Hello everyone and welcome to the 2020 MLB Pro Draft! Here you’ll find a recap of picks with some commentary, analysis, GM quotes and that ever sought-after grade for the pick. Enjoy!
#1 – Detroit Tigers
Selection: SP Jason Dumont, Fordham
Details: Dumont is a compact (6’, 190 lbs) righty out of Bedford, NH. Over the top delivery – not a hard thrower, tops out low 90’s. Good array of pitches, but none that are a true put away pitch. Fairly developed for his age (20.5) and has good command of his pitches
Analysis: Bit of a reach here I think – there were definitely higher-ceiling starters out there (Abel, Bitsko, Funkhouser) as well as some potentially elite bats. Dumont should have a fairly high floor though. He’s probably ready for High-A if not Double-A. I just don’t think he’s ever anything more than a mid-rotation arm on a decent team and with an early pick you need to get more than that
GM Quotes: “Ok pick in a class without a True #1 prospect. Great he has 5 pitches, but none of them are elite”
#2 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Selection: RP Rich Marmaro, Vanderbilt
Details: Marmaro is righty swingman hailing from Manhattan by way of Vanderbilt. Used both as a starter and reliever in college, but solely projects to the pen in the pros. A+ character, hard thrower (mid to high 90s) who gets excellent movement on his pitches and locates well (despite a relatively high walk rate at Vandy). Very pro-developed, and could be the first pitcher from the class to make the bigs.
Analysis: Huge reach here. It’s not that Marmaro won’t likely be a legit bullpen contributor, but this high up – you gotta aim for the stars a bit. Marmaro very likely would’ve been there for the Pirates in the 2nd round, if not later, and while a good bullpen is important to success, it’s not so important as to waste this precious of a resource on it.
GM Quotes: ” I like that pick. That guy looks like a future closer to me.” ” A reliever at #2 is a bold move, respect” “As good as Marmaro’s ratings are, RP at #2 is one of the worst moves I’ve seen”
#3 – Chicago Cubs
Selection: 2B Gavin Lux, USC
Details: Lux is a lefty 2B out of Kenosha, WI who was recently the USC Trojans starting 2B. Solid bat who projects to 20-25 HR power with a solid eye at the plate. Prone to striking out and will struggle against tough lefties. Versatile player who could mature into a competent fielder all over the place. Not a burner, but gets a good jump which should keep pitchers honest holding him on. As a 22-year-old college grad, he should likely start in A or AA and see a quick path to the bigs.
Analysis: Another pick I don’t love. Lux is ok, but another high-floor/low-ceiling player. Given the Cubs timetable, that might work to their advantage but doesn’t make it a great pick overall. I worry he won’t hit for enough average to be a big-impact guy, since his glove is versatile but not elite at any particular position. Ok pick, but I think the Cubs would’ve been better off with a top-shelf arm here
#4 – New York Yankees
Selection: P/3B Jake Fromm, University of Georgia
Details: Fromm is a 3B/OF/P hailing from Warner Robins GA. At the plate he’s got great pop and a discerning eye, but does come up empty on a number of swings. On the mound he’s a 3-pitch (fastball, slider, changeup) swingman righty who sits in the low-90’s with velocity. He’s our youngest draftee yet, and will likely need some time in rookie or low-A ball this Summer.
Analysis: Our first two-way player! Always interesting, but I think really Fromm is a hitter who pitches rather than a true two-way. He’ll need a lot of work on the mound to become competent there. At the plate he’s a solid projection to a starting 3B with a sure-handed glove, albeit lacking in range. Strikeouts will plague him a bit though, but I’m envisioning a consistent .250 with 25 HR and a solid walk rate. Grade below is predicated on just using him as a bat. It’s not a terrible pick, but I think there were better options out there.
GM Quotes: “Fromm is a 1st round pick as a 3B, but can’t reasonably be looked at as a 2-way threat”
#5 – San Diego Padres
Selection: SS Austin Martin, LSU
Details: Martin is a quick hands middle-infielder with a keen ability to get on base. Hitting from the right side he’s got a smooth stroke and should be a threat to hit .300 with a good number of walks. Solid wheels, but won’t steal a ton of bases with double-digit HR power. The glove should be good enough to stick at short, but if he has trouble getting to balls he’ll easily handle second or third.
Analysis: Great value for the Padres, getting a top-flight bat. It wouldn’t have shocked me at all if Martin ended up going 1st overall. He’s not going to start at a very advanced level, but if the Padres are patient and let him develop he could lock down a spot in their infield for a long long time.
#6 – Kansas City Royals
Selection: SP Kenny “Little Funk” Funkhouser, New Roads High School
Details: Returning from a exciting trip to Spain, Little Funk came back to New Roads High School and dominated the competition with 14.2 K/9. He has a slight frame but brings it solidly in the mid-90s with a 4 pitch arsenal, led by an outstanding curveball. He’s rather polished for a high schooler, so look for Little Funk to rise quickly through the Royals system.
Analysis: Another great value pick and another guy who wouldn’t have been a total shock at #1 overall. It’s always risky taking a high-school arm early, but Funkhouser is more advanced than most his age. The changeup developing is a concern, but to get a potential rotation anchor at 6 is a great get for the Royals
GM Quotes: “Funkhouser is the 1st pick of this draft that has not been a reach”
#7 – Milwaukee Brewers
Selection: SP Asa Lacy, Rice
Details: The Brewers add a solid lefty down out of Rice with their 1st round pick. He’ll occasionally leave one up in the zone, but he’s a true power pitcher with electric stuff, 4 plus pitches and solidly in the mid-90’s for velocity. He’s going to get lefties fits, but will need to really focus pitch-to-pitch. As another college pitcher, and maybe we’re seeing a trend here with these early pitchers, he’s likely to start in A ball at the lowest
Analysis: Another great value pick, there are other options that maybe have a bit higher ceiling still, but Lacy looks like a great #2/#3 lefty to compliment in a rotation of a good team. If the Brewers put him in a good spot as he matures, we could see him sooner rather than later.
#8 – Arizona Diamondbacks
Selection: SP Jared Kelly, Northwood-Kensett HS (Iowa)
Details: Kelly has one of the strongest arms of any high-school pitcher in this year’s draft. Already touching the mid-90’s with his fastball, Kelly’s arsenal also includes a devasting changeup and a pair of plus offerings in his slider and curveball. In his senior season as a Viking, Kelly struck out 104 batters in 76 1/3 innings. A finalist for Iowa Student Athlete of the Year, Kelly is still being courted heavily by both the University of Iowa and Texas baseball programs.
Analysis: Getting on of the top high-school arms at #8 was a break for Arizona. A team that is loaded with young talent in the field is able to add to a loaded system. A player that should be able to have a strong year in rookie ball before ascending the minor-league ranks.
#9 – Oakland Athletics
Selection: OF Dylan Carlson, University of California
Details: A versatile player for the Golden Bears, Dylan Carlson’s future pro home is just a BART ride away. Carlson has decent speed, to go with above-average power, and an ability to draw walks. His ceiling could grow even higher if he is able to learn how to cut down on his strikeouts. A switch-hitting corner outfielder, Carlson’s below average arm will likely force his hand into being a full-time left fielder.
Analysis: Carlson does a lot of good things, but even with a great bat – his struggle to make contact could hinder him. Could end up as a 1B and likely will move from RF to LF due to a below-average arm. The power is legit though, and even as a DH he could justify a roster spot on that alone.
GM Quotes: “He was among the top three batters in my eyes, a future regular in the #2 spot of a lineup. Could hit down the line right behind Faustini.”
#10 – Baltimore Orioles
Selection: SP Alex Early, Quartz Hill High School (CA)
Details: A shoulder injury in his first varsity high-school football game as a junior ended Early’s football playing days and forced him into baseball full time. The definition of a crafty-lefty, Early is able to locate his pitches with the best of them. He mixes and matches his four-pitch arsenal well. While he currently will not blow by batters, he can outsmart them.
Analysis: Drafting a pitcher without many high-end pitches in the top 10 is a giant risk in my eyes. In addition to concerns about his stuff, he’s yet to prove he’s a workhorse that can pitch deep into games. A future solid contributor to a rotation? I think so, but the potential to be an ace? I’m less convinced of that.
GM Quotes: “Does he turn out like Dave Groves or more Ronald Dunham? He’ll be highly-regarded throughout his minor-league career, but will need a great defense behind him to be successful.”
#11 – Chicago White Sox
Selection: SP Emerson Hancock, University of Georgia
Details: One of the most polished college pitchers in this season’s draft. Hancock’s junior season took a step back following what was a first-team All-American sophomore season, but the talent remains clearly there. A fastball that can touch 96 MPH, and a curveball, slider pairing that has potential to be as dominant as anyone. Walked over five batters per nine innings in his final year at Georgia, a number he will need to cut professionally.
Analysis: Having traded many of their top arms in the system over the past year, the White Sox needed to begin the draft by taking a talented pitcher, they did just that. At nearly 21, will Hancock be rushed through the system and a big league contributor by 2023? The makings of a frontline starter, the floor of a productive mid-rotation contributor.
GM Quotes: “A steal at 11 with some of the arms taken ahead of him.”
#12 – Philadelphia Phillies
Selection: SP Brady Cook, Eureka HS (MO)
Details: The 6’3″ lefty out of Missouri has a deep repertoire on the mound. His fastball sits in the low 90’s, but a plus slider and curveball, along with a sinker and change give Cook plenty to fool hitters with. The Player of the Year in St. Louis, Cook struck out 241 batters in 112 innings. He showed plus control and has proven to be durable as a three-sport athlete. Being picked here all but ensures he passes on his commitment to the University of Missouri.
Analysis: A need was filled with this pick. The Phillies have invested heavily in position players the past few years in the draft and taking Cook here should provide them with a new top five arm in their system. The pick did pass over some college arms with better stuff than Cook, but with the Phillies rotation full, letting a high-school arm slowly develop up the ladder could prove to be the right play.
GM Quotes: “A solid pick, one that a team can be happy with. Maybe not an ace, but someone who should make contributions down the line.”
#13 – Boston Red Sox
Selection: OF Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
Details: After clubbing 22 homers as a sophomore in Tempe, Pac-12 pitchers decided to stay away from Torkelson much of this past season. Spencer’s home run total fell to just 11 and he saw a dip in his average as at times he seemed to be annoyed by the pitch offerings he was seeing. Likely a future in left field, he is someone who down the line can hit 25-30 homers, while walking at a good rate, and stealing 10-15 bases. One of the best college bats lasting to pick #13 was a steal for Boston.
Analysis: After taking WCC Player of the Year Sawyer Cleveland with the #2 Overall pick last season, the Red Sox double-dipped with another outfield prospect. Throw in highly-regarded prospect Richard Davis in left field already, there are some questions about the fit of all three together down the line. If Torkelson can develop, he could form a formidable 1-2 punch with Cleveland.
GM Quotes: “The first pick that I love (value wise)…” “Third best bat on my board at 13. Amazing!”
#14 – Cleveland Indians
Selection: SP Davis Mills, Rice University
Details: A polished, highly-intelligent pitcher out of Rice University, Davis Mills gives Cleveland a productive college arm that could be ready to help in the rotation sooner, rather than later. With the likes of Swift, Strasburg, and Stephens in the bigs already, Mills does not need to worry about being an ace, he just needs to be his consistent self and must cut his 4.5 BB/9 from his junior year at Rice.
Analysis: A safe pick, but not a special pick. With a farm system lacking on high-end position players (exception being Jonathan India), Cleveland had a chance to find a bat that could develop into one of its system’s best. Perhaps the pick of Torkelson through things for a loop here. As far as pitchers go, Mills is good, but some questions if he was the best available.
GM Quotes: [What was said by a Minnesota scout is not able to be published to the internet.]
#15 – Atlanta Braves
Selection: SP Mick Abel, Portland Christian HS (OR)
Details: The younger brother of Kevin Abel, Mick has followed in his brother’s footsteps in the Oregon high-school baseball scene the past few seasons. As a senior, Mick wow’ed scouts and proved he too is an elite prospect. Abel’s baseball season included time both as a starter and in the bullpen. He split time in both roles largely as a result of also spending time as a leader on the basketball team. On the mound, Abel’s changeup is ++ and his fastball has room to become dominant if he can pick up another mile per hour or two. A leader on and off of the field, Abel has a bright future ahead.
Analysis: Abel has the makings of a very young Trevor Bauer. No longer any questions about where Atlanta stands as a franchise, the Braves add a very talented young arm to a farm system that includes Pedro Jimenez, Brennan Malone, Carter Parker, Matthew Thompson, and others with major league aspirations.
#16 – Miami Marlins
Selection: 2B Travis Nichols, Ribert Academy (CA)
Details: One of Southern California’s most talented batters in the class, Travis Nichols has a premium bat and an outstanding eye for a very young player in this draft class. As a senior at Ribet Academy, Nichols hit .490 and had an on-base percentage of .592. Some scouts compare him to a young Daniel Paolini, a player Nichols saw often just down the road in Anaheim.
Analysis: At 5’10”, 170, Nichols might have trouble developing his power moving forward. In addition, a poor defender and a player who lacks high-end speed. Nichols future is with his bat and his bat alone. He’s a long ways from making a big league impact, but he does have the tools to get there.
#17 – Houston Astros
Selection: 3B Jordan Walker, Hawkinsville High School (GA)
Details: The two-sport star with the Red Devils of Hawkinsville High School in Georgia, Jordan Walker might possess the most raw power of any player in this draft. The 6’5″, 210 right-hander, was a standout quarterback who had offers from most of the SEC powers. On the baseball field, he’s extremely raw, but the signs are all there. Defensively, his arm will translate to third base without any troubles. Elite power, just without much of an eye at this point in time. Barely draft eligible, one of the youngest players in this draft, Walker fits the mold of the Astros willingness to show patience in hopes of a bright return.
Analysis: Middle of the order power, with a need to improve his eye to hit in the three or four spot of a lineup. Athletic, strong, and has shown a terrific work ethic as he has juggled his success on two fields. Focusing on baseball could allow Walker to shine bright in the future.
GM Quotes: “Don Winston comes to mind to a degree. The power is a ‘difference-maker’ talent.”
#18 – Texas Rangers
Selection: SS Jamie Blackburn, Homewood-Flossmor High School (IL)
Details: At 6’4″, 195 pounds, Jamie Blackburn’s smooth swing from the right-side of the plate was a thing of beauty this past season. Blackburn led his Vikings’ squad with 10 homers and a .433 average. Blackburn more often than not puts the barrel on the ball and has shown to have terrific strength which could lead to plus power at the big league level. Unlike other young hitters with power, Blackburn has shown an ability to make consistent contact which should keep his strikeouts in check.
Analysis: Former 17th round pick, shortstop, Bubba Osborn is Texas’ top prospect in its system. By taking Blackburn the Rangers are in a way suggesting that Osborn’s future might not be at shortstop longterm. A team that has three young starters in the rotation in Kaprielian, Widner, and McMillan, the pick of Blackburn gives the team an athletic, strong bat at a premium position.
#19 – Seattle Mariners
Selection: OF Robert Hassell III, Chattanooga Center For Creative Arts (TN)
Details: The Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts is home to some of the brightest and most talented students in the state of Tennessee. Known for creative writers, ballet and modern dancers, and future actors, the school has produced a first round baseball talent in Robert Hassell III. Hassell, a prolific ballet dancer, uses his light feet to be a menace on the base paths at the high-school level. While some question his speed compared to other draftees, there is no questioning his power. His long swing produces “light-tower” power, but does lead to frequent strikeouts.
Analysis: His ability to perform on the field and in the dancehalls comes from an A+ work ethic. A player who will give his team everything he has. Some outsiders worry about his ability to fit in with players that do not understand his outside interests. For a Mariners franchise that has shaken it’s minor-league system via trades over the past few months, some questions were asked about the team drafting a position where its two highest prospects currently sit.
#20 – St. Louis Cardinals
Selection: 1B Brady Vanderbilt, University of South Florida
Details: The 2018-2019 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year returned for his senior year after failing to submit draft paperwork last year. Vanderbilt’s senior year began with what appeared to be a disinterest and lack of focus. About a month into the season, things clicked and Vanderbilt began to produce again. Few if any batters in this draft bring a better combo of eye and raw power to the batters box. The only thing that can hold Vanderbilt back is his drive to improve. Like many with his swing type, he must learn to cut down on his strikeouts.
Analysis: Of the Cardinals top 30 organizational prospects, only one currently plays first base. Adding Vanderbilt gives the Cardinals another option in the future at first. Vanderbilt’s power will sit among the organization’s best.
GM Quotes: “A college 1B, who plays below average defense, and is a one trick pony with his bat. It’s not that he’s a bad player, just not worth a top 20 selection.”
#21 – Colorado Rockies
Selection: SP D.J. Uiagalelei, St. Bernard’s High School (CA)
Details: After leading the Crusaders to a North Coast Section CIF title in football, Uiagalelei stepped on to the mound where he was dominant all season long. In 75 innings of action, D.J. struck out 149 batters and walked just 13. A fastball that sits in the mid 90’s is joined by a curveball, slider, and changeup. While his pure athleticism outshined everyone else in high-school, some believe his time playing football leaves him behind other elite pitching prospects in terms of readiness for the next level.
Analysis: When it comes to high-school performance, there might not be anyone better than Uiagalelei. The third lowest ERA of any high-school starter in the draft, nearly 2 strikeouts per inning, and a terrific work ethic all make D.J. a fantastic pick at this point in the draft. While extremely talented, some wonder about the talent level he faced. If he’s ready to put his football playing days to the side and focuses on baseball, he could develop into a big-league arm.
#22 – Tampa Bay Rays
Selection: SP Nick Bitsko, Hanover Area High School (PA)
Details: Bitsko is a very interesting prospect considering he only pitched in 55 1/3 innings this past season. An All-State track performer in the javelin, Bitsko split time between track and field and baseball. When on the mound, few question what they saw. A four-pitch mix featuring a plus fastball and curveball, with a passable slider and changeup as secondary pitches. Still very young, Bitsko can handle the bat some and is not an easy out when compared to other pitchers. Scouts are all over the place when it comes to projecting Bitsko’s control. Some believe it was well above average while others worry his delivery could lead to inconsistencies throwing strikes.
Analysis: 17 year-olds who can touch 96 MPH on the gun while also breaking off a vicious 12-6 curveball do not grow on trees. A premier high-school arm who even with limited tape has shown plenty to be a first round pick. It’s a system that includes its nine best arms all at A ball or lower. A crowded, but talented group of young pitchers give the Rays plenty of hope down the line.
GM Quotes: “Huge upside potential, but could also be a guy who never makes it past Double-A”
#23 – San Franciso Giants
Selection: SP J.T. Ginn, Louisville
Details: Ginn is a hard throwing righty and a potential impact arm for the Giants. He’s got a got overwhelming stuff when he’s on – striking out 106 in 98 IP in college. He throws 97 at his peak and typically keeps the ball around the plate. His curveball is a game changer with the potential to be one of the best in the league. On the downside, Ginn doesn’t last long in games averaging just over 6 innings per start. He could be a guy who gives his team a solid 5 before giving way to the pen.
Analysis: Decent value for the pick late in the 1st. His ultimate role will be the deciding factor on if the pick works. If he can slot at the end of a rotation in a quasi-bullpen game it’s a nice pick. If he’s more of a swingman/middle reliever, it probably wasn’t max value. Overall, solid pick for the Giants in either role.
#24 – Minnesota Twins
Selection: SP Chubba Purdy, Coronado H.S. (AZ)
Details: Purdy is a well-built righty who dominated the AZ high school circuit his senior year. He’s a fastball-sinker-slider arm, who is developing a circle change to boot. His ball generally gets good sink, resulting in a lot of groundballs. His pitches are fairly well developed for a high-school arm, but he’ll need to really focus on his command, it’s going to be a bit behind other arms picked in the first round.
Analysis: The Twins are in a good spot with a wait-and-see arm like Purdy. They’re in no rush for help in the bigs, so they can wait while Purdy slowly makes his way through their system. Purdy is a leader in the clubhouse who could be a nice mid-rotation arm if his development goes according to plan
#25 – Toronto Blue Jays
Selection: C Patrick Bailey, Georgia Tech
Details: Bailey is a big-armed switch-hitting backstop from the South. He’s got a good balanced swing from both sides of the plate, with enough pop to hit one out as a lefty or righty. The concern is, will he hit for enough average to get enough playing time to justify the 1st round pedigree. Defensively he’s as polished as most amateurs come with a rifle arm and excellent footwork.
Analysis: As mentioned earlier, there are concerns he might not hit enough. Bailey had a fairly high strikeout rate, even in college and only hit .237 his final year, albeit in a tough ACC. The Jays tend to be a star-laden lineup, so stashing him in the 8/9 spot won’t hurt them, but he may continually face playing time challenges from catchers who are a bit more offensive-minded
GM Quotes: “I mean, he won’t be a Blue Jay ever in the bigs, and GMs like catchers, so the pick makes sense”
#26 – Los Angeles Angels
Selection: SP Sam Huard