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2020 Draft recap: Tigers take Torkelson at top

O's pick Kjerstad, Marlins select Meyer to round out top three
Spencer Torkelson finished with a 1.192 OPS in three seasons at Arizona State. (Rick Scuteri/AP)
June 10, 2020

The First-Year Player Draft will have a whole new look in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year's edition will be limited to only five rounds, and any eligible player who goes undrafted can only sign for a $20,000 signing bonus at most. But there's no change in this

The First-Year Player Draft will have a whole new look in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year's edition will be limited to only five rounds, and any eligible player who goes undrafted can only sign for a $20,000 signing bonus at most. But there's no change in this aspect -- there's plenty of talent at the top from imposing sluggers to potential aces.

The first round and Competitive Balance Round A took place virtually Wednesday night, with rounds two through five following Thursday.

Here's a breakdown of the players selected on the first night of the Draft.

1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, first baseman/third baseman, Arizona State -- It’s official. The Arizona State slugger got this spot because of his prodigious power. He hit at least 23 homers in each of his first two seasons on campus and was well on his way to reaching that mark again when things shut down this spring. He finished his career with a .337/.463/.729 slash line and 54 homers in 129 collegiate games. Torkelson’s overall hit tool could be plus as he gets experience in the pros. It's notable that Detroit announced him as a third baseman, considering he played the opposite infield corner for most of his college career. That move could be to squeeze more value out of the former Sun Devil. Regardless of his place on the field, the Tigers have their definitive new top position-player prospect and a big talent to add to the mix alongside Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Riley Greene and Tarik Skubal.

2. Baltimore Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, outfielder, Arkansas: Like loud tools? Kjerstad certainly has one in his power. The 6-foot-3, left-handed slugger combined for 31 homers in his first two seasons with the Razorbacks and was slugging .791 with six long balls in 16 games this spring. That’s plus pop, and he could show even more the closer he gets to the Majors. The hit tool remains a question since he struck out 21.7 percent of the time in 2019, and that contact rate only will be tested more against pro arms. He played mostly right field in school and is likely to stick there, thanks to a good arm. This pick was a bit of shock, given that Austin Martin and Asa Lacy were the other two members of this Draft's "Big Three," but the selection could be made with eyes on saving signing money for use later in the Draft. Baltimore has the highest bonus pool at $13,894,300.

3. Miami Marlins: Max Meyer, right-handed pitcher, Minnesota -- Look at Meyer’s arsenal and you might see an ace. The 21-year-old right-hander’s fastball and slider earn plus-plus grades, the former regularly sees the upper-90s. Two 70-grade offerings (along with an above-average changeup) normally would have teams drooling. Meyer gets dinged for his size at 6 feet, and it’s possible that puts him in the bullpen long term due to durability concerns. Even in that role, he could be dominant enough to justify this pick. For now, the Marlins will give him every chance to start and see whether they can develop their next ace. Meyer joins a Miami organization very much in rebuild mode, and it could be a fun race to see whether he or Sixto Sanchez gets to lead the club's rotation some day.

4. Kansas City Royals: Asa Lacy, left-handed pitcher, Texas A&M -- Lacy becomes the highest-picked player in Texas A&M history, just beating out Jeff Granger at No. 5 in 1993. The 6-foot-4 southpaw earned that by showing off three plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup with the Aggies. On top of that, he possesses a curveball that could be above-average in time. Control can be an issue, but the lefty didn’t show it that much this spring when he fanned 46 and walked eight over 24 innings. Lacy joins a Kansas City system that had great success taking college pitchers two years ago, and the future of the Royals rotation looks even brighter with the addition of the pitcher many believe was the best in this Draft.

5. Toronto Blue Jays: Austin Martin, shortstop, Vanderbilt -- The Commodore gets here because of his impressive overall hit tool from the right side. Martin batted .392 with a 1.091 OPS in 65 games as a sophomore in 2019 and had those numbers at .377 and 1.168 this spring. What’s more, the Vandy product doesn’t strike out much with a 12.3 percent career K rate and takes his walks as well. Martin rounds out the profile with above-average speed. The question marks come on the defensive side. He played multiple infield positions (though mostly third base) before throwing issues moved him to center field this year. He could end up playing up the middle, either at second or center, but he was announced by the Jays as a shortstop. In any event, his bat is good enough that he could climb quickly through the ranks, and it's fun to think about Martin joining Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in the heart of the lineup.

6. Seattle Mariners: Emerson Hancock, right-handed pitcher, Georgia -- There was a time when Hancock was in the conversation for the top overall pick. He slid due to some inconsistency in four starts this spring, but the potential remains for a top-of-the-rotation talent. His mid-90s fastball is already a plus pitch (and can approach triple-digits), and his changeup is considered a weapon. His slider and curve also have the capability to be above-average breakers, and he earns more points for above-average control of that arsenal. (Even this spring, he struck out 34 and walked only three in 24 frames.) If he can live up to the ceiling he showed heading into 2020, the Mariners could come away with a steal here. This is the third straight season Seattle has taken a college pitcher with its first-round pick, following Logan Gilbert in 2018 and George Kirby last year.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Gonzales, shortstop, New Mexico State -- How about these numbers: .432/.532/.773 with 16 homers, 45 walks and 30 strikeouts in 55 games last season. (That first stat won an NCAA batting title, by the way.) This spring, he put up a .448/.610/1.155 slash line with a nation-leading 12 homers in 16 games. Yes, the New Mexico State product can hit. Now, the qualifiers. Gonzales has been knocked for performing at altitude and against lesser competition, the latter of which especially came in 2020. Both have affected his power evaluation, which graded as a 45 on the 20-80 scale. That said, hitting overall won’t be an issue for the right-hander with lightning-quick bat speed and a solid approach. He played shortstop in his final season on campus and was announced there Wednesday but seems likely to move back to second long-term in the pros. His bat should do plenty of talking wherever he lands defensively, and he adds to a fun Pittsburgh infield mix that includes Ke'Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz and Liover Peguero.

8. San Diego Padres: Robert Hassell III, outfielder, Independence (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.) HS -- Hassell is the first prep player off the board, breaking a record streak of seven college picks to start the Draft. The Tennessee native has shown a lot of offensive potential from the left side. His .514/.548/.886 line at the U18 World Cup last year certainly grabbed plenty of attention from scouts. His power is average at best, however, and he seems more likely to play right field than center. However, his arm certainly would be a weapon over there and the hit tool is good enough to bring the bulk of the excitement to the Padres system -- a group already loaded with young talent like MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams and Luis Patiño.

9. Colorado Rockies: Zac Veen, outfielder, Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fla.) HS -- Prep players are even bigger question marks in this Draft because of the truncated spring, and it’s a testament to the potential of Hassell and Veen that they were the first high schoolers off the board in back-to-back picks. Veen draws the biggest raves for his bat from the left side, which can show hit and power tools from his 6-foot-4 frame. There could be even more pop as he matures. He’s an average runner, but his above-average glove and arm point to a possible future in center field. Veen instantly becomes the top outfield prospect in the Colorado system once he signs, and he should be the club's top prospect once Brendan Rodgers graduates.

10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, left-handed pitcher, Louisville -- The 6-foot-2 southpaw stands out mostly for his control and command than he does for any plus pitch. That’s not a knock, however. Detmers’ fastball and curveball are above-average offerings, even with the former not possessing killer velocity right now, but the Louisville product is able to rack up so many strikeouts (284 over 191 innings in college) because he spots the ball so well. It’s the profile of a future mid-rotation starter, and he could reach the Majors fairly quickly like fellow Cardinal Brendan McKay did with the Rays. The Angels don't have a pitcher among their top five prospects, but Detmers gives them an arm to dream on.

11. Chicago White Sox: Garrett Crochet, left-handed pitcher, Tennessee -- On stuff alone, Crochet could have been a top-10 pick. The 6-foot-6 southpaw hit the upper-90s regularly (and even touched triple-digits) last fall, and his slider and changeup are considered at least above-average. But he experienced a shoulder issue that limited him to one appearance lasting 3 1/3 innings this spring, and that may have scared off some teams picking earlier. He joins a White Sox organization looking to compete quickly, and if he’s healthy, his arsenal could get him to the South Side in short order, especially in a truncated 2020 season.

12. Cincinnati Reds: Austin Hendrick, outfielder, West Allegheny (Imperial, Pa.) HS -- Big-time power is always good to bet on, and that’s what Cincinnati has done here at No. 12. Hendrick has shown impressive raw power on multiple stages, which is necessary for someone who didn't get to play high school ball this spring, and his run tool is also considered above-average. His hit tool remains the biggest question with some moving parts in his swing and he’ll need to show more consistency there to provide value in center or right field. The Reds won't mind working with someone who possesses Hendrick's pop.

13. San Francisco Giants: Patrick Bailey, catcher, North Carolina State -- Make that another backstop in the San Francisco system. The club with Buster Posey in the Majors and Joey Bart coming through the pipeline added another catcher. Bailey is known primarily for his defense, with his glove and arm considered above-average, but he was a steady hitter with a .302/.411/.568 career line as a switch-hitter in three college seasons. He doesn't quite have the ceiling of Bart, who is a better all-around offensive performer, but this is a clear example of San Francisco drafting the best player on its board and adding to its organizational depth behind the plate rather than worrying about a potential logjam.

14. Texas Rangers: Justin Foscue, second baseman, Mississippi State -- Foscue broke out offensively with a .331/.395/.564 line and 14 homers in 67 games as an All-American second baseman in 2019 and followed that up with a strong start this spring (.321/.464/.509). He's known for his pullside power, but he's helped his case by consistently showing good contact rates, highlighted by a 3/15 K/BB ratio in a brief 2020 season. He'll need to maintain his upward offensive trajectory because none of his tools earned plus potential grades from He's also likely stuck at second base.

15. Philadelphia Phillies: Mick Abel, right-handed pitcher, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) HS -- Abel is the first high-school pitcher off the board at No. 15. The 6-foot-5 right-hander shows a plus fastball that already sits in the low- to mid-90s, and his slider and changeup could become above-average. He spots the ball well with a smooth delivery and that command certainly helps his chances of overcoming the long list of prep righties who've struggled after getting taken in the first round. Abel will be in the mix with Spencer Howard for the title as best pitching prospect in the Philadelphia farm system.

16. Chicago Cubs: Ed Howard, shortstop, Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.) HS -- Howard gets to stay home. The Chicago native is considered the best defensive shortstop in this Draft class with good hands and plenty of arm, and that alone elevates his floor. His ceiling will be determined by his bat and right now, his hit and power tools have average potential. However, there's the the possibility for growth as he matures in his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. And given that he's likely to stay at shortstop for a long time, that should give fans on the North Side a lot of hope for one of their own.

17. Boston Red Sox: Nick Yorke, second baseman, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) HS -- Even after the early drama, this was one of the big shocks of the first round. Yorke was ranked 139th among Draft prospects by and jumped 122 spots to Boston. He's drawn some praise for a potentially above-average hit tool from the right side, and there's hope for some power as well. However, he had to play designated hitter as a high-school junior following shoulder surgery and didn't get to show much this spring to help solidify a defensive home. He was announced as a second baseman. The Red Sox don't have a second-round pick as a penalty for their sign-stealing scheme, so this will be their last selection until No. 89.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bryce Jarvis, right-handed pitcher, Duke -- The two big things to know about Jarvis is that he added velocity to the point at which he was throwing as high as the mid-90s as a junior and his changeup is already a plus pitch. There's more. His slider and curveball show above-average potential and he can hit his spots with 40 strikeouts and only two walks over 27 innings this spring. A longer history of velocity might have helped his case for a higher pick. Instead, he joins a D-backs system that improved greatly in 2019 and he might jump over Blake Walston as the club's top pitching prospect.

19. New York Mets: Pete Crow-Armstrong, outfielder, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) HS -- Crow-Armstrong is well-known for his glove in center field and was considered one of the best -- if not the best -- outfield defender in this class. His plus speed certainly helps in that regard and he also has the above-average arm to help there. The left-handed hitter lacks power right now, but there are reports that he got stronger going into his senior year. In any event, his hit tool remains ahead of his pop, and his floor is still high because of the defensive skills.

20. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Mitchell, outfielder, UCLA -- This looks like one of the steals of the first round. Mitchell has plus-plus speed at least, and with a plus arm, he's a great bet to stick in center field. He also has the potential to be a plus hitter who makes tons of contact -- he struck out three times in 73 plate appearances. Mitchell's approach hasn't led to much power just yet -- he hit six homers in three years at UCLA -- but it's believed he could start slugging in time in the pros. Despite having Type 1 Diabetes, he's expected to be an everyday player and should immediately strengthen a Brewers system that looked like it was lacking potential stars.

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Jordan Walker, third baseman, Decatur (Ga.) HS -- With Nolan Gorman and Elehuris Montero, the Cardinals know a thing or two about powerful third basemen with plus arms. They picked up another here in Walker, who's also a good runner for someone who stands 6-foot-5 just one month after his 18th birthday. The raw pop is a clear plus, but his hit tool faces questions, especially against breaking stuff. If the Cardinals can get that on track, it’ll be a fun race to see who takes over the hot corner long term in St. Louis between Walker and those already in the system.

22. Washington Nationals: Cade Cavalli, right-handed pitcher, Oklahoma -- The Nats are used to taking risks in the first round, and they took another here with Cavalli. It certainly could pay off because the Oklahoma righty pumps into the mid-90s and features two impressive breakers in his slider and curve. He used to have some control issues but was looking better in that regard with only five free passes over 23 2/3 innings before the season ended. The risk comes in that Cavalli only this year transitioned from being a two-way player to an exclusive pitcher. He also missed a good chunk of time with a stress reaction in his arm. The pieces are there for a solid Major League starter though, and the reigning World Series champs are betting they can be the ones to put those pieces together.

23. Cleveland Indians: Carson Tucker, shortstop, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) HS -- The brother of Pirates infielder Cole Tucker goes one spot ahead of where his sibling did six years ago. His hit tool is solid, though contact-oriented at this point in his development. On the MLB Network telecast, Cole Tucker noted how his brother had grown from 5-foot-11 a year ago to 6-foot-2, and it's possible that pop could follow that growth spurt. He's an average defender at shortstop but should stick there for at least a few years.

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Bitsko, right-handed pitcher, Central Bucks East (Doylestown, Pa.) HS -- Bitsko was one of the most fascinating storylines going into the Draft. He was arguably the top talent for the 2021 class, but he reclassified and graduated a year early to make himself eligible this year. With the lack of spring reps, the Rays had to rely on Bitsko's showcase circuit looks, where he showed a fastball that hit 97 and a plus curveball. There's even more projection in his profile, considering he's 6-foot-4 and doesn't turn 18 until next week. A year from now, Bitsko could have been one of the biggest names in the Draft. Right now, the Rays -- with baseball's best farm system -- are ready to reap the rewards of his decision to move up.

25. Atlanta Braves: Jared Shuster, left-handed pitcher, Wake Forest -- Shuster's arrow was pointing up this spring, so much so that he landed in the back half of the first round. The 6-foot-3 southpaw posted a 6.49 ERA as a sophomore but his velocity ticked up to the low 90s (and touched 97) this spring. Perhaps most impressively, he seemed to have ironed out previous control woes and that helps his bid to stick as a starter. His changeup remains his only plus pitch, and the Braves will work to continue rounding out his profile once he enters the system.

26. Oakland Athletics: Tyler Soderstrom, catcher, Turlock (Calif.) HS -- Soderstrom is listed as a catcher, but don’t be surprised to see him elsewhere before long. The reason he was picked so highly was his bat. His hit tool has plus potential, and though he hasn’t hit for much power, he could show more there from his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame as he gets older. His arm is definitely an asset and that could lead to a spot potentially at third base long term. For now, the A's are buying the bat and are hoping everything else can develop (either behind the plate or elsewhere) in time.

27. Minnesota Twins: Aaron Sabato, first baseman, North Carolina -- The Twins set a Major League record for most home runs by a club last season. It only makes sense that the club would pick up more pop in the first round. Sabato went deep 25 times in 83 games in college and finished with a .332/.459/.698 line over two seasons on campus. (Having turned 21 last week, he was a Draft-eligible sophomore.) The right-handed slugger will need to keep hitting throughout his career because he's definitely stuck at first base.

28. New York Yankees: Austin Wells, catcher, Arizona -- Make that two Draft-eligible sophomores in a row. Wells is an offense-first catcher and might not even stick at that position long term. A .357/.476/.560 hitter in college, the left-handed-hitting slugger showed above-average potential with his hit and power tools, and he takes plenty of walks (though that approach comes with a fair share of strikeouts). Both his glove and arm are considered below average, however, and the Yankees might have to find a new position for him in time. With this pick, they're hoping the bat is good enough that it turns out to be a good problem.

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bobby Miller, right-handed pitcher, Louisville -- Velocity, velocity, velocity. That's what the Dodgers are betting on with the 6-foot-5 righty. Miller was starting to hit the high-90s with regularity in the fall, and his slider also looks like an above-average pitch. Those two offerings are big reasons why Miller fanned 34 batters over 23 1/3 innings for the Cardinals this spring. There's plenty of effort in his delivery, however, and that could lead to control issues and a future in the bullpen. Don't doubt the Dodgers' ability to get Miller to make the most of his upside and keep him in a starter's role.

Competitive Balance Round A

30. Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Westburg, shortstop, Mississippi State -- The other half of the Mississippi State double-play combo taken in the Draft, Westburg has developed into a middle infielder who can provide some pop and play some strong shortstop as well. On college baseball's biggest stage in 2018, he tied a College World Series single-game record with seven RBIs against North Carolina. While there are questions about whether he can consistently hit, Westburg amassed a .285 average and an .831 OPS with 10 homers and 50 extra-base hits in three seasons in the NCAA. Last summer, he proved to be one of the best bats in the Cape Cod League with four dingers and a .900 OPS.

31. Pittsburgh Pirates: Carmen Mlodzinski, right-handed pitcher, South Carolina -- Things got off to a bumpy start with the Gamecocks through his first two seasons in South Carolina with his stats and some injury issues, but after a summer in Cape Cod, Mlodzinski righted the ship. Last summer, he used his high-90s fastball to dominate with a 2.15 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. He carried that momentum into an abbreviated college season this year with a 2.84 ERA. He has plenty of sink on his fastball that he combines with a slider and a changeup. Although his sample size from last summer and this season are small, his 60-grade fastball and upside make him an intriguing pick for Pittsburgh.

32. Kansas City Royals: Nick Loftin, shortstop, Baylor -- Not a player with a ton of flash in any single phase of the game, Loftin does a lot of different things well and could contribute all around the diamond with his solid versatility. The Texas native thrived at the plate with a .311/.370/.479 slash line across his three seasons with the Bears. Not a guy known for prodigious power, Loftin ripped eight extra-base hits in 14 games in the Big 12 this season. With a compact swing and a good glove in the field, Loftin is the type of player who can chip in a little bit of everything for a lineup.

33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Slade Cecconi, right-handed pitcher, Miami (Fla.) -- Standing 6-4, Cecconi brings a high-velocity fastball with his big frame that makes him another hurler with plenty of upside in this Draft. It looked as though he could have been a first-rounder in 2018 out of high school, but an injury led him to commit to the University of Miami. With the Hurricanes, he racked up the strikeouts with 119 in 101 1/3 frames. Wielding a four-pitch mix, Cecconi is looking to develop some more consistency with his off-speed and breaking offerings. There are some questions about his command and whether he can keep his fastball in the mid- to high-90s deep into starts.

34. San Diego Padres, Justin Lange, right-handed pitcher, Llano (Texas) HS -- Talk about another hurler with a good fastball, Lange showed he can touch triple-digits with his heater and regularly sit in the mid-90s with his fastball on the high-school circuit this spring. He has work to do with his breaking pitches and off-speed offerings, especially with his slider that can be a power pitch but lacks consistency within the zone. Although he doesn't have the polish yet, Lange already has added some weight since last year and possesses one of the higher upsides of any of the first-round pitchers with his naturally powerful fastball.

35. Colorado Rockies, Drew Romo, catcher, The Woodlands (Texas) HS -- The second Texas high-school player selected in a row, the Rockies added a backstop in Romo with their CBA pick. Colorado had never drafted a catcher this high, but the club went for Romo and the defensive skill set he brings to the game. A strong arm and good receiving abilities make him one of the top defensive catching prospects in the high-school ranks. A switch-hitter, Romo right now has a 50-grade hit tool with more consistency from the left side of the plate. If he can develop more as a hitter, Romo could become a special backstop in the Rockies system.

36. Cleveland Indians, Tanner Burns, right-handed pitcher, Auburn -- A 37th-round pick by the Yankees in 2017 before heading to Auburn, Burns developed into one of the SEC's best arms and moved up to a CBA pick by the Indians in this Draft. In his sophomore year, he whiffed 101 batters in 79 2/3 frames and sported a 2.82 ERA. His 15 strikeouts in one game tied the Auburn record also held by Tim Hudson and No. 7 overall prospect Casey Mize. He got off to a strong start in a junior campaign limited to four starts before the season ended prematurely. With a plus-slider and solid changeup, Burns brings a strong three-pitch repertoire that could make him a force in Cleveland's rotation in the near future.

37. Tampa Bay Rays: Alika Williams, shortstop, Arizona State -- Tampa Bay closed out Day 1 by selecting Williams, who grades well as a defensive middle infielder. With a strong 60-grade fielding mark, Williams might be considered a defense-first prospect, but handled the bat well during his tenure with the Sun Devils. He had five homers and just a .400 slugging percentage in college, but the California native reached base at a .383 clip with 55 walks and 49 strikeouts across his three seasons. He has consistency on both sides of the ball, and with his glove has plenty of tools to stick at short.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.'s Andrew Battifarano contributed to this report.