Fast-Track to The Show: Which 2020 MLB Draft Picks Will Reach Big Leagues First?

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2020

Fast-Track to The Show: Which 2020 MLB Draft Picks Will Reach Big Leagues First?

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Round 1 of the 2020 MLB amateur draft is complete. Let the speculation begin.

    Prognosticating prospects is a notoriously inexact science, especially since we're focused on guys who have yet to play a professional inning.

    But that won't stop us from trying.

    Let's glance at the first batch of picks and identify eight first-round selections who should be on the fast track to The Show once baseball resumes.

    We considered skill, polish and MLB readiness, and we focused on guys with a relatively short path to regular big league playing time on the clubs that drafted them.

LHP Garrett Crochet, Chicago White Sox

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    Drafted: No. 11 by the Chicago White Sox

    MLB ETA: 2020

    A 6'6" lefty with a high-90s fastball, Garrett Crochet logged innings as a starter and reliever during his time with Tennessee.

    The Chicago White Sox also selected a left-hander named Chris Sale with the 13th overall pick in 2010. That's a lofty comp, but at the very least, Crochet has the tools to profile as a solid late-inning arm.

    With his advanced stuff and ability to start or come out of the bullpen, don't be surprised if the White Sox give him a look at the highest level in 2020 (assuming the season takes place).

LHP Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 10 by the Los Angeles Angels

    MLB ETA: 2020

    Left-hander Reid Detmers augments a mid-90s heater with an eye-opening curveball that helped him amass 284 strikeouts in 191 innings while posting a 3.20 ERA at Louisville.

    He'll turn 21 on July 8, and with a durable 6'2", 210-pound frame, he should be able to handle an increased workload.

    His ceiling isn't quite as high as some of the draft's other arms, but the pitching-hungry Angels could give him a look as soon as this season (again, assuming it happens) with expanded rosters in place.

RHP, Emerson Hancock, Seattle Mariners

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 6 by the Seattle Mariners

    MLB ETA: 2021

    The Seattle Mariners used 18 starting pitchers in 2019, so it's no surprise they spent their first pick on a polished college arm with a chance to fast-track to the big leagues.

    A 6'4" right-hander with a high-90s fastball and a plus slider, Emerson Hancock's 2019 season with Georgia ended early because of a lat injury, and he wobbled at times in the early going in 2020.

    For those reasons, the M's may hold back a tad on his development, but not by much. Assuming all goes well, he should be in Seattle for at least an audition by next season.

2B/SS Nick Gonzales, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 7 by the Pittsburgh Pirates

    MLB ETA: 2021

    Even considering he played his home games at the high altitude of New Mexico State in the hitter-friendly Western Athletic Conference, the .399/.502/.747 slash Nick Gonzales posted in three college campaigns leaps off the stat sheet.

    Furthermore, he proved himself by winning MVP honors last summer in the Cape Cod League, which uses wood bats.

    Gonzales has a mature plate approach and can hit for both average and power. Defensively, there's some question as to whether he'll stick at shortstop or move to second base.

    Either way, he should soon compete for playing time in the middle infield on a Pittsburgh Pirates club that's rarely shy about promoting cost-controlled young talent.

LHP Asa Lacy, Kansas City Royals

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 4 by the Kansas City Royals

    MLB ETA: 2021

    Considered by many to be the top pitcher in the draft, Asa Lacy fell to the Kansas City Royals at No. 4.

    Before his junior year at Texas A&M was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lacy owned a 0.75 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 24 innings.

    His high-90s fastball and hard slider are both MLB-quality pitches, and if he can harness his command, the rebuilding Royals should give him a look at pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium by next season—if not sooner.

OF Austin Martin, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 5 by the Toronto Blue Jays

    MLB ETA: 2021

    A solid contact hitter with plus plate discipline who hit .392 with 10 home runs as a sophomore for Vanderbilt, Austin Martin was hitting .377 with a 1.168 OPS in 16 games this year before the 2020 college season was cut short.

    He played mostly third base at Vandy but could be blocked in the Toronto Blue Jays infield by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at third base, Bo Bichette at shortstop and Cavan Biggio at second.

    His speed might facilitate a move to center field, where the Jays have a need, and that could accelerate his big league timeline.

RHP Max Meyer, Miami Marlins

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 3 by the Miami Marlins

    MLB ETA: 2021

    With an electric fastball that can touch triple digits, Max Meyer has the stuff to be a frontline starting pitcher or a shutdown late-inning reliever.

    Whichever role he fills, he could soon be doing it for the rebuilding Miami Marlins, who selected him third overall and made him the first hurler to go in the draft.

    "That's the most athletic college pitcher in this draft with the most electric stuff, and he's just about major league ready," Marlins scouting director DJ Svihlik said, per Baseball America's Kyle Glaser. "That's it."

1B/3B Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Drafted: No. 1 by the Detroit Tigers

    MLB ETA: 2021

    A corner infielder with an advanced hit tool and huge power upside, Spencer Torkelson swatted 54 home runs in 129 games at Arizona State.

    He primarily played first base in college but was announced as a third baseman at the draft by MLB Commissioner Ron Manfred.

    Wherever he ends up defensively for the rebuilding Detroit Tigers, expect to see his plus pop in the Motor City by the 2021 season—and maybe even in 2020 with expanded rosters.


    Statistics courtesy of


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