2020 MLB Draft Focus: Top College Players
This list is a look at some of the top college players for the 2020 MLB Draft as well as some players I feel have a chance to be some of the top names for your 2021 FYPD for Dynasty.
SPENCER TORKELSON, 1B, ARIZONA STATE
Spencer Torkelson has arguably been the best hitter in college baseball the past few seasons since he stepped onto the field as a Freshman for Arizona State. In his first season, he broke Barry Bonds’ Freshman Homerun record almost midway into the season and has continued to impress as one of the best hitters for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team the past two summers. Torkelson’s track record speaks for itself, but when you get a chance to watch him hit you realize he has the best power in this year’s draft class at the college level and that he’s an incredibly smart hitter that understands how he’s being pitched to but is still able to go out and put up some of the best numbers offensively in the country. I think he’s pretty much a slam dunk to be considered one of the best hitters in the minors as soon as he starts playing, possessing incredible offensive ability that has some people comparing him to Andrew Vaughn. I believe he will be fun to watch develop into one of the future young stars of the game, and in my honest opinion having watched both him and Austin Martin play over the last year, he should be the first pick in the Draft. There is a chance he could move to the outfield as a pro.
AUSTIN MARTIN, 3B, VANDERBILT
Austin Martin might be the best pure hitter in this year’s hitter-heavy draft class, thanks in part to having led all SEC hitters in batting average (.392) and OBP (.486) in 2019. Combine that with the fact that he has such incredible defensive versatility that he reminds me of a less-flashy Royce Lewis. I mean he can play second base, third base, center field, and possibly even shortstop. He’s also an above-average or better runner with developing power that could give him the chance to hit 20+ home runs. When you combine his offensive ability and defensive versatility there’s a lot to like and it’s one of the biggest reasons why he has a chance to go 1st overall this year.
NICK GONZALES, 2B, NEW MEXICO STATE
Nick Gonzales is an incredibly skilled offensive middle infielder that fits into the same tier of hitters as both Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin. At the start of the college baseball season, no hitter was hotter than Nick Gonzales- in one day he hit 5 HR’s to go along with 10 RBI’s. He didn’t just do it in the small Western Athletic Conference; he did it in the Cape Cod League, where he finished as the top prospect in 2019 and continued to impress this year until the season came to an abrupt end. We still might not know Gonzales’ true offensive upside at this point because it seems like he’s continued to get better and better which will make him an incredibly exciting pick for whichever organization decides to choose him.
GARRETT MITCHELL, OF, UCLA
Garrett Mitchell might have the biggest ceiling of everyone we’ve discussed so far. As of right now, he seems to have the loudest tools of all the top college hitters: he’s a 70-grade runner which makes him one of the fastest runners in this year’s draft class, to go along with what scouts believe is a plus hit tool. He also has the tools to stick in centerfield. The biggest question with Garrett Mitchell is if he will eventually develop in-game power, but as it stands he is currently more of a gap/down the lines type of hitter that uses his excellent speed to garner plenty of extra bases. He has the talent, resume, and offensive upside to be a top-10 overall pick and could be a steal on draft day if everything comes together for him at the next level.
HESTON KJERSTAD, OF, ARKANSAS
Heston Kjerstad should be a household name among college baseball fans as he helped lead the Arkansas Razorbacks to back-to-back College World Series appearances as a Freshman and Sophomore with the chance to make it three straight had the season not of ended abruptly. During his time with Arkansas, he was a staple in the middle of their lineup, showing plenty of power, perhaps some of the best power in the SEC last year behind JJ Bleday. Kjerstad will be a corner outfielder but he fits that profile well due to his plus power, and he’s also continued to improve as a hitter every year. One of the biggest things I love about Kjerstad is his passion for the game as well as his work ethic. He has the chance to be an early middle of the first-round draft pick.
ASA LACY, LHP, TEXAS A&M
When you watch Lacy pitch the one word that comes to mind is Dominant. I believe he has one of the best fastballs in this year’s draft class and that he could someday touch 100 from the left side. When you combine that with his ability to paint the black he’s an incredibly tough pitcher to hit and it allows him to manipulate the strike zone. As for his off-speed stuff, he will use a plus slider that scouts say is the best slider they’ve seen a lefty throw since Carlos Rodon in 2014. He will also use a changeup that looks to develop into a plus pitch in time. He is working on developing/improving his curveball as a 4th pitch which shows promise and scouts feel it could become an average or better pitch in time. From his incredible arsenal of pitches, his above-average command, the way he goes about his business on the mound, to his workhorse type pitchers build it’s easy to see why a team could fall in love with him and make him the top pitcher taken in this draft class. (Player Comp: LH, more raw Stephen Strasburg)
EMERSON HANCOCK, RHP, GEORGIA
Emerson Hancock was considered the top college pitcher in the draft class thanks to his size, repertoire, and the best control in the class. His fastball (94-97, tops out at 99) grades as one of the best in this year’s class to go along with one of the best changeups in this year’s class. He also uses a mid-80s slider that grades as a plus pitch at its best and will also use a curveball at times that shows flashes of being an above-average or better pitch. He is a really good fielder as well, which at times can be overlooked because of how dominant his arsenal is. He got hit more than expected to start 2020 but his mix of pitches combined with his control, and positive makeup, should keep him near the top of most teams draft boards.
REID DETMERS, LHP, LOUISVILLE
Detmers is one of the top pitchers in this year’s draft class. He’s also one of the more polished pitchers as well thanks in part to having some of the best command amongst all college pitchers. He also has a very good resume- he was a member of Team USA’s Collegiate National Team last summer, and he was also named the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, and before the season ended abruptly he looked like he had a great chance to win it again this season (19.6 K/9 in 2020 over 4 starts). His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s topping out at 94 mph but it plays well due to his ability to command it well. His best pitch is his curveball which sits in the low 70s and has a chance to be a plus or better pitch. He will also use a changeup that looks to be an above-average or better pitch in time. Detmers has also worked on trying to add a slider which is fringe-average at the moment due to him not having to use it very much. There are some Brendan McKay type comparisons due to them both being lefties from Louisville with similar velocity although there was much more excitement around Brendan McKay. Reid Detmers looks to be a top-10 overall pick.
MAX MEYER, RHP, MINNESOTA
Max Meyer is one of the pitchers whose draft stock has risen the most during this abbreviated season, and for good reason. Meyer has always been an excellent college player (he was a part of last summer’s Team USA Collegiate National Team) and one that starred as both a hitter and pitcher. This season Max Meyer was the Friday starter for Minnesota and he has two pitches that could possibly be double-plus: his fastball that touches about 97-98 mph and sits in the mid to upper 90s, as well as one of the best sliders in this year’s draft class. In some scout’s opinions the slider is one of the best ever for an amateur; it’s able to touch 93 and he has excellent command of it. Meyer also uses a changeup that has a chance to develop into a third above-average pitch. There are some minor concerns as to whether or not Meyer could develop into a full time starting pitcher (pretty much just how well his stuff holds up over time) but he has enough upside that regardless of his future role he has the chance to be a top 10 overall pick.