MLB Draft 2020: Analyzing Latest Predictions for Austin Martin, Top Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

Vanderbilt's Austin Martin (16) during an NCAA baseball game against Michigan on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers will choose between two premier hitting prospects at the top of the 2020 Major League Baseball draft. 

Vanderbilt's Austin Martin is considered the top all-around hitter in the draft class, but he comes with the question of which position he will play at the professional level. 

Detroit could be more interested in Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State, who provides more power at the dish than Martin. 

While the Tigers' decision will be difficult, the Baltimore Orioles could feel the opposite way at No. 2, as the easy choice could be to take whoever does not land at No. 1.


MLB Draft Top Prospects

Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Martin is listed as the No. 2 overall prospect by MLB.com and is projected to land with the Orioles in a few mock drafts. 

MLB.com's Jim Callis described the Vanderbilt product as the "draft's top pure hitter." 

The Athletic's Keith Law shed some light on the major question surrounding Martin's future: "The main question is his ultimate position, especially since he didn't throw well this spring before the college season ended, but he has the hit, power, and speed tools, and a history of elite performance in the best conference."

Martin started 12 of his 16 games in 2020 in the outfield. The other four were spent at third base. 

In 2019, he played exclusively in the infield with a majority of his starts coming at the hot corner. 

Although his major-league position is up in the air, the one certainty is he will bring a consistent bat to whichever lineup he lands in.

Martin totaled 105 hits with a .392 batting average in 2019 and he produced 20 base knocks in 53 at-bats during the shortened 2020 campaign. 

If he increases his power numbers a bit, he could turn into the most well-rounded hitter from the draft class. 

If Baltimore selects Martin, he could fill a void at third base to start his career since the Orioles have a single third baseman listed in their Top 30 prospects

In an ideal situation, Martin could be paired with 2019 first overall pick Adley Rutschmann and first baseman Ryan Mountcastle in a lineup that would attempt to bring Baltimore out of the American League East cellar. 


Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Detroit's abundance of premier pitching prospects should persuade it to take Torkelson or Martin at No. 1. 

At the moment, the Arizona State first baseman is the favorite to top the draft, and if he does, he would be the first player at his position to earn the honor since 2000.

Callis detailed the thoughts around the league about the Tigers' decision-making process: "The Tigers haven't finalized any decisions yet, but most clubs would be surprised if they don't pick Torkelson, who might be the best all-around college bat (hitting ability plus power) since Mark Teixeira in 2001."

Torkelson could be a better fit in Detroit's system than Martin since the Tigers have a pair of left-sided infielders and two outfielders as part of their top seven prospects

By adding a player with 54 home runs over three seasons, Detroit could lock down first base for the foreseeable future. 

If most of the Tigers' top minor-league stars live up to their potential, they could have a foundation headlined by Torkelson and pitchers Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal lead them to a winning record in a few years. 


Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

Sam Craft/Associated Press

If Torkelson and Martin go first and second, Texas A&M southpaw Asa Lacy will likely be the No. 3 overall pick. 

The 20-year-old is considered the top hurler in the draft class, which should feature a good amount of collegiate pitchers landing in the Top 15. 

Before the 2020 college baseball season was cancelled, Lacy was on track to eclipse his 8-4 mark from 2019. 

Lacy won three of his four starts and posted a 0.75 ERA and 46 strikeouts for the Aggies. 

Law described Lacy as the "clear best player available" if Torkelson and Martin land with the Tigers and Orioles, respectively. 

Lacy's career 2.07 ERA and 13.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings should entice the Miami Marlins to select him over Georgia's Emerson Hancock.

If he ends up with Miami, Lacy would be the first collegiate pitcher chosen in the first round by the franchise since Andrew Heaney in 2012. 

The Marlins have selected three first-round pitchers since 2012, but all have come from the high school ranks.


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Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference and MLB.com