Catchers have featured at the top of the past two MLB drafts, but that run may not continue at the 2020 MLB draft.
Patrick Bailey and Tyler Soderstrom are generating plenty of first-round buzz, but they likely will not be selected as high as Joey Bart and Adley Rutschman were in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Bailey is one of a handful of collegiate hitters who will intrigue franchises in the top 15 with his power.
Soderstrom may quickly follow Bailey off the board, and there is a slight chance he jumps into the top 10 if a team is impressed by his potential.
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 (Fla.)
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
8. San Diego Padres: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
9. Colorado Rockies: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
11. Chicago White Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State
12. Cincinnati Reds: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
13. San Francisco Giants: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)
14. Texas Rangers: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)
16. Chicago Cubs: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
17. Boston Red Sox: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.)
19. New York Mets: Cade Cavalli, RHP. Oklahoma
20. Milwaukee Brewers: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Tx.)
21. St. Louis Cardinals: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
22. Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
23. Cleveland Indians: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas
25. Atlanta Braves: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
26. Oakland Athletics: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
27. Minnesota Twins: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
28. New York Yankees: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
Projections for Top Catcher Prospects
The Chicago White Sox and Bailey seem to be a good match.
The American League Central side has a long history of using its first-round draft pick on collegiate players, and it has two catchers on its top 30 prospects list at MLB.com.
Bailey became a first-round prospect behind his power over three seasons at NC State. He hit 29 home runs, six of which occurred in 17 games during the shortened 2020 season. Bailey's splits were consistent across the board as well, as he produced a batting average over .280, slugging percentage over .500 and OPS above .900 in each campaign.
The lack of strikeouts from the switch-hitter is another intriguing factor that makes him stand out compared to other power hitters who typically possess a high strikeout rate. Bailey was put down on strikes on 93 occasions in 578 plate appearances, and if he keeps that number low as he adjusts to professional pitching, he can develop through the White Sox system.
Those qualities could intrigue Colorado or the Los Angeles Angels to take him at No. 9 or No. 10, but those sides may be more focused on pitching.
If he lands with the White Sox, Bailey would be the ball club's eighth consecutive first-round pick from a four-year university.
Soderstrom is expected by many experts to be the first high school catcher chosen June 10.
While the Giants only have two backstops in their top 30 prospects, one of them is Bart, who was the No. 2 overall selection in 2018. San Francisco could take Soderstrom to develop without a rush to the major leagues due to Bart's presence in the organization.
The Giants may pivot toward one of the many outfielders who should land in the middle of the first round, or bolster their minor league pitching ranks. If that happens, Texas, Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs might be willing to swoop up the second-best catching prospect in the draft class.
There is also a situation in which Soderstrom is the first player at his position off the board, as McDaniel noted Colorado is a "rumored landing spot." Were that to arise, Soderstrom would extend the streak of catchers chosen in the top 10 to three years.