With the 2020 first year player draft coming up on June 10th there is a lot to learn about not only the players but about the new format due to COVID-19. Today we will run down the new changes as well as some of the top players to keep an eye on over the next few years.
Starting off with the changes made, the standard 40 rounds will be shortened to five (just an eighth of the standard draft). After the five rounds have concluded, teams can issue an unlimited number of free agent contracts at $20,000 max. This rule can affect the game for years to come as many successful players have been drafted in rounds 6-40. Teams in one of the 10 smallest markets, or 10 smallest revenue pools, are eligible for ‘competitive balance picks’. The selections come after the standard first round and compensation round, or after the standard second round. Another change is the inability to trade picks. All of this will just incline many college juniors just to return to school for the extra year and wait until next year.
Now we will take a depper look at some of the prosepcts.
Spencer Torkelson-1B/OF, Arizona State
It's not everyday were you see a raw first baseman have the chnace to go 1st overall. Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson could chnage that. It all really comes down to if the Tigers want a proven power-hitting first baseman who is polished and likely will move through the minor leagues quickly or a well-rounded baseball player who likely will play a premium position in pro ball. It also appears Torkelson will be the first college first baseman to go first overall in the history of the draft.
Austin Martin-INF/OF, Vanderbilt
Martin excelled in his three years at Vanderbilt after receiving very little collegiate interest until his senior season of high school in 2017. Martin is the best pure hitter in this year’s draft class. He has notable bat speed and consistently makes hard content. He also displays solid plate discipline and improving power. Martin split time in the infield and outfield during his three years at Vanderbilt.
Asa Lacy-LHP, Texas A&M
Asa Lacy was nearly unhittable in four starts this spring. The 6-4, 215-pound lefty used his mid-to-upper 90s fastball and devastating off-speed pitches to limit opposing batters to nine hits and eight walks while striking out 46 to record a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings. Lacy and Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock are the top two pitchers in this year’s draft. Unlike Hancock, Lacy has shown consistency and a better overall feel for pitching over the last three seasons.
Garrett Mitchell-OF, UCLA
Garrett Mitchell is an all-around player who profiles as a center fielder in the pro ranks. He is an above-average defensive player, possessing elite speed and solid arm strength. He has the chance to hit for average and power in pro ball with his quick left-handed swing while also using his speed to steal bases. His rare combination of speed and power could see him land in the top 10.
Garrett Crochet-LHP, Tennesse
Garrett Crochet is a 6-6, 218-pound lefty that has all the makings of being a No. 1 starter in pro ball. His four-seam fastball sat in the high-90s and touched 99 mph in fall practices. He missed several starts this spring with a back injury and returned to make just one start, allowing two hits and striking out six batters in 3 1/3 innings. His big frame could help him sneak into the top 10.
Tyler Soderstrom-C, Turlock (Calif.) HS
Tyler Soderstrom is a well-rounded catcher, but his top trait is his offensive ability. He has quick hands that generate bat speed, which allows him to consistently barrel up pitches from the left side of the plate. Prep catchers are a risky demographic, but Soderstrom has intriguing tools and potential. Reminds me a bit of Yankees first rounder Anthony Seigler
Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks-East (Pa.) HS
Nick Bitsko is a 6-4, 220-pound right-hander who reclassified from the 2021 draft to this year’s draft. He’s in the running to be the top prep arm in this year’s draft and offers a lot of projection and potential to profile as a potential No. 1 pitcher in pro ball. He is committed to the University of Virginia. I have been lucky enough to see him in person before he reclassed and he is something special to watch. Could make a huge impact at Virginia and in the bigs.
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