Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Some of the top pitching prospects in the 2020 MLB draft class had to wait an extra day to hear their names called.
Jared Kelley and J.T. Ginn were viewed as potential first-round picks by some experts, but they dropped into the second round and ended up among the top steals from the event. In those situations, the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets were able to land high-quality players in the first two rounds of the five-round event.
Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers did not pick a player below his prospect ranking in the second round, they still came away from Thursday with an arm that could soon rise up their system.
MLB Draft Grades
Chicago Cubs: B+
Chicago White Sox: A
Kansas City: B
Los Angeles Angels: B
Los Angeles Dodgers: B+
New York Mets: A-
New York Yankees: B
San Diego: B+
San Francisco: B
St. Louis: B
Tampa Bay: B+
Jared Kelley (No. 47 overall to Chicago White Sox)
Kelley was regarded as one of the best high school arms by many experts, but he was the seventh prep hurler to be chosen.
Baseball america listed the right-handed pitcher as its No. 12 prospect with the top fastball and No. 2 changeup of all prep hurlers:
Baseball america @BaseballAmerica
New White Sox pick Jared Kelley ranked No. 12 on our big board.
MLB scouting departments were clearly impressed.
He had the…
No. 1 fastball.
No. 2 changeup
No. 3 control
Among all prep pitchers:
JJ Cooper of Baseball america pointed out the Chicago White Sox could get great value from their first two picks if they sign Kelley and first-round pick Garrett Crochet:
JJ Cooper @jjcoop36
If the White Sox can sign Jared Kelley HERE, this is a great haul of Crochet/Kelley. Two legit top half of the 1st round talents. Will take a lot of creativity to figure out how to afford the asking price.
Chicago may have to use more than the $1.58 million allotted to the No. 47 selection to sign Kelley, but it would be well worth the investment. And while Crochet would be more help in the short term, Kelley could develop into one of the team’s top prospects.
J.T. Ginn (No. 52 overall to New York Mets)
The New York Mets chose Ginn on upside more than recent performance.
The right-handed pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in March, but given the lack of baseball at the moment, his development may start around the same point next spring as that of some draft peers.
NBC Sports’ Christopher Crawford noted that if Ginn is healthy, he could have the most upside of any Day 2 selection:
Ginn, who was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, went 8-4 with 10.9 strikeouts-per-nine innings in 2019 for Mississippi State. Even with the injury concerns, Ginn was considered the No. 28 prospect by McDaniel and Law, who noted Ginn “entered this year as a probable top-10 pick.”
If Ginn recovers from the injury, he and Pete Crow-Armstrong could develop into one of the best one-two combinations from the draft.
Landon Knack (No. 60 overall to Los Angeles Dodgers)
In four games in 2020, Landon Knack struck out 51 batters and walked one while giving up three earned runs. Those numbers alone make him an intriguing selection for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the second round.
The 22-year-old was further down prospect lists before the draft because of his age as a college senior. Most premier draft picks are either college juniors, draft-eligible sophomores or high school players, which is why seniors like Knack were valued lower than others.
If his strikeout-to-walk rate from East Tennessee State translates even a bit to the professional level, he may end up as one of the better pitching picks.
That is why he could be viewed as a steal at No. 60 despite being MLB.com’s No. 112 prospect.