Click here for picks 15 – 28. In collaboration with Jasper Abrahams
- Detroit Tigers – Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Arizona State
Player Comparison: Paul Goldschmidt
Analysis: The obvious pick. The Tigers are in desperate need of anything to turn the franchise around and the beautiful swing of Spencer Torkelson is certainly a step in the right direction. Tork’s god-like bat infuses a Tigers system that is starved of power and being 20 already, he should be on the fast track to Detroit and improve an awful Tigers lineup. Arguably the best swing in the draft and a quality glove at first and even third he finally gives Detroit a high level prospect in the field as they had focused previously on pitchers in the draft. But Torkelson’s bat is one to tremble at and if he can stay healthy, the Tigers surely have the successor to Miguel Cabrera and gives them a bat to build around for years to come.
- Baltimore Orioles– Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
Player Comparison: Kyle Schwarber
Analysis: A surprising pick at 2 as the Orioles bypass the versatility of Austin Martin and various college arms for the big power of Kjerstad. The second best power hitter in the draft still has massive potential though as his 17 home runs from 2019 speak for itself. Kjerstad joins an Orioles system that is in need for outfield talent and his enormous power and contact will infuse Baltimore’s lineup when he comes up and will surely make a few new marks on the warehouse building beyond right field in Camden Yards. Even though Kjerstad has great potential, his swing and miss tendency is still a concern and passing up on seemingly better players in Austin Martin, Zac Veen and even Robert Hassell could be a mistake.
- Miami Marlins – Max Meyer, SP, Minnesota
Player Comparison: Sonny Gray
Analysis: The Marlins very unexpectedly let Asa Lacy go by and grab Minnesota stud Max Meyer. Now, Meyer is in no way a bad pick. His dominant arm and sizzling fastball is still arguably one of the best in the draft and Miami fills a major need on the mound. Meyer is probably the most MLB ready pitcher in the draft and he can thrive in both a starting and closing role in any team’s bullpen. While Meyer’s small, 6 foot 185 pound frame, is a bit of a concern as well as his limited amount of starts in college (15) but his triple digit heater that combines with 80 MPH breaking stuff is devastating. The only reason this pick doesn’t get an A is because of Meyer, although more MLB ready, was taken before the big left arm of Asa Lacy. But with Miami struggling mightily, they’ll take what they can get quicker and don’t be surprised if Meyer is in Miami next spring while Lacy is in the minors.
- Kansas City Royals – Asa Lacy, SP, Texas A&M
Player Comparison: Blake Snell
Analysis: The Royals getting Lacy here fits a massive need at pitcher and compliments second rounder from last year Brady Singer as possibly a future 1,2 punch in the rotation. Lacy’s big left handed arm, which consistently hits 97 MPH and the heavy movement on his curveball and changeup make him the one of the best college arms in the draft. And in a 2020 season that was cut short, in three starts Lacy went 3-0 with a .75 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 22 innings, showing he had something special this season and has so much room to improve upon that. There are some questions about Lacy’s level of competition (Big 12 isn’t the greatest in baseball) and his recent control problems but with such a rare and talented arm from the left handed side, Lacy holds the potential to be one of the better left handed arms in the game.
- Toronto Blue Jays – Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt
Player Comparison: Mookie Betts
Analysis: Toronto lucked out that the latest product of the Vanderbilt machine fell to them at 5. Austin Martin is the most versatile player in the draft and Toronto can very much use his defense. But Martin’s bat is the real prize and with him already being 21 and primed to speed through the minors, the Blue Jays can have Austin Martin, Vlad Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio all in the same lineup and all under 25 years old next season. That is an absolutely terrifying team to pitch to and makes up for Toronto going best player available over the need of a pitcher. Martin’s scary resemblance of Mookie Betts will only benefit Toronto and once he’s up and all of the team’s young studs develop, Rogers Centre will be a place no one wants to pitch in.
- Seattle Mariners – Emerson Hancock, SP, Georgia
Player Comparison: Zack Wheeler
Analysis: Hancock has the highest ceiling among pitchers in this draft with absolutely elite velocity, consistently topping 98 MPH. This Mariners team is desperate to get any sort of talent in Seattle and the fast ETA of Hancock is surely going to help them out. His electric stuff will light up a Mariners system that is low on high level pitching prospects. Hancock fits the new wave of MLB pitchers with a blazing fastball and heavy movement on breaking stuff and due to 3 years of experience while dominating in college baseball’s most talented and competitive conference, Hancock knows how to pitch in big games and will very likely rise through the Mariners farm and through his massive ceiling, Seattle could have their ace of the future in the bigs as early as spring 2021.
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State
Player Comparison: Keston Hiura
Analysis: The Pirates take advantage of the former walk on sliding and likely get their next franchise cornerstone. Gonzales’ value can be seen in his 2019 stats in which he had an absurd 1.155 slugging percentage. Add that to a 2019 season in which he knocked in 80 RBI’s on .432 average and you can tell Gonzales can hit. But when you average a .399 batting average in 3 seasons in college, no matter what team, you are elite. And with the Pirates beginning the rebuilding process, Gonzales remarkable infield bat is a great way to start. While his defense could use improvement, him being MLB ready and such an unbelieveable bat will certainly make up for it for a Pittsburgh team looking for a fresh start.
- San Diego Padres – Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
Player Comparison: Bryce Harper
Analysis: The first high school player comes off the board as the best bat from the preps heads to San Diego. The Padres farm system gets even richer with this pick and they add an outfield bat that they lost when trading Hunter Renfroe. The only aspect that keeps this pick from an A+ is the fact that Hassell is 18 and will likely take 2-3 seasons in the minors before he is MLB ready. But even with the wait time, Hassell will likely come up when San Diego is competing and adding such an effective bat makes the Padres future look even brighter. While his power with the stick is lacking, the contact is still undeniable and his fundamentally sound swing will fit seemlessly in hitter friendly Petco Park.
- Colorado Rockies – Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek High School (Fl.)
Player Comparison: Cody Bellinger
Analysis: Colorado adds yet another big bat that will surely succeed in the hitter hub of Coors Field. While there are massive needs on the mound and especially with Reid Detmers available, Colorado is likely drafting Charlie Blackmon’s replacement whose swing is eerily similar to division rival and MVP Cody Bellinger. Even though Veen is 18 and coming out of high school, he has the potential to fly through the minors and be in Colorado next season and be able to produce in a Rockies lineup that already features all stars Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. With a big body of 6’5″ 220 and impressive pitch recognition for his age, Colorado may have just made their future lineup significantly more scary.
- Los Angeles Angels – Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
Player Comparison: Clayton Kershaw
Analysis: The Angels finally get a guy to hold down the mound with probably the most solid potential among pitchers in this draft. Detmers is a big left hander with not elite velocity, but certainly knee-buckling breaking stuff. Detmers, who spent 3 seasons at Louisville, displayed his dominance in the short 2020 season with 48 strikeouts in just 22 innings. And the Angels, who have failed Mike Trout by not getting the pitching to consistently make the playoffs, take a step in the right direction with Detmers who will most likely join the team next spring and maybe even later in this season. This is the first pitcher they have drafted in the first round in 5 years and with Detmers high floor and higher ceiling, he can become the most reliable pitcher on an improving Angels team.
- Chicago White Sox – Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
Player Comparison: Chris Sale
Analysis: The White Sox add more pitching with the MLB ready Crochet whose tall but skinny frame produces major movement on his pitches. While there is a small sample size and maybe some injury concerns, a lefty who throws 99 MPH consistently is hard to come by and in a White Sox rotation that could use some electricity, Crochet brings it. Crochet though hasn’t had much starting experience in college (just 12 in 3 seasons) and has had noticeable command issues which coupled with other White Sox prospects with similar issues is a little concerning. But with a year of development in the rich farm system on the South Side, there’s good reason to believe Crochet can put it all together and make the White Sox young core that much better.
- Cincinnati Reds – Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny High School (Penn.)
Player Comparison: Christian Yelich
Analysis: The Reds add the sweet lefty swing and massive power of Hendrick to a team that is beginning to crawl out of the depths of rebuilding. While Hendrick is likely not going to see the majors for a few years, once he gets there, he could very well be one of the most dangerous bats in the league. His bat speed and flow through the zone is unmatched by anyone else in this draft which can be proven by a ridiculous 105 MPH exit velocity as an 18 year old. Hendrick has a hose in the outfield with phenomenal arm strength which going with his good speed makes him a terrifying prospect. Despite a bit of a strikeout problem (which can easily be fixed). The Reds knocked one out of the park here get probably the highest upside out of high school player in the draft.
- San Francisco Giants – Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
Player Comparison: Carlos Santana
Analysis: The Giants drafting Patrick Bailey is interesting for a few reasons. One, the Giants are likely drafting the replacement for franchise legend Buster Posey despite already having top catching prospect Joey Bart on the way up. Second, Bailey can play elsewhere other than the premium position that is the backstop and he can play 1B just as well as behind the plate. But the most important aspect of this pick is Bailey’s bat. Playing in the competitive ACC, Bailey slugged 23 home runs and 86 RBI in two full seasons all while being an ultra rare switch hitting catcher. His hitting applies to both sides of the plate but as does his main concern which is his high strikeout rate. But with very high potential on his already quality defensive abilities, the Giants draft the best catcher in the draft and a polished college player who could be ready for the bigs next season.
- Texas Rangers – Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
Player Comparison: Dustin Pedroia
Analysis: A very interesting pick with Texas selecting Foscue at 14. The Rangers did reach here but Foscue’s above average offensive talent as well as consistent glove up the middle is a very valuable prospect. But with Texas already having a young and promising Nick Solak at second base, it is a confusing pick for the Rangers to be making especially with a need for pitching on the team and guys like Mick Abel and Cade Cavalli still on the board. Foscue is a gamer though and has experience in high pressure situations while being a major part of Mississippi State’s classic comeback teams which made him intriguing to teams and a sure first round prospect. And while Foscue deserved to go in the mid teens, Texas just isn’t the right fit.
Photo: Twins Daily