MLB Draft 2020: Previewing New Format, 1st-Round Order, Top Prospect Predictions

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2020

Spencer Torkelson
Spencer TorkelsonRick Scuteri/Associated Press

Like many events this summer, the 2020 MLB draft will feature an overhauled look. Rather than completing a 40-round draft as usual, the upcoming edition only has five rounds.

It is, by far, the shortest draft in MLB history. As a result, many would-be minor league players are likely going to stay in college or aim to head there in the fall.

While the reduced volume of selections will be odd, teams should be comfortable with the format. Personnel cannot gather in a draft room, but the virtual communication of the last few months should be familiar at this point.

The first 37 pickswhich include the first round and first competitive balance pickswill happen June 10 at 7 p.m. ET. The second to fifth rounds will follow June 11 at 5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast both portions of the draft.


2020 Draft 1st-Round Order

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Baltimore Orioles

3. Miami Marlins

4. Kansas City Royals

5. Toronto Blue Jays

6. Seattle Mariners

7. Pittsburgh Pirates

8. San Diego Padres

9. Colorado Rockies

10. Los Angeles Angels

11. Chicago White Sox

12. Cincinnati Reds

13. San Francisco Giants

14. Texas Rangers

15. Philadelphia Phillies

16. Chicago Cubs

17. Boston Red Sox

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

19. New York Mets

20. Milwaukee Brewers

21. St. Louis Cardinals

22. Washington Nationals

23. Cleveland Indians

24. Tampa Bay Rays

25. Atlanta Braves

26. Oakland A's

27. Minnesota Twins

28. New York Yankees

29. Los Angeles Dodgers

Note: The Houston Astros forfeited their first-round selection as a result of the sign-stealing scandal.


Predictions for Top Players

The consensus expectation is the Tigers will select Arizona State star Spencer Torkelson at No. 1 overall.

In two-plus seasons with the Sun Devils, he notched a .337 average with a .463 on-base percentage and .729 slugging percentage. Torkelson belted 54 homers and 33 doubles, also drawing 110 walks compared to 104 strikeouts.

Torkelson will command a massive signing bonus, but Detroit will probably end up figuring out a deal.

Next up is the Orioles, who are likely to select either Vanderbilt's Austin Martin or New Mexico State's Nick Gonzales. The prevailing question is whether Baltimore is willing to spend for Martin or take Gonzales to save money for a later round.

Martin put together a scorching 2019 campaign with a .392 batting average and .486 on-base percentage. He swatted 33 extra-base hits with 10 homers, finishing with 40 walks to 34 strikeouts and stealing 18 bases in 23 attempts.

Gonzales hardly could have enjoyed a hotter start in 2020, belting 12 homers and driving in 36 runs through 16 games. That followed a season with 16 homers and 80 runs batted in.

Either way, the O's get a great player. For now, Martin is the expected choice for Baltimore.

Then at No. 3 overall, the Marlins should have a painless decision with Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy. He posted a 2.13 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in 88.2 innings in 2019.

Gonzales could fall to sixth and the Mariners as the Royals select prep outfielder Zac Veen and Blue Jays eye Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer or Georgia righty Emerson Hancock.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR