The 2020 MLB draft is here. 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. 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 and the first competitive balance round. The draft begins today with the first 37 picks while the second through fifth rounds will occur Thursday.
1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
A college first baseman has never gone first overall in the draft’s history, which dates back to 1965. Adrian Gonzalez is the only first baseman to ever hear his name called with the top pick, as the then-Florida Marlins drafted the California prep star in 2000. Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer and Andrew Vaughn are the only first baseman to go in the top-five picks since 2000.
2. Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, INF/OF, Vanderbilt
There have been rumors that the Orioles might go underslot and draft someone other than Martin with the second overall pick. There is no need for that. Martin is the best player in this year’s draft class, and the Orioles have the highest draft bonus pool this year.
Read more about the potential five-tool player and his development into a top MLB draft prospect here.
3. Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
Lacy is the top arm in this year’s draft class and has been tied to the Marlins for months. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty is the likely pick here and has the talent and potential to be a future ace for a major league pitching staff.
Read an in-depth story on Lacy’s development here.
4. Kansas City Royals: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek (Fla.) HS
It appears this pick will come down to Veen or New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzalez. College hitters are less risky than prep players, but it wouldn’t shock me to see the Royals go with the higher-ceiling player in Veen.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
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.
Read about Meyer’s development into a top MLB draft prospect here.
6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
The Mariners would be thrilled if Gonzalez falls to them. He 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.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
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.
Read more about Kjerstad’s development and baseball skills here.
8. San Diego Padres: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence (Tenn.) HS
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.
9. Colorado Rockies: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
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. There are multiple landing spots that Hancock could go before this pick.
Read more about Hancock’s development into an elite starting pitcher here.
10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
The Angels are a wild card in the draft. But 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. Garrett Mitchell would be an intriguing option here as well.
Read about Detmers’ development throughout his time at Louisville here.
11. Chicago White Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
Crochet has an impressive mix of pitches and huge potential. Tennessee pitching coach Frank Anderson, who has developed a multitude of arms for the pro ranks and has a son (Brett Anderson) in the majors, said Crochet has the best repertoire of pitches that he’s ever been around.
Read about Crochet’s development into a top pitching prospect here.
12. Cincinnati Reds: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
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 in the offseason leading up to this spring. He has big potential that the Reds likely could max out.
Read about Cavalli and his potential on the mound here.
13. San Francisco Giants: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS
Soderstrom is a well-rounded catcher, but his top trait is his offensive ability. Prep catchers are a risky demographic, but Soderstrom has intriguing tools and potential. He could move to third base or the outfield in the future.
Read more about Soderstrom’s skills and development here.
14. Texas Rangers: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
It wouldn’t shock me to see the Rangers go slightly off the board and take a college position player who ranks slightly lower on most draft boards, such as North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato or Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin. But Bailey is the best available college prospect on the board.
Read about Bailey’s skills and development into this year’s top catching prospect here.
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) HS
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 in the showcase circuit, resulted in teams having concerns about his ability at the plate. He quieted some of those critics this spring.
Read about the left-handed-hitting center fielder who has five-tool potential here.
16: Chicago Cubs: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
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.
17. Boston Red Sox: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS
The Red Sox could go in a variety of directions with this pick, but without having a second-round pick, Abel makes a lot of sense here. Abel is a 6-6, 185-pound righty who has top-of-the-rotation potential.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks-East (Pa.) HS
Bitsko is a 6-4, 220-pound right-hander who reclassified from the 2021 draft to this year’s draft. He offers a lot of projection and potential to profile as a potential No. 1 pitcher in pro ball.
19. New York Mets: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny (Pa.) HS
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 offers plenty of upside for the Mets.
20. Milwaukee Brewers: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
Beeter is one of the most underrated players in this year’s draft class and has great analytical data on his pitches, which the Brewers value in their pitchers. The Brewers also are high on Beeter and believe he can be a quality major league starter in the future, according to multiple sources.
Read about Beeter’s development into a MLB draft prospect here.
21. St. Louis Cardinals: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
Dingler is a well-rounded catcher who showed improvement this spring at the plate. He will stick behind the plate long-term but also has experience playing center field at Ohio State.
Read about Dingler’s development into a top MLB draft prospect here.
22. Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
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.
23. Cleveland Indians: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
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. The Indians haven’t selected a college player in the first round since 2014, but by going the college route here, they save bonus pool money for later on in the draft.
Read about Burns’ development at Auburn over the last three years after he was a top draft prospect out of high school here.
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS
Howard is a slick-fielding shortstop with big-time potential. He makes all the throws from shortstop while boasting a line-drive approach from the right side of the plate. He’s the top prep middle infielder in this year’s draft.
25. Atlanta Braves: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
Foscue was a consistent college performer at Mississippi State for the last two years. He doesn’t present huge upside but figures to be a consistent performer offensively and defensively. The right-handed hitter has 20-home run potential. The Braves might save some money with this pick that they could use to draft a falling prep player later in the draft.
26. Oakland Athletics: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
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.
Read an in-depth story on Loftin’s development and skills here.
27. Minnesota Twins: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Over the last three years, 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.
Read more about Miller’s development into a MLB draft prospect here.
28. New York Yankees: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
Jarvis showed an increase in fastball velocity this spring, going from at best the low-90s last year to sitting mid-90s this spring. He had a 40-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings this spring. He lacks a long track record but has solid present stuff.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) HS
Tucker has some helium, and there’s a chance he could find his way in the back end of the first round or early second round. He’s the second-best prep middle infielder in this year’s draft class and has all the tools to stick at shortstop long-term.
Read about Tucker and how he’s leaned on his brother, who plays for the Pirates, throughout the draft process here.
Competitive Balance Round A
30. Baltimore Orioles: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS
Kelley, a 6-2, 200-pound right-hander, throws a mid-to-high-90s fastball with ease. Prep right-handed pitching is always the riskiest demographic in the draft. Kelley could easily be a first-round pick based on his current mix of pitches.
Read an in-depth story about Kelley and his development into an MLB draft prospect here.
31. Pittsburgh Pirates: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
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.
Read about Cecconi’s skills and development at Miami here.
32. Kansas City Royals: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
McMahon is a safer college arm that has a higher floor than some of the arms in this year’s draft class. He projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He has an above-average fastball that sits mid-90s and compliments that with a solid changeup.
33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Austin Wells, C, Arizona
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.
34. San Diego Padres: Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
Sabato could easily go higher than this pick, and it would be a great value pick for the Padres. Sabato is a big power hitter with most of his value tied to that tool.
Read about Sabato’s development into an MLB draft prospect here.
35. Colorado Rockies: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
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.
Read an in-depth story on Mlodinski and why he’s in the mix to be a first-round pick here.
36. Cleveland Indians: Blaze Jordan, 1B, DeSoto Central (Miss.) HS
Jordan has been on the radar of major league teams for a couple of years now. He’s a power hitter who is more power over hit right now. He needs to be developed but has notable potential.
37. Tampa Bay Rays: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano (Texas) HS
Lange, a 6-4, 220-pound righty, has a lot of potential and a really good fastball that sits in the mid-90s. His slider is a solid secondary pitch. Lange has a huge ceiling but a team will have to spend a lot of time developing him so he can reach his potential.
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.