We are just one day away from the start of college baseball season. And with the start of the college season coming up tomorrow, let’s take a first look at what this year’s MLB Draft may look like come June.
2020 MLB Draft
This year’s draft will take place from June 10-12, and for the first time, Day One of the draft will be held in Omaha, Nebraska. From 2009-2019, Day One was held at the MLB Network Studio in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Today we’ll be going over our mock for the first five picks in the draft. Why just five? Most, if not all, players’ draft stock are quite fluid at the moment, as one prospect who’s projected to be a first round pick now may not even be drafted on the first day come June. And even the top players at the draft class right now could still slip down significantly, even though that might not be likely, given their talent level.
Because a lot can change between now and June, we’ll just do a mock for the first five right now. As we move closer to draft day, we’ll expand our mock draft. With that said, let’s go over our first 2020 MLB Mock Draft.
1. Tigers – RHP Emerson Hancock (University of Georgia)
The Detroit Tigers have the top pick for the second time in three years. In 2018, the last time Detroit had the number one pick, the Tigers selected RHP Casey Mize from Auburn University. Mize certainly wasn’t the first top Tigers draft pick to come out of the SEC, as since the 2011 MLB Draft, five of the Tigers’ top draft picks (including non-first round picks) were from the Southeastern Conference. Emerson Hancock has an opportunity to be yet another first round pick by the Tigers out of the SEC, as the right-handed pitcher has been dominant with the Bulldogs throughout his college career. Last season at UGA, Hancock posted a 1.99 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, and the righty struck out 97 batters over 90.1 innings.
Armed with a hard fastball that can hit the upper-90’s, along with a curve, changeup and slider that could be above-average pitches, it’s not hard to figure as to why Hancock is pegged as the early favorite to be selected at number one.
2. Orioles – SS/3B Austin Martin (Vanderbilt University)
Austin Martin lands on our list at number two. Last season with the Commodores, Martin batted .392, while smacking 10 home runs 33 extra base hits and recorded a 1.091 OPS. Martin is arguably the most exciting player in this year’s draft, as has fantastic bat speed, allowing to him to drive the ball with ease, along with plus contact ability and speed. As for his glove, some scouts believe he can be an everyday shortstop even though he’s primarily played at third with Vanderbilt. Martin has good range along with a solid glove, giving not only a good chance to play at short, but also at second if need be.
The Orioles had a fantastic infielder on the left side of their infielder for years in Manny Machado, and they may have his replacement should the O’s select Martin at #2.
3. Marlins – 2B Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State)
You may not expect a program like New Mexico State to produce an elite ballplayer, but their program has one of the most talented players available in this year’s draft on their roster in second baseman Nick Gonzales. All Gonzales has done is hit since entering college, as he pounded nine home runs and batted .347 with New Mexico State as a freshman. In 2019, Gonzales’ sophomore season was spectacular, as he recorded a .432/.532/.773 slash line, and Gonzales hit 16 home runs, 39 extra base hits and drove in 80 runs. At the Cape last summer, Gonzales continued to excel, as he batted .351 over 42 games and took home the Cape Cod League MVP. Gonzales may be the best contact hitter in this year’s draft, as he has a quick swing with a ton of bat speed. Some scouts are not completely sold on his power numbers, but we think he could be an above-average power hitter once he puts it all together.
The Marlins went with a college player last year, as they picked Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday with their first pick, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they went college again in 2020.
4. Royals – RHP Jared Kelley (Refugio HS (Texas))
This is a pretty college-dominated draft, but that doesn’t mean there’s no elite high school talent available in this year’s draft. We’ll go with our first high school player, Texas HS RHP Jared Kelley, here at #4. The 6’2” righty already has a physically mature frame, and he’s armed with a powerful fastball that can sit in the mid-90’s. Kelley has a very powerful changeup, one with good sink and drop, as well as a slider that sat in the low-80’s during the PG All-American Game in San Diego last summer. Kelley has the stuff to be a frontline starter, and with a good spring, and he could be an option for the Royals at #4.
5. Blue Jays – 1B Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State University)
There may not be a better power hitter in this year’s draft than Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson. Torkelson burst onto the scene in his freshman season at ASU, blasting 25 home runs in first year in college. The 20-year old followed that up with 23 home runs as a sophomore in 2019, and he recorded a slash line of .351/.446/.707. Torkelson possesses an effortless swing, and he can drive the ball with ease thanks to his strength and bat speed. The 20-year old also has exceptional plate discipline, as he’s drawn at least 35 walks in each of his first two seasons at Arizona State.
The big knock on Torkelson is that’s he a first baseman. He should project to be an average to slightly above-average defender at the position, as he has decent enough foot speed at the position. Torkelson had drawn comparisons to Andrew Vaughn, who like Torkelson, was a first baseman and played in the Pac-12. Vaughn went third overall in 2019, and Torkelson does have a good chance to move up. But for now, we like him at #5.
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