It's still 12 months away, but the 2020 Draft is shaping up to be the best since 2011, when the first 11 picks included Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and George Springer. Mookie Betts and Kyle Hendricks were just two of several notable later-round steals.
After a 2019 Draft during which scouts bemoaned the lack of college pitchers worthy of the first round, there will be no such complaints next year. MLB Pipeline's top-rated 2020 prospect is Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock, and two more college arms factor into our projections for the first 10 picks below. If we extended our way-too-early mock draft to 20, another half-dozen would have made it, including Auburn righty Tanner Burns, Louisville lefty Reid Detmers and a second Bulldogs righty in Cole Wilcox.
The Draft order below is based on standings through Sunday's games. Interestingly, four of the first five selections belong to the exact same teams that held them in 2019, with the Blue Jays the lone exception at No. 3.
1. Orioles: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Teams will monitor his health closely after he missed two starts with a lat injury this spring and his command slipped afterward, but he runs his fastball up to 98 mph, has a potential out pitch in his slider and possesses two more effective offerings in his changeup and curveball. If Hancock were eligible as a sophomore this June, he would have been the first pitcher selected.
2. Royals: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
He shattered Barry Bonds' school freshman home run record with 25 homers in 2018, then went deep 22 more times this spring. The premier power prospect in the 2020 Draft, Torkelson is similar to Andrew Vaughn (this year's No. 3 overall choice by the White Sox) with maybe a bit less pure hitting ability and a little more pop.
3. Blue Jays: Austin Martin, 3B, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt's JJ Bleday went fourth overall to the Marlins last week and Martin could top his teammate a year from now. He leads the Southeastern Conference in hitting (.410) and on-base percentage (.503) heading into the College World Series, a tribute to his terrific feel for the barrel, and he also has developing power and possesses solid defensive ability at multiple infield spots.
4. Marlins: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Studio City, Calif.)
The best prospect in the high school crop, he's an advanced hitter with power potential and well above-average speed. Crow-Armstrong also plays a quality center field and performed well on the 18-and-under U.S. national team last fall as a rising junior in a lineup that included five 2019 first-rounders.
5. Tigers: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
His hitting ability, speed, arm and center-field defense already earn some plus grades from evaluators, and he has the bat speed to develop the same kind of power. Mitchell was the best all-around offensive player (.349/.418/.566, 32 extra-base hits, 26 steals) in a deep UCLA lineup that also featured Rockies first-rounder Michael Toglia and Cubs second-rounder Chase Strumpf.
6. Mariners: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas
Martin offers an exciting power-speed combination for a player who has the quickness and arm to be an asset at shortstop, though he'll need to make more consistent contact at the plate.
7. Giants: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
Lacy ranked third in NCAA Division I in opponent average (.162) and eighth in strikeout rate (13.2 per nine innings) as a sophomore, a tribute to his ability to miss bats with four pitches: a 92-95 mph fastball, a tantalizing changeup and a pair of distinct breaking balls in his curveball and slider.
8. Reds: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
The class of the 2020 catchers, Bailey is a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate as well as solid throwing, receiving and blocking skills.
9. Nationals: Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS
Crews could be a right-handed version of Riley Greene, whom the Tigers just drafted fifth overall, as a Florida prep outfielder who should hit for average and power and has improved his athleticism.
10. Pirates: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State
A Dodgers 2018 first-rounder who'll be eligible again as a sophomore next year, Ginn helped pitch Mississippi State to the College World Series with his mid-90s fastball and wipeout mid-80s slider.