23 MLB Development program alums taken in Draft

June 13th, 2020

The 2020 Draft saw 23 alumni of MLB’s baseball development programs selected across all five rounds. The programs include the following:

Breakthrough Series: A joint effort by USA Baseball and MLB that focuses on developing the player on and off the field through seminars, mentorship, gameplay, scout evaluations, video coverage and the highest level of instruction all while providing a platform for the players to perform for scouts and collegiate coaches. The events are completely cost-free, with USA Baseball covering expenses for the players.

Dream Series: A joint effort by USA Baseball and MLB that hosts a diverse group of high school players in a special development camp atmosphere as well as a showcase for professional scouts and collegiate recruiters. Participants receive daily presentations from former Major Leaguers, scouts, college administrators and other industry professionals that prepare them for collegiate and professional recruiting processes and offer information about alternative careers within the baseball industry.

Hank Aaron Invitational: A joint effort by MLB, the MLB Players Association, USA Baseball and the Atlanta Braves that serves as a youth-oriented, on-field diversity initiative that aims to get high school-age players with diverse backgrounds to the next levels of the game.

Prospect Development Pipeline: A collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball to establish an official identification and player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States.

RBI: The Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities is an MLB youth outreach program designed to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth, and promote greater inclusion of youth with diverse backgrounds into the mainstream of the game.

States Play: A joint effort by USA Baseball and MLB that showcases some of the best rising seniors from “rival states” among those that historically produce many collegiate and professional players. Former Major Leaguers with personal and professional histories in the states in question serve as coaches for each team. The event gives youth players opportunities for unique PDP assessments which are supported on-site by USA Baseball. The inaugural tournament pitted Texas against California in 2018, and the ‘19 iteration was Florida against Georgia.

Below are the alumni of these programs who heard their names called in the 2020 Draft:

Robert Hassell III, OF, Padres (No. 8 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Many consider Hassell to be the best pure high school hitter in this year’s Draft class. He hit .423 with 14 homers and 22 steals out of the leadoff spot last year for Independence (Tenn.) High while also hitting 93 mph on the mound. Hassell faced Mo’ne Davis in the 2014 Little League World Series, when she tossed a two-hit shutout against Hassell’s South Nashville team. More >

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Austin Hendrick, OF, Reds (No. 12 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Hendrick’s bat speed is described as “utterly elite.” The West Allegheny (Pa.) outfielder once played on the Collier Township Little League that also lost to Davis’ Taney (Philadelphia) team in the state championship round. In 2019, Hendrick won the Under Armour All-America Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. More >

Mick Abel, RHP, Phillies (No. 15 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
The Jesuit (Ore.) high school grad has been throwing bullpen sessions with former Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, the Orioles’ No. 1 overall selection in last year’s Draft, and has drawn comparisons to MLB stars Stephen Strasburg and Mike Soroka. He posted a 1.26 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 72 1/3 innings for Jesuit in 2019, and was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Oregon in both ‘19 and ‘20. More >

Ed Howard, SS, Cubs (No. 16 overall)
Program(s): Breakthrough Series, Hank Aaron Invitational, Prospect Development Pipeline, RBI
Howard played for the Jackie Robinson West Little League club that won the U.S. championship but was later disqualified for including players who resided outside the league’s official boundaries. He went on to star at Mount Carmel High School on the South Side of Chicago, rising from that tough experience as a kid to develop intangibles that have impressed scouts. More >

Jordan Walker, 3B, Cardinals (No. 21 overall)
Program(s): Breakthrough Series, Dream Series, Prospect Development Pipeline
Walker might rank among the best recruits in the history of Duke baseball, but his odds of becoming a Blue Devil are now greatly reduced after his first-round selection. He is the son of parents who attended MIT and Harvard, respectively, and established himself as one of the Draft’s top corner-infield prospects with big power potential in his 6-foot-5 frame. More >

Carson Tucker, SS, Indians (No. 23 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Tucker is the younger brother of Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, who made his big league debut last season. At No. 23 overall, Carson becomes the highest drafted player out of Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) High School, beating out his brother by one spot. More >

Tyler Soderstrom, OF, Athletics (No. 26 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Soderstrom is the son of Steve Soderstrom, who was drafted No. 6 overall by the Giants in 1993 out of Fresno State and pitched one season in the big leagues. Now that the A's have selected Tyler, the Soderstroms are now the 10th father-son duo who were both drafted in the first round. More >

Drew Romo, C, Rockies (No. 35 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Romo is an outstanding defender who made significant progress at the plate last summer. The program at his alma mater, The Woodlands (Texas) High, has produced five big leaguers, including current stars Paul Goldschmidt and Jameson Taillon. Romo has started for the U.S. 18-and-under national team for the past two years and could be a future Gold Glove Award winner behind home plate. More >

Daxton Fulton, LHP, Marlins (No. 40 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
An 18-year-old out of Mustang (Okla.) high school, Fulton was considered the best high school lefty in the Draft by MLB Pipeline. He was Pipeline’s 43rd overall Draft prospect, and might have been a first-round selection if not for Tommy John surgery, which he had in September. More >

Ben Hernandez, RHP, Royals (No. 41 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Hernandez was ranked as the No. 72 prospect in the Draft by MLB Pipeline. He has a fastball in the 90-95 mph range, and scouts say his best pitch is his changeup -- considered the best changeup in the 2020 high school class. He had strong performances in the inaugural PDP League and the Under Armour All-America Game. More >

Jared Jones, RHP, Pirates (No. 44 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
A two-way standout in high school that the Pirates drafted as a pitcher, Jones has arm strength that makes him highly projectable, with a fastball that reaches 96-97 mph. Just how strong is his arm? One of his throws from the outfield was measured at 100 mph last year. More >

Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals (No. 54 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Wynn is considered a legitimate two-way prospect, with the ability to reach the upper 90s with his fastball, plus raw power at the plate, with his strong arm in play at shortstop. He’s thought to have a higher ceiling on the mound, with two high-spin-rate pitches in the fastball and his 79-82 mph curveball. More >

Tink Hence, RHP, Cardinals (No. 63 overall)
Program(s): Breakthrough Series, Dream Series
The 17-year-old Hence is undersized but has the potential to stay as a starter given his arsenal, athleticism and ability to repeat a sound delivery. He has a fast arm, with a fastball up to 96 mph and a slider at 76-81 mph. More >

Jackson Miller, C, Reds (No. 65 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Miller is more athletic than the typical catcher, with an offensively-minded approach according to scouting reports. He runs well and is aggressive on the basepaths, and has an above-average arm behind the plate which could help him develop into a good defensive catcher. More >

Isaiah Greene, OF, Mets (No. 69 overall)
Program(s): Breakthrough Series, Hank Aaron Invitational
Greene has notable raw tools, with good speed that will allow him to stay in center field and a strong arm. If he finds more power with his contact-oriented righty swing, he could become an even bigger prospect for the Mets. More >

Sammy Infante, SS, Nationals (No. 71 overall)
Program(s): States Play, Prospect Development Pipeline
Infante lacks a true plus tool, but does many things well, including producing hard contact and driving the ball. Infante was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 149 Draft prospect. More >

Alex Santos II, RHP, Astros (No. 72 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
The New York City high school pitcher and Bronx native is a tall, projectable arm. Speaking to reporters after being drafted, he compared himself to Jack Flaherty in terms of mechanics and Max Scherzer in terms of mental approach to the game. More >

Kyle Harrison, LHP, Giants (No. 85 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Harrison, who attended high school fewer than 30 miles from Oracle Park, is a lefty with a three-pitch mix. His fastball tops out at 93 mph, which goes along with a good slider and good changeup. His deceptive delivery makes that repertoire tougher to hit than it might read on paper. More >

Liam Norris, LHP, D-backs (No. 90 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Norris has a 90-94 mph fastball that can reach 96 mph and has late life, along with two plus secondary pitches in his curveball and slider. He pitched just one game this spring before his senior season ended due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that game, he struck out 13 over five innings. More >

Petey Halpin, OF, Indians (No. 95 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Halpin has impressive tools, including plus speed and a strong arm. He was selected to compete in the High School All-Star Game during All-Star Week in Cleveland last summer, so he’s already begun familiarizing himself with Progressive Field. More >

A.J. Vukovich, 3B, D-backs (No. 119 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Vukovich finished second in the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game last July. He carries a lot of power and strength in his game, with the necessary bat speed and loft in his swing. He was the No. 86 Draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline. More >

Milan Tolentino, SS, Indians (No. 124 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Tolentino’s father, Jose, won a College World Series title with Texas before a 15-year professional career that included a year in the Majors. Tolentino is strong defensively and has the tools to stay at shortstop long term, but his offensive ability will determine what kind of prospect he looks like for the Indians. More >

Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers (No. 132 overall)
Program(s): Prospect Development Pipeline
Keith was named Gatorade Mississippi high school player of the year in 2019 as a junior, hitting .587. He was considered one of the top two-way choices in the Draft, but the Tigers drafted him as a position player, at third, for his left-handed bat and solid tools across the board. More >