Now that Major League Baseball has finalized plans for the 2020 draft, teams will spend the next three weeks poring over scouting information with the hope of finding their next great prospect.
There will only be five rounds with nearly $30 million cut from the combined bonus pool for all 30 teams to $235,906,800. Any player not selected will only be allowed to sign for a maximum signing bonus of $20,000.
For perspective, the final pick of the 10th round in last year's draft had a slot bonus of $142,200.
The degree of difficulty in evaluating talent for this year's draft is much higher than normal. College teams haven't played games since the NCAA canceled the season on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It was around that same time that high schools began conducting classes virtually and shut down spring sports.
By the time the MLB draft begins on June 10, it will have been almost three months to the day since any of the players selected have played in a game. Teams will be relying on their small sample size from before the pandemic hit, as well as their performance in previous years.
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: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS, Port Orange, FL
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: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
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.)
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Spencer Torkelson is the safest bet to go No. 1 overall because of his resume at Arizona State and potential to rake as a hitter in the big leagues.
In 129 games for the Sun Devils, Torkelson put up a .337/.463/.729 slash line with 54 home runs, 130 RBI and more walks (110) than strikeouts (104).
The scouting report from MLB.com matches up well with that stat line:
"Torkelson draws invariable comparisons to Andrew Vaughn, the Cal standout who was the No. 3 pick in the 2019 Draft. He controls at-bats extremely well and draws a ton of walks. 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."
If there is a drawback to Torkelson, it's being a college first baseman. The bar for success at the position is so offensive-dependent that if he doesn't put up huge numbers with the bat, it's hard to envision him becoming a star-level player.
The Detroit Tigers are still immersed in a full-scale rebuild of their organization and need to hit on these top picks if they want to become relevant in the American League Central within the next two to three years.
Torkelson has the type of bat to become a core player on a playoff team, but there's more inherent risk with him than a typical No. 1 overall pick because first base isn't usually a sought-after position at that spot.
Austin Martin, 3B, Vanderbilt
If there's any player who could challenge Torkelson for the top spot in this draft, Vanderbilt star Austin Martin has the best case.
Martin's three-year slash line for the Commodores was a robust .368/.474/.532 with 14 homers, 76 RBI and 43 stolen bases in 140 games.
MLB.com named Martin the "best pure hitter" in this year's draft because he has "tremendous feel for the barrel and makes consistent hard contact with a short, quick right-handed stroke."
Martin doesn't have nearly as much power as Torkelson, which gives him a lower offensive ceiling. But the Jacksonville native is able to close the gap because of his ability to play a more valuable defensive position.
Vanderbilt has used Martin at shortstop, third base and center field. Carlos Collazo of Baseball America noted Martin "doesn’t have elite speed or the best first step, he has the instincts and athleticism to handle" center field.
If Martin can stay at an up-the-middle position, given the quality of his hit tool, he's the most-likely future All-Star in this class.
Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
In a loaded college pitching class, Asa Lacy stands out thanks to his combination of raw stuff and dominance against SEC competition.
Lacy allowed just two home runs and had a 1.54 ERA in 12 starts over the past two seasons. The southpaw uses four pitches, with the slider being the best of the bunch and a potentially elite weapon against MLB hitters.
Hector Rodriguez of FishStripes.com compared Lacy's skill set to Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell. It's easy to see the parallels, as Lacy is a 6'4" left-hander with a mid-90s fastball, wipeout breaking ball and quality changeup.
The sample size by which teams are evaluating Lacy includes just 70.1 innings in college. They have been dominant innings, and the overall package is exactly what teams would want from a potential No. 2 starter.
As long as Lacy can refine his command in the strike zone and develop his changeup to get right-handed hitters out, he will turn into a top 15 starter in the big leagues.