2020 MLB Draft Picks: Live Team-by-Team Day 1 Grades and Analysis

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

2020 MLB Draft Picks: Live Team-by-Team Day 1 Grades and Analysis

0 of 29

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The first 37 picks of the 2020 MLB draft are officially in the books.

    Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson went No. 1 overall to the Detroit Tigers, as expected, but things quickly went off-script from there when the Baltimore Orioles selected Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad with the No. 2 pick.

    Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy and Vanderbilt outfielder Austin Martinwidely regarded as part of a three-player top tier in this class—wound up slipping to fourth and fifth overall, much to the joy of the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively.

    Before we move on to Day 2 of the draft and the final 123 selections, it's time for a deep dive into all of Wednesday's action.

    Ahead you'll find a full scouting report, draft grade and pick analysis for each of the 37 players who heard their name called as part of the first round and Competitive Balance Round A.


    Note: The Houston Astros forfeited their first-round pick as part of their punishment from their sign-stealing scandal and do not have a Day 1 selection. Their first pick will be at No. 72 overall.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1 of 29

    Bryce Jarvis
    Bryce JarvisBen McKeown/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 18 Overall): Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

    Jarvis tacked on 20 pounds of muscle between his sophomore and junior seasons, and after an overpowering start to the spring, he had as much helium as any prospect in this draft when the season was halted.

    He posted a 0.67 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just two walks in 27 innings, sitting at 96 mph with his fastball after topping out at 93 mph last season and dipping into the upper 80s as the year wore on. The 6'2", 195-pound right-hander has always thrown a ton of strikes with his entire four-pitch repertoire, and the uptick in his stuff has vaulted him into the second tier of college pitchers.

    Grade: A

    Of the remaining college pitchers on the board, Jarvis offers the best mix of floor and ceiling. The Diamondbacks farm system just keeps getting better after last year's impressive draft haul was followed by the Zack Greinke blockbuster.


    Balance Round A (No. 33 Overall): Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami

    Cecconi likely would have been a first-round pick in the 2018 draft had he not been slowed by an injury during his senior year of high school. Now he profiles as one of the best draft-eligible sophomores in the 2020 class.

    The 6'4", 219-pound right-hander has a big arm with a fastball that touches 96 mph and two quality breaking pitches, and he throws a lot of strikes. His command in the zone needs further refinement, as does his changeup, and he could boost his stock with a return to campus. He'll be a tough sign.

    Grade: B+

    I like this pick a lot, provided he's signable. Cecconi comes with more risk than their first pick of the night, but the Diamondbacks could end up walking away with two of the best college pitchers in this class if things break right. It's a good haul to add to an already deep crop of young talent.

Atlanta Braves

2 of 29

    Jared Shuster
    Jared ShusterBen McKeown/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 25 Overall): Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest

    Shuster struggled to a 6.79 ERA in 102 innings during his first two seasons at Wake Forest before turning in a breakout performance in the Cape Cod League last year. He posted a 1.41 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 32 innings over seven starts against some of the best and brightest in college baseball.

    His fastball velocity has ticked up from the upper 80s to the mid-90s, even touching 97 mph this spring before the season was halted. His plus changeup remains his best pitch and is one of the best in the draft, and he also throws a quality slider. 

    Shuster's mechanics need some tweaking, but he has a well-built 6'3", 210-pound frame. Last summer's breakout performance looks like the real deal.

    Grade: B

    There were plenty of boom-or-bust arms left on the board for the Braves to choose from, and they went with one of the breakout stars of last year's Cape Cod League. Some will argue for a bat here, but developing pitching is a strength of the organization, so there's no reason to move away from that approach.

Baltimore Orioles

3 of 29

    Heston Kjerstad
    Heston KjerstadMatt Patterson/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 2 Overall): Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

    Kjerstad slugged 31 home runs in his first two collegiate seasons and hit a staggering .448/.513/.791 with six home runs in 16 games this spring. He has the best mix of hit tool and power out of any prospect in the 2020 class not named Spencer Torkelson.

    An aggressive approach at the plate means he'll always have a fair amount of swing-and-miss to his game, but there's enough meat on the offensive bone to deal with a few strikeouts. The 6'3", 205-pound slugger has the prototypical power-hitting right fielder profile.

    Grade: B

    This would seem to signal that the Orioles have cut a deal here at No. 2 and have an above-slot target in mind for the No. 30 overall pick. The gap between Kjerstad and guys like Austin Martin and Nick Gonzales wasn't huge, and if they can maximize their Day 1 with another big name, I like this approach.


    Balance Round A (No. 30 Overall): Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State

    Westburg was one of the stars of the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting .326/.385/.516 with six doubles and four home runs in 25 games. He followed that up with a hot start this spring, posting a .949 OPS with six doubles and two home runs in 16 games and effectively pushing himself up draft boards.

    While he hit just 10 home runs in 124 games at Mississippi State, he has the bat speed and raw power to be a 20-homer threat. First, he'll need to rein in an aggressive approach that led to a 21.5 percent strikeout rate as a sophomore. He has the skill set to be an average defensive shortstop, but he may fit better at second or third base.

    Grade: C

    Westburg is a fine player with some intriguing power potential, but this pick doesn't really fit with the reach for Kjerstad at No. 2. Why not go with prep right-hander Jared Kelley above-slot here?

Boston Red Sox

4 of 29

    First Round (No. 17 Overall): Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty High School (CA)

    In order to be a legitimate draft prospect as a high school second baseman, a player has to have significant offensive upside. Yorke offers that with a 55-grade hit tool that ranks among the best in this year's high school class and some present power in his 6'0", 200-pound frame.

    Shoulder surgery during his junior season robbed him of what was once solid arm strength, and he has slid down the defensive spectrum as a result. That puts a ton of pressure on his bat, and with that comes some obvious risk.

    Grade: D-

    The Red Sox don't pick again until No. 89 overall, and most expected them to take a risk on a high school player as a result. But this pick was completely off the board. Yorke checked in outside the top 90 prospects on Baseball America (96) and MLB.com (139). He'll have to sign well-below-slot, and they'll have to come away with a couple of steals on Day 2 for this to make a lick of sense.

Chicago Cubs

5 of 29

    First Round (No. 16 Overall): Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel High School (IL)

    A high school teammate of 2018 second-round pick Alek Thomas, Howard is the top prep shortstop and the top overall defender at the position in the 2020 class.

    Proving himself against high-level competition on the showcase circuit last summer after he beat up on mediocre high school pitching sent his stock soaring. Quick hands and a projectable 6'2", 185-pound frame grant him solid offensive upside, and there's zero question he can handle shortstop, which gives him a high floor and plenty of ceiling.

    Grade: A+

    This is a great move by the Cubs, who keep the hometown prospect in Chicago. There's a ton of upside here with a glove-first profile similar to Francisco Lindor's at the same point in his career. If the bat catches up to the glove, which seems possible, he has a chance to be a star.

Chicago White Sox

6 of 29

    First Round (No. 11 Overall): Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

    A 6'6" left-hander who touches 100 mph with his fastball, Crochet has tantalizing upside. He is also one of the biggest unknowns in this draft class.

    He made only 13 collegiate starts and dealt with some shoulder soreness this spring before striking out six of the 12 batters he faced over 3.1 scoreless innings in his lone appearance. All told, he had a less-than-stellar 4.64 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 132 innings at Tennessee, and he has a lot of work to do honing his command.

    His upside stacks up to any pitcher in this draft if everything clicks, though.

    Grade: A

    The White Sox already have a deep farm system in place, so they could afford to roll the dice on Crochet delivering on his huge upside. This pick wouldn't have made sense for everyone, but it's a great boom-or-bust move for a team on the rise.

Cincinnati Reds

7 of 29

    First Round (No. 12 Overall): Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny High School (PA)

    While Zac Veen is the safest pick and Robert Hassell III has the best hit tool among prep position players, Hendrick has the highest ceiling of any high school hitter in this class.

    As Baseball America wrote: "The 6-foot-1, 205-pound outfielder has the quickest pure bat speed in the class and complements it with light-tower raw power, giving him arguably the best power/hit combo of any high school hitter."

    His hit tool needs further refining, and he needs to find more overall consistency, but his huge ceiling is impossible to ignore.

    Grade: A+

    The Reds have struggled to develop pitching talent in recent years, so while they could have gone with someone like prep right-hander Mick Abel here, I actually think a bat was the way to go. Hendrick could easily wind up being the most impactful offensive player in this draft not named Spencer Torkelson.

Cleveland Indians

8 of 29

    Tanner Burns
    Tanner BurnsBen McKeown/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 23 Overall): Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe High School (AZ)

    The younger brother of Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Cole Tucker, Carson has steadily climbed up draft boards to emerge as the consensus No. 2 prep shortstop in the 2020 class behind Ed Howard.

    His stock benefits a bit from the dearth of shortstop talent in this class, but he also offers some intriguing upside after he grew three inches over the winter and then showed better athleticism this spring. Now 6'2" and 180 pounds, he has a well-rounded skill set with an above-average hit tool and the quickness and arm strength to stick at shortstop long-term.

    Grade: B

    It was a bit surprising to see the Indians shy away from the high school arms left on the board after they rolled the dice on Ethan Hankins and Daniel Espino when they slid in recent drafts. That said, Tucker is a solid pick with intriguing upside after the gains he made physically and on the field over the last year.


    Balance Round A (No. 36 Overall): Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

    Burns has one of the highest floors among this year's pitching crop, and he could be one of the first players from this draft class to reach the majors.

    He's a bit undersized at 6'0", 205 pounds, and he lacks the power stuff that many of the draft's other top arms possess. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range and can touch 97, but he relies more on command than power, backing it with a plus slider and an average changeup. He could slot into the middle of an MLB rotation in the near future, provided he proves he can handle a full season's workload.

    Grade: A

    The Indians have a nice track record of squeezing more than expected out of pitchers, with budding ace Shane Bieber serving as a prime example. Maybe they can help Burns get to another level. Even if they can't, he's one of the safest picks in the draft and a solid addition to the system.

Colorado Rockies

9 of 29

    First Round (No. 9 Overall): Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek High School (FL)

    With a sweet lefty swing and an athletic 6'5", 200-pound frame that has room for further physical progression, Veen draws immediate comparisons to Kyle Tucker, who went No. 5 overall in the 2015 draft as a prep prospect out of Florida.

    A strong start to his senior season after a breakout performance on the showcase circuit solidified Veen's standing as the top high school position player in a thin class. His advanced hit tool takes some pressure off the development of his power, though he certainly has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order threat.

    Veen may need to move off center field as he continues to grow, but he has the arm strength to handle right field when the time comes.

    Grade: A+

    The Rockies didn't draft a corner infielder! That alone is worth an "A" grade after they've gone to that well time and again the last few years. There's an argument to be made that the pitching-thin organization should have gone with someone like Louisville lefty Reid Detmers here, but Veen has a chance to be a star.


    Balance Round A (No. 35 Overall): Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands High School (TX)

    Romo checks all of the boxes behind the plate with "soft hands, advanced receiving skills and a strong arm with a quick release," according to MLB.com. He is polished beyond his years defensively and has a strong case for being the top defensive catcher in this class.

    While that takes a lot of pressure off his offensive game, the switch-hitter also offers some power potential and an average hit tool. Even if he peaks as a .250 hitter with 10-12 home runs, his defense will be enough to make him an MLB starter.

    Grade: C

    Why not Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler? The Rockies clearly valued the defensive skills of Romo enough to pass on the more polished collegiate backstop, but given the track record of high school catchers in the first round, it's a move they could regret.

Detroit Tigers

10 of 29

    Spencer Torkelson
    Spencer TorkelsonRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 1 Overall): Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Arizona State

    The consensus top player in the 2020 draft class and one of the most polished college power hitters in recent memory, Torkelson might already be MLB-ready.

    Even if he proves capable of handling third base, the 6'1", 220-pound slugger will likely never be more than an average defender, which means his bat will be the driving force behind his value. That shouldn't be an issue. After launching 48 home runs over his first two seasons at Arizona State, he was hitting .340/.598/.780 with six home runs and a ridiculous 31 walks in 17 games this spring.

    Pete Alonso offers a similar profile and stands as a reasonable best-case scenario.

    Grade: A+

    This pick has been a foregone conclusion throughout the predraft process. Torkelson gives the Tigers a potential offensive star to add to their pitching-rich farm system, and he could be manning first base in Detroit before the 2021 season is over.

Kansas City Royals

11 of 29

    Asa Lacy
    Asa LacySam Craft/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 4 Overall): Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

    There's a reason Lacy is the consensus top pitcher in this draft class, aside from the fact that durable left-handed pitchers with mid-90s fastballs don't exactly grow on trees.

    The 6'4", 215-pound southpaw is extremely polished with a lively fastball that touches 97 mph, two quality breaking pitches in a hard slider and a slower curveball and a plus changeup he can fade and sink.

    He still has some work to do refining his overall command, but with a 2.07 ERA and 224 strikeouts in 152 innings at Texas A&M, it's hard to argue with the results. All signs point to a future as an impact MLB starter.

    Grade: A

    Adding Austin Martin to a farm system that is lacking in high-ceiling position-player talent outside of Bobby Witt Jr. would have been nice, but it's hard to argue with scooping up the consensus top pitcher in the draft. He'll join Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar and Kris Bubic in one of the most pitching-rich systems in baseball.


    Balance Round A (No. 32 Overall): Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

    While he lacks a true standout tool, Loftin does everything well on both sides of the ball, and a strong start to his junior season vaulted him into the top tier of college middle infielders.

    He hit .323/.380/.502 with 27 extra-base hits in 265 plate appearances as a sophomore, and he had eight extra-base hits in his first 14 games this spring. He may ultimately profile best as a utility player, but he should have no problem handling shortstop, and he has one of the highest floors among college infielders.

    Grade: A-

    The Royals walk away from Day 1 with two of the safest picks in the draft, landing two guys who were expected to be drafted higher than they ended up coming off the board. It was a solid day's work once again for a club that has drafted extremely well in recent years.

Los Angeles Angels

12 of 29

    Reid Detmers
    Reid DetmersDarron Cummings/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 10 Overall): Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

    After working in a swingman role as a freshman, Detmers emerged as one of the most dominant starters in college baseball as a sophomore, going 13-4 with a 2.78 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 113.1 innings.

    His looping mid-70s curveball might be the best breaking ball in the draft, and he sets it up with a low-90s fastball and an above-average changeup. His advanced command and overall feel for pitching could put him on the fast track to the majors.

    The only knock is his lack of elite velocity, which raises questions about his ultimate ceiling, but he's a good bet to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

    Grade: A+

    Detmers immediately becomes the top pitching prospect in the Angels system, and that's significant for a team that needs pitching in the worst way at the MLB level. As long as his nasty curveball keeps buckling hitters at the pro level, he looks like a future No. 3 starter who should move quickly.

Los Angeles Dodgers

13 of 29

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 29 Overall): Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville

    College baseball fans no doubt remember Miller from his dominant super-regional performance against East Carolina last year when he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. His stock steadily climbed during a breakout sophomore season and continued to trend up this spring when he posted a 2.31 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 23.1 innings.

    He touches 99 mph with his fastball and flashes a swing-and-miss slider at times, but there is also some effort to his delivery, and he doesn't have the smoothest mechanics. That gives him some obvious reliever risk, but if he can clean things up, his 6'5", 220-pound frame should have no trouble holding up to a starter's workload.

    Grade: A

    The Dodgers can afford to take a risk with a deep farm system and deeper pockets, and Miller offers some of the best upside among this year's college pitching crop. He's in good hands given their recent success developing pitching talent. This is a great fit all around.

Miami Marlins

14 of 29

    Max Meyer
    Max MeyerAndy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 3 Overall): Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

    Meyer racked up 46 strikeouts in 27.2 innings this spring to solidify his standing as one of the best college arms in this class.

    With a fastball that reaches triple digits and a hard-biting slider in the low 90s, he has the most dynamic two-pitch mix in the draft. It would play at the back of an MLB bullpen right now if a team fast-tracks him in that role.

    Despite an undersized 6'0" frame, he has shown the ability to carry his velocity deep into starts and is a terrific athlete with low-effort mechanics. His potential as a starter gives him tremendous upside, while his late-inning stuff gives him an extremely high floor.

    Grade: C-

    Meyer is electric, no question. That said, there's enough reliever risk with him that's it's tough to justify picking him over Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy, who is a sure-thing starter with top-of-the-rotation potential.

Milwaukee Brewers

15 of 29

    Garrett Mitchell
    Garrett MitchellKyusong Gong/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 20 Overall): Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

    With plus speed, an advanced hit tool and a high floor as a sure-thing MLB center fielder, Mitchell has the best collection of tools among collegiate position players.

    The UCLA standout hit .349/.418/.566 with 14 doubles, 12 triples and six home runs as a sophomore while swiping 18 bases in 22 attempts. He hasn't shown much in-game power to this point, but there's reason to believe that will eventually come thanks to his strong 6'3", 215-pound frame. Even if it doesn't, he provides enough value in other ways to be a solid regular.

    Grade: A+

    The Brewers were linked to college hitters throughout the predraft process, but it's unlikely they expected Mitchell to still be on the board at No. 20. If the power comes, he could end up being one of the biggest steals of this draft.

Minnesota Twins

16 of 29

    Aaron Sabato
    Aaron SabatoBen McKeown/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 27 Overall): Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina

    Sabato hit .343/.453/.696 with a UNC freshman record 18 home runs before undergoing shoulder surgery that kept him out of summer ball.

    With a solidly built 6'2", 230-pound frame and power that stacks up well with top draft prospect Spencer Torkelson, he looks like a future middle-of-the-order force. That said, a limited track record as a draft-eligible sophomore and below-average athleticism make him a bit of a risk-reward pick.

    Grade: B+

    The Twins like high-level college performers, including recent early picks Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker, and Sabato fits the mold. Nelson Cruz has to retire at some point, right?

New York Mets

17 of 29

    First Round (No. 19 Overall): Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake High School (CA)

    The best defensive outfielder in the 2020 class, Crow-Armstrong has spent the last two years playing for the U-18 national team. In the process, he has seemingly suffered from a bit of prospect fatigue following an up-and-down performance on the showcase circuit last summer.

    While he's unlikely to hit for much power, he has shown a plus hit tool in the past, albeit with some swing-and-miss. Thanks to his stellar glovework in center field, he only needs to be an average offensive player to be an MLB starter.

    Grade: B+

    For a Mets team trying to win now, UCLA center fielder Garrett Mitchell might have been the better pick. That said, Crow-Armstrong also has a great chance to be a long-term solution there; it just might take him a little longer to reach the majors. Solid pick.

New York Yankees

18 of 29

    Austin Wells
    Austin WellsRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 28 Overall): Austin Wells, C, Arizona

    Wells fits the same mold as Kyle Schwarber: a college catcher who is unlikely to stick there in the pros but has a loud enough bat to handle a move to a more offensive-minded position.

    The draft-eligible sophomore hit .308/.389/.526 with 13 doubles and seven home runs over 42 games in the Cape Cod League last summer, and he had more walks (63) than strikeouts (57) while posting a 1.035 OPS in 71 games for the Wildcats. He would profile fine at first base, and he might even be able to handle a corner outfield spot.

    Grade: B+

    The Yankees were linked to college bats throughout the process, and Wells is one of the more advanced hitters in the class. The farm system is thin on polished talent, so he'll be a welcome addition who could move quickly through the minors.

Oakland Athletics

19 of 29

    First Round (No. 26 Overall): Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock High School (CA)

    While Soderstrom has the highest offensive ceiling among this year's catching crop, there are some questions about whether he can stick behind the plate. He has a strong arm, but his receiving skills need a lot of work, and his 6'2" frame may ultimately force him to another position.

    He's athletic enough to handle third base if that happens, and that would allow his bat to move quicker through the minors. He has one of the best hit tools from this year's high school crop, and he already has some present in-game power with the potential for more.

    Grade: A

    This is a bit of a surprise for an Oakland organization that generally favors safer college talent. That said, if Soderstrom is as advertised with the bat, he could be a significant value here near the end of the first round. His potential defensive versatility also fits the system well.

Philadelphia Phillies

20 of 29

    First Round (No. 15 Overall): Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit High School (OR)

    The consensus top high school pitcher in a thin class, Abel offers an enticing mix of present pitchability and physical projection.

    His 6'5", 190-pound frame has plenty of room to fill out, and he is already up to 95 mph with his fastball. He backs that with a slider that is one of the best breaking balls among this year's prep arms and a changeup with plus potential. His floor is higher than those of most high school pitchers, and he could easily wind up being the best hurler in this draft class.

    Grade: B+

    The Phillies have a top-heavy system, and there's not much in the way of high-ceiling pitching talent beyond Spencer Howard and Francisco Morales. That said, given their current window of contention, the more MLB-ready Jared Kelley might have made more sense if they wanted to go with one of the top prep arms.

Pittsburgh Pirates

21 of 29

    Nick Gonzales
    Nick GonzalesStephen Brashear/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 7 Overall): Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State

    Playing in a hitter-friendly environment at New Mexico State, Gonzales hit .399/.502/.747 in 128 career games, including an absurd .448/.610/1.155 line with 12 home runs in 16 games this spring. 

    He also hit .351/.451/.630 with 14 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 33 RBI in 42 games last summer to win Cape Cod League MVP honors, lending some credibility to his production.

    It remains to be seen if he will be able to stick at shortstop. If not, he fits the Keston Hiura mold as an offensive-minded second baseman who should move quickly through the minors, albeit with a bit less power and a bit more all-around defensive ability.

    Grade: A

    The Pirates were in a great position to go best available and grab whoever slipped from the top tier of prospects in this class. Prep outfielder Zac Veen probably costs above-slot here. Going with Gonzales allows them to be aggressive at No. 31 overall.


    Balance Round A (No. 31 Overall): Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

    Mlodzinski made just three starts before a broken foot brought his sophomore season to a screeching halt. He returned to pitch in the Cape Cod League and turned heads with a 2.15 ERA and a brilliant 40-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29.1 innings.

    He's been up to 99 mph with his fastball, and his slider and changeup have both flashed plus at times, giving him the potential for a terrific three-pitch mix. He also has a strong 6'2", 232-pound frame, giving him a high floor as a potential workhorse starter and the possibility for more if he continues on his upward trajectory.

    Grade: B

    After Pittsburgh went with one of the safest picks on the board at No. 7 overall, I like the approach of pivoting to a pitcher and going with a bit more risk/reward. The Pirates are in complete rebuild mode, so it's all about stockpiling talent.

San Diego Padres

22 of 29

    First Round (No. 8 Overall): Robert Hassell lll, OF, Independence High School (TN)

    Hassell is the best pure hitter among this year's high school class. When he stays within himself, he sprays line drives to all fields, but he had a tendency to sell out for power at times last summer. 

    Scouts are split on how much power potential he possesses in his lean 6'2", 195-pound frame, per MLB.com, as well as whether he will stick in center field. Luckily, no one doubts his hit tool, and his strong throwing arm will fit nicely in right field if he needs to shift to a corner.

    Grade: B+

    The Padres had been linked to Hassell throughout the predraft process, and it's now clear they preferred him to fellow prep outfielder Zac Veen. They got their guy; now it's just a matter of waiting to see if they were right about who they had atop their board. There's a lot to like about that hit tool.


    Balance Round A (No. 34 Overall): Justin Lange, RHP, Llano High School (TX)

    A pop-up prospect this spring, Lange flashed a 100 mph fastball after sitting in the low 90s and topping out at 95 mph last summer. With that said, he's the definition of a developmental project.

    Baseball America wrote: "While he has some of the best natural arm talent in the country, he's extremely unrefined. His command is near the bottom of the scale and his slider is a work in progress, with well below-average grades and inconsistent spin at best."

    It's easy to dream on his future upside, but there isn't much to base it on at this point beyond a strong 6'4", 220-pound frame and elite velocity.

    Grade: A

    I love this pick for a Padres team that is already swimming in young talent. Even if he winds up in the bullpen, Lange has a special arm. They could afford to take a risk, especially after reeling in their top target earlier, and they did exactly that.

San Francisco Giants

23 of 29

    Patrick Bailey
    Patrick BaileyBen McKeown/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 13 Overall): Patrick Bailey, C, NC State

    A defensive standout with questions about his offensive game coming out of high school, Bailey has shown enough with the bat during his time at NC State to profile as a future everyday catcher.

    He hit .302/.411/.568 during his time with the Wolfpack, including a 1.151 OPS with six home runs and 20 RBI in 17 games this spring. His receiving skills, strong throwing arm and plus power potential give him a high floor even if his hit tool winds up below average.

    Grade: D

    This one is a head-scratcher with Joey Bart firmly entrenched as the catcher of the future. If they were set on a catcher, prep backstop Tyler Soderstrom made a lot more sense given his higher offensive ceiling and the fact he's athletic enough to move out of the crouch. They also had their pick of high school arms. This feels like a missed opportunity to aim high.

Seattle Mariners

24 of 29

    Emerson Hancock
    Emerson HancockButch Dill/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 6 Overall): Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

    Hancock looked like a candidate to go No. 1 overall midway through a dominant sophomore season before a lat injury late last year and a shaky early-season performance this year caused his stock to slip. 

    The 6'4", 213-pound right-hander allowed 22 hits and 10 earned runs in 24 innings this spring, but he also posted a 34-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio while showing polished stuff and plus command. He remains one of the safest bets in this class to be a future MLB starter and has true top-of-the-rotation potential.

    Grade: A

    Hancock has a very real chance to develop into the best pitcher in this draft class. The Mariners have now selected college arms in the first round each of the last three seasons: Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and now Hancock. That could really help speed up the rebuild.

St. Louis Cardinals

25 of 29

    First Round (No. 21 Overall): Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur High School (GA)

    With a 6'5", 220-pound frame, Walker is bigger than the typical high school prospect, and it's easy to dream about his future power potential. The question is whether he'll develop enough of a hit tool to consistently tap into it.

    The top prep third baseman in the 2020 class, he has the arm and instincts to remain there for the time being. Further physical growth could eventually force him to the outfield, but he has the arm strength and power potential to fit nicely in right field.

    Grade: B+

    In some ways, Walker is this year's Nolan Gorman, albeit with a bit less raw power. There was always a good chance someone was going to fall in love with his power potential and take him higher than his position in predraft rankings, so this is not the reach it might look like relative to those numbers.

Tampa Bay Rays

26 of 29

    Alika Williams
    Alika WilliamsRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 24 Overall): Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East High School (PA)

    Bitsko was viewed by many as the top prep arm in the 2021 draft class before he graduated early and committed to Virginia, making him draft-eligible in 2020.

    He touched 97 mph with his fastball last summer, and he's shown a plus curveball and a quality changeup with the ability to throw all three pitches for strikes. Add to that his projectable 6'4", 225-pound frame and there's a lot to like about the soon-to-be 18-year-old.

    The trouble is since he was not initially part of the 2020 class and the season was cut short, he has not been scouted as heavily as the other guys in this draft. That makes him a bit of a wild card, albeit one with serious upside.

    Grade: A+

    There was no better place for a developmental prospect like Bitsko to land than Tampa Bay, which has arguably the best track record of producing in-house pitching talent of any team in baseball. It's likely going to take an above-slot bonus to get him signed, but he could be worth every penny.


    Balance Round A (No. 37 Overall): Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State

    After hitting .333/.429/.474 with 19 extra-base hits as a sophomore, Williams earned a spot on the collegiate national team and then hit .286 in nine games in the Cape Cod League.

    There is little question about whether Williams has the defensive tools to be an MLB shortstop, which gives him a high floor. The development of his offensive game will determine if he can be an everyday player. Focusing on more of a line-drive, all-fields approach rather than trying to hit for power could go a long way.

    Grade: B

    Taking the best shortstop left on the board is never a bad strategy. I would have liked to see them take a chance on the loud tools of Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin given their need for impact offensive players, but Williams is a fine pickup.

Texas Rangers

27 of 29

    Justin Foscue
    Justin FoscueNati Harnik/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 14 Overall): Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

    After hitting .241 with a .685 OPS as a freshman, Foscue exploded for a .331/.395/.564 line with 22 doubles, 14 home runs and 60 RBI during his sophomore season at Mississippi State.

    The starting second baseman for the collegiate national team last summer, Foscue has a higher floor than Mississippi State teammate and fellow Day 1 prospect Jordan Westburg. That said, he'll need to prove he can stick at the keystone, or else a move to left field will put significantly more pressure on his bat.

    Grade: C

    This was a reach. Foscue is one of the more polished college hitters in this class, but he doesn't offer much in the way of upside. In terms of both offensive and defensive profile, he's actually quite similar to current Rangers player Nick Solak.

Toronto Blue Jays

28 of 29

    Austin Martin
    Austin MartinRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 5 Overall): Austin Martin, SS, Vanderbilt

    Martin hit .368/.474/.532 with 57 extra-base hits in 140 games at Vanderbilt, tallying more walks (85) than strikeouts (82) while showing the best pure hit tool in the 2020 draft class.

    He might never hit more than 20 home runs in a season, and it's still unclear exactly where he fits defensively, but he makes loud contact to all fields and will immediately have one of the best hit tools in the minors.

    He was expected to get a chance to show that he could handle shortstop this spring before the season was canceled, and he has also seen time at second base, third base and center field. His optimal position can be figured out in due time, as all signs point to his bat playing anywhere.

    Grade: A+

    The Blue Jays can worry about how Martin fits defensively once the time comes. He was announced as a shortstop, so it seems they'll give him the chance to prove himself that he didn't get at Vandy this spring. Adding the best pure hitter in the class to an already talented young core is a huge win for a Toronto team on the rise. Great pick.

Washington Nationals

29 of 29

    Cade Cavalli
    Cade CavalliDan Anderson/Associated Press

    First Round (No. 22 Overall): Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

    After tossing just 17.1 innings as a freshman, Cavalli showed an electric fastball-slider combination in his move to the starting rotation as a sophomore, though the shift came with a middling 59-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 60.1 innings.

    A dominant start to the 2020 season saw him rack up 37 strikeouts against just five walks in 23.2 innings, and his draft stock soared. He has a durable 6'4", 226-pound frame and has gone up to 98 mph with his fastball, giving him front-line upside if he can continue on this developmental path. He'll also need to avoid further injury issues after he missed time last spring with a stress reaction in his arm.

    Grade: A

    The Nationals have never shied away from high-risk, high-reward pitching prospects, and guys like Lucas Giolito and Jesus Luzardo have already exceeded their draft position, albeit while pitching elsewhere. Cavalli has as good a chance of developing into an impact starter as any of the second-tier arms. Good pick and great fit.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.