2020 MLB Draft: First-Round Mock 3.0

The 2020 MLB draft features plenty of unknowns, starting with the date and length. This year’s MLB draft will be unlike any other due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially if its only five rounds. 

This year’s class will be challenging to scout with the prep and collegiate seasons canceled, which likely will cause the first round to be extremely college heavy. This mock draft features some changes from my last mock draft on March 22 after talking to advisors, scouts and players.

Remember, the Houston Astros forfeited their first-round and second-round picks in each of the next two years due to the illegal sign-stealing incident.

If you are looking for more draft content, stay tuned to the Baseball Prospect Journal. There are 40 in-depth profiles on this year’s top MLB draft prospects already published on the Baseball Prospect Journal and many more will be coming out in the upcoming months.

1. Detroit Tigers: Austin Martin, SS, Vanderbilt

There were at least five players in the mix for the top overall pick, but with the coronavirus, it likely limits the Tigers options to Austin Martin and Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson. Although Torkelson is an elite hitter, no college first baseman has gone first overall in the draft. Martin is the likelier bet to be the Tigers’ pick due to his five-tool potential, which includes impressive defensive versatility. 

2. Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Spencer Torkelson has major raw power. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound slugging first baseman hit .337 with 48 home runs in his first two seasons at Arizona State. He profiles as a first baseman in pro ball but did gain experience playing right field in the Cape Cod League. He has a quick, compact swing from the right side of the plate. His profile as a right-handed hitting first baseman, which hurts his draft stock.

3. Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

Asa Lacy was nearly unhittable in four starts this spring. The 6-4, 215-pound lefty used his mid-to-upper 90s fastball and devastating off-speed pitches to limit opposing batters to nine hits and eight walks while striking out 46 to record a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings.

Lacy and Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock are the top two pitchers in this year’s draft. Unlike Hancock, Lacy has shown consistency and a better overall feel for pitching over the last three seasons.

4. Kansas City Royals: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

Garrett Mitchell is an all-around player who profiles as a center fielder in the professional ranks. He is an above-average defensive player, possessing elite speed and solid arm strength. He has the chance to hit for average and power in pro ball with his quick left-handed swing while also using his speed to steal bases.

5. Toronto Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

Emerson Hancock is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound righty who has a high-90s fastball, an effective curveball and a changeup that shows above-average potential. He was a possible option for the first-overall pick this year but was inconsistent against average competition in his four starts this spring. He posted a 3.75 ERA with 34 strikeouts, three walks and 22 hits allowed in 24 innings against Richmond, Santa Clara, Georgia Tech and UMass.

Hancock still projects as a No. 1 starter in pro ball but the buzz around him isn’t as strong as it was two months ago.

6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State

Nick Gonzales has thrived offensively throughout his collegiate career. He hit five home runs in a game this season and finished the year batting .448 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 58 at-bats. 

He’s played at 3,900 feet above sea level at New Mexico State, but his success last summer in the Cape Cod League has quieted some of the critics. He played shortstop this spring but profiles as an offensive-minded second baseman in pro ball.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek (Fla.) HS

Zac Veen has a complete set of tools. He has the potential to stick in center field but might be better suited for a corner position. The 6-4, 190-pound left-handed hitter has the chance to be an impact bat in pro ball, but he does have some swing-and-miss concern in his game. 

8. San Diego Padres: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) HS

Pete Crow-Armstrong entered last summer as the top prep prospect in the draft class. But an average summer, which consisted of him getting away from his line-drive approach early on the showcase circuit, resulted in teams having concerns about his ability at the plate.

The left-handed-hitting center fielder has five-tool potential. He showed encouraging results this spring. It’ll be interesting to see how teams view Crow-Armstrong, but I believe he is the most promising prep player in this year’s draft class.

9. Colorado Rockies: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

Reid Detmers is maybe the most polished pitcher in this year’s draft class. He has the skills to at least be an effective middle-of-the-rotation pitcher who moves through the minor leagues quickly. He’s had tremendous strikeout numbers throughout his collegiate career, including 48 strikeouts in 22 innings this spring.

10. Los Angeles Angels: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

I have been extremely high on Max Meyer dating back to last summer. I put him at the back end of the first round in my first mock draft. But after he thrived in his four starts this spring, posting a 1.95 ERA with 46 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 2/3 innings, he’s improved his draft stock. He throws a fastball that reaches triple digits and a devastating slider despite being slightly undersized at 6-0, 185 pounds.

11. Chicago White Sox: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny (Pa.) HS

Austin Hendrick, a lefty hitter, has elite raw power for a high schooler and profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat in pro ball. He is a good athlete and has a strong arm. Although he likely could play center field, he profiles better in right field.

12. Cincinnati Reds: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee  

Garrett Crochet is a 6-6, 218-pound lefty that has all the makings of being a No. 1 starter in pro ball. His four-seam fastball sat in the high-90s and touched 99 mph in fall practices. He missed several starts this spring with a back injury but returned to make one start, allowing two hits and striking out six batters in 3 1/3 innings.

12. San Francisco Giants: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma 

Cade Cavalli thrived as Oklahoma’s ace last season, despite missing three weeks with a stress reaction in his right arm. He believes the injury was related to poor mechanics, which he’s cleaned up this offseason. Cavalli is 6-4, 218 pounds with his fastball that touches 98 mph.

14. Texas Rangers: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS

Jared Kelly, a 6-2, 200-pound right-hander, throws a mid-to-high-90s fastball with ease. He has confidence in his swing-and-miss changeup and displays potential with his slider. He projects as a frontline starter.

15. Philadelphia Phillies: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

Heston Kjerstad has been a consistent power hitter in his first two years at Arkansas. The 6-3, 200-pound left-handed hitter uses all parts of the field but is an aggressive hitter, which leads to strikeouts at times. He is a bat-first player who likely will play right fielder in pro ball. He has a strong arm but average speed.

16: Chicago Cubs: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS 

Ed Howard is a slick-fielding shortstop from Chicago with big-time potential. He makes all the throws from shortstop, as he has great range, clean footwork, and a strong and accurate arm. He has a slightly open stance with a simple load that allows him to be quick to the ball and produce line drives. He has the potential to add more power as he matures. 

17. Boston Red Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State

Patrick Bailey is the top college catcher in this year’s draft. He’s a defensive-first catcher, who possesses athleticism, above-average arm strength and solid receiving skills. He is a switch hitter who has solid raw power and plate discipline from both sides of the plate.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks-East (Pa.) HS

Nick Bitsko is a 6-4, 220-pound right-hander who reclassified from the 2021 draft to this year’s draft. He’s in the running to be the top prep arm in this year’s draft and offers a lot of projection and potential to profile as a potential No. 1 pitcher in pro ball. He is committed to the University of Virginia.

19. New York Mets: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence (Tenn.) HS

Robert Hassell has a beautiful left-handed swing and consistently barrels up pitches. He currently has solid raw power. He has a chance to stick in center field, but he might end up in a corner position in pro ball.

20. Milwaukee Brewers: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech

Clayton Beeter enhanced his draft stock in his four starts this spring. The 6-2, 220-pound righty served primarily as Texas Tech’s closer as a redshirt freshman last season. He earned All-American honors last year and returned this season as Texas Tech’s No. 1 starter. In 21 innings, Beeter recorded a 2.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts (14.1 per nine innings) and four walks allowed this season. He has an electric repertoire that’s headlined by his mid-90s fastball and above-average breaking ball.

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS

Dylan Crews is one of the best hitters in the draft class. The 6-0, 175-pound right-handed hitter shows an ability to hit for average and power. He profiles as a right fielder in pro ball. He struggled with consistency and too much swing and miss during the summer.

22. Washington Nationals: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

Carmen Mlodzinski missed most of last season with a broken foot but thrived in the Cape Cod League. The 6-2, 232-pound right-hander has the intangibles to be a future top-of-the-rotation arm.

23. Cleveland Indians: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia

Cole Wilcox is a draft-eligible sophomore and has as much potential as any pitcher in the MLB draft class. He isn’t as polished as Hancock or some of the other top college arms, but he has an intriguing repertoire of pitches that is headlined by a high-90s fastball. He profiles as a top-of-the-rotation arm.

24. Tampa Bay Rays: CJ Van Eyk, RHP, Florida State

CJ Van Eyk is a 6-1, 185-pound right who has a solid three-pitch repertoire that he overwhelms hitters with. He also mixes his pitches well to throw off hitters. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, while his 12-to-6 curveball is his best pitch and consistently generates swings-and-misses.

25. Atlanta Braves: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur (Ga.) HS

He’s one of the top prep infield prospects in this year’s draft class. He features above-average power from the right side of the plate from his 6-5, 212-pound frame. He’s committed to Duke and it’ll be interesting to see which route Walker selects, as his parents attended MIT and Harvard.

26. Oakland Athletics: Austin Wells, C, Arizona

Austin Wells is an offensive-minded catcher who is a draft-eligible sophomore. The left-handed hitter has power to all fields. The biggest question is Wells’ future defensive position, as he has work to do if he wants to stay behind the plate in pro ball.

27. Minnesota Twins: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

Tanner Burns is a 6-0, 215-pound right-hander who has a strong and athletic build. He throws a mid-90s fastball. He might not have the upside as some of the other college pitchers but profiles as an effective major-league starter.

28. New York Yankees: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS

Tyler Soderstrom is a well-rounded catcher, but his top trait is his offensive ability. He has quick hands that generate bat speed, which allows him to consistently barrel up pitches from the left side of the plate. Prep catchers are a risky demographic, but Soderstrom has intriguing tools and potential.

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS

Mick Abel is a 6-6, 185-pound righty who has a mid-90s fastball and an above-average curveball. He also throws a slider and changeup. The right-hander has a clean, fluid delivery that offers projection and the potential for him to have three above-average pitches. He’s an Oregon State commit.

Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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  1. Hey Dan – thank you for the Mock Draft.

    Is there any chance the Orioles opt for Nick Gonzales with the #2 pick?

    Thank you.

    • Hey Patrick – I would be surprised if they went that route at No. 2. I just think there’s more value with Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin. Torkelson is one of the best hitting prospects there’s been in the draft in some time and is very much in play with the Tigers at No. 1. Martin has five-tool potential and can play shortstop and center field. Gonzales is in play with the Marlins at No. 3 and then obviously any spot after that. Thank you for reading!

  2. No chance Soderstrom waits that long to come off the board. The 2 catcher’s you have ahead of him don’t project as well as him. I’ve see all 3 up close.

    • Thank you for reading! Stay tuned later this week for an updated mock draft, as this one is from a month ago. Soderstrom will be much higher, as I’ve received more feedback on him from scouts since this mock was published.

  3. Hey Dan,

    I think your draft is logical. Very concerned about the Angels taking the right potential frontline pitcher. Why wouldn’t they take one of the larger pitchers on your list that fall just after they pick at 10, who also throw hard and have elite secondary pitches? What is it about Max Meyer that sets him apart from the others and is worth overlooking his smaller size?


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