2020 MLB Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for Nick Gonzales, Top Infield Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

FILE - In this May 10, 2019, file photo, New Mexico State's Nick Gonzales waits for a pitch during an at-bat in an NCAA college baseball game against Seattle University in Bellevue, Wash. Gonzales' .432 batting average led the nation, and he had 16 home runs, 80 RBIs, 19 doubles and four triples. He hit 11 home runs in his first 14 games last season and reached base in all 55 games. He ended the season on a 66-game on-base streak dating to 2018, the longest in the country. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)
Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

The first three position players chosen in the 2020 MLB draft could all be infielders. 

Arizona State's Spencer Torkelson and Vanderbilt's Austin Martin are believed to be the top two picks, while New Mexico State's Nick Gonzales is generating top-five buzz.

Gonzales is the top middle infielder in the draft class and should be a good fit for teams siding with collegiate talent. 

The trio of top infielders should have an advantage over high school prospects since teams have a larger scouting profile to work from. 

Additionally, the lack of a high school season in most parts of the United States may persuade franchises to go with more experienced bats over players who lost a year of development at a younger age. 


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: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville 

9. Colorado Rockies: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

10. Los Angeles Angels: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

11. Chicago White Sox: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

12. Cincinnati Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)

13. San Francisco Giants: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Texas)

14. Texas Rangers: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.) 

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


Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

Top Infield Prospects

Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State

Gonzales will likely be selected between No. 4 and No. 6. 

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo believes the New Mexico State product will land with the Kansas City Royals at No. 4, while ESPN.com's Kiley McDaniel projected him to go at No. 6 to the Seattle Mariners. 

Georgia's Emerson Hancock and Minnesota's Max Meyer will be available for Kansas City, but the Royals have a stable of young arms from previous drafts. 

Gonzales' polished presence inside the box could be too much for the Royals to pass up. He had a career batting average of .399 and an OPS over 1.000 in two full seasons and a shortened junior campaign. 

The second baseman flashed more power in 2020, when he hit 12 home runs in 82 plate appearances. He had 16 long balls in 284 plate appearances in 2019. 

The potential selection of Gonzales would solidify the middle infield for the long term for the Royals, who selected shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. in the 2019 first round. 

If Gonzales gets past Kansas City, the Mariners are the likely landing spot. 

McDaniel noted "Seattle is heavily leaning college here," which would put it in position for Gonzales or one of the remaining top pitching prospects. 

Prediction: No. 6 overall to Seattle


Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Torkelson possesses the best power of any prospect. 

The Arizona State first baseman recorded 54 home runs in his three collegiate seasons, and if the 2020 campaign was not cut short, he may have left that level with a trio of 20-home run campaigns. 

McDaniel noted there is an 85 percent chance of the 20-year-old landing with the Detroit Tigers, and he has been projected as the top pick by most experts. 

Mayo pointed out a few intriguing factors about the top overall prospect in his latest mock draft. 

"There's still no reason to make any changes here, with Torkelson's offensive upside combined with the belief he'll get to the big leagues quickly, making him the clear front-runner to go No. 1," he wrote. 

While nothing is 100 percent certain in drafts until the pick happens, this seems like a decision the Tigers should not overthink. They have a need to fill at first base and will land one of the few players in the draft class who could skyrocket through the minor leagues. 

If he somehow drops past the Tigers, the Baltimore Orioles should not let Torkelson drop past No. 2. 

Prediction: No. 1 overall to Detroit.


Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Martin has one of the most consistent bats in the draft class, but there are questions about which position  he will play at the professional level. 

The Vanderbilt product spent his freshman and sophomore seasons as an infielder, with most of his time coming at third base. But he started 12 games in the outfield before his junior campaign was cut short. 

Martin could start out in the infield and then work into the outfield rotation once he receives more time at the position. 

He left Vanderbilt with a .368 batting average and 1.007 OPS, and although he does not possess the same power as Torkelson, he reached base on a consistent basis. He recorded 105 of his 200 career hits in 2019 had 20 over 69 plate appearances in 2020. 

If Martin lands with the Baltimore Orioles at No. 2, he could combine with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman as the foundation of the team's batting order in the next few years. 

There is still a chance he lands with the Tigers, but Detroit's need for a first baseman and Torkelson's power could be too much to pass up.

Prediction: No. 2 overall to Baltimore.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference