 4.64 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 132 innings spanning 13 starts and 23 relief appearances. He could go as high as the early teens if someone falls in love with his potential, but we’ll slot him here at No. 21 to a Cardinals team that has a solid track record of developing pitching.
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Bryce JarvisBen McKeown/Associated Press
22. Washington Nationals: RHP Cole Wilcox, Georgia
Wilcox ranked as the No. 37 prospect in the 2018 draft class, according to Baseball america, but a strong commitment to Georgia caused him to slip to the 37th round. He pitched just 82.2 innings for the Bulldogs, spending the bulk of his freshman season out of the bullpen.
He has some of the best pure stuff in the class with a fastball that touches 100 mph and a solid changeup-slider mix, but he also needs to refine his mechanics and improve his overall command. There’s obvious risk here, but after he racked up 32 strikeouts against just two walks in 23 innings this spring, his ceiling has pushed him into the first-round conversation. The Nationals are always willing to take a chance on high-upside arms.
23. Cleveland Indians: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (TX)
The most MLB-ready high school pitcher in the draft, Kelley has a developed 6’3″, 215-pound frame that offers little in the way of further physical projection. Luckily, that’s not an issue considering the quality of his present stuff.
His fastball touches 99 mph, and he pairs it with a a terrific changeup. He also has extremely smooth mechanics and limited effort in his delivery, which further improves his chances of moving quickly through the minors. The spotty track record of hard-throwing prep right-handers and the need to further develop his slider as a viable breaking ball are the only things keeping him from going significantly higher.
24. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke
No college pitcher did more to improve his stock over the past calendar year than Jarvis, who added 20 pounds of muscle and several miles per hour to his fastball between his sophomore and junior seasons. After topping out at 93 mph to begin the 2019 campaign and dipping into the upper 80s by season’s end, the now-6’2″, 195-pound right-hander was sitting 96 mph this spring.
He posted a 0.67 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just two walks in 27 innings, soaring up draft boards in the process. He has always pounded the strike zone with an advanced four-pitch mix, and the uptick in velocity has vaulted him into the second tier of college arms. In the hands of the Rays’ player development team, he could wind up being one of the top arms from the 2020 class.
25. Atlanta Braves: RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech
With two elbow surgeries already under his belt, Beeter is one of the riskiest pitchers of the 2020 class, but he also has one of the highest ceilings. After undergoing Tommy John surgery prior to his freshman season and then arthroscopic surgery less than a year later, he finally made his collegiate debut in a bullpen role last year.
Finally healthy, he moved into the rotation this spring and showed 98 mph with his fastball along with a wicked curveball-slider combination and a quality changeup. He allowed just 13 hits and four walks in 21 innings while piling up 33 strikeouts, and he has had some late helium to sneak into the first-round conversation. He’s the definition of boom-or-bust.
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Aaron SabatoBen McKeown/Associated Press
26. Oakland Athletics: RHP Slade Cecconi, Miami
A number of college pitchers could be in play here for the Athletics, including the University of Miami duo of Chris McMahon and Slade Cecconi.
Cecconi has the higher ceiling of the two thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a wipeout slider, but he’ll need to develop his changeup into a passable third pitch in order to stick as a starter. Otherwise, he has a high floor as a late-inning arm thanks to his fastball-slider combination, but a team drafting him in the first round will be doing it based on his upside as a starter.
27. Minnesota Twins: 1B Aaron Sabato, North Carolina
Sabato has had some late helium and might be long gone by this point. If he is still on the board, the Twins have shown an affinity for productive college hitters in recent years, including top prospects Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker.
The 6’2″, 230-pound Sabato is a first-base-only prospect who will go as far as his bat carries him. After hitting .332/.459/.698 with 31 doubles, 25 home runs and 81 RBI in 83 games at North Carolina, it’s easy to envision him developing into a perennial 30-homer threat and slotting into the middle of an MLB lineup.
28. New York Yankees: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor
Loftin has the highest floor among this year’s collegiate middle infielders with average skills across the board, though he lacks a true standout tool.
He showed a bit more pop this spring with eight extra-base hits in his first 14 games, leading some to believe he may be capable of another level of offensive production. He may ultimately fit better in a utility role than as an everyday shortstop, but he has the defensive chops to man either middle infield spot. It’s not the sexiest pick, but college shortstops are always a hot commodity, and he’s part of the top tier in this class.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: 2B Justin Foscue, Mississippi State
The starting second baseman for the collegiate national team last summer, Foscue hit .331/.395/.564 with 22 doubles, 14 home runs and 60 RBI during his sophomore season.
He continued to rake this spring with a .321/.464/.509 line and 15 walks against three strikeouts in 69 plate appearances, and he’ll need to continue to hit with questions about his defensive ability. A move to left field would put a lot more pressure on his bat, and he may never hit for a ton of power, but his hit tool is among the best in this class, and that gives him a high floor.