Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson is one of two hitters in competition to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft.
Torkelson and Vanderbilt's Austin Martin are viewed as the best options for the Detroit Tigers, who have the top pick for the second time in three years. If the Tigers go with either hitter, it will mark the fifth time in six years in which a position player was chosen with the first pick.
The Sun Devil is looking to end a 20-year drought for first basemen at the top of the draft, while Martin would be the third left-sided infielder since 2015 to be first off the board.
2020 MLB 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
2. Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt
3. Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
4. Kansas City Royals: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Florida)
8. San Diego Padres: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
9. Colorado Rockies: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
11. Chicago White Sox: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)
12. Cincinnati Reds: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)
13. San Francisco Giants: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Texas)
14. Texas Rangers: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
16. Chicago Cubs: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
17. Boston Red Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.)
19. New York Mets: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State
20. Milwaukee Brewers: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)
21. St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)
22. Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
23. Cleveland Indians: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
25. Atlanta Braves: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
26. Oakland Athletics: Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary HS (Fla.)
27. Minnesota Twins: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
28. New York Yankees: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Torkelson could be the third first baseman to go No. 1 overall and the first since Adrian Gonzalez was selected by the Florida Marlins in 2000.
His pure power could draw the Tigers to him, as he produced 53 home runs in his three seasons at Arizona State. The junior had back-to-back 20-homer seasons and hit six long balls in 17 games before the college baseball season was cancelled.
Torkelson's splits were consistent across his entire collegiate career. His slugging percentage never dipped below .700, he had an OPS of over 1.150 and an on-base percentage over .440 in every season.
Perfect Game's national prospect director, Brian Sakowski, outlined Torkelson's skill at the plate to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press: "He can handle the bat. He can hit, man. He's like an average hit tool, but he's up there as far as the best hit tools go in college baseball. It's not that he's just a 'boom or bust' bat."
Torkelson's power may propel him to the majors sooner rather than later, and he would fill a need for the Tigers. Detroit does not have a first baseman listed in its top-30 prospects on MLB.com, while a pair of left-sided infielders in Triple-A reside in the top six.
With C.J. Cron on a one-year deal and Miguel Cabrera likely spending more time at designated hitter, the Tigers could have a position ready for Torkelson in the near future.
Austin Martin, SS, Vanderbilt
Martin does not come with comparable power to Torkelson, but he carries a reliable bat in a different capacity.
He recorded 105 hits, a .392 batting average and 1.090 OPS last season and started strong with 20 hits in 53 at-bats in 2020. Martin's positional versatility might also intrigue the Tigers since he could make the shift to outfield at the professional level.
If the Tigers opt for Torkelson, the Baltimore Orioles would likely choose Martin to pair with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman in their farm system.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo noted in a recent mock draft that the American League East side should choose whomever the Tigers do not select of the two top prospects: "Most feel the Orioles are in a good spot this year, being able to take whichever college bat the Tigers don't take."
Eleven of the Orioles' top-20 prospects are pitchers, so they should feel comfortable landing either Martin or Torkelson. If the former is the selection, he may have a better shot right away as an infielder because Baltimore has just a single middle infielder among its top-10 prospects.