In a normal year, the Draft stock of players would still be somewhat volatile as they continued to perform in high school playoffs and college postseason tournaments. But when the coronavirus shut down games in mid-March, it ended the ability of players to add to their résumés.
That's one reason why this mock draft closely resembles my last one from two weeks ago. Thirteen of my top 17 projections remain the same. Teams still are lining up their Draft boards and haven't locked any decisions in yet, but we keep hearing a lot of the same intel.
The first round should start coming into clearer focus next week, when Jonathan Mayo will bring you our next mock draft. We'll be offering dueling projections the night before the Draft starts, as well as our usual last-minute prognostications on Draft Day.
1. Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
It would be an upset if the Tigers take anyone besides Torkleson, possibly the Draft's best all-around offensive prospect (hitting ability, power, plate discipline) since Mark Teixeira in 2001. Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy appears to be Plan B.
2. Orioles: Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt
Three scenarios keep coming up with the Orioles, in this order of plausibility: take Martin, the Draft's best pure hitter; cut a deal with similarly tooled New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales and use the savings to spend big at picks 30 and/or 39 with someone such as Oklahoma high school left-hander Dax Fulton; or grab Lacy.
3. Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
The Marlins likely will take whichever of the consensus top three prospects (Torkelson, Martin, Lacy) remains. If Baltimore leaves both Martin and Lacy on the table, the belief is that Miami scouting director (and former Vanderbilt assistant coach) D.J. Svihlik will choose a Vanderbilt position player with a top-five pick for the second straight year, following J.J. Bleday at No. 4 last June.
4. Royals: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State
It seemed like the Royals were heading toward taking another college arm after having success with three in 2018's first round (Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch), but now they seem to be zeroing in on two hitters unless one of the big three prospects drops to No. 4. Gonzales and Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen, the best all-around offensive talent in the high school class, are running neck and neck.
5. Blue Jays: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Port Orange, Fla.)
The Blue Jays might just take whomever of Gonzales or Veen that the Royals don't, with Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer the top pitching option.
6. Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
There's talk that Hancock, MLB Pipeline's preseason No. 1 prospect, might be sliding a little because analytically minded teams don't love his pitch metrics. The Mariners are focused on collegians and might take Gonzales over him, but he'd be their pitching choice over Meyer or Louisville left-hander Reid Detmers.
7. Pirates: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
The Pirates apparently are targeting college bats, and the three best remaining would be Kjerstad (the top left-handed power hitter in the class), UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell (the top all-around tools) and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey (the top backstop).
8. Padres: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
There's conflicting buzz around the Padres, who could have the choice of some of the top college arms (Hancock, Meyer, Detmers) but also are repeatedly linked to Tennessee high school outfielder Robert Hassell, the best pure hitter among prepsters.
9. Rockies: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
The Rockies might prefer Veen or Kjerstad, but are more likely to wind up with whichever of the top four college arms remains.
10. Angels: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Thompson's Station, Tenn.)
If the Padres do opt for Hassell, the Angels would get Meyer or Detmers.
11. White Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
The first round starts to get a lot murkier around here. Bailey keeps getting mentioned at No. 11 if none of the best college pitchers make it this far. The White Sox also are doing a lot of work on the top high school hitters (Hassell, Pennsylvania outfielder Austin Hendrick, Illinois shortstop Ed Howard, California catcher Tyler Soderstrom) and pitchers (Oregon's Mick Abel, Texas' Jared Kelley and Pennsylvania's Nick Bitsko, all right-handers).
12. Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Imperial, Pa.)
High school outfielders Hassell and Hendrick appear to be the front-runners for the Reds. Other options include collegians such as Bailey, Mitchell, Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli or Tennessee left-hander Garrett Crochet.
13. Giants: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
The Giants are mulling the same college players as the Reds but also might be the first team that would pull the trigger on Abel or Soderstrom.
14. Rangers: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
All demographics appear to be in play with the Rangers, who covet Veen but don't have a realistic shot at him. Hassell could be their man if he can get to No. 14. Crochet is one of the biggest wild cards in the Draft, as he showed easy top-10-pick stuff in the fall and his lone outing this spring but also missed three weeks as a precaution with shoulder soreness.
15. Phillies: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
Mitchell is another huge wild card because he has five-tool upside but also Type 1 diabetes and just six homers in 121 college games. There's a lot of recent chatter that the Phillies could take Bitsko, and all three of the best high school arms are in play here.
16. Cubs: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) HS
The Cubs have done a nice job signing and developing young amateur hitters, so it's no surprise that they get mentioned with prep bats such as Hassell, Hendrick, Howard and Soderstrom. They also need pitching help, so Crochet or the premier high school arms could make sense.
17. Red Sox: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Portland, Ore.)
After losing their second-round choice as a punishment for sign-stealing, the Red Sox are focusing on ceiling with their top pick. We have them as the first club opting for a high school arm, and this also might be the realistic peak for Howard or California high school outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong.
18. Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks HS East (Doylestown, Pa.)
Since reclassifying into the 2020 Draft in January, the only time Bitsko pitched for scouts came in a March 4 bullpen workout. The lack of looks amplifies the high-school-righty risk that worries many teams, but the upside of three plus pitches with similar command is hard to ignore. The D-backs could go with Crow-Armstrong's polished bat and hope Bitsko gets to their supplemental first-round selection at No. 33, but that seems increasingly less likely.
19. Mets: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
The best bet is that the Mets pluck a college right-hander such as Cavalli or Wilcox, with Soderstrom a possible position-player under consideration.
20. Brewers: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake School (Studio City, Calif.)
Crow-Armstrong no longer is the top-rated high school prospect like he was entering last summer, but he recovered from an uneven showcase circuit performance with a strong spring and the Brewers feel like his floor. Like most teams in the 20s, they could wade into the deep pool of college right-handers that includes Cavalli, Wilcox, Carmen Mlodzinski (South Carolina), Bryce Jarvis (Duke), Bobby Miller (Louisville), Tanner Burns (Auburn), Chris McMahon (Miami), Slade Cecconi (Miami), C.J. Van Eyk (Florida State) and Clayton Beeter (Texas Tech).
21. Cardinals: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
There's a growing sense that the offensive-minded Foscue will go higher than previously expected, perhaps even in the teens. The college righties are in play here too.
22. Nationals: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
If a player can have helium in a spring without games, Beeter does. He has Tommy John surgery in his past and a limited track record, but he also has wipeout stuff. Wilcox could be a more obvious fit if he's still available.
23. Indians: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
Homestate product Dingler offers better athleticism and defense than most catchers, and he improved offensively this spring. If he goes earlier, a college right-hander could be the fallback plan.
24. Rays: Jarred Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS
Trying to guess where the three best high school right-handers fit is like throwing darts. The industry as a whole is skittish about taking them in the first round and Kelley is the only one of the trio who pitched in an actual game this spring. The Rays have a knack for developing prep arms and his ceiling is superior to the college righties still available if the first round plays out like this.
25. Braves: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
The Braves want a high-ceiling guy here and the best possibility might be one of the top high school right-handers, though fitting Abel, Kelley or Bitsko with three other picks into a $4,127,800 bonus pool looks like a stretch. They probably can't get Soderstrom to last this long either, which would leave them shopping in the college righty aisle.
26. Athletics: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Dingler would be tempting but this is more his floor than a likelihood, so the Athletics will take a .. you guessed it ... college right-hander. This could be the high-water mark for Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin, who has electric tools but comes with swing-and-miss issues.
27. Twins: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
Most of the names associated with the Twins are the many college righties as well as college bats such as Dingler, Foscue, Arizona catcher Austin Wells and Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin.
28. Yankees: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago)
The Yankees forfeited their second- and fifth-round picks as compensation for signing free agent Gerrit Cole, and they're hoping to get a quality position player in the first round before dipping into the pitching depth later. Howard is the Draft's best true shortstop and doesn't deserve to last this long but he could. Arizona prep shortstop Carson Tucker is a more realistic option, though he's a hot name right now and also might not get to No. 28.
29. Dodgers: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
We have the Dodgers hopping on the college right-hander train, but they've also been attached to several infielders such as Howard, Foscue, Loftin, Tucker and Mississippi State shortstop Jordan Westburg.