Draft experts take their shot at the first 20 picks

April 15th, 2020

While there’s still a lot up in the air about the 2020 Draft, from when it will take place to how many rounds it will be, one thing remains constant: There’s a lot of talent to be evaluated.

As Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo work on expanding their Draft rankings, first to 150 and eventually to 200, they did their own draft on the Pipeline Podcast. Taking turns and selecting based on preference, not what they thought each team would do, they went 20 picks deep in a simulated first round, guided by host Jason Ratliff.

It’s expected to be a college-heavy Draft up front and that played out here. The top seven selections, and nine of the top 10, were all college players. The high school run came late, with nine prepsters overall taken. The final breakdown:

College hitters: 6
High school hitters: 6
College pitchers: 5
High school pitchers: 3

1) Mayo: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State -- Scouts like him better than Andrew Vaughn, last year’s No. 3 pick.

2) Callis: Austin Martin, OF, Vanderbilt -- Not playing shortstop as some scouts hoped, but he’s still the best hitter available and playing a solid center field.

3) Mayo: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M -- Huge start to spring vaulted him to top of college arm crop.

4) Callis: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia -- His fastball command and slider weren’t as sharp as usual in the first month, but he’s still a frontline starter with Casey Mize parallels.

5) Mayo: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota -- Athletic right-hander has made a big leap into top 10 conversations.

6) Callis: Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State -- The 2019 Cape Cod League MVP will wind up at second base and reminds scouts of Keston Hiura.

7) Mayo: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA -- Five-tool potential in a college performer doesn’t come around very often.

8) Callis: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Fla.) -- The first high school player we’ve taken, he could be a more athletic version of Riley Greene, the No. 5 choice a year ago.

9) Mayo: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville -- All the traits to be a mid-rotation starter, reminds some of fellow Cardinal Brendan McKay**.**

10) Callis: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee -- Spectacular in the fall, he would go higher if he pitched more than three innings this spring.

11) Mayo: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.) -- Had to pick the hometown kid and his ridiculous bat speed and power.

12) Callis: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State -- The best catcher available will hit for power and has cleaned up his defense.

13) Mayo: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Texas) -- Top high school arm in the class is projectable with plus stuff and feel.

14) Callis: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.) -- The best shortstop in the Draft could have solid or better tools across the board.

15) Mayo: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.) -- Might be the best pure high school hitter in the class.

16) Callis: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas -- A consistent performer for the Razorbacks and Team USA, he has the best lefty power in the college crop.

17) Mayo: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Oregon) -- Getting the top two high school pitchers in the class was a coup.

18) Callis: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.) -- Says you. Bitsko ranks right with Kelley and Abel after reclassifying to the 2020 Draft.

19) Mayo: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.) -- Even if he can’t stick behind the plate, his bat is plenty good enough to take here.

20) Callis: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard--Westlake HS (Calif.) - He entered last summer as the top pro prospect, and while his stock has dipped, the bat and center-field ability are still attractive.