The hours are counting down to the start of the 2020 Draft (7 p.m. ET on MLB Network and ESPN), which is already guaranteed to be unique by virtue of its length, now down to five rounds as a result of the pandemic.
As we got to the day before the Tigers kicked things off with the first pick on Wednesday night, things were starting to take shape a bit more. There’s still buzz about deals being cut as teams consider their options in terms of how to use their bonus pools, but we did our best to cut through the rumors and get as close to the truth as we could muster. As you can see, we don’t differ much at the top, with identical top five projections. And while the order changes a bit after that, we actually have the same exact names in the top 10. (Note: Every team has a first-round pick except for the Astros, who had it taken away as part of their punishment for illegally using technology to steal signs.)
We’ll both post one final, names-only mock on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon shortly before the Draft begins.
Callis: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State -- Most clubs consider Torkelson on a tier by himself in this Draft, and it would be a major upset if the Tigers took anyone else. The backup plan appears to be Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy.
Mayo: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State -- He was in the top spot of our rankings when we re-ranked and expanded our Draft list to a Top 150 and he’s stayed there ever since. There never was really anyone else I seriously considered putting here.
Callis: Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt -- The Orioles are targeting position players and the obvious move would be to take Martin, the best pure hitter available in the Draft. If he proves too expensive for their tastes, they also have shopped deals to players such as Florida high school outfielder Zac Veen, New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales, Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey.
Mayo: Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt -- There was some talk of the O’s shopping for a deal here, looking at New Mexico State’s Nick Gonzales or perhaps Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen, but the feeling is still that they go with the consensus No. 2 player in this Draft.
Callis: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M -- The Marlins would prefer Martin, whom scouting director D.J. Svihlik recruited to Vanderbilt when he coached there. If Martin is gone, the choice comes down to Lacy and Gonzales.
Mayo: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M -- Ever since Lacy separated himself as the top arm in this class, he’s been associated with the Marlins. If Martin were to be available here, that would be an interesting conversation.
Callis: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Port Orange, Fla.) -- The Royals appear to be deciding between Veen and Gonzales, with a couple of pitchers (Lacy and presumably Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer) also in the mix.
Mayo: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Port Orange, Fla.) -- This is the first spot where I think a deal could be possible, with the Royals talking about Gonzales, Meyer or Arkansas OF Heston Kjerstad.
5. Blue Jays
Callis: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota -- Unless someone falls to the Blue Jays, they'll go for Meyer, Veen or Gonzales, likely in that order.
Mayo: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota -- Bats like Gonzales or Veen could come into the picture, but it sounds like the electric right-hander is their guy.
Callis: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia -- They'd consider Veen, but the Mariners most likely will take one of the best college options available from a pool that should include at least three of Hancock, Gonzales, Meyer and Kjerstad.
Mayo: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State -- This could come down to a choice between Gonzales’ advanced bat and Georgia ace right-hander Emerson Hancock.
Callis: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State -- The Pirates have been tied to college bats for weeks, and Gonzales (who led NCAA Division I in hitting last year and home runs this season) would be a nice get at No. 7. Kjerstad would be another option and Bailey might, though don't count out Hancock if Gonzales is gone. Pittsburgh could be the first team to take a high school pitcher, with Oregon prep right-hander Mick Abel in play.
Mayo: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas -- Talk around this pick continues to be bats, though Hancock could be of interest if he’s not off the board.
Callis: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas -- The Padres probably would opt for Hancock or Meyer if available and otherwise shift to a hitter such as Kjerstad or Tennessee high school outfielder Robert Hassell. Detmers could be in the mix too.
Mayo: Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.) -- Again, with Hancock still available, he’ll likely be discussed, but the Padres do like high school players and Hassell has the best pure bat among the prep set.
Callis: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville -- The first nine players I project to get selected are the consensus best nine players available, so the Rockies simply could take whichever one remains. It's believed they prefer bats if they have multiple options from that group, though in this scenario they'd get Detmers. They also could go for a high school outfielder such as California's Pete Crow-Armstrong or Hassell.
Mayo: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia -- No way the Rockies thought the Georgia ace would be around for their pick, but if he is, they won’t let him get past them.
Callis: Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (Thompson's Station, Tenn.) -- The Angels are the toughest team to read in the upper half of the first round. Detmers and Hassell look like the top priorities unless someone else falls. A deal with the Draft's best true shortstop (Illinois high schooler Ed Howard) is also a possibility.
Mayo: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville -- They would love for Hassell to get here, but with him gone, Detmers’ starting pitching profile would be a good get.
11. White Sox
Callis: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee -- Unless Detmers gets here, the White Sox appear to be choosing between Crochet and California prep catcher Tyler Soderstrom, with UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell and Abel also possibilities.
Mayo: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee -- Talk of the White Sox being in on North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey has subsided, as has chatter of high school backstop Tyler Soderstrom.
Callis: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma -- The Reds are targeting college arms (Cavalli would stand out as the best if the Draft unfolds like this) and high school bats (Pennsylvania prep outfielder Austin Hendrick, Hassell, Crow-Armstrong, Howard).
Mayo: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma -- If the Reds don’t go college arm here (they’d be excited if Detmers got to them), high school outfielders like Austin Hendrick or Pete Crow-Armstrong could come into play.
Callis: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS -- With Hassell, Soderstrom and Abel, the Giants are leaning toward high school talent. Cavalli and Mitchell are their top college options.
Mayo: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS -- There could be interest in Bailey here, but signs point more toward high school bats, with Soderstrom getting the edge over Hendrick.
Callis: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State -- The Rangers would love Veen but have no chance at him, and Hassell might be their biggest target with a realistic chance to get to No. 14. Beyond those prep outfielders, they're linked to all the various demographics from the best high school arms (Abel, Pennsylvania's Nick Bitsko, Texas' Jared Kelley) to college performers who could come at a discount if they go this early (Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue, Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin). Bailey, the best catcher guaranteed to stay behind the plate, also fits.
Mayo: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State -- I’d previously had mostly college arms here, but with Crochet and Cavalli off the board, the Rangers could turn to a bat and it’s hard to imagine Bailey, the best college backstop in the class, dropping too far.
Callis: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Imperial, Pa.) -- The Phillies are another team exploring all the demographics, looking at all the top-tier high school bats and arms as well as college position players (Mitchell, Bailey) and pitchers (Crochet, Cavalli). The decision could come down to Hendrick versus Mitchell.
Mayo: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA -- The Phillies would have an interest in Soderstrom if he were still available and could jump in on Hendrick, but the tools Mitchell has to offer could be too good to pass up.
Callis: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA -- In a perfect world for the Cubs, they'd get a shot at an upper-tier college pitcher or Hassell, Hendrick or Soderstrom, which doesn't happen here. Mitchell could be a steal, though clubs are mixed on how they weigh his five-tool upside against his Type 1 diabetes. Pitching possibilities include Crochet, Cavalli and the high school arms.
Mayo: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Imperial, Pa.) -- Should the Phillies take Hendrick, Mitchell would be a good fit as it’s mostly been bats being mentioned here.
17. Red Sox
Callis: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Portland, Ore.) -- Most teams believe the Red Sox, who lost their second-round pick as a punishment for sign stealing, will pursue maximum upside with their first-rounder. They've been linked to mostly high schoolers, which could lead them to the high school arms, Howard or Crow-Armstrong.
Mayo: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Portland, Ore.) -- There’s still a feeling that one of the top high school arms could go higher than this, but this is a landing spot for the tall right-hander who keeps coming up in conversations. This could also be a landing spot for fellow prep right-hander Jared Kelley from Texas or Illinois high school shortstop Ed Howard.
Callis: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke -- The D-backs appear to be on college performers such as Jarvis and Foscue, with high school position players such as Howard and Crow-Armstrong on the back burner.
Mayo: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Studio City, Calif.) -- I keep coming back to bats here, and if Hendrick or somehow Hassell got here, that would be a good fit. College arms could come into play if the board blows up for the D-backs.
Callis: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia -- If they don't get a crack at Cavalli or Soderstrom, the Mets likely will turn to the deep second tier of college right-handers that includes Wilcox, Louisville's Bobby Miller and Miami's Chris McMahon.
Mayo: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State -- It’s hard to imagine Soderstrom getting past this spot and the Mets could also pick from a slew of college arms still available in this spot, including Cole Wilcox or if Crochet lasted this long, or one of the top high school arms like Jared Kelley in Texas or Nick Bitsko in Pennsylvania.
Callis: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake School (Studio City, Calif.) -- I suspect Crow-Armstrong goes earlier than this. If he does, Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler or a college righty (Wilcox, Miami's Slade Cecconi, Jarvis or McMahon) makes sense.
Mayo: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State -- If the Brewers want to go the college arm route, Georgia’s Cole Wilcox could be considered.
Callis: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks HS East (Doylestown, Pa.) -- It's extremely difficult to peg where any of the elite high school arms will go, especially Bitsko, who reclassified from the 2021 Draft in January and whose only audition in front of scouts this year came in a March 4 bullpen workout. Howard and Foscue are possibilities, and the college righties plus South Carolina's Carmen Mlodzinski also are worthy guesses.
Mayo: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia -- I’ve had college arms in this spot from the get-go and I’m not straying from that course now with a deep pool of advanced pitchers that could be thinned out in the back part of the first round.
Callis: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville -- Last year it didn't seem realistic that the Nationals could get Jackson Rutledge at No. 17, and they did. They'd love Detmers (which is impossible) or Cavalli (an extreme longshot), and more likely they'll be looking at Wilcox or Miller. If all of their preferred college arms disappear, Loftin could be the fallback.
Mayo: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke -- Another from the pool of college arms here, with Wilcox in play if he’s available, potentially along with Miami’s Slade Cecconi, Louisville’s Bobby Miller or Texas Tech’s Clayton Beeter.
Callis: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State -- If the Brewers select Dingler, the Indians could pivot to Abel, Bitsko or Kelley after taking high school right-hander Daniel Espino at No. 24 last June. Also keep an eye on college righties such as Cecconi, McMahon and Auburn's Tanner Burns.
Mayo: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS -- There are some who consider Kelley to be the top prep arm in the class and he could easily go higher than here. The Indians could also look at fellow high school right-hander Nick Bitsko, Dingler if he’s around from the college bat side or one of the remaining college arms.
Callis: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago) -- Howard shouldn't last this long but could because clubs with big bonus pools and early second choices are trying to drive his asking price up so he falls into the 30s. The Rays are looking to be opportunistic at 24, where Howard or one of the high school right-handers could be the best talent value.
Mayo: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago) -- Kelley comes up here, as do college arms like Miami’s Chris McMahon and Bobby Miller from Louisville.
Callis: Jarred Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS -- Despite having MLB's third-lowest bonus pool at $4,127,800, the Braves are chasing upside and think they can find a way to pay one of the top high school arms. If that can't happen, a college right-hander (Jarvis, Florida State's C.J. Van Eyk, McMahon, Mlodzinski) is a good guess for almost any team in the 20s.
Mayo: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami -- On the college bat side, the Braves might like it if Justin Foscue were still available, and they could consider one of the high school arms, though signability for those could come into play.
Callis: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State -- The A's are Dingler's likely floor and maybe Foscue's too. Loftin and more toolsy -- but less -- polished Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin are other college position players who could fit here.
Mayo: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (Phoenix) -- It could come down to Tucker, who has jumped firmly into the back end of first round conversations, or one of the remaining college arms here like Slade Cecconi, Clayton Beeter, Bobby Miller or Carmen Mlodzinski from South Carolina.
Callis: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor -- The bottom three teams in the first round all would be quite interested should Howard make his way to them. Foscue, Loftin and Arizona prep shortstop Carson Tucker are other middle-infield options for the Twins, who also could look to college right-handers Cecconi, Mlodzinski and Burns.
Mayo: Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina -- Sabato’s power, which had shown up for a year-plus at UNC, was getting a lot of interest at the end of the round. The Twins could be in on one of the remaining college arms, a high school bat like Howard if he were around or a college shortstop like Nick Loftin from Baylor.
Callis: Austin Wells, C, Arizona -- The Yankees would prefer a bat here and if Howard is gone, they could pursue their affinity for offensive-minded catchers like Wells. Other potential targets include Foscue, Dingler, Loftin and Tucker. Miller might be their preference among the college right-handers.
Mayo: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor -- This could be another landing spot for Tucker or Howard, but beyond those prep shortstops, it’s mostly college names coming up here, with Loftin’s ability to play short getting the edge over the arms.
Callis: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami -- The best realistic value could be Howard, Foscue or Loftin, all of whom fall just shy of getting to No. 29 in this projection, with Tucker another infield consideration. Cecconi, Mlodzinski and Van Eyk could be college-righty alternatives, or the Dodgers could go after projectable high school pitchers such as Oklahoma prep lefty Dax Fulton or Texas prep righty Tanner Witt.
Mayo: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami -- He could very easily go up higher to one of the teams shopping for college arms, in which case they could look at another one like Bobby Miller or Clayton Beeter. This is another possible home for Tucker.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.