2020 MLB Mock Draft: Predictions for This Year's Elite Prospects

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 31, 2020

Asa Lacy
Asa LacyAssociated Press

With the start of the 2020 MLB draft fast approaching on June 10, there appear to be more questions at the top of the board as teams start finalizing their selections. 

Even though there is a clear consensus crop of prospects in line to go No. 1 overall, the lack of a no-doubt superstar has given the Detroit Tigers a lot to consider before going on the clock. 

While there isn't a bona fide star among the group, there is a lot of high-level talent in this year's class. The clear strength of the group is from the college crop, particularly on the pitching side—players who could move through the minors quickly to make an impact at the MLB level. 

Looking ahead to the draft, here's how the first round will likely play out as things stand. 


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: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Florida)

5. Toronto Blue Jays: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

8. San Diego Padres: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)

9. Colorado Rockies: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville  

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: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas 

16. Chicago Cubs: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)

17. Boston Red Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State 

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.) 

19. New York Mets: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia

20. Milwaukee Brewers: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

22. Washington Nationals: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.) 

23. Cleveland Indians: Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary HS (Fla.) 

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami

25. Atlanta Braves: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State

26. Oakland Athletics: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

27. Minnesota Twins: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina 

28. New York Yankees: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano HS (TX)


Top Prospects

Best College Player: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

The top three players taken in the mock draft appear to be the consensus top three players in the class. MLB.com has Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin and Asa Lacy ranked first, second and third, respectively. 

Each of them has one drawback that could be latched onto, though. Torkelson is likely a first baseman, putting immense pressure on his bat if he is to become a star. Martin is a tremendous hitter but only has modest power that may not fit the traditional bill for a third baseman if that ends up being his position. 

Lacy, meanwhile, needs to refine his command and control to reach his full potential. The Texas A&M southpaw issued 68 walks in 152 innings in three college seasons. 

Yet looking over the ceiling for each of those three players, the 20-year-old could end up becoming a true No. 1 starter at the big-league level with this scouting report from MLB.com:

"Lacy has boosted his fastball from 87-91 mph in high school to 92-97 these days, using his 6-foot-4 frame to create downhill plane, and hitters just don't seem to get good swings against it. He employs two distinct breaking balls, a downer curveball and a harder slider in the low 80s, with the slider surpassing his curve this spring and becoming a plus pitch. His changeup fades and sinks and grades as a well above-average pitch at its best, and it should become more consistently plus as he uses it more often."

Left-handed starters with Lacy's combination of size and power stuff are a rare commodity. Even in a deep year for college pitching, he stands at the head of the class for having the ability to shut down opposing lineups. 


Best High School Player: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Florida)

Evaluations for high school players this year were especially difficult because of the small sample size of games played before the coronavirus pandemic shut down leagues. 

College players will have longer track records based on playing games for their schools and appearances in showcase events over the past four or five years from when they were in high school. 

This could lead to teams being more conservative when it comes to drafting high school players, but Spruce Creek's Zac Veen presents an enticing package that will make him hard to resist early in the first round. 

During the 2019 summer showcase, the 18-year-old was a breakout star for his consistent performance and athletic, projectable body. 

Here's what PerfectGame.org wrote about Veen at the National Showcase event in June 2019:

"Loose and fluid athlete, clean through the ball in the outfield with soft hands, shows good arm strength with a smooth arm stroke that projects more strength in the future. Left handed hitter, hits from a spread and open stance, has quick hands and a very loose swing, nice extension out front and a fluid path to the ball with lift out front, fast hips fire on time, has present power and lots of potential for more. Type of tools and body that a scout can dream on."

MLB.com noted some scouts have compared Veen's skill set to Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Cody Bellinger. 

If he develops into anything close to what Bellinger has become, the team that drafts him will be thrilled to have him starting in either corner outfield position when he eventually gets to the big leagues. 


Wild-Card Prospect: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

Bryce Jarvis is coming into the draft after an erratic tenure at Duke. The right-hander was terrific as a freshman pitching primarily out of the bullpen with a 2.45 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 47.2 innings. 

When the Blue Devils moved him into the starting rotation for most of the 2019 season, he responded with a team-high 94 strikeouts, but his ERA jumped up to 3.81 and he allowed 112 baserunners (70 hits, 37 walks, five hit by pitches) in 75.2 innings.

Things looked much better for Jarvis at the start of 2020, when he racked up 40 strikeouts with a 0.67 ERA in 27 innings. 

Beyond just an improved performance, The Athletic's Keith Law noted the 22-year-old's fastball ticked up about nine miles per hour from his sophomore season. 

Per MLB.com, Jarvis changed his body by putting on 20 pounds for the 2020 campaign. 

Another encouraging sign comes with the fact that he was working around the plate more often. He had just two walks in four starts this season after walking 59 in 123.1 total innings from 2018-19. 

Jarvis ticks all the boxes of a potential No. 3 starter as a draft prospect, but the lack of a track record should be a concern. If his velocity spike this spring doesn't stick, what kind of a pitcher does he become? The Tennessee native was draft-eligible last year but wasn't selected because the skill set wasn't there. 

The early-season improvements make Jarvis worthy of being a first-round selection, but his range of potential outcomes is vast because all of his positives are based on 27 innings of work.