Five rounds of picks and 160 dreams will be made over the course of this year's MLB Draft, both significantly smaller numbers than in the past. Money is relatively tight, and the MLB Draft was one of the many victims of league-wide modifications.
Nonetheless, we're still savoring the opportunity to witness some sort of excitement regarding our national pastime while attempts at season-starting negotiations continually yield discouraging and frustrating responses from both the league and the union. The draft is a temporary oasis, representing all the things that make baseball such a great tradition. It represents extremely tiresome work, both physically and mentally, paying off in a big way. It represents the years of triumphant victories and crushing defeats finally leading hundreds to the biggest stage there is.
And, in the simplest terms, it represents the transformation of a game beloved by millions into a professional career.
Join RADIO.COM Sports as we meet every pick of the first round, starting at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night, any of which could blossom into the new face of Major League Baseball. 37 picks will be made -- 29 in the standard first round, as the Astros' pick was taken away as part of the cheating scandal, and eight additional picks as part of Competitive Balance Round A -- before subsequent rounds occur on Thursday.
2020 MLB Draft Order
1. Detroit Tigers: 1B/3B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 54 HR, 130 RBI, .337/.463/.729
Cape Cod League stats (2 seasons): 9 HR, 32 RBI, .340/.484/.745
Read more about the huge bat of Torkelson in our in-depth player profile.
2. Baltimore Orioles: OF Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 37 HR, 129 RBI, .343/.421/.590
Kjerstad’s power-hitting prowess was ultimately too much for the Orioles to pass up, though he was lower on most, if not all, expert draft boards heading into the first round. Still, you can’t deny that his career .590 slugging percentage -- with an unbelievable .791 figure in the shortened 2020 season -- is an impressive and intriguing stat.
3. Miami Marlins: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 148.0 IP, 10 W, 7 L, 187 K, 2.13 ERA
Meyer possesses a devastating duo of pitches, which helps him pack a punch despite his smaller frame (6’0”). His fastball comes just short of triple digits, while his slider registers in the low to mid 90s with some nasty movement. He was previously selected by the Twins toward the end of the 2017 MLB Draft, but opted to develop further at the University of Minnesota, where he was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team as a sophomore before his junior season was cut short to the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Kansas City Royals: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 152.0 IP, 14 W, 5 L, 224 K, 2.07 ERA
Read more about the potential future MLB ace in our in-depth player profile.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: SS Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 14 HR, 76 RBI, .368/.474/.532
Read more about the athletic threat, previously selected in the 37th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, in our in-depth player profile. It's worth noting that Martin could also be considered a candidate to play at the hot corner or in the outfield.
6. Seattle Mariners: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 192.0 IP, 16 W, 7 L, 206 K, 3.47 ERA
Hancock is hoping his Major League career will follow the path of his sophomore season rather than his freshman year, as he dropped his 2018 5.10 ERA to a sublime 1.99 ERA the following season. A small sample size in his junior season was a little less dominant, but he was still able to post strong strikeout numbers and could turn out to be one of the most MLB-ready members of the class.
Read more about the Georgia alum in our in-depth player profile, courtesy of Knox Bardeen of 92.9 The Game.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: 2B/SS Nick Gonzales, New Mexico State
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 37 HR, 152 RBI, .399/.502/.747
Cape Cod League stats (2 seasons): 7 HR, 33 RBI, .340/.439/.610
To say Gonzales was a tough out in 2019 is an understatement. He got on base in 53.2% of his plate appearances, and improved upon that number in the shortened 2020 season, recording an absurd slash line of .448/.610/1.155. Analytics may not favor him as much as his counting stats do, but the pop he possesses at a position that is historically barren of power hitters should make fans excited.
8. San Diego Padres: OF Robert Hassell III, Independence HS
A “freak” in the batter’s box, Hassell has developed a ton of hype as one of the most exciting high school players in the country. He was nearly as dominant a pitcher (5-2, 1.07 ERA) as he was at the plate (14 HR, .423 average), but MLB teams are going to take him for his bat. But hey, you never know. Joe Nathan and Trevor Hoffman were both drafted as hitters, not as the dominant pitchers they turned out to be.
9. Colorado Rockies: OF Zac Veen, Spruce Creek HS
Veen was named the best high school player in the country on Perfect Game’s list of the Class of 2020 Top 500 Rankings. Several analysts said that they don’t expect Veen to fulfill his commitment to Florida, and it seems as though those predictions will be correct given how highly he was selected. CBS Sports draft analyst R.J. Anderson notes that he’s drawn comparisons to All-Star Jayson Werth.
10. Los Angeles Angels: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 191.0 IP, 20 W, 6 L, 284 K, 3.20 ERA
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 27.2 IP, 1 W, 3 L, 29 K, 4.55 ERA
Detmers boosted his draft stock in a big way his sophomore season after experiencing some beginner’s struggles in 2018, both at Louisville and in the CCBL. The Cardinals ace went 13-4 in 18 starts in 2019, striking out batters left and right at a rate of 13.3 per nine innings. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the 6’2” lefty upped that number to 19.6 in 2020. He did this with a fairly large range of velocities between his fast ball and breaking stuff, and analysts have said that his curve ball could be the best of the 2020 class.
11. Chicago White Sox: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 132.0 IP, 10 W, 9 L, 149 K, 4.64 ERA
A hulking figure at 6'6", ESPN analysts gave the All-American hurler a legitimate comparison to Clayton Kershaw. His fastball has tremendous break as well as 99-mph speed, but there are concerns regarding the amount of work he was able to put in this spring as well as the fact that he was quite hittable in school.
12. Cincinnati Reds: OF Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny HS
The third high school outfielder selected in this year's draft, the Reds look to add a fixture to their outfield down the road and become the next fearsome slugger after Nick Castellanos, Aristedes Aquino, and the rest of the Reds crop of power hitters. Hendrick's power is well-represented by his ridiculous exit velocity, which Perfect Game tabbed at 105 miles per hour.
13. San Francisco Giants: C Patrick Bailey, NC State
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 29 HR, 106 RBI, .302/.411/.568
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 1 HR, 3 RBI, .235/.350/.529
Buster Posey's career could be coming to an end sometime relatively soon, but Joey Bart was a very early selection in the 2018 Draft for the Giants. Thus it's interesting that San Francisco went with another catcher with their first round pick, but his switch-hitting abilities could be good enough to fill a valuable role sooner rather than later.
14. Texas Rangers: 2B Justin Foscue, Mississippi State
NCAA stats (3 season): 19 HR, 96 RBI, .297/.380/.482
Pacific Gulf Coast League stats (1 season): 2 HR, 9 RBI, .304/.467/.446
A middle infielder with a confident approach and one of the most pure swings in the draft, Foscue is touted as someone whose hitting ability is good enough to make an impact without too much development needed. Both his counting stats above and his analytics (91.7 average exit velocity) support the offensive hype surrounding him.
15. Philadelphia Phillies: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit HS
Adley Rutschman, the first overall pick of the 2019 Draft, is a good guy to have on your side. And that’s exactly the case here, as the Orioles backstop expressed his surprise that Abel was pitching at such a high level despite being a high schooler, as noted by Manny Randhawa of MLB.com. Now, the Phillies add a top high school arm as they attempt to stabilize their starting rotation after its struggles have brought the team down in the years since their early 2010s peak.
16. Chicago Cubs: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel HS
It’s rare that a player still in high school is so projectable at such an early age, but the 6’2” frame of this Mount Carmel shortstop has experts claiming he’s set to fill that position for a long time. That bodes well for Howard's development, and for a team with Javy Baez already shining in the middle infield, the Chicago native will look to develop in the minors and become his eventual partner in the lineup.
17. Boston Red Sox: 2B Nick Yorke, Archbishop Mitty HS
Yorke could provide some pop for the Red Sox down the line, and Boston is likely selecting the pure hitter as a way to potentially save further on in the draft. Still, his highlights provide an example as to the offensive potential he has. Another guy who wasn't very highly touted on the offensive side and flew under scouts' radars? Dustin Pedroia.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 150.1 IP, 12 W, 4 L, 201 K, 2.81 ERA
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 28.2 IP, 1 W, 2 L, 22 K, 5.34
Kevin Jarvis was selected in the 1991 Draft and had a career as a journeyman reliever for many franchises, but the hope is that Bryce has the more memorable MLB career. His 2020 season offered a glimpse at his improvement, as he went 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA and posted a 13.3 K/9 clip.
19. New York Mets: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake School
Jack Flaherty and Max Fried may have a new throwing partner. Flaherty has said that he’s spent a lot of his quarantine tossing a ball around with Fried, his high school teammate at Harvard-Westlake, and Crow-Armstrong is yet another alum of the program that could emerge as a star. Lucas Giolito and Brennan Boesch are two other former Wolverines who made it to the bigs.
20. Milwaukee Brewers: OF Garrett Mitchell, UCLA
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 6 HR, 81 RBI, .327/.393/.478
Northwoods League stats (1 season): 2 HR, 20 RBI, .309/.404/.382
Power isn’t Mitchell’s calling card, but nearly everything else is. His 2019 season was a blend of his blinding speed, which helped him to 12 triples and 18 stolen bases, and his stellar athleticism and range in the outfield. A Type 1 diabetic, Mitchell has defied the odds to this point and looks to continue his inspirational story.
21. St. Louis Cardinals: 3B Jordan Walker, Decatur HS
Walker's a big guy at third, standing tall at 6'5" and punishing the ball with some eye-popping analytics, including a triple-digit exit velocity. He has the tendency to be over-aggressive at the plate, but it's often worth the risk as he can hit with devastating power. Troy Glaus has been used as a comparison, as noted by Chris Burke on ESPN, and the Cardinals wouldn't be too upset if the tie to the four-time All-Star came true.
22. Washington Nationals: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 101.1 IP, 8 W, 7 L, 114 K, 4.09 ERA
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 13.0 IP, 0 W, 1 L, 15 K, 4.15 ERA
Cavalli split time between the mound and the batter’s box, but ultimately chose to focus on his pitching in preparation for his big league career. Draft expert Keith Law can see him as a No. 2 starter in a rotation, though he questions why his filthy stuff hasn’t exactly translated into results, as shown by his stats above.
23. Cleveland Indians: SS Carson Tucker, Mountain Pointe HS
Everyone jumped to the same thought once they heard that Cleveland had drafted another shortstop: what does that mean for the future of Francisco Lindor? But everyone should probably hold on to their hats, here, as he's just a high school product and, as the ESPN panel mentioned, there are other guys in the system that Tucker will have to leapfrog. Draft expert Keith Law doesn't see Tucker as the same talent as Lindor, or even as Carson's older brother Cole, who was a first-round selection in 2014.
24. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East HS
You’ve got to be pretty special to get a Justin Verlander comparison while in high school, and Bitsko managed to receive this acclaim even after the pandemic put his senior year to a halt. But it’s not only his pitching that’s receiving attention, and rightfully so. A .450 batting average and plenty of power made Bitsko an absolute force in Eastern Pennsylvania high school baseball.
25. Atlanta Braves: LHP Jared Shuster, Wake Forest
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 128.1 IP, 6 W, 8 L, 169 K, 6.17
The Braves already have an extremely talented left-hander in their rotation in Max Fried, and the hope is that Shuster's arsenal, which includes a deceptive change-up and a "slurvy" breaking ball, can add to the rotation (via draft expert Keith Law).
26. Oakland Athletics: C/3B Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock HS
Soderstrom will likely be penned in as a catcher for now, but his bat is good enough to open up his future in a variety of different directions. He’s already proven himself to be a clutch, big-moment performer after his huge performance in the U18 World Cup for Team USA (via David Adler of MLB.com).
27. Minnesota Twins: 1B Aaron Sabato, UNC
Sabato tied for the conference lead in the ACC with seven home runs, and the Twins are looking to add to their power-hitting ways after leading the league with 307 home runs in 2019.
28. New York Yankees: C Austin Wells, Arizona
NCAA stats (2 seasons): 7 HR, 74 RBI, .357/.476/.560
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 7 HR, 26 RBI, .308/.389/.526
Wells is one of the most analytics-friendly catchers in the draft, as his barrel speed and exit velocity backs up his strong counting stats. The Yankees often go toward offensively inclined catchers, with a long list of storied backstops including Yogi Berra, Jorge Posada, Thurmon Munson, and Elston Howard.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Bobby Miller, Louisville
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 170.0 IP, 15 W, 2 L, 175 K, 3.28 ERA
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 16.0 IP, 0 W, 0 L, 10 K, 5.06 ERA
CBS Sports draft analyst R.J. Anderson pegs Miller's elongated delivery as one area of concern, but his arsenal of pitches and his big, powerful frame are reasons for the Dodgers to be optimistic that they may be adding another power-pitching righty to their impressive rotation.
Competitive Balance Round A
30. Baltimore Orioles: SS Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 10 HR, 102 RBI, .285/.385/.446
Cape Cod League and Pacific Gulf Coast League stats (2 seasons): 5 HR, 23 RBI, .345/.443/.526
31. Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Carmen Mlodzinski, South Carolina
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 81.2 IP, 5 W, 7 L, 76 K, 4.74 ERA
Cape Cod League stats (1 season): 29.1 IP, 2 W, 0 L, 40 K, 2.15 ERA
32. Kansas City Royals: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 14 HR, 92 RBI, .311/.370/.479
Northwoods League and Cape Cod League stats (2 seasons): 3 HR, 29 RBI, .263/.312/.377
33. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Slade Cecconi, Miami
NCAA stats (2 seasons): 101.1 IP, 7 W, 5 L, 119 K, 4.09 ERA
34. San Diego Padres: RHP Justin Lang, Llano HS
35. Colorado Rockies: C Drew Romo, The Woodlands HS
36. Cleveland Indians: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 188.2 IP, 14 W, 9 L, 210 K, 2.86 ERA
37. Tampa Bay Rays: SS Alika Williams, Arizona State
NCAA stats (3 seasons): 5 HR, 81 RBI, .300/.383/.400
Cape Cod League stats (2 seasons): 1 HR, 7 RBI, .262/.323/.345