D1Baseball/Prep Baseball Report Live Draft Stream: Round 1Columns
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2020 MLB Draft – Round 1
Detroit Tigers – Pick 1
Spencer Torkelson – 1B, Arizona State
Not much more needs to be written about one of college baseball’s elite hitters and its top slugger since Kris Bryant in 2013. Torkelson physically resembles a young Paul Konerko and at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, he combines power production with great feel for hitting. He homered on a 3-2 pitch during his second at-bat of the 2020 season against Villanova and then walked in seven of his next 11 plate appearances. He was also intentionally walked 15 times in the Sun Devil’s 17-game 2020 season. Torkelson is able to extend at-bats by fouling off offspeed pitches and getting to the next fastball—a rare skill for power hitters. His average exit velocity on all batted balls in the shortened 2020 season was 99.4 mph with a high of 112.9 mph. He’s also solid defensively at first base with an above-average, accurate throwing arm and quick release. He profiles well at first base with more than enough power to play the position in an everyday role in the major leagues.
Baltimore Orioles – Pick 2
Heston Kjerstad – OF, Arkansas
The powerful, left-handed hitting Kjerstad stands out for his physical presence in the batter’s box and loud batting practice. He has plus or better present raw power and more to come as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. He’s at his best when he gets extended through the ball and backspins it deep to left-center field. Kjerstad’s setup and swing are unorthodox with a lot of hand movement and a high leg lift and pause in his approach, making him vulnerable to timing issues against elevated velocity and soft stuff away. He’s a near-average runner underway, but below average down the line, usually around 4.35. He shows an above-average arm with good carry and possesses average defensive ability in right field, profiling very well to the position. Kjerstad is one of the top power prospects for the 2020 draft. He’s also a likely mid-first rounder after posting big numbers each of his first two years for Arkansas, last summer with the CNT and starting off the 2020 spring season with a .448/.513/.791 slash line in 16 games.
Miami Marlins – Pick 3
Max Meyer – RHP, Minnesota
Meyer was electric in the shortened 2020 season, flirting with triple digits and holding plus velocity deep into outings. His fastball has more run than dive and is delivered with more control in and around the zone than command to a spot. His go-to pitch is a 70- to 80-grade spiked slider, which sits 89-92 and is a swing-and-miss pitch at any level. It shows depth and power with consistent command. Last season, he threw this pitch 54 percent of the time. His other offspeed pitch is an above-average 85-87 changeup. These three pitches give him the top stuff of any pitcher in this year’s draft class and the likely ability to make a quick impact on a big league roster. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Meyer is super athletic and shows the ability to repeat his delivery and make adjustments. Overall, he has big weapons with his electric three-pitch mix and continues to gain steam up draft boards. The only question mark on Meyer is his long term durability as a starting pitcher, and some compare his size and stuff to fellow 6-footer and former New York Mets righty David Cone.
Kansas City Royals – Pick 4
Asa Lacy- LHP, Texas A&M
As a slender 6-foot-2, 180-pound high school senior throwing in the upper 80s, Lacy was selected in the 31st round of the 2017 draft by Cleveland. Now standing strong and durable at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and armed with a fastball up to 97 mph, he is the top college pitching prospect in this year’s draft. Last summer, during an appearance for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, Lacy sat 92-95 mph with his fastball and good down plane from a high three-quarter slot. He landed soft with good balance and direction to the plate. There are some effort and head dunk to his delivery, but nothing that detracts from his starter profile at this point, as his upper and lower halves stay in sync and his arm works. This spring, his fastball touched 97 with a 2150-2350 rpm spin rate and his secondary offerings continued to improve. Last summer he showed an 80-83 mph breaking ball and an 87 mph changeup, but now his breaker is a cutter that he stays behind, sitting 88-90 mph with a spin rate approaching the 2400s. His changeup sits 85-87 mph with a 1550-1600 spin rate, but overall Lacy is a lefty power pitcher who excels at getting the punchout. He can still use a further refinement of his command, but it, too, is improving.
Toronto Blue Jays – Pick 5
Austin Martin- UTL, Vanderbilt
Martin has long been one of the top pure hitters in college baseball, thanks to loads of bat speed, great hand/eye coordination, top-level athleticism and a well-rounded toolset. With above-average running speed, smooth defensive actions and more than enough arm (above average) for the left side of the infield. He has defensive versatility all over the diamond having played center field for Team USA, being capable of manning shortstop and projecting as an above defender in the future at either second, third base or center field. Martin remains firmly entrenched as a top-three overall pick and should also receive consideration to go 1-1.
Seattle Mariners – Pick 6
Emerson Hancock – RHP, Georgia
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Hancock physically resembles Corey Kluber and features a mid-90s fastball from a 3/4 slot with good life down in the zone. He has some effort with a slight head snap, yet blocks his front side well and has good extension out front with a slight crossbody landing, which produces good angle to the plate. He works away from his arm with his body moving forward and his arm going back during his delivery, causing some concern for future injury, but it does not affect his overall plus control. His best secondary offering is a plus-plus, tumbling, low-spin changeup at 85-86 mph, which generates swing-and-miss from both right and left-handed hitters. He sequences the pitch very well with his fastball while mixing in an occasional 82-85 slider that is above average. Overall, Hancock is a strike-thrower with three better than average pitches and outstanding performance in the SEC.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Pick 7
Nick Gonzales – 2B, New Mexico State
In just two years, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Gonzales has gone from an overlooked prep to one of college baseball’s best hitters. After receiving consideration for the Golden Spikes Award with a slash of .432/.532/.733 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs as a sophomore last spring, Gonzalez went to the Cape with high expectations last summer—and he did nothing but rake. He finished second in the league with a .351 average and earned MVP honors. He has a short stroke with strong hands that produce very good bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat with backspin. His pure swing also has good extension, producing extra-base power. He mainly uses center to left field and controls the strike zone with a keen eye and a very still head, allowing for good pitch recognition. He controls the barrel and consistently puts the bat on the ball. On the basepaths, he is an above-average runner underway with good quickness and instincts. At this point, he’s more of a situational base stealer than a constant threat. Defensively, he switched to shortstop this spring for the Aggies, but is most likely a second baseman in professional baseball. He shows soft hands with smooth actions, as well as fair instincts. He also has an above-average arm with good carry and can easily and accurately throw from all angles. With his strong work ethic and a high desire to improve, he will likely turn himself into at least an average defender at the keystone.
San Diego Padres – Pick 8
Robert Hassell – OF, Independence HS (TN)
Colorado Rockies – Pick 8
Zac Veen – OF Spruce Creek (FL)
Los Angeles Angels – Pick 10
Reid Detmers – LHP, Louisville
The son of former major leaguer Kris Detmers, Reid is a strong, mature bodied 6-foot-1, 210-pound southpaw with a high-spinning (2600-2700) 72-75 curveball as his best pitch. It’s a plus freezer with good depth. On any given day, his fastball ranges from 88-94 mph, sitting mostly 89-92, with some tailing action and a spin rate of 2100-2300. He also keeps his above-average sinking changeup down in the zone against right-handed hitters at 79-81 and mixes in a fringe average 77-78 mph slurve to left-handed hitters. With command of all four pitches his game-to-game consistency is what sets him apart. During his last start of the 2020 season against Wake Forest, Detmers was lights out, punching out 15 in six shutout innings. He thrives by releasing his fastball and curveball from an identical point. His plus curveball is a big buckler with good deception. When he doesn’t finish a hitter by going over his bat with a fastball at the letters or under the bat with a breaker, he can also spot his heater at the knees. He does have effort in his delivery with a head snap, but he uses his lower half really well, throwing against a firm front side and overcomes the effort to throw the ball where he wants to. Overall, Detmers is a high-floor, lower-risk prospect. When combining his physical abilities and elite statistical analytics with his poise, competitiveness and feel, one could justify that he fits comfortably into a mid-rotation role. He’s also the type who should hit the ground running in pro ball and move quickly through the minor leagues.
Chicago White Sox – Pick 11
Garrett Crochet – LHP, Tennessee
Evaluated in the spring of 2018 as a future top round pick as a freshman, Crochet has developed as expected. He now sits comfortably in the mid-90s with his explosive heater, that has a 2500-2600 rpm spin rate. Health delayed his start to 2020 and he only got one start in, but threw 32 of 41 pitches for strikes. His super quick arm generates high spin rates from a 3/4 slot with elite extension (6.77′) out front. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds he also has the physicality to match his confident mound presence, as he carries himself like a veteran big leaguer. His other weapons are a sharp, above average slurve and a firm, above-average sinking changeup. He also shows high aptitude as he continues to refine his delivery, making an adjustment this spring by using his lower half more, further strengthening his ease of operation while finding additional velocity. Possessing the stuff to project as a potential front-of-the-rotation starter, the potential to reach his ceiling doesn’t involve throwing more strikes or developing another pitch. He already has three good ones in his arsenal. The key for him will be developing from a 2.5-speed to a 3-speed pitcher. At 90-92 mph his change-of-pace is too hard. At 83-86 mph his slider is too slow. And the bottom velocity of either pitch isn’t low enough. Typically, successful front-of-the-rotation pitchers gather outs in bunches by using three tiers of velocity, unless one of their pitches is elite (a Chris Sale slider for example). Crochet has good pitches, but not one can be considered elite at present. He should receive top half of the first round consideration, despite missing his first three starts this spring due to mild shoulder soreness.
Cincinnati Reds – Pick 12
Austin Hendrick – OF, West Allegheny HS (PA)
San Francisco Giants – Pick 13
Patrick Bailey – C, NC State
Bailey is the rare college catcher who calls his own game—an ability that will have him well prepared for professional baseball. He has always soft-blocked well and been quick on his feet to field bunts, and his receiving skills have vastly improved. He has a quiet setup, pro-level receiving abilities and good game awareness. His arm strength was down a bit this spring, grading as average to above average. His release remains quick and he’s able to consistently throw with accuracy to second base in the 1.95-2.00 range, but threw out just one of the 14 runners that attempted to steal this spring. Offensively, the athletic switch-hitter looks to pull the ball from both sides of the plate and profiles as power over hit ability due to some swing-and-miss tendencies (17% career K rate). From the left side, he sets up with an open stance, dives and hooks, working around the ball while generating fair bat speed with a bent front knee. Not the ideal way to hit, but with good pitch recognition, Bailey puts the bat on the ball and walks more than he strikes out. His right-handed swing is much improved, mechanically, since July 2018, when he was off balance and carried his hands with his hips. He has since adjusted and now keeps his weight and hands back much better, hitting against a firmer front side. He also extends really well with his top hand. With a high floor and an extensive resumé—including numerous all-American awards and two summers on the USA Collegiate National team, Bailey is a “safe” pick and warrants consideration in the top 15 overall picks.
Texas Rangers – Pick 14
Justin Foscue – 2B, Mississippi State
Foscue posted a .959 OPS as a breakout star in 2019, earning him all-American honors. He got off to a strong start as a junior, hitting .321/.464/.509 with two homers, four doubles and 16 RBIs in 16 games. A disciplined right-handed hitter who physically resembles Paul DeJong, Foscue has an open stance and outstanding balance and rhythm in his right-handed swing, He has demonstrated advanced pitch recognition for three years at Mississippi State, and drew 15 walks against just three strikeouts this spring. His 6-foot, 205-pound frame lacks projection, but his present strength allows him to make good use of his above-average raw power. Foscue’s hit tool figures to carry him, and he is capable of using the opposite field at times, although he pulls most balls that he puts into play at this point. He’s a fringe-average runner and his feet work well enough at second base thanks to his sound instincts and steady actions. He’s a sure-handed defender who turns the double play well, though he’s not the flashiest defensive middle infielder. Given his track record of performance and his innate feel for hitting,
Philadelphia Phillies – Pick 15
Mick Abel – RHP, Jesuit HS (OR)
Chicago Cubs – Pick 16
Ed Howard – SS, Mt. Carmel HS (IL)
Boston Red Sox – Pick 17
Nick Yorke – SS, Archbishop Mitty HS (CA)
Arizona Diamondbacks – Pick 18
Bryce Jarvis – RHP, Duke
After being selected in the 37th round by the Yankees as an eligible sophomore last June, Jarvis turned down a substantial bonus offer, worked out at Driveline, and returned to Duke for his junior year, with the goal of boosting his stock into the top rounds. He’s done just that with a mid-90s fastball, great feel and three better-than-average secondary offerings. He’s a highly competitive, quick-armed righty who physically resembles Jake Odorizzi, now with the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Devil ace repeats his higher effort delivery and has a quick arm that generates fastballs up to 96, accompanied by plenty of action at the plate. His fastball release point is not optimal, but he does deliver it with good downward plane from a high slot creating above average vertical break. He’s able to change shape and velocity on his 77-79 mph above-average curveball, turning it into a plus mid-80s slider. He has another high quality offspeed offering in his changeup. It shows good arm-side life with a spin rate just under 2000 rpm and he’s able to throw it to both sides of the plate. He had arguably the most electric season, with four stellar starts that included a perfect game against Cornell in Week Two
New York Mets – Pick 19
Pete Crow-Armstrong – OF Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Milwaukee Brewers – Pick 20
Garrett Mitchell – OF, UCLA
Long regarded as a premium athlete, Mitchell has a package of tools that is among the tops in the college game. His performance blossomed during his sophomore season, showing as much improvement as anyone in the country, and he continued to polish his game this spring. With nearly a 23 percent strikeout rate as a freshman, he cut it to 13 percent as a sophomore before dropping it even further to 4 percent this spring. At the plate, he has strong, quick hands—the type that don’t let a fastball get by and he will show plus or better raw power during batting practice. However, he hasn’t turned that BP juice into game production yet, as he takes a diving stride and cuts himself off, sapping his ability to drive the ball. He’s a top-of-the-scale, power runner who digs in and really accelerates during his third to fourth stride out of the box. He has the ability to leg out infield base hits, consistently running 4.00-4.05 down the line and a 3.56 on a bunt for a base hit during the CNT Trials last summer. He’s also aggressive and instinctive on the bases. Defensively, he shows a plus arm and range in the outfield and projects to be a plus defender. His draft status will be an interesting follow due to his health as a Type I Diabetic. Historically, there have been several pitchers, but very few position players with this disease who have been able to make a prolonged impact in the major leagues.
St. Louis Cardinals – Pick 21
Jordan Walker – 3B, Decatur HS (GA)
Washington Nationals – Pick 22
Cade Cavalli – RHP, Oklahoma
At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Cavalli has the look of a big league ace. With a loose, clean, repeatable arm action, he settles in at 94-96, touching 98, and works easy with his big fastball. He flashes some arm-side run and can show plus control of the pitch at times. At his best, he’s able to set up hitters with a pair of breaking pitches: an 84-85 above average curveball with sharp bite and a plus 88-89 hard slider. He works the slider away from right-handed bats, and then goes to the elevated fastball, inducing swings and misses with both pitches. Cavalli’s changeup flashes average, and working off his fastball and slider, it can play up. Overall, there is some risk to the profile with more stuff than performance to date and a 70-grade fastball that plays down, which is likely due to the fair deception that his silky-smooth delivery creates. There is also a history of injuries with back troubles as a prep and a missed pair of starts last April with forearm stress.
Tampa Bay Rays – Pick 24
Nick Bitsko – RHP, Central Bucks East HS (PA)
Atlanta Braves – Pick 25
Jared Shuster – LHP, Wake Forest
After an all-star summer in the Cape, Shuster picked up this spring where he left off. In four starts and 26.1 innings, he struck out 43 and walked just four. Armed with a fastball up to 95, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound southpaw also shows a plus changeup and significant signs that he has learned to spin the ball. With short and sharp break at 80-82 Shuster is able to miss bats and generate some swings and misses. The breaking ball doesn’t have much depth, which is due to the push and collapse in the lower half of his delivery. His fastball hums along mostly at 92-94. His bread and butter is a low-spin changeup; a plus pitch at 79-82. Thrown with fastball arm speed and producing good depth, it also induces swings and misses and he often doubles up with the pitch. Shuster works quickly and challenges hitters. With a compact, short and controlled arm circle, he does not have an ideal arm action, but it’s not a major concern; he gets to where he needs to be and he hides the ball in back really well. Projected as more a mid-Day Two talent heading into the spring, Shuster likely caught enough helium to float into the top three rounds.
Oakland A’s – Pick 26
Tyler Soderstrom – C, Turlock HS (CA)
Minnesota Twins – Pick 27
Aaron Sabato – 1B, North Carolina
Although a right-handed hitter, Sabato’s body type, ferocious swing and many of his mannerisms at the plate are reminiscent of Kyle Schwarber. Listed at 6-foot-2, he’s a burly-strong 230 pounds with big core strength. Sabato can swing it, unleashing the bat head in a hurry while being able to recognize spin. He’s very aggressive at pitches in the strike zone and despite a natural open stride, he covers the outer half of the plate well. He’s a slugger, hitting 18 home runs as a true freshman last season, yet has a compact swing and good bat control, giving him the ability to hit for both average and power. The ball jumps off his bat and he can drive it to all fields. On the downside, he’s a below-average runner with a below-average arm, but both are adequate enough to hold down first base.
New York Yankees – Pick 28
Austin Wells – C, Arizona
Wells enjoyed a breakout freshman campaign in Tucson last spring, slashing .353/.462/.552 with more walks (46) than strikeouts (43) in 277 plate appearances. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound backstop kept that offensive magic going last summer in the Cape, slashing .308/.389/.526 with seven home runs over 180 plate appearances. He followed his all-star summer with more high-level production and a .375/.527/.589 slash line in 15 games this spring. Wells gets good natural lift and possesses the bat speed and core strength to produce plus raw power and drive balls in the opposite field gap as effectively as he can go out front and pull the ball with authority. He manages the strike zone well, working counts effectively to find pitches to drive while also taking the free pass when available. Defensively, he’s a capable backstop with solid hands and footwork along with an ability to break off consistent 2.0 pop times, though his arm strength is now more fringe average and not nearly what he showed as a prep. Now an eligible sophomore, Wells will likely be considered in the middle of the first round for a club that believes he could develop into an adequate defender behind the dish.
LA Dodgers – Pick 29
Bobby Miller – RHP, Louisville
Tall and strong-bodied at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Miller boasts a big fastball, into the upper 90s, and a trio of secondary offerings. He generates arm speed with a full arm swing in back, then quickly leverages and slings the ball to the plate. He works down the hill and throws against a firm lower front side, although he leads with an open foot instead of the heel of his landing leg. He also bends and tucks his glove arm early instead of keeping it extended, subtracting some potential energy and rotational power from his delivery. Despite sitting 94-96 mph, Miller’s fastball can play down with more control than command of the pitch. With solid run, but average spin rates, he can’t get away with catching too much of the plate. He showed two breaking pitches—a fringy 86-88 cutter/slider and a similar quality 80-82 curveball. His fourth pitch is a below average changeup at 83-86. He also drops his hand a bit with the pitch, releasing from a lower height than his heater. Overall, Miller has top round arm strength and strong performance in the ACC.