The 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft will look awfully different when commissioner Rob Manfred takes the virtual mound June 10-11.
COVID-19 forced the draft to be reduced to just five rounds while undrafted free agents will sign for a maximum of $20,000. The cancellation of high school and college athletics has forced MLB scouts to work with limited footage to analyze amateur prospects.
Even with these unfortunate circumstances, this year’s draft class is loaded with powerful collegiate bats and enticing high school prep talent across the board.
Let’s take a look at who could be selected in the first round with another eight picks in Competitive Balance Round A. Multiple picks will be predicted wrong, but in times like these, it’s worth a shot.
No. 1 Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
The Tigers could make history when they make the first selection of the draft. If they go with ASU first baseman Spencer Torkelson, it would mark the first time a right-handed college first baseman has gone No. 1 overall. There are many angles Detroit could go here, but Torkelson fits the mold of an everyday impact starter with elite power at the plate. He launched 54 homers over his career with the Sun Devils and got on base consistently with a sharp eye at the plate.
Detroit has built a talented farm system with a trio of tantalizing arms in Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal. The Tigers drafted Hagerty High School outfielder Riley Greene fifth overall last season, but are still in need of an offensive jolt. Torkelson’s supreme power will do just that and then some.
No. 2 Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt
Baltimore can stand pat and take its preferred pitcher of the class, but Austin Martin’s do-it-all ability is too enticing to pass up. Martin is often recognized as the top pure hitter with a smooth right-handed swing that makes hard contact to all sides of the field. Along with his ability at the plate, Martin’s defensive flexibility is one of his most exciting traits. He can play third base, second base, shortstop and his speed makes for a nice fit in the outfield.
The Orioles drafted Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first pick in last year’s draft. With the selection of Martin, Baltimore gets a dependable hitter at the top of the lineup with versatility all over the field.
No. 3 Miami Marlins: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State
This pick may come as a surprise, but Miami snags one of the few elite college bats with New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales. During the shortened college season, Gonzales hit to the tune of .448/.610/1.155 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs in 16 games. His pure swing complements sneaky speed on the basepaths. Gonzales has some defensive flexibility to play two positions in the infield, though his sturdy 5-foot-10 frame translates more to second base.
Gonzales’ competition and offense-heavy environment may draw concerns, but his track record and ability to make consistent contact speaks for itself. Overall, he can be viewed as a safe pick with considerable upside that can shoot up the Marlins’ talented farm system.
No. 4 Kansas City Royals: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
With Gonzales off the board, the Royals may have no choice but choose between the top two collegiate arms in Asa Lacy and Emerson Hancock. Hancock profiles as the more traditional prospect, but Kansas City goes with Lacy based upon his devastating two-pitch mix. Lacy’s mid-to-high 90s fastball complements his slider with advanced break and high spin rate. The left-hander had a career 2.32 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with Texas A&M.
Lacy’s command is one of the few questions in his repertoire. With some adjustments on the mound, the upside can pay off handsomely due to his overpowering stuff. The Royals have invested in pitching in recent years. Their farm system is filled with arms including Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch. The addition of Lacy only bolsters Kansas City’s talent on the mound.
No. 5 Toronto Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Hancock comes right off the board to the Blue Jays at fifth overall. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has a fastball that grades as high as 65 to go along with three plus secondary offerings in a slider, curveball and changeup. He commands all four pitches well in his repertoire with more room to grow. Hancock was the top collegiate pitcher for most of 2019, surrendering just eight runs over his first 10 starts. He suffered a lat muscle injury during the middle portion and couldn’t regain his form for the rest of the year.
Hancock experienced an up-and-down 2020 season, but his advanced command and four-pitch mix makes him one of the most complete prospects in this year’s class. The Blue Jays have solidified their young core with Vladimir Guerrrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio on the big-league team. Down on the farm, Hancock joins flame-throwing righty Nate Pearson to give Toronto two elite future starters.
No. 6 Seattle Mariners: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek High School
This is where things get interesting. Seattle has stayed with a college approach in the first round over recent years— selecting Kyle Lewis, Evan White, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby since 2016. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Mariners take a college bat in Garret Mitchell or a pair of college arms in Reid Detmers or Max Meyer.
With that being said, Spruce Creek outfielder Zac Veen has established himself as the premier prep player in the class. He has excellent bat speed for an 18-year-old with a powerful, yet controlled left-handed swing. Veen can add more strength to his 6-foot-4 frame to make him a dangerous threat in the box. Defensively, Veen has some underrated quickness to make grabs in center field, but his size and hit tool makes him more suitable for a corner outfield spot in the future.
There has been plenty of talk about who has the prettiest swing in the draft, and it doesn’t take long to hear Veen’s name for a reason. Seattle’s farm system is headlined by outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. The Mariners add to it by taking a high school bat with plenty of power and upside.
No. 7 Pittsburgh Pirates: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
Max Meyer is the next college arm to come off the board at seventh overall to the Pirates. Similar to Lacy, Meyer comes equipped with a velocity-packed fastball and slider. His fastball ranges between 93-97 with a slight rising action in the zone. Meyer’s slider is his ultimate weapon and arguably the best off-speed pitch in the class, it comes in at 87-91 with sharp break to both sides of the plate.
Meyer’s lean 6-foot frame comes into question for his future on the mound. But his velocity impressed scouts during the shortened 2020 season. He attended the University of Minnesota after being drafted in the 34th round in 2017. Fast forward three years and Meyer is expected to be the Gophers’ highest drafted pitcher ever, passing Glen Perkins at No. 22 overall in 2004. He joins fellow right-hander Mitch Keller to bolster Pittsburgh’s pitching staff.
No. 8 San Diego Padres: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny High School
The Padres come with a lot of shock factors in the MLB Draft. They aren’t afraid to consistently dip into the prep field at under-slot value — it’s a factor why the Padres have one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. Many of those reasons could point to why San Diego selects West Allegheny High School outfielder Austin Hendrick.
Hendrick comes with risk to be selected in the Top-10, but San Diego’s farm development system can rely on his unique power-speed combination. His quick hands generate plenty of raw power for the soon to be 19-year-old, and it can translate to plus-power at the next level. Hendrick’s elite bat speed complements his awfully quick reaction time in the outfield and on the basepaths. The prep outfielder also spent the past two seasons harnessing his strengths with USA Baseball’s U18 National Team.
San Diego is taking a risk with an undersized prep prospect, but it can make the most of Hendrick’s elite traits at the plate to take him this high. The Padres have built a loaded farm system by taking chances on prep talent. Hendrick’s raw ability is just another piece of the puzzle.
No. 9 Colorado Rockies: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
Another college pitcher comes off the board with Colorado selecting Louisville lefty Reid Detmers. Detmers is as polished as they come in this year’s class. He is equipped with a low-90s fastball and a low-70s curveball that can be utilized as a plus secondary offering. His changeup has some sinking action that can nab opposing batters in the box, and he commands all four pitches well.
The Rockies are in need of pitching in a top-heavy farm system. Detmers fits the mold of a solid rotation starter that can battle the Colorado elevation for years to come. His command and durable frame makes him an enticing option at this spot.
No. 10 Los Angeles Angels: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio High School
It was awfully tempting to pencil in a prep outfielder here, but the Angels have loaded up on high school outfielders the past three seasons in Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh and Jordyn Adams. Adell and Marsh are ready to join Mike Trout in the big leagues, so it looks like Los Angeles has its outfield situated.
The Angels can stick with the prep route and address their pitching needs with Refugio right-hander Jared Kelley. He has shown flashes of a dominant three-pitch mix highlighted by a fastball in the 93-96 mph range that has reached 98 mph. His changeup is another effective offering with a distinct fade against lefties. Kelley is still 18 years old, he can grow into his 6-foot-3 frame and add to his already impressive repertoire.
No. 11 Chicago White Sox: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
The run on prep players has left one of the most talented college prospects on the board in UCLA’s Garrett Mitchell. He falls to No. 11 to the Chicago White Sox, who keep adding more talent to a deep farm system.
Mitchell’s all-around ability was on display for the Bruins in three seasons. He owned a career .327/.393/.478 slash line with six home runs, 24 doubles and 15 triples. He also was an ABCA Gold Glove finalist while patrolling center field.
Mitchell has lots of untapped potential with a plus hit tool and plus speed to rack up stolen bases, but he does come with some risk. His underwhelming power may cause a slip down the board along with his health concerns of Type 1 diabetes. Despite the questions, Mitchell has shown to be a dynamic playmaker that can be an impact starter at the next level.
No. 12 Cincinnati Reds: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad is one of the few remaining power college bats left, so the Reds scoop him up with the 12th pick. Kjerstad has a heavy left-handed swing with a big hand circle within his load and low leg kick that generates plenty of pop.
The 6-foot-3 outfielder may draw some comparisons to Cincinnati Reds second baseman Derek Dietrich. Both players send hanging pitches in the zone over the right field wall. Kjerstad can separate himself as more of an established hitter in the big leagues, as he’s shown to slap extra base-hits to the opposite field throughout his college career. He’s also beat the shift and settled for opposite field dribblers down the third base line.
Kjerstad’s powerful, yet balanced swing gives him power to all parts of the field. His lack of speed on the basepaths and in the field may limit his potential at times, but his offensive capabilities are made for Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati may stand pat and take a pitcher, but Kjerstad makes too much sense at this selection.
No. 13 San Francisco Giants: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit High School
The Giants have an array of options to go with in the first round. They have two extra compensation picks after losing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free agency this past offseason. It gives them a bonus pool of $9.2 million to sign the top remaining talent that falls to the 13th pick.
San Francisco can take an impact college player, but a right-hander with ace potential is still on the board. If Jesuit High School’s Mick Abel falls in the first round, the Giants have the money to offer him above-slot value to steer away from his commitment to Oregon State University. Abel has flashed a four-pitch mix with a fastball that sits between 93-96 mph. His mid-80s slider is a quality off-speed pitch to go with a 12-6 curveball and changeup.
Abel didn’t pitch during the 2020 season. Jesuit canceled all sports due to the coronavirus, but he pitched his way to an Oregon 6A state title in 2019. Abel can easily be viewed as a Top-10 talent since his elite stuff for a high school arm is downright impressive. He would become the sixth Oregon high school player to be drafted in the first round. The Giants have been lacking a true starter in their farm system for quite some time, they have a chance to pounce on one with Abel toeing the rubber.
No. 14 Texas Rangers: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence High School
Another prep talent falls to the early teens with Independence High School outfielder Robert Hassell. Hassell is viewed as the best pure hitter in the prep class with a smooth left-handed swing that slashes line drives to all fields. His quick bat and nimble feet were on display during the U-18 World Cup.
Hassell’s overall ability has shot him up draft boards in recent weeks. There are concerns about his lack of power for his lean frame, but there is optimism he can add more raw power as he adjusts in the minors. If everything comes together, Hassell can transform into a big-league talent with better or average tools at the plate and in the field. It would be quite a boost within the Rangers’ farm system.
No. 15 Philadelphia Phillies: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
After spending a first round pick on UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott last year, the Phillies stick to the college ranks with Tennessee lefty Garrett Crochet. The 6-foot-6 southpaw has an electric fastball that’s topped between 96-100 mph for much of the spring. His mid-80s slider and deceptive changeup are both plus offerings to keep opposing batters off guard.
For a pitcher his size, Crochet pounds the zone on a consistent basis. There is some injury risk, and questions remain about him viewed as a starter or a reliever. His command must be tinkered with in order to make the most of his repertoire. While Crochet has some room to grow, Philadelphia is getting a competitor with plenty of heat on the mound.
No. 16 Chicago Cubs: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
The Cubs haven’t picked this high in the first round since selecting Ian Happ ninth overall in 2015. Chicago can have a backstop of the future with North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey. At the plate, Bailey is a switch-hitter with solid raw power and contact. His sharp eye in the box translates to a good amount of walks. Defensively, Bailey’s athleticism shines brightest with a springy pop time and strong arm to throw out opposing base stealers.
Chicago needs to infuse more young talent into its farm system. If Bailey can tap into his offensive potential, he can become a key contributor for the Cubs in the near future.
No. 17 Boston Red Sox: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli has had a meteoric rise up draft boards, and he’s found a nice landing spot with the Boston Red Sox. Cavalli produces some of the best heat in the class with a 93-96 mph fastball with riding action that has topped at 99. He’s also developed a low-80s curveball with break at the knees to go along with a cutting slider and changeup.
The 6-foot-4 Cavalli comes with a few concerns. He struggles with his control and command that makes him rely on his fastball to get ahead of the count. Cavalli didn’t take the mound for Oklahoma until his sophomore year due to injury concerns that may still plague his draft status. Despite the issues, when Cavalli is at his best, his stuff is up there with the top-level college arms. Boston has the chance to scoop him up and add to its rebuilding farm system.
No. 18 Arizona Diamondbacks: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel High School
Under general manager Mike Hazen and amateur scouting director Deric Ladnier, the Diamondbacks have built an enticing farm system filled to the brim with young talent. Much of that success comes from their draft strategy of selecting the best available prep talent on the board. It has resulted in toolsy outfielders such as Kristian Robinson, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll along with pitcher Blake Walston.
This year’s focus should be no different. Arizona stole the best prep center fielder in Carroll last season. Now, the Diamondbacks pick the best prep infielder of the class in Mount Carmel shortstop Ed Howard. Howard isn’t flashy, but his tools, smarts and potential fit Arizona’s draft model like a glove.
Besides his physical traits, Howard plays the game with a mental edge that keeps him on his toes. The 6-foot-2 shortstop has a simple right-handed approach at the plate that makes consistent contact. His baseball IQ and smooth hand-to-glove transfers shows he’s projectable to stay at shortstop. Howard’s speed on the basepaths makes him a complete prospect with plenty of skills that can develop in the minor leagues.
Arizona has selected the top prep talent in recent drafts, and Howard’s ability makes him a tantalizing project for the future.
No. 19 New York Mets: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake High School
Harvard-Westlake outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong is another toolsy prep prospect that falls to the New York Mets. Crow-Armstrong has an athletic 6-foot-2 frame with a polished left-handed swing. His speed and strong arm can translate to a future position in center field. Although he has more contact than power at the moment, he can add more strength at the plate.
Crow-Armstrong turned 18 years old in March, and his all-around talents can make him an enticing option. While there remains some swing-and miss issues, New York can grab a potential everyday center fielder in the first round.
No. 20 Milwaukee Brewers: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East High School
The Brewers stuck with the college approach in the first, second and fourth rounds last year, but they go back to the prep route with Central Bucks East pitcher Nick Bitsko still on the board.
Bitsko’s high-90s fastball and knee-bending curveball is one of the best two-pitch mixes in the class. The rising action and velocity on his fastball plays well off his curveball and changeup. Standing at 6-foot-4, Bitsko attacks the strike zone consistently and commands all three pitches well.
Professional scouts may not have the extensive tape on Bitsko since the coronavirus forced an early shutdown on high school athletics. He is also committed to the University of Virginia, which may steer some teams away if he lasts toward the latter end of the first round. Bitsko still has a good feel for all three pitches and is a highly-touted prep arm for those very reasons.
No. 21 St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock High School
St. Louis is a mixed bag with a high school or college focus in the first round, it remains a mystery to which side it prefers this year. The Cardinals can simply play the board and select the best possible talent. Turlock High School catcher Tyler Soderstrom is at the top-tier of his position and makes sense from an organizational standpoint.
Measuring in at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Soderstrom is a bat-first backstop with plenty of pop at the plate. His powerful left-handed swing makes plenty of loud contact off the barrel. Defensively, Soderstrom has a strong arm and average fielding that will allow a few pass balls. He may be viewed as a projectable outfielder or first baseman due to his size and arm. A UCLA recruit, Soderstrom is a threat to test the college waters. But the Cardinals take a stab at a catching prospect with offensive potential.
No. 22 Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
The defending World Series champions add to its farm pitching staff with Georgia right-hander Cole Wilcox. Wilcox is equipped with some of the best pure stuff in the draft. His fast ball touches 97 that reaches 100 mph with a sinking action. Both of Wilcox’s effective secondary pitches in a changeup and slider are mid-80s offerings that play well off his heater.
With so much college and high school pitching depth, several prospects may fall to the back-end of the first round. Wilcox may be one of them since his hard-throwing delivery draws injury concerns. He also struggles with command at times, but he can be an immediate asset to a team’s farm system when at his best.
The Nationals selected Wilcox in the 37th round in 2018, but he committed to Georgia. Washington has a chance to do it again on a more polished product.
No. 23 Cleveland Indians: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe High School
The Indians don’t mind absorbing risk dipping into the prep route, they’ve drafted a high school prospect five years in a row and counting. Carson Tucker could be an intriguing pick for Cleveland toward the back-end of the first round. The younger brother of Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, Carson is paving a big-league future of his own.
Tucker has excellent bat control for a prep bat that produces solid contact at high exit velocities. He can add more raw power to his 6-foot-2 frame, which complements his solid hit tool. Defensively, Tucker has the hands and athleticism to stick at shortstop long term. Prep infielders are tough to find in this year’s draft, but Tucker sticks out amongst the pack with his up-the-middle potential.
No. 24 Tampa Bay Rays: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas
Tampa Bays nabs a supreme athlete in Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin. Martin’s speed is rated as high as 75 to some scouts, and he lives up to the hype. Once the 5-foot-11 infielder makes contact, he explodes out of the box with eye-popping quickness. Despite his elite speed, Martin stole just 24 bases in three years with the Razorbacks—although his junior season was cut short by COVID-19.
Martin brings more to the plate than speed. His quick hands produce line drives to all fields, and he’s tapped into some power. Defensively, Martin has the arm and athleticism to bounce around the infield. He has all the tools and talent to be an impact player in the big leagues.
No. 25 Atlanta Braves: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State
Mississippi State right-hander J.T. Ginn has first-round talent, but he underwent Tommy John Surgery this spring that could potentially plummet his draft stock. When healthy, Ginn flashes a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 mph. His mid-80s slider is a plus secondary offering with break and two-plane depth. He’s also shown an effective changeup that drops in velocity.
Despite his recent injury history, Ginn has the repertoire that could see him selected in the first round. Atlanta has the talent and depth on the farm to harness Ginn’s strengths while giving him time to develop in the minors. It could be a win-win for both sides.
No. 26 Oakland Athletics: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
Oakland values safety in the first round, and Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin is as safe as they come. Loftin has solid tools across the board to stick at shortstop in the majors. His strong arm and instincts were on display in three seasons at Baylor. If Loftin doesn’t fit the mold at shortstop, his versatility around the infield can be used as a utilityman.
At the plate, Loftin has quick hands to make good contact with sneaky power. The A’s can get a reliable contributor with Loftin toward the back-end of the first round.
No. 27 Minnesota Twins: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
The Twins may target a college infielder, but South Carolina’s Carmen Mlodzinski is great value at this spot. Mlodzinski’s stuff tops his career 4.74 ERA. His velocity-packed fastball touched 99 mph at the Cape Cod League. He also sports a low-80s slider and changeup to make a quality three-pitch mix.
Mlodzinski struggled with his control on the mound, and it showed at South Carolina. But he saved his best performance at the Cape to drastically raise his draft stock. If he can smooth out his mechanics, Mlodzinski can add more pitching depth to a bat-heavy Twins farm system.
No. 28 New York Yankees: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur High School
New York’s acquisition of pitcher Gerrit Cole came at a cost to its draft selections. The Yankees have the second smallest bonus pool at $3.5 million after forfeiting their second and fifth round picks to sign Cole. With limited picks in the draft, New York may swing for the fences with prep corner infielder Jordan Walker.
Walker possesses quality bat speed and plus-power at just 18 years old. His 6-foot-5 frame generates plenty of raw pop and leverage at the plate. Walker’s hit tool is a concern since he struggles against off-speed breaking balls, but he’s shown to make some adjustments. Defensively, Walker’s strong arm makes up for his below-average speed and athleticism. His size and frame can potentially place him as a corner outfielder at the next level.
Walker is committed to Duke, and he may spent three seasons with the Devils if he slips past the first round. Despite the questions, he is viewed as one of the best prep power bats in the class. The Yankees can bank on his potential at the plate while finding a defensive fit.
No. 29 Los Angeles Dodgers: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
With the final pick of the first round, the Dodgers grab an offense-first infielder in Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue. Foscue has good bat speed and a pull-heavy approach to generate power from the right side. He makes consistent contact and his power can carry over to the next level.
Foscue’s hands can turn a double-play, and his quick glove is a solid tool in his defensive repertoire, though his speed is one of the weaker traits. Coming off another postseason appearance, Los Angeles grabs a run producer with a high floor.
Competitive Balance Round A
Competitive balance rounds are used for teams that have either the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools. For this reason, they receive an additional pick after the first and second rounds. These picks can be traded and are not subject to forfeiture.
No. 30 Baltimore Orioles: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
After picking Vanderbilt swiss army knife Austin Martin second overall, Baltimore switches to the mound with Miami right-hander Slade Cecconi. Cecconi’s 6-foot-4 frame produces a high-90s fastball and sweeping slider. The changeup and curveball aren’t as developed as his fastball and slider, but Cecconi has plenty of upside with good arm strength.
Questions surround Cecconi if he’s more suited starting or coming out of the bullpen, but his potential and two-pitch combination add to the Orioles’ collection of young arms.
No. 31 Pittsburgh Pirates: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
Pittsburgh nabbed Minnesota pitcher Max Meyer seventh overall, now they can play the board and take the best prospect available. Ohio State’s Dillon Dingler has the ceiling to be the first catcher selected due to his unique athleticism and raw ability.
Dingler wasn’t limited to the backstop at Ohio State. He played center field for most of his freshman year, and his athletic traits can translate to either position in the Major Leagues. Dingler has a strong arm and good speed for his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame. He was voted as Ohio State’s captain as a sophomore and draws comparisons to mobile catchers in Daulton Varsho and Sean Murphy.
Dingler’s offensive ceiling may be a reason he falls out of the first round. He batted just .267/.362/.396 in two years with the Buckeyes, but he has projectable skills at the plate. His quick right-handed swing generates raw power for his size. The Pirates can scoop up Dingler in the compensation round and work with his well-rounded strengths.
No. 32 Kansas City Royals: Daniel Cabrera, OF, Louisiana State
The Royals grabbed Asa Lacy fourth overall, now they switch to the offensive side with LSU outfielder Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera has the tools to hit for power and average at the next level. His left-handed swing and simple approach makes contact to all sides of the field.
He doesn’t chase at pitches out of the zone and works the count to his favor. While selective at the plate, his hit tool is among the best in the college class. Kansas City can add to its solid draft with Cabrera’s offensive capabilities.
No. 33 Arizona Diamondbacks: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Arizona selected the first prep infielder with Ed Howard 18th overall, and a flame-throwing righty is still on the board. Bobby Miller has a chance to join fellow Louisville pitcher Reid Detmers in the first round, but Miller’s long delivery has drawn questions about his big-league future.
Despite the health concerns, Miller has first-round stuff. His fastball regularly sits between 95-97 and occasionally hits 99 mph. Miller’s slider and developing changeup are two effective offerings to counter his heat on the mound. Standing at 6-foot-5, Miller has starter capabilities, but he’s also viewed as a long-inning reliever due to his overwhelming velocity. Arizona can add to its young pitching group in the compensatory round.
No. 34 San Diego Padres: Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere High School
San Diego sticks with the prep route with its second pick, selecting Windermere right-hander Carson Montgomery. Montgomery is an intriguing prospect due to his mid-90s fastball and power breaking ball. He’s also experimented with a changeup that has a drastic dip in velocity to keep opposing batters off guard. For a prep arm, Montgomery pounds the zone with consistent strikes and has a lot of polish for a 17-year-old.
Montgomery is committed to Florida State University, he could go to the college ranks if he falls further in the draft. The Padres can find an impact college arm, but Montgomery’s potential may be too enticing to pass on.
No. 35 Colorado Rockies: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
The run on pitchers continues with Miami right-hander Chris McMahon coming off the board. Fellow teammate Slade Cecconi may have the better stuff, but McMahon’s command and athleticism makes him one of the most solid arms in the class.
McMahon gets ahead of the count with a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 98 mph. His changeup is an effective secondary pitch to go along with a developing breaking ball. McMahon’s stuff doesn’t force a lot of swing-and-miss action, but it results in several softly hit ground balls for outs. If Colorado is focused on adding to its farm pitching staff, this is the draft to take advantage.
No. 36 Cleveland Indians: Dax Fulton, LHP, Mustang High School
As seen in the first round, Cleveland may take some risk to find premier prep talent. There aren’t many prep arms with as much risk as lefty Dax Fulton, but Cleveland can be just the landing spot for him. Fulton’s lanky 6-foot-6 frame and low three-quarter slot generates a low-to-mid 90s fastball with a high spin rate. His curveball is one of the best in the prep class to go along with a developing changeup.
For such a long pitcher, Fulton is strong and can add even more muscle as he progresses through the minors. The lanky pitcher carries some risk at this spot. He underwent Tommy John surgery in September, and there isn’t much tape of him already. But he has a tremendous amount of upside on the mound that could see him sneaking into the first round. Cleveland can take a swing of faith that turns into a potential grand slam.
No. 37 Tampa Bay Rays: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
With so much college pitching left on the board, Tampa Bay has its choice of right-handers Bryce Jarvis, CJ Van Eyk and Tanner Burns. All three are solid options, but Jarvis’ impressive spring put his increased velocity on display.
Jarvis was throwing in the high-80s at the beginning of 2019, but he upped his velocity to the mid-90s this season after adding 20 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame. He also sports an effective changeup, curveball and slider to make a four-pitch mix. All three off-speed pitches are scouted as average or better offerings.
Jarvis is a consistent strike thrower and repeats his delivery well. He could be in the first round discussion, but more tape may be needed to prove his repertoire is legit. The Rays pounce on one of the better remaining college pitching prospects.
— Isaiah Burrows