2020 MLB Draft Results: Easy-to-View Grades for Each Franchise

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 12, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2019, file photo, Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson bats during an NCAA college baseball game against Notre Dame,  in Phoenix. Arizona State’s 15-0 start is its best since going 24-0 to open 2010. Torkelson is batting .387 with 20 RBIs and is among the leaders of one of the top offensive teams in the nation.(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

One of the weirder MLB drafts in history was completed Thursday night. 

As part of a cost-cutting measure during the coronavirus pandemic, the league shortened the annual event from 40 rounds to just five, saving teams on average about $30 million, according to the Associated Press (h/t USA Today). 

The truncated draft meant fewer players would see their pro baseball dreams realized, and those who remained without a team once it concluded would be limited to signing bonuses of $20,000 or less on the open market—and would be exempt from earning at least minimum wage in the minor leagues.

Over two days, Major League Baseball clubs participated in the virtual event and tried to shape the futures of their franchises. Here's a look at how each team fared.

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MLB Draft Grades

Arizona Diamondbacks: B- (Best Pick: No. 33 Slade Cecconi)

Atlanta Braves: C (Best Pick: No. 156 Bryce Elder)

Baltimore Orioles: B+ (Best Pick: No. 2 Heston Kjerstad)

Boston Red Sox: B (Best Pick: No. 118 Jordan Blaze)

Chicago Cubs: A+ (Best Pick: No. 51 Burl Carraway)

Chicago White Sox: B (Best Pick: No. 47 Jared Kelley)

Cincinnati Reds: B- (Best Pick: No. 12 Austin Hendrick)

Cleveland Indians: B+ (Best Pick: No. 23 Carson Tucker)

Colorado Rockies: A- (Best Pick: No. 9 Zac Veen)

Detroit Tigers: A+ (Best Pick: No. 1 Spencer Torkelson)

Houston Astros: C- (Best Pick: No. 101 Ty Brown)

Kansas City Royals: B+ (Best Pick: No. Asa Lacy)

Los Angeles Angels: B (Best Pick: No. 10 Reid Detmers)

Los Angeles Dodgers: A (Best Pick: No. 66 Clayton Beeter)

Miami Marlins: B+ (Best Pick: No. 3 Max Meyer)

Milwaukee Brewers: B (Best Pick: No. 20 Garrett Mitchell)

Minnesota Twins: C+ (Best Pick: No.  27 Aaron Sabato)

New York Mets: B+ (Best Pick: No. 69 Isaiah Greene)

New York Yankees: B- (Best Pick: No. 28 Austin Wells)

Oakland Athletics: B- (Best Pick: No. 58 Jeff Criswell)

Philadelphia Phillies: A (Best Pick: No. 87 Casey Martin)

Pittsburgh Pirates: A (Best Pick: No. 7 Nick Gonzales)

San Diego Padres: B- (Best Pick: No. 8 Robert Hassell III)

San Francisco Giants: B- (Best Pick: No. 117 Casey Schmitt)

Seattle Mariners: A- (Best Pick: No. 6 Emerson Hancock)

St. Louis Cardinals: B+ (Best Pick: No. 21 Jordan Walker)

Tampa Bay Rays: B+ (Best Pick: No. 24 Nick Bitsko)

Texas Rangers: C+ (Best Pick: No. 14 Justin Foscue)

Toronto Blue Jays: A (Best Pick: No. 5 Austin Martin)

Washington Nationals: (Best Pick: No. 71 Samuel Infante)

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Schools with the most players selected in the 2020 #MLBDraft: 5⃣ @ASU_Baseball 4⃣ @umichbaseball @OU_Baseball @VandyBoys 3⃣ @HailStateBB @AggieBaseball @LouisvilleBSB @CanesBaseball @Vol_Baseball Complete @MLBDraft Tracker: https://t.co/1QTMpZLSHH

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There were 66 college pitchers (4-year or junior college) selected in the 2020 MLB Draft, the most through 5 rounds in MLB Draft history. https://t.co/SHZbiz3bFm


Best Drafts

Detroit Tigers

It's hard to nitpick a draft when the team with the No. 1 pick takes the obvious No. 1 selection. 

Last year it was the Baltimore Orioles grabbing catcher Adley Rutschman. This year it's the Tigers taking corner infielder Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State.

While Torkelson played first base in college, it appears Detroit would like to slot him at third. It shouldn't matter as much as what he's able to do with the bat, which is what made him such a coveted prospect. The California native led all of Division I with 25 home runs as a freshman and hit 23 more last year as a sophomore.

He slashed .340/.598/.780 in 17 games until the coronavirus pandemic put college baseball on hiatus.

In Detroit he joins a farm system teeming with Major League talent such as left-handed pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, right-hander Matt Manning and outfielder Riley Greene.

The Tigers are angling for a quick rebuild, and adding Torkelson is one way to speed up the process for a club that's been out of the postseason since 2014.


Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs may have had the best first two picks of any club in the draft. 

With the No. 16 overall selection, the Cubs took shortstop and Chicago native Ed Howard, who helped guide Jackie Robinson West to a captivating Little League World Series appearance only six years ago.

The high school prospect developed his game on the south side of town via the White Sox ACE program. Despite holding the No. 11 pick, the Sox went with pitcher Garrett Crochet instead, leaving the Cubs to grab Howard.

That was already a win before the North Siders grabbed left-handed hurler Burl Carraway at No. 51 overall. 

The scouts at MLB.com believe Carraway could be the first player from the 2020 draft to reach the big leagues, and Baseball America named him the top college reliever in his class.

Chicago's farm system has been rather depleted in recent years thanks to a mix of players earning a spot in the majors or getting traded away for other pieces to help keep open the club's championship window. 

Fourth-round pick Luke Little is another intriguing pitcher who, at 19, has been seen hitting 105 miles per hour in a gym. Little has already committed to South Carolina to play college ball, and with an estimated slot value of $490,000, it might not be enough to entice him to turn pro just yet.

Either way, this year's draft should help the Cubs restock a bit as they look to turn multiyear success into sustained winning—something that's remained more elusive to the franchise than the World Series.


Philadelphia Phillies  

Since Bryce Harper is locked in until 2031, it makes sense the Phillies are thinking long term with their draft strategy.

Even still, they made the most of their four picks this year, grabbing righty Mick Abel at No. 15 and picking up shortstop Casey Martin at No. 87 overall—despite being ranked No. 30 by MLB.com.

Here's what MLB's scouts have to say about Martin:

"He's one of the best athletes in the 2020 college crop and is Arkansas' toolsiest prospect since Andrew Benintendi went seventh overall in the 2015 Draft, but a poor start to the shortened 2020 season could drop him out of the first round. An explosive athlete, Martin offers an exciting combination of power and speed. He records run times that grade from 70-80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, though he's still learning how to translate that quickness into stolen bases. He has the potential to be a 25-25 player but gets overly homer-conscious and his right-handed swing gets too uphill, leading to strikeouts. If Martin can slow the game down a bit offensively and defensively, he can be a star. His quickness and solid arm strength give him the tools to play a number of positions and perhaps stay at shortstop if he becomes more consistent. He played a fine third base as a freshman and definitely would fit in center field, though he should be able to stay on the dirt."

Philly grabbed another pitcher in the fourth round in Carson Ragsdale, but will need to be patient after Tommy John surgery ended his 2019 season early.

Time is no matter right now. The club has a chance to open a large championship window, and all eyes are on the future.


Toronto Blue Jays

Despite solid youth in the infield with Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays couldn't pass up an opportunity to take the best player available on the board with the fifth pick of the first round: Austin Martin.

Martin played shortstop, second base and third base at Vanderbilt and could slide to either if needed. That is a good problem to have for a team like Toronto, which is seeing its farm system quickly deplete as the current crop of minor leaguers joins the show.

MLB.com called Martin the best pure hitter in the draft and ranked him No. 2 overall in this year's class. That he fell to the Blue Jays at No. 5 made him tough to pass up.

Behind him is second-rounder CJ Van Eyk, a right-handed pitcher out of Florida State, whose fastball sits at 93-95 miles per hour. He can also run his curveball with 12-to-6 action rather efficiently.

Martin could end up in the Blue Jays' starting rotation over time and offers the type of tools and pitch arsenal that will have developmental coaches rushing to work with him.


Full draft results available at MLB.com.