MLB Draft 2020: Full 1st-Round Predictions, Scouting Reports for Top ProspectsMay 3, 2020
Despite the limited time teams had to scout before the high school and college seasons were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball still intends to go ahead with the 2020 draft this summer.
Per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the draft will be conducted virtually June 10. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the league is still deciding whether there will be five or 10 rounds. In a normal year, the MLB draft consists of 40 rounds and takes place over three days.
Since most players haven't played in an organized game since early March, teams could be inclined to play things safe by taking college kids early instead of betting entirely on upside with high schoolers.
With that in mind, here is a look at what the first round could look like and scouting reports on the best players in this year's class.
2020 MLB Mock Draft
1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
2. Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, 3B, Vanderbilt
3. Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
4. Kansas City Royals: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
6. Seattle Mariners: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
8. San Diego Padres: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
9. Colorado Rockies: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
10. Los Angeles Angels: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
11. Chicago White Sox: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
12. Cincinnati Reds: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
13. San Francisco Giants: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS, Port Orange, FL
14. Texas Rangers: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Tex.)
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.)
16. Chicago Cubs: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
17. Boston Red Sox: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
19. New York Mets: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
20. Milwaukee Brewers: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
21. St. Louis Cardinals: CJ Van Eyk, RHP, Florida State
22. Washington Nationals: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano HS (TX)
23. Cleveland Indians: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (PA)
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
25. Atlanta Braves: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
26. Oakland Athletics: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
27. Minnesota Twins: Austin Wells, C, Arizona
28. New York Yankees: Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary HS (FL)
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.)
Best Position Player: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
In a draft heavy on college pitchers, the best bet to go No. 1 overall is a college hitter from Arizona State.
First baseman Spencer Torkelson led the Pac-12 in homers in each of his first two seasons and had six in 17 games this season before the NCAA halted play. The California native owns a .337/.463/.729 slash line with more walks (110) than strikeouts (104) in his college career.
As a first baseman, the bar for success rests entirely on Torkelson's ability to hit. Luckily, he projects to do that at a high level in professional baseball.
"He controls at-bats extremely well and draws a ton of walks," per MLB.com's scouting report. "He's able to drive the ball from foul pole to foul pole and he uses the middle of the field when he's at his best. He's able to hit the ball out to all fields, with tremendous loft power to his pull side. He doesn't sell out for that power, but gets to it with ease."
The Detroit Tigers, who own the top pick for the second time in three years, have done an excellent job of rebuilding their farm system. MLB.com ranked their stable of prospects as the fifth-best coming into this season with four top-100 prospects.
Torkelson will give the Tigers a fifth player on that top-100 list and an advanced college hitter who should move through the system quickly to help them get back into the mix for the American League Central title in the next couple of years.
Best Pitcher: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
It's not hard to see why Asa Lacy could be the first pitcher taken. He's a 6'4" left-hander who can throw in the upper-90s with his fastball and has a quality changeup to keep hitters off balance.
Per The Athletic's Keith Law, Lacy needs to refine his command to get professional hitters out, but "would probably do so just by pitching more at 92-94 and letting his stuff do the work."
Lacy's development from high school to college has been tremendous. PerfectGame.org noted his fastball was sitting at 91 mph during a Perfect Game event in 2017. He was also rated as the No. 12 left-handed pitcher in that high school class.
In an abbreviated 2020 season with the Aggies, Lacy looked every bit the dominant starter he projects to be with 46 strikeouts in 24 innings. As long as he can continue to develop his slider and become a better pitcher who locates instead of trying to blow everyone away, he has legitimate ace potential.
Injury Wild Card: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State
The college pitching crop in this draft class would have looked even better if not for an injury to Mississippi State right-hander J.T. Ginn. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March after throwing just three innings this season.
Ginn was previously drafted in the first round (No. 30 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. He's a known commodity to MLB teams dating back to his time in high school, though the injury makes his draft status uncertain.
MLB.com still ranks Ginn as the 44th-best prospect in this draft, putting him in the second-round mix. His scouting report paints the picture of a pitcher who has elite-level talent and the polish to reach his full ceiling:
"When healthy, Ginn usually deals at 91-95 mph and tops out at 97 with some of the best fastball life in the 2020 Draft, as his heater will run and sink and bore at various times. His wipeout slider can be just as difficult to hit, combining mid-80s velocity with two-plane depth. He also gets good downward action on his changeup, which shows flashes of becoming a plus offering.
"Despite the movement on his pitches, Ginn controls and commands them well, giving up just 19 walks and one homer in 86 1/3 innings as a freshman."
The operative words in that scouting report are "when healthy." If a team has confidence in its medical staff and the success rate of Tommy John surgeries, Ginn could end up being the steal of the draft.