The 2020 MLB draft is less than a week away. It’s been an unusual year with the coronavirus pandemic causing the cancelation of most of the spring baseball season. That will cause the 2020 MLB draft to be more unpredictable than previous years with the first round likely being college heavy.
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. The Boston Red Sox also forfeited their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB draft due to illegal sign stealing.
If you are looking for more draft content, stay tuned to the Baseball Prospect Journal. There are 61 in-depth profiles on top 2020 MLB draft prospects published on the Baseball Prospect Journal with more follow-up stories coming before June 10’s draft. You also can look through the BPJ 2020 MLB Draft Guide for the most in-depth coverage available.
Below is a mock draft of the first round. Before the start of the draft on Wednesday, I will release another two-round mock draft.
1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
This pick still seems to be up in the air with Vanderbilt infielder/outfielder Austin Martin and Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson the likely options. It all really comes down to if the Tigers want a proven power-hitting first baseman who is polished and likely will move through the minor leagues quickly or a well-rounded baseball player who likely will play a premium position in pro ball.
It appears Torkelson will be the first college first baseman to go first overall in the history of the draft.
2. Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, INF/OF, Vanderbilt
Martin excelled in his three years at Vanderbilt after receiving very little collegiate interest until his senior season of high school in 2017. Martin is the best pure hitter in this year’s draft class. He has notable bat speed and consistently makes hard content. He also displays solid plate discipline and improving power. Martin played all around the diamond in his three years at Vanderbilt.
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: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
This is where the 2020 MLB draft could start to get interesting. The Royals have a variety of options, whether that’s New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales, Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen, UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell or even a college pitcher.
Gonzalez has thrived offensively throughout his collegiate career. He hit five home runs in a game this season and finished the spring hitting .448 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 58 at-bats.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
Max Meyer has drastically improved his draft stock over the last year. 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 throws a fastball that reaches triple digits and a devastating slider, which might be the best slider in this year’s draft class, despite being slightly undersized at 6-0, 185 pounds.
6. Seattle Mariners: 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 now appears likely to be a top-six pick.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
Heston Kjerstad has been a consistent power hitter in his first three years at Arkansas. The 6-3, 200-pound left-handed hitter has above-average raw power and uses all parts of the field. He is a bat-first player who likely will play right fielder in pro ball. He has a strong arm but average speed.
8. San Diego Padres: 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. He is the top-ranked prep position player in the 2020 MLB 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: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
Garrett Mitchell is an all-around player who profiles as a center fielder in the pro 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.
11. Chicago White Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
The White Sox haven’t taken a prep player in the first round since 2012. Although they are connected to a few high school players, I still am leaning towards them selecting a college guy. 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-hitting catcher who has solid raw power and plate discipline from both sides of the plate.
12. Cincinnati Reds: 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.
13. San Francisco Giants: 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 has all the makings of being a top-of-the-rotation arm, but he didn’t pitch this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
14. Texas Rangers: 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, allowing two hits and striking out six batters in 3 1/3 innings.
15. Philadelphia Phillies: 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.
16: Chicago Cubs: 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.
17. Boston Red 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. He profiles as a right fielder in pro ball.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: 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.
19. New York Mets: 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.
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: 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. In four starts this spring, Cavalli showed strong control of his pitches. Cavalli is 6-4, 218 pounds and throws a fastball that touches 98 mph out of a clean delivery.
22. Washington Nationals: 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. There are reliever concerns with Wilcox, though. He also has leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore.
23. Cleveland Indians: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
Dillon Dingler is a defensive-mind catcher but has shown promise at the plate. He has above-average arm strength. The right-handed hitter posted a .340 batting average with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 50 at-bats in an abbreviated season this spring.
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas
Casey Martin entered the spring as a potential top-10 pick. He has blazing speed and above-average power. He has the skills to stick at shortstop and also would profile well in center field if he was moved out of the infield.
He’s a polarizing prospect due to the question marks surrounding his hitting ability. He has struggled at times against elite pitching and has displayed some swing-and-miss in his game over the last three years.
25. Atlanta Braves: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
Carmen Mlodzinski missed most of last season with a broken foot but thrived in the Cape Cod League last summer. The 6-2, 232-pound right-hander has the intangibles to be a future top-of-the-rotation arm. There is some risk with Mlodzinski since he doesn’t have the college track record, but if he pans out, there is a ton of upside.
26. Oakland Athletics: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
Nick Loftin doesn’t have one eye-popping trait but profiles as a solid all-around player in pro ball. He should stick at shortstop long term but also possess versatility that would allow him to play shortstop, second base, third base, left field and right field. He has sneaky power but is more of a line-drive hitter to all parts of the field.
27. Minnesota Twins: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Over the last three years, Bobby Miller has enhanced his status as a draft prospect at Louisville. After splitting time between the starting rotation and bullpen in his first two years, Miller excelled in an abbreviated season as a starter this spring.
28. New York Yankees: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
Slade Cecconi is a 6-foot-4, 219-pound right-handed pitcher. The draft-eligible sophomore throws a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, slider and curveball from a strong and durable frame. His fastball is his best offering and sits regularly at 96 mph.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: 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.
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.