Draft Day 1: Pick-by-pick rundown, analysis

June 11th, 2020

Day 1 of the 2020 MLB Draft is in the books, with analysis of all 37 selections below. The Draft will conclude with Rounds 2-5 on Thursday, live on MLB Network, ESPN2 and MLB.com, starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Round 1

1. Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Arizona State
No surprise here because everyone thought the Tigers were taking Torkelson. It is the right choice because he is a special offensive talent, maybe the best in the Draft since Mark Teixeira in 2001. Though Torkelson played first base in college, the Tigers announced him as a third baseman, and he may be able to stick there, but it doesn’t really matter if he winds up at first base because his bat will play anywhere. More >

2. Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
Kjerstad is the best left-handed power hitter in this Draft, but it is a surprise to see him go here, as we had him ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the Draft. I thought that the Orioles would go with Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin, but Kjerstad’s swing is built for Camden Yards, and he should get there very quickly. More >

3. Marlins: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
This will not go down as one of my best mock drafts, because I thought this pick would come down to Vanderbilt outfielder Austin Martin vs. Texas A&M lefty Asa Lacy. That said, nothing wrong with grabbing the most electric arm available. Meyer’s slider is the best pitch in this Draft, and his fastball can reach 100 mph as well. I have no questions about him making it as a starter, even if he’s slightly shorter than desired (6-foot). His stuff would play in the Majors this year if Miami wanted. More >

4. Royals: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
After taking three college pitchers in the first round in 2018 (Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch), the Royals get another one here with Lacy. They didn’t necessarily know he would be available at No. 4, but they were glad to take a lefty who has three plus pitches at times in a heavy 92-97 mph fastball, an improved slider and a devastating changeup. Kansas City’s rotation of the future should be fun to watch. More >

5. Blue Jays: Austin Martin, SS, Vanderbilt
This is a nice get for the Blue Jays, landing the best pure hitter in the Draft at No. 5 after most of us thought he would go second overall. There is no question in my mind that he is going to hit. In addition, he has some deceptive power and is a quality athlete with the versatility to play a lot of positions. There were some questions about his throwing this spring, so announcing him as shortstop is interesting, but it’s worth seeing if he can play there. At worst, he should be able to play a solid second base and center field. More >

6. Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Hancock entered the year as MLB Pipeline’s top-rated prospect, and I don’t think the Mariners would have believed it had they been told he'd be available at No. 6. He combines stuff and polish as well as any pitcher in this Draft, and I see a lot of similarities between him and Casey Mize, who went No. 1 overall to the Tigers in 2018. He commands a fastball that reaches 99 mph, and he flashes three plus secondary pitches. He has frontline starter written all over him. More >

7. Pirates: Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State
It was no secret that the Pirates were looking at college hitters, and they came away with a guy who led NCAA Division I in hitting last year and home runs this spring -- and won the Cape Cod League MVP Award in between. He reminds me so much of Milwaukee’s Keston Hiura and should race to the big leagues just as quickly. The Pirates may try him at shortstop, but he’s best suited for second base. More >

8. Padres: Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence (Tenn.) HS
For the first time in Draft history, the first high school player wasn't taken until eighth overall. The previous record was seventh overall (Clayton Kershaw) back in 2006. Hassell, the first high schooler off the board, has a pretty left-handed swing, impressive hand-eye coordination and is the best pure hitter in this year’s prep class. He’s a hit-over-power guy, but he has enough strength and hitting ability to be a 20-homer hitter, and he may be able to stick in center field, too. He’s also a left-handed pitcher who can push his fastball to 93 mph, but there’s no question his future is as a position player. More >

9. Rockies: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek (Fla.) HS
I really thought Veen was going fourth or fifth overall, and the Rockies coveted him, so they have to be thrilled. Our top-rated high school prospect (No. 7 on our Draft rankings) offers the best combination of hitting ability and power in the prep class, and he has earned comparisons to Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. He should put up huge numbers at Coors Field and may fit better at a corner than in center there. More >

10. Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
The Angels get the most polished pitcher in the entire Draft with Detmers. He reminds me a lot of another former Louisville star, Rays southpaw Brendan McKay, with the way their fastballs play up because of their advanced command, and with the way they can make batters look bad with their curveballs. Detmers’ floor is very high, as he’s a great bet to be at least a No. 3 starter and could potentially headline a rotation. More >

11. White Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
Crochet’s stuff took a big jump in the fall, when he hit 100 mph with his fastball, showed an improved slider and flashed a well-above-average changeup as well. Mild shoulder soreness led Tennessee to hold him out of the season’s first three weeks as a precaution, but he showed the same stuff in his lone outing of the spring before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. If he had a full season to perform, he doesn’t last 11 picks in this Draft. More >

12. Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny (Pa.) HS
The Reds were looking at high school bats and college arms, and they grabbed the best prep power hitter in the Draft in Hendrick. With his bat speed, strength and leverage, he has prodigious pop that is going to play well at Great American Ball Park. He fits the right-field profile nicely and likely will get a chance to show if he can stick in center field. More >

13. Giants: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
This pick intrigues me. I wouldn’t have thought the Giants would take another college catcher two years after taking Joey Bart No. 2 overall. But I applaud the conviction -- you have to take whoever you think is the best player, regardless of need. Bailey is a switch-hitting catcher with power from both sides and the tools to do a solid job behind the plate. I’ll be interested to see how the Bart/Bailey timeshare plays out, assuming both develop as expected. More >

14. Rangers: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
In the same mold of their top two picks from 2019 (third basemen Josh Jung of Texas Tech and Davis Wendzel of Baylor), the Rangers grabbed a polished college performer in Foscue. He’s a power-hitting second baseman who gets the job done defensively and shouldn’t need a ton of time in the Minors. More >

15. Phillies: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS
No one knew when the first high school pitcher would come off the board, and it’s here, with the Phillies getting a potential steal in Abel. He didn’t get a chance to pitch this spring because his season was cancelled before it started due to the coronavirus, but he’s polished for a prepster and has plenty of stuff: a fastball that can climb into the upper 90s, perhaps the best slider in the prep class and a promising changeup as well. Teams are skittish about the risks involved with high school righties, but this could pay off huge. More >

16. Cubs: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS
The Cubs got the best shortstop in the Draft in Howard, a local kid from a Chicago high school. He’s a smooth defender who undoubtedly will stay at the position, and I think his bat is a little underrated. I think he can hit for some power and average, and he has some solid speed as well. More >

17. Red Sox: Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) HS
This might be the most surprising first-round pick since the Cubs took Hayden Simpson 16th overall 10 years ago. It’s even more of a shock considering that the Red Sox don’t have a second-rounder after losing it as punishment for illegal sign-stealing. Yorke has a sweet right-handed swing and is one of the best pure prep hitters on the West Coast, but MLB Pipeline ranked him No. 139 on its Top 200 Draft Prospects list. He has had shoulder surgery in the past, so he may wind up at second base. More >

18. D-backs: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
The son of former big leaguer Kevin Jarvis, Bryce made a quantum leap from a year ago. A Yankees 37th-rounder as a sophomore-eligible draftee in 2019, he added 20 pounds of muscle and his stuff took off. His fastball jumped to 92-96 mph, his curveball showed flashes of becoming a plus pitch and his changeup remained his biggest out pitch (and one of the best in this Draft class). He showed off his considerable polish by throwing one perfect game and flirting with another in four starts this spring. More >

19. Mets: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) HS
The Mets were in the market for college arms, unless an attractive high school position player got to 19, and Crow-Armstrong fits that bill. He was the top-rated prep prospect entering last summer, had an uneven performance on the showcase circuit, then bounced back with a strong (albeit abbreviated) senior season. He’s a potential Gold Glove defender in center field with a chance to be a plus hitter with similar speed. More >

20. Brewers: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
Mitchell could be a huge steal here. He might have the best five-tool potential in the college class, but he slipped because he hit only six homers in two-plus years at UCLA. But he is an advanced hitter with well-above-average speed, quality center-field skills and some untapped power. More >

21. Cardinals: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur (Ga.) HS
Walker has some of the best projectable power in this Draft, with bat speed plus lots of strength and leverage in his 6-foot-5 frame. That size means he has a naturally long swing, but he also shows some feel for hitting. That’s a big body for third base, but he moves well there and if he does move, he fits the right-field profile. More >

22. Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
The Nationals coveted Jackson Rutledge at No. 17 last year and didn’t appear to have much of a shot to get him there, yet they did. It’s the same scenario this year with Cavalli, who figured to go in the teens, but Washington got its guy at No. 22. He’s the type of power arm that the Nats love, with an upper-90s fastball and a pair of power breaking pitches. More >

23. Indians: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) HS
There was a lot of buzz that Tucker -- whom we ranked No. 52 on Pipeline’s Top 200 and who is the younger brother of Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker -- had played his way into the first round with a strong spring, and he did just that. He’s a line-drive hitter who plays quicker than his average speed on the bases and in the field. More >

24. Rays: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks HS East (Pa.)
Word was that the Rays wanted to be opportunistic here and they were, grabbing the extremely intriguing Bitsko. He reclassified from the 2021 Draft to 2020 in January and didn’t get a chance to pitch in a game this spring, but Tampa Bay saw enough to buy into his ace upside. He has a strong starter’s frame, a mid-90s fastball, and one of the best curveballs in the prep class. More >

25. Braves: Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest
The state of North Carolina had three college arms who took a big step forward during the shortened 2020 season in Duke’s Bryce Jarvis (who went to the D-backs at No. 18), North Carolina State’s Nick Swiney and Shuster. Of the three, Shuster was the biggest surprise, with a fastball that tops out at 97 mph, a slurve that has shown more effectiveness and a changeup that remains impactful. He also retained the improved strike-throwing ability he demonstrated in the Cape Cod League last summer. More >

26. Athletics: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS
The son of former big leaguer Steve Soderstrom, the No. 6 overall pick in the 1993 Draft, Tyler is one of the best all-around hitters in the high school class and good value at this spot in the Draft. The question is, do you develop him as a catcher, which will take longer and take a toll on his bat, or put him at third base and go all in on the offense? I’d vote for the latter because the bat is that good and he’s athletic enough to handle the hot corner. More >

27. Twins: Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
The Twins are buying power and a lot of it with Sabato, a sophomore-eligible slugger who went deep 18 times in his lone full season at North Carolina. He combines bat speed, strength and loft in his right-handed stroke, and he draws some parallels to Pete Alonso at the same stage of their careers. He has to hit because his only positional options are first base and DH. More >

28. Yankees: Austin Wells, C, Arizona
The Yankees have an affinity for offensive-minded catchers, and Wells fits that profile. He is one of the better all-around hitters in the college class, capable of hitting for power and average. There are questions about whether he can stay behind the plate, but you hear that about a lot of catching prospects with advanced hitting ability. More >

29. Dodgers: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
That makes two Louisville pitchers taken in the first round going to Los Angeles after Reid Detmers went to the Angels at No. 10. Miller really came on in the NCAA postseason last spring and continued to rise, showcasing a mid-90s fastball with heavy life, a mid-80s slider/cutter and an intriguing splitter/changeup. More >

Competitive Balance Round A

30. Orioles: Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State
The Orioles used both of their picks from Day 1 on SEC players with power. Westburg is an offensive-minded shortstop with the potential to hit 20 or more homers per season. More >

31. Pirates: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
Mlodzinski put himself on the prospect map with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League and might have gone higher than this if he had more of a chance to build on that momentum this spring. He can touch 99 mph with his fastball and has the potential for three plus pitches if his slider and changeup continue to develop. More >

32. Royals: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
Loftin is a high-floor player with a ton of defensive versatility. He gets the job done at shortstop, started games at five positions for the U.S. collegiate national team last summer and is one of the best contact hitters in the college ranks. More >

33. D-backs: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
That’s two college righties for the D-backs tonight, with Cecconi following Bryce Jarvis (No. 18 overall). Cecconi pairs a mid-90s fastball with a mid-80s slider/cutter and could move quickly if Arizona wants to expedite him for a relief role. More >

34. Padres: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano (Texas) HS
No shock to see the Padres gamble on upside, opting for a pitcher who topped out in the low 90s at the Area Code Games last August but reached triple digits this spring. He’s raw but flashes a plus mid-80s slider, and he’s a fast-twitch athlete with one of the best bodies in the Draft. More >

35. Rockies: Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
Romo is easily the best defensive catcher in the 2020 Draft, drawing raves for his physical tools (soft hands, strong arm with quick release) as well as his leadership ability and work ethic. There are more mixed reviews of his offensive upside, but he’s a switch-hitter who should provide enough offense to be a regular. More >

36. Indians: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
The strength of this Draft is college pitchers, so I’m not surprised to see three of them go in Competitive Balance Round A. Burns is a 6-foot righty who draws comparisons to fellow former SEC star Sonny Gray with his mid-90s fastball and power breaking ball. More >

37. Rays: Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State
Williams is the best defensive shortstop in the college ranks. He’s a contact hitter who might not provide much impact at the plate but definitely will in the field. More >