MLB Draft

Reviewing Day 1 of the 2020 MLB Draft

The first round of the draft is complete and boy, was it a doozy. The wildness kicked off early, as Mike Elias and Baltimore followed through with their potential underslot deals and took Heston Kjerstad at second overall. It only got crazier as the night went on. We saw a new record too, as seven college players were taken to start the draft, the first time that has ever happened.

There are some teams that impressed with their picks, most notably the Rays and the Blue Jays, in my opinion. Some teams also left me scratching my head, most notably the Red Sox and the Orioles. I will review each of the 37 picks that were called on Wednesday night below. Make sure to tune in for the remaining rounds tonight at 5 PM.

1. Tigers – 1B Spencer Torkelson

This pick was a no-brainer. This has been speculated for a while now and Detroit followed through with it. I was a little surprised that Torkelson was selected as a third baseman, but he has played there previously and could wind up there, too.

2. Orioles – OF Heston Kjerstad

Baltimore kept us on our toes throughout the day. They had considered multiple players for an underslot deal at this pick and they followed through with Kjerstad. I do like the power potential Kjerstad brings to the plate, but I am still concerned about the hit tool and swings-and-misses.

3. Marlins – RHP Max Meyer

I figured that no matter what, Asa Lacy would be the pick here. Meyer going here is a bit of surprise, but Miami is getting someone with some of the best pure stuff in this draft class, if not the best. Miami has done a real good job as of late filling their farm system with immense talent and they did so again here.

4. Royals – LHP Asa Lacy

I think Kansas City was super giddy to see Lacy still available at this spot. They got the best southpaw available in this draft. They nailed the draft in 2018 with pitching and I think they nailed it here, too.

5. Blue Jays – SS Austin Martin

This is a candidate for steal of the draft. Martin was the second best player on my Top 100 board and he fell into the Blue Jays’ lap at fifth overall. He will be a bit pricey, hence why he fell, but I think Toronto gets it done. Also, not sure if he sticks at shortstop at the next level, but he is the best pure hitter in this class overall.

6. Mariners – RHP Emerson Hancock

The draft got back on track for a bit here. I like this pick for Seattle a lot. Hancock shows a lot of potential and I think he could be a solid starter when he makes it to the major leagues.

7. Pirates – SS Nick Gonzales

This is a good value pick for Pittsburgh. Gonzales could make the big leagues in a hurry with his hitting ability and the power is starting to develop. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays away from New Mexico State, but he proved he can do that when he won MVP in the Cape Cod League last summer.

8. Padres – OF Robert Hassell III

The streak of college players ended here with Hassell. The Padres picked the best pure hitter in the prep ranks in this class and he has a decent shot at sticking in center field at the next level. I think the power could develop nicely, too.

9. Rockies – OF Zac Veen

Veen reportedly fell because of his expensive asking price, so an overslot deal is most likely possible for him to forgo his Florida commitment. However, I love this pick and think it is a steal. Just having thoughts of that bat in Coors Field is insane.

10. Angels – LHP Reid Detmers

The perfect pairing of player and team. Extremely polished pitcher and has a pretty high floor. I love this pick for the Angels. With thoughts that they would punt this pick in previous days, very relieved to see Arte Moreno and company get their guy here.

11. White Sox – LHP Garrett Crochet

I talked with multiple people who thought that the White Sox would continue their college trend and they were right. Crochet has exceptional upside, but the track record is lacking and the injury history is concerning. I’ve seen some people compare Crochet to Chris Sale and honestly, I can see it.

12. Reds – OF Austin Hendrick

There was some concern with teams about the hit tool and some people thought he could slip farther, but the power potential is insane. The bat speed is elite and I think Cincinnati is very happy to have Hendrick here.

13. Giants – C Patrick Bailey

This pick a bit confusing, especially since they spent the second overall on Joey Bart in 2018. This obviously was not a need pick, but it creates a great catching tandem in the minors for the Giants. Bailey’s bat intrigues me a lot and the defense will definitely have him stick at catcher. Maybe this means Bart moves to first base down the line.

14. Rangers – 2B Justin Foscue

Foscue is a bit of an interesting pick here. He follows the mold of their 2019 picks in Josh Jung and Davis Wendzel and it is likely that this is tied with an underslot deal. The power potential is good and I like the glove to stick at second base here.

15. Phillies – RHP Mick Abel

This is a steal for the Phillies. Abel is the top prep arm for a reason. The projection of Abel’s frame and stuff is to die for and I think he has the makings of a frontline starter at the next level.

16. Cubs – SS Ed Howard

The Cubs took the smoothest defender in the draft at this pick. I think his bat is super underrated, the approach at the plate is solid and I like the swing. He will be a shortstop at the next level.

17. Red Sox – 2B Nick Yorke

Safe to say this pick baffled me. I did not have Yorke going this high, but I guess Boston thought there was a lot of potential here. Yorke is one of the more impressive hitters in the prep ranks, but he has a super strong commitment to Arizona, but I doubt Boston is punting this pick. I think he signs and could be a nice get, but it is certainly a serious reach by them.

18. Diamondbacks – RHP Bryce Jarvis

A very good pick for Arizona with serious potential. The stuff in his arsenal is insanely good and I think that will translate to the next level, despite the sudden stoppage in play. The command is striking too.

19. Mets – OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

I think the Mets did well here to get PCA. Brodie Van Wagenen did not overthink this one, especially with Garrett Mitchell still there and I thought of him as a top ten player. The speed is great and I love the all around game he has.

20. Brewers – OF Garrett Mitchell

Speaking of Mitchell, he has a serious chance to be the Brewers’ new top prospect. I think this is the steal of the draft, given that Mitchell was a top ten player in many rankings. The speed is what stands out and if Milwaukee can get him to tap into his power more in games, this is a standout selection.

21. Cardinals – 3B Jordan Walker

A little bit of a surprise to me, I like this pick. Walker’s power is his game, with a solid feel for hitting. I think he is a bit big to play the hot corner, but he moves extremely well despite that.

22. Nationals – RHP Cade Cavalli

I find this as a bit of a steal for Washington. Cavalli had been considered to go much higher than this. Washington gets a serious power arm for their future, as the velocity is super easy and the slider is one of my favorite pitches in this class.

23. Indians – SS Carson Tucker

Cole Tucker‘s little brother, Carson outdid Cole by one pick, as Cole was selected 24th overall in 2014 by Pittsburgh. I like the hit tool here and the speed in his profile and I think he could do well at the next level.

24. Rays – RHP Nick Bitsko

The Orioles had to be a bit mad about this, as they had wanted to use their second pick on Bitsko in rumors. The Rays have a knack for developing pitchers and Bitsko’s potential is very enticing. The value at this pick is immense and the Rays did a great job here.

25. Braves – RHP Jared Shuster

This pick confused me. Yes, Shuster had serious helium leading up to the draft, but I did not think he would go in the first round. I like the arsenal he has, but there is definite refinement to be made. Might have to come back to this pick in a couple of years.

26. Athletics – C Tyler Soderstrom

This is a bonafide steal, as I had Soderstrom ranked at 13. The bat is the real deal, but I doubt he will make it as a catcher. Third base and a corner outfield spot make the most sense for Soderstrom moving forward.

27. Twins – 1B Aaron Sabato

The Twins get a very good power bat in Sabato, who had been linked to the Texas Rangers a lot the past few days. He is more of a DH type, as the defensive value is underwhelming, but the bat absolutely plays I think.

28. Yankees – C Austin Wells

I like this pick for the Yankees. However, I expected Dillon Dingler to go before Wells did. Either way, Yankees get a premium bat that could be a staple at Yankee Stadium, but I don’t think he sticks at catcher.

29. Dodgers – RHP Bobby Miller

I am a big fan of Bobby Miller and I think he is pretty happy to go to the Dodgers here. There is high profile upside to his frame and he has shown vast improvements in his stuff this year. Watch out for reliever concern though.

30. Orioles – SS Jordan Westburg

Given that Bitsko was not available, the Orioles went for another underslot candidate in Westburg. I think the bat will play well and his power is great, plus I think he can stick at shortstop. Have to think they splurge tonight.

31. Pirates – RHP Carmen Mlodzinski

If the Pirates can manage to have Mlodzinski return to his Cape Cod form, I think they will be happy with this pick. He became a ground ball specialist this spring, but I think the arsenal can stand out for him in the future.

32. Royals – SS Nick Loftin

The Royals end their Day 1 with a really good pick with Loftin here. Very sound defender and I like the potential in the bat here. If he can continue the power surge he was experiencing at Baylor in the spring, watch out.

33. Diamondbacks – RHP Slade Cecconi

Arizona goes for another upside pick with Cecconi. While I thought Chris McMahon would go before him, I love the potential that Cecconi has. If he can be more consistent with his pitches, I think he succeeds at the next level.

34. Padres – RHP Justin Lange

This was a bit of a surprise, but the potential is certainly there. The fastball touches triple digits and if the Padres can refine his command and develop more of a breaking ball, the upside is endless for Lange.

35. Rockies – C Drew Romo

The Rockies get the best defensive backstop in the draft, though they will have to pay an overslot deal to get him. The arm strength and accuracy are attributes that scouts raved about and his overall defensive profile is one of the best I have seen. The bat carries question marks, though.

36. Indians – RHP Tanner Burns

A workhorse at Auburn, I think Cleveland is very happy to be able to get Burns here. When healthy, Burns is a very good pitcher with plus command and a solid arsenal. It’s just a matter of if he stays healthy.

37. Rays – SS Alika Williams

The Rays walk away with two premium players on Day 1. Williams is one of the best college defenders at shortstop and I think the bat is underrated. Really good pick by the Rays to end Day 1.

Tyler Jennings

Hi, I'm Tyler, one of the many writers here at Diamond Digest. A Red Sox fan at heart, I live in Raleigh, NC and currently work full-time, although I plan on a return to college in 2019. I have previously been featured on MLB Daily Dish, Hardball Scoop, and Baseball Essential. I am pursuing a career in Sports Journalism, as well as an internship at Baseball America. Outside of that, I ran Cross Country in High School and College and live with a stutter. I plan to bring unbiased baseball coverage to DD, with a primary focus on the MLB Draft, as well as general MLB news.

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