2020 MLB Mock Draft: Breaking Down Top Prospects and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2020

Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson during an NCAA college baseball game against Notre Dame, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Spencer Torkelson will likely add No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft to his long list of achievements. 

The Arizona State first baseman was one of the most prolific power hitters in the program's storied history, and he earned plenty of accolades for the numbers put up in his freshman and sophomore seasons. 

The Detroit Tigers are expected to choose Torkelson to kick off the five-round event spread over June 10 and 11. Torkelson, Vanderbilt's Austin Martin and Asa Lacy out of Texas A&M are expected to be the top three selections.

While there is some uncertainty about how the rest of the first round will play out, the largest collection of first-round picks should be collegiate pitchers. 


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: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

9. Colorado Rockies: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

10. Los Angeles Angels: Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)

11. Chicago White Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State

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

13. San Francisco Giants: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)

14. Texas Rangers: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

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: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

22. Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia

23. Cleveland Indians: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Tx.)

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

25. Atlanta Braves: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

26. Oakland Athletics: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State

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

28. New York Yankees: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami


Top Prospects

Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Torkelson established himself as one of college baseball's top power hitters as a freshman, breaking Barry Bonds' freshman home run record at Arizona State. His 25-home run campaign earned plenty of accolades, including the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. The junior first baseman finished his career with 54 home runs, which was two short of Bob Horner's program record. 

On top of his propensity to hit long balls, Torkelson recorded a .337 batting average and 1.192 OPS in his three seasons with the Sun Devils. 

ESPN's Kiley McDaniel told reporters Thursday that Torkelson and the Tigers will be paired together with the first pick, per Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. 

"It's hard to imagine them not taking him with what's coming from their camp, people close to that camp," McDaniel said. "It's not really an actual conversation unless something really drastic happens that I don't foresee happening."

If Torkelson is selected at the top, he would be the first player at his position chosen at No. 1 since Adrian Gonzalez in 2000.


Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt

Martin would be quite a good consolation prize for the Baltimore Orioles at No. 2. The Vanderbilt product batted .368 across three seasons, and his final base knock at the SEC school was his 200th. 

Martin's primary position in college was third base, but he transitioned to the outfield at the start of the 2020 campaign. 

There is still a chance the Orioles make a surprising decision at No. 2, but Martin will be the best prospect available, as The Athletic's Keith Law outlined.

"I still think they'll take Martin given his elite exit velocities and contact rates, and the fact that slot values at Nos. 30/39 will still get them someone pretty good," Law wrote. 

The ideal situation for Baltimore would be to pair Martin with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman at the heart of its order for years to come. 



Pittsburgh Makes A Surprise Pick at No. 7

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the potential to make the first surprise selection of the draft.

Law pointed out in his latest mock draft that the Pirates were monitoring high school pitcher Mick Abel, who is the No. 11 prospect, according to MLB.com.

"The Pirates have supposedly spent 'a lot of time' on Abel, which doesn't mean they'll take him, but they're serious about the possibility, and I also heard they didn't want to go too safe," Law wrote. 

If they choose Abel, the Pirates would take him over at least one of the top college arms expected to be taken in the top 10. 

The other candidates for a surprise pick would be Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, who is the No. 10 prospect, or high school outfielder Austin Hendrick, the No. 12 prospect who hails from Pittsburgh's backyard. 

If the Pirates shake up the first round, it might allow San Diego, Colorado and the Los Angeles Angels to take high-ranked prospects who fall, or it could motivate them to follow the Pirates' lead and take players who will sign for less than the allotted signing bonus for their respective picks. 


At Least 12 College Pitchers Are Chosen

College pitchers will be the hottest commodity in the first round.

In a normal year, Asa Lacy, Emerson Hancock and others would still be high selections, but there will be more of a demand for collegiate arms since there are deeper scouting reports on them.

High school pitchers lost the majority of their senior campaigns because of the coronavirus, so it may be hard for teams to justify using a high pick on prospects who both lost a year of development at a crucial juncture in their careers and have had less opportunity to prove their skills. 

The most first-round hurlers should come from the SEC, with Lacy and Hancock leading the charge. 

Tennessee's Garrett Crochet, Georgia's Cole Wilcox, Tanner Burns out of Auburn and Carmen Mlodzinski from South Carolina will likely join them in the first 29 selections. 

Max Meyer of Minnesota and Louisville's Reid Detmers are rated as top 10 prospects by MLB.com, and they should have plenty of suitors looking at them once Hancock is off the board. 

The biggest run on pitchers should occur in the bottom half of the opening round, with Oklahoma's Cade Cavalli and Texas Tech's Clayton Beeter among the hurlers gaining traction in mock drafts. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.


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