Since mid-March, Major League Baseball and their Players Association have been in debate on what the 2020 season will look like. Proposals have gone from 114 games to 50 with talks of prorated salaries for the season.
While there are so many uncertainties with this year’s MLB season, one remains clear: the MLB Draft kicks off Thursday.
On June 10, the first round of the MLB Draft will kick off on both MLB Network and ESPN.
Here’s our mock draft for the first round in this year’s draft:
1. Detroit Tigers – 1B Spencer Torkelson (Arizona St.)
Torkelson has been the shoe-in for the first overall pick for a long time now. A few weeks back, I took a look at why Torkelson is a future star in the making. Read more about Torkelson here.
In Torkelson, Detroit is getting possibly the best hitter in the draft and easily the highest ceiling out of any power hitter. With Torkelson and last year’s first round draft pick Riley Greene, the Tigers could have two fast risers which will land in the middle of their lineup.
2. Baltimore Orioles – 3B/CF Austin Martin (Vanderbilt)
Martin is a pure hitter who has hit in each of his three years at Vanderbilt. He has the ability to play either third base or center field, both of which he played this spring for the Commodores. He’s already received a flurry of comparisons to Dansby Swanson. Over his three seasons for Vanderbilt, Martin hit .368 with an 1.007 OPS. He only struck out in 82 plate appearances over 140 games.
Last year the Orioles hit big with Adley Rutschman at the top of the 2019 Draft. Whether the Orioles land Martin or Torkelson if he falls, the Orioles lineup looks promising in a few years with a rising farm system.
3. Miami Marlins – LHP Asa Lacy (Texas A&M)
The Marlins have been locked in on Lacy for a while now, as they should be. The Marlins have been developing their farm system with many bats, excluding Sixto Sanchez, whom they acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. A high-floor college pitcher is exactly who they should be going after here.
Lacy’s command is his only issue. He throws in the mid-90s with an above average slider. He has a tall frame with an incredibly strong mentality on the mound. While Lacy may be the first arm to be taken off the board, the ceiling isn’t as high as others. Lacy projects to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy at best.
4. Kansas City – OF Zac Veen (Spruce Creek HS, Florida)
Veen is easily the highest rated high school player in this draft, as he rose up in rankings incredibly quickly after a strong showcase season last year. Veen has a tall frame (6-foot-4) and has shown his ability to hit for power even while keeping a compact swing with the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. He’s not as swing-heavy as other players in the draft, consistently keeping a good eye at the plate throughout.
The Royals are a perfect fit for Veen since they’re a pitcher-heavy farm system already, selecting Florida’s Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar with both of their first round picks in 2018. After selecting Bobby Witt Jr. a year ago, Veen will be a great addition to their potential young core in the lineup.
5. Toronto Blue Jays – RHP Emerson Hancock (Georgia)
While the first four picks may potentially all be chalk, Toronto’s fifth pick could be where things become interesting. Ultimately, I went with the Blue Jays selecting Hancock at fifth overall to get an additional arm in the farm system. Looking at the Blue Jays rotation for the 2020 season, if there is one, it would be headlined by three pitchers acquired on short-term deals this past winter.
Nate Pearson, Alek Manoah, Anthony Kay, and Simeon Woods-Richardson are all guys who are capable of being starters in the Blue Jays rotation, but they need solidarity in the group. Manoah and Woods-Richardson are both guys who could fall back into bullpen roles if needed down the line. Hancock has the cleanest mechanics in this Draft; with his suburb fastball command and plus change up, Hancock could be a fast riser to the Blue Jays rotation.
6. Seattle Mariners – INF Nick Gonzales (New Mexico St.)
Gonzales has been one of the more talked about prospects in this year’s draft based off of his ridiculous numbers in his three collegiate seasons. Over those three seasons, he had a batting average of .399 with an OPS of 1.249; these seem like video game numbers. Not only has he shown his pure ability to hit, he has shown power too. Gonzales hit 12 homers in 16 games this season for the Aggies.
The biggest knock on Gonzales for a while was he played at New Mexico St. The home field is known to be extremely hitter friendly and he was playing at a high altitude. But, those critics became quiet after he played in 42 Cape Cod League games last year where he hit .351/.451/.630 with seven home runs. Gonzales can hit, and he’s exactly what the Mariners need. There is no way possible that Gonzales slips below sixth overall.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates – OF Austin Hendrick (West Allegheny HS, Pennsylvania)
To read why the Pittsburgh Pirates and Austin Hendrick are the perfect fit, press here.
8. San Diego Padres – OF Robert Hassell (Independence HS, Tennessee)
If you have followed the Padres draft history the last few years, the tendencies are the same: high school players. I don’t see them heading in a different direction this year. While the Padres need to hit on pitchers in this draft, as it is a college pitcher friendly draft, I think they go for their bat at eighth overall and then attack the pitchers with their remaining picks.
Hassall has an extremely high hit tool with plus size (6-foot-2, 190lbs). Throughout his swing he stays compact and has a short-to-the-ball approach. Hassall should become the first player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft from Tennessee since 1986.
9. Colorado Rockies – RHP Max Meyer (Minnesota)
The six foot arm is an exciting one to watch. In Minnesota the past three years he has been nothing short of dominant. He appeared in just 27.2 innings this season, only allowing six runs while striking out 46. Meyer has possibly the best fastball in the draft with a plus sider. While I do believe Meyer may slide into a relief role down the line, he could be incredibly dominant out of that spot. If he doesn’t get picked up here, the Angels will secure him. Meyer won’t fall out of the top ten selections.
10. Los Angeles Angels – RHP Cade Cavalli (Oklahoma)
If Meyer isn’t available for the Angels at tenth overall, they should end up going with another high floor pitcher in Cavalli. Cavalli has shot up through the ranks tremendously over the past few months. He has a fastball nearing triple digits with a huge frame. With this pick, Cavalli could be a guy who rises quickly for the Angels, as early as 2021.
11. Chicago White Sox – INF Ed Howard (Mount Carmel, Illinois)
The 2014 Little League World Series star may have the chance to play for his home-state team if selected at pick 11. With the White Sox having a team almost ready to be competitive, they may turn to a high school player, unlike they have in the past, to restock their farm system. Howard fits in perfectly with the White Sox potential plans.
12. Cincinnati Reds – C/3B/OF Tyler Soderstrom (Turlock, California)
While Soderstrom may not stick behind the plate long term, his bat will play no matter where he ends up. He’s an above average hitter with plus power with the ability to use all fields. There’s no way of solidifying him into one position now, but as long as his bat is in the lineup, the Reds will be happy.
13. San Francisco Giants – RHP Cole Wilcox (Georgia)
The Giants farm system has absolutely no promise when you look at the pitching group. If you look at this year’s draft, there is no better time to stock up. At 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, it’ll start with Wilcox. His mechanics are extremely clean while he has a chance to be a quick riser for the Giants.
14. Texas Rangers – RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, Oregon)
With one of the highest ceilings in the draft, Abel has the potential to be the best pitcher to come out of this group. He may be a tough sign at first, but this is a risk any team should be willing to take. He has touched 99mph and has great control with his four pitches. His frame will fill out over time. If there is one risk a team is willing to take, it should be on Abel.
15. Philadelphia Phillies – CF Garrett Mitchell (UCLA)
Mitchell has flown all over draft boards dating back to his high school days. He’s a five tool player whose bat is already there. His power needs to improve to become consistent at the Major League level, but his raw talent already shows he has the ability to improve. His defense in center field is a huge plus to his overall game.
16. Chicago Cubs – RHP Jared Kelley (Refugio HS, Texas)
17. Boston Red Sox – RHP Nick Bitsco (Central Bucks East HS, Pennsylvania)
18. Arizona Diamondbacks – LHP Reid Detmers (Louisville)
19. New York Mets – OF Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard-Westlake HS, California)
The last of the “big five” high school bats to go here is Crow-Armstrong. Crow-Armstrong is a five-tool player who continues to develop. As time progresses, his power will increase which will also boost his value. He is considered a tough sign, but after what the Mets did in last year’s draft (selecting Brett Baty, Josh Wolf, and Matthew Allen) and then targeting all college seniors, you could see them go a similar route in this year’s shortened draft.
20. Milwaukee Brewers – LHP Garrett Crochet (Tennessee)
21. St. Louis Cardinals – RHP Bryce Jarvis (Duke)
22. Washington Nationals – LHP Dax Fulton (Mustang HS, Oklahoma)
With the Nationals recent history of selecting arms coming off injuries, this selection would make too much sense. Fulton is a polished arm with a plus breaking ball. But, he is coming off of Tommy John Surgery.
23. Cleveland Indians – OF Heston Kjerstad (Arkansas)
24. Tampa Bay Rays – C Patrick Bailey (NC State)
25. Atlanta Braves – RHP J.T. Ginn (Mississippi St.)
26. Oakland A’s – RHP Chris McMahon (Miami)
The former three-sport high school athlete has become a high riser as a pitcher for the Miami Hurricanes. He seems like a perfect fit for the Athletics, who should be going for an arm at 26.
27. Minnesota Twins – 3B Jordan Walker (Decatur HS, Georgia)
28. New York Yankees – RHP Slade Cecconi (Miami)
*Houston Astros Forfeit First Round Pick*
29. Los Angeles Dodgers – RHP Jarred Jones (La Mirada HS, California)
While this may be Jones’s ceiling in the draft, he has the capability to end up being one of the highest value picks. He has tremendous tempo in his motion and is already up to 99mph. In the long run, you could see Jones sliding into the bullpen. But, if he does, be careful. Jones could end up being a lethal arm in the back of any ‘pen.
The MLB Draft begins at 7pm (EST) on Wednesday, June 10 on both MLB Network and ESPN. Rounds 2-5 will be Thursday, June 11, beginning at 5pm (EST).