Snap Reaction: Ranking Every First Round Pick of the 2020 MLB Draft

Written by: Mason McRae (@mason_mcrae)

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1. Toronto Blue Jays

Austin Martin, OF, Vanderbilt

Grade: A+

Absolute robbery. The Jays have desperately craved for outfield talent throughout their organization, and Austin Martin should now slot as the center fielder of the future. He’s the top player on my board and will likely cost big time money for the Jays, but he’s ta huge get for a team nearing the end of a rebuild.

2. Seattle Mariners

Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

Grade: A

This seemed to be the sweet spot for Hancock, and Seattle’s going to love the trio of Hancock, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. There’s really nobody else I would’ve considered at this spot, and the third player on my board going at sixth overall is a fantastic value.

3. Detroit Tigers

Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Grade: A

This was one of the few picks we were close to certain about, and the Tigers made the pick mostly everybody wanted. Had I been drafting, I likely would’ve taken Austin Martin, but you can’t deny the fact that Torkelson is the top, or—at worst—second best player in the class. He’ll immediately provide Detroit with the pure offensive infusion the organization desperately needs. 

4. Milwaukee Brewers

Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

Grade: A

Mitchell appeared destined to be one of the biggest steals of the draft—some concerns with the swing mechanics dropped him—but Milwaukee’s getting the 10th player on my board 10 picks later.

5. San Francisco Giants

Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State

Grade: A

Giants fans apparently hate this pick, and they have good reason to with Joey Bart already in the system. But you never draft for need, and Bailey is the 7th-ranked player on my board and has the present tools to move through the system rather quickly. 

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State

Grade: A-

Baltimore taking Kjerstad saved the Pirates from picking him 7th overall, but Gonzales is such a good value, and he’ll likely be a slot deal or might even save Pittsburgh a little bit of money.

7. Tampa Bay Rays

Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East

Grade: A-

Bitsko’s 14th on my board, and he likely would have ranked higher had the spring not been canceled, but the upside is through the roof and the stuff could play in affiliated ball today. It’s a steal for the new regime in Tampa, and they have some familiarity with Bitsko in the system, so they’ve been quite aware of the right-hander’s immense talent for a while now. 

8. Philadelphia Phillies

Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit

Grade: B+

I had the wrong prep guy going here in my mocks, but either Abel Or Bitsko would’ve been a great pick. Abel’s upside is through the roof, and it was likely a Best Player Available scenario for the Phillies. He’s 9th on my board.

9. Miami Marlins

Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

Grade: B+

Meyer’s fourth on my board, he’ll likely save the Marlins quite a bit of cash and the organization acquires tremendous talent all in one pick. Austin Martin would’ve been the pick for me, but Meyer’s a fantastic selection.

10. Colorado Rockies

Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek

Grade: B+

There was noise leading up to the draft Veen could fall as late as 10 to Los Angeles, but Colorado jumped on the chance to take him at 9th instead. It’s a fun combo, Veen’s power and the Coors Field effect, and something we should witness in due time. Veen should put up video game numbers in the hitter-friendly confines of the Rockies’ minor league parks. 

11. Los Angeles Angels

Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

Grade: B+

Security and a quick moving minor leaguer, the Angels get a great floor from Detmers without taking too much of a risk, which was a priority after the organization axed a lot of the amateur scouting department leading up to the draft. 

12. New York Mets

Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake

Grade: B

This is an awesome get for a team that’s looking to get over the farm system hump after trading away Jarred Kelenic. He’s 17th on my board and a well-known prospect; I personally would have preferred Garrett Mitchell here, but the difference isn’t far off.

13. Chicago Cubs

Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel

Grade: B

Howard’s an Illinois kid, which makes him a great homegrown talent for a team that hasn’t taken much high school talent in the first round as of late. The shortstop is 16th on my board, though they passed over Garrett Mitchell to select him. 

14. San Diego Padres

Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence

Grade: B

I’ve had this pick for quite some time, but I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Hassell III (relatively speaking as he’s 12th on my board. However, he could save the Padres some money here. According to The War Room, Patrick Bailey would have been an interesting fit here.

15. Washington Nationals

Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

Grade: B

Cole Wilcox’s signability must be a gigantic concern, since he was well-connected to this pick leading up to the draft. But Cavalli was in play as high as 10th overall, and he possesses fantastic starter traits as well as stuff that should play at the next level.

16. Oakland Athletics

Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock

Grade: B

Soderstrom was mentioned as early as 9 and 11. Oakland must really love this teenager’s bat, since they’re a risk-averse team and Soderstrom’s current demographic is about as volatile as it comes in draft classes. This is relatively good value as he’s 25th on my board and much higher elsewhere.

17. Cincinnati Reds

Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny

Grade: B-

There’s risk with Hendrick (some folks who have seen him live have concerns with the hit tool), and he’s old-for-the-class, but the power is ridiculous and he’s got a ceiling that very few in this class can match. 

18. Chicago White Sox

Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

Grade: C+

Crochet’s a fast-moving minor leaguer, but there’s also heavy reliever risk attached to this profile. His present stuff is quite bleak against right-handed batters, and the durability concerns are obvious. He’s 22nd on my board.

19. Kansas City Royals

Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

Grade: C+

Kansas City fans—and other evaluators who are much higher on Lacy—probably love this pick, but Hancock and Martin were both still on the board, and I would’ve taken Martin had the financials worked out. Lacy will join Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic in a loaded, homegrown rotation in a few seasons.

20. Los Angeles Dodgers

Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville

Grade: C+

Miller is 47th on my board, but the Dodgers are a player development powerhouse and you won’t find me on the record bashing any of their picks. Somebody like Justin Lange or Cole Wilcox might have been more fun, and Dingler could have been a match made in heaven at this pick.

21. St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur

Grade: C

Walker wasn’t really coming up in too many first round talks this month, but there’s surreal power and upside within this profile. He’s 33rd on my board and has some hit tool and positional risk, but this range is exactly what you’d typically expect from a player with Walker’s raw talent. 

22. Texas Rangers

Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

Grade: C

Foscue is 30th on my board and a model-friendly darling. Leading up to the draft, I tweeted out he would likely go in the top 15; his name picked up a ton of steam late in the process. He’s a solid hitter at second base, but could move to the hot corner or left field. It’s a whatever pick, and Mick Abel was still on the board. 

23. Cleveland Indians

Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe

Grade: C

I love Tucker’s bat and glove and he’s 37th on my board, but this pick was a shocker given Nick Bitsko’s remaining presence on the board. The Indians love upside and get a shortstop with plenty of it, but I can’t help but wonder how lovely the match would have been with Bitsko. 

24. New York Yankees

Austin Wells, C, Arizona

Grade: C-

I’m not the biggest Wells fan, and he’s 68th on my board, but there’s a ton of power and a strong feel for the barrel here. A college arm like Tanner Burns or Carmen Mlodzinski or a similar-demographic Dillon Dingler would have made more sense in my eyes.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks

Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

Grade: C-

His changeup and command are plus-grades (which makes him a strong fit with the Diamondbacks’ archetype), and he should move quickly through the minors. However, Jarvis is 67th on my board, and there were at least a handful of other, college pitchers I preferred at this pick. 

26. Minnesota Twins

Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina

Grade: C-

Offensively, Sabato is a model darling. This profile typically moves quickly through the minor leagues, but when I saw him live he was an atrocious defender who struggled against mid-80’s velocity. This is a pick I could be seriously wrong about, but he’s 90th on my board and I would’ve preferred Dillon Dingler or a few others.

27. Boston Red Sox

Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty

Grade: C-

Yorke’s 159th on my board and just a puzzling selection in general here, but Chaim Bloom is a mastermind and part of me is wondering where I’m wrong. It should also be noted Vanderbilt head coach was very vocal in his support of Yorke throughout the MLB Network broadcast. This pick will save Boston money for their next pick, but it’s nearly 70 picks later.

28. Baltimore Orioles

Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

Grade: C-

Leaving Austin Martin or Nick Gonzales on the board and taking the 38th player on my board is head-scratching. The Orioles will assumedly save lots of money with this pick, but they weren’t successful in buying-down Bitsko (who they were targeting) at 30th overall while missing out on better players in Nick Gonzales and Austin Martin.

29. Atlanta Braves

Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest

Grade: C-

Shuster’s 177th on my board, and Alex Anthopolous never fails to amaze me. This is a reach, and they passed on so many, other college players I’d prefer. Dillon Dingler, JT Ginn, Cole Henry and Jordan Westburg are a few who come to mind.

Follow P365 MLB Draft Analyst Mason McRae on Twitter! @mason_mcrae

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer Rick Scuteri and the Associated Press

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