MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Camden Chat

Impact players of the 2020 MLB Draft


With so much going on in the world, it’s hard to get excited about much these days. To be honest, it’s hard to care about the back and forth bickering of athletes and their organizations over dollars and cents… well, millions of dollars and cents, actually.


Photo Credit: News Break

For us baseball fans, we just want the game to return. Even with our hope dwindled to crumbs of a possibility of an abridged season, that is, if it even starts at all, we will be excited about anything we can get.  

Because of Covid-19, sports were placed on the bench way back in March, with seasons and playoffs up in the air. The good news is that the NBA, NHL, and NFL all have plans in motion to return, and, in the NFL’s case, to start on time. MLB looks to be on its way with recent news of commissioner Rob Manfred and union chief, Tony Clark agreeing to a 60-game season beginning next month.

In the MLB universe, June is something to which we look forward. While baseball has been absent (here in the States anyway), the MLB Draft could provide some positive news for a change. Every die-hard baseball fan loves the draft. Fans and analysts alike love to predict who will be the next star player in an organization going forward, and they thrive on being right. 


While the MLB Draft itself can represent the winds of change, it can also provide a look into the team’s mindset in recruiting.


They will either be filling in pieces of a puzzle that were missing from seasons before or adding a chess move from a dominant team, hoping to remain that way for years to come. 

Many different storylines could arise during the draft, especially when you fast forward years into the future. With hindsight being 20/20, it’s easy to throw shade on an organization for trading a top prospect away for something impulsive. 


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Forbes

The truth is, you never really know who is going to be the next Mike Trout. To have that much foresight, you might need to find Doc Brown and his Delorian, or Marty Mcfly, and the “Grays Sports Almanac” (“Back To The Future 2” reference for those unaware). Who will come out of the gates swinging for the fences? Who will buckle under the pressure of the big bright lights of the show and never reach their full potential?

When you speak to fans about the MLB Draft, it’s quite a different reaction than say, the NFL Draft, where everyone is so full of enthusiasm and drafting that one star quarterback can change an entire franchise. I talked to a few people and asked them, “What did you think of the 2020 MLB Draft?” Their response was, “Damn, they had it already?”


You could chop that up to marketing and blame MLB for not promoting sufficiently. Maybe all the negative press with the return to play proposals between the MLB and the MLBPA put a damper on the event this year?


Or you can look at the facts and the percentages. Only 17% of drafted players have made it to the majors between 1981-2010. That means that only 1 out of 5 draft picks actually makes it to the Major Leagues. (Per J.J. Cooper From Baseball America


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Off The Bench

With those odds, it’s no wonder some fans don’t seem as interested. It’s not until a player is in a line-up or a rotation that they are finally able to see their potential or even care. 

Now, this may have made for a cynical turn, but let’s push on and stay the course, shall we? Let us baseball fans find hope in an organization’s chance to build the foundation for the future. Instead of reading about all the constant discord between the MLB and MLBPA, let us enjoy something about baseball for once in 2020. Let’s make this the first type of positive press for the MLB.


Let’s see what the future has to offer.

Instead of going through all the draft picks, we are going to look at the top 10 who could have a significant impact on an organization going forward. Furthermore, this year’s 2020 draft was quite different than what fans are used to. The draft was shortened to 5 rounds instead of 40, due to all the strains caused by Covid-19, cutting league and team budgets, and basically cutting potential profit to the players. To think how many great players were drafted in the history of MLB after the first five rounds, makes you realize how many college and high school baseball players didn’t get those same opportunities this year.

To the players who get drafted, do they accept? The fact that they would be placed right into the minors if they sign is an incredibly difficult risk with all that’s happening in the minor leagues right now. So, let us not wait any longer. Let’s get right into it. Here are some of the names you may see on your favorite teams sooner rather than later.


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

1)  Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B – Arizona State (Detroit Tigers)

The number one draft pick, a right-handed first baseman who has one heck of a power bat to offer the Tigers. Torkelson already started breaking records by the age of 18, hitting 54 home runs in just 129 games for Arizona State, smashing the previous record held by former San Francisco Giant, Barry Bonds. The latter only hit 11 home runs in his freshman year. Holy Moly!


2) Austin Martin, SS – Vanderbilt (Toronto Blue Jays)

Predicted to be draft pick number 2, but fell to pick five because The Royals and The Marlins instead focused on beefing up their pitching. It was also rumored that he might have had a shaky spring outing compared to the year before, causing scouts to reconsider. Regardless, this was a pleasant surprise for the Blue Jays. Martin’s stats are an impressive 1000 OPS in his 3-year career at Vanderbilt; a .368/.474/.532 slash line made up with 39 doubles, 14 home runs, and 76 RBI’s. It’s no wonder why he was viewed as one of the best all-around hitters in the draft.


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Texas Tech

3) Clayton Beeter, RHP – Texas Tech (Los Angeles Dodgers)

This guy’s curveball is something to take note of, a beautiful 12-6 motion, and the spin rate should be something perfected from a guy already playing in the major leagues. Many predicted that he could have gone first round, but injuries and Tommy John Surgery in his freshman year sidelined him for the entire season. He rebounded back in his sophomore season and came into his own this past spring, becoming the ace in the starting rotation, delivering a 2.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts and four walks allowed in 21 innings.   


4) Nick Gonzales, 2B – New Mexico State (Pittsburgh Pirates)

The reigning Cape Cod League MVP and NCAA batting champion, Gonzales, is off the charts with his ability to zero in at the plate. The coach of the University of North Carolina even compared his rhythm and balance to Miguel Cabrera and Manny Ramirez based on his ability to adjust on the fly. While his height at 5’10 and size are a concern, and his defense is viewed as average, his work ethic and discipline make him a ballplayer every organization needs.


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Minnesota Gophers Athletics

5) Max Meyer, RHP – Minnesota (Miami Marlins)

This two-way player throws straight fire. He has a fastball reaching triple digits and a nasty slider making for a wicked combination, helping Meyer rack up 121 strikeouts in 120.1 innings in his first two years of college. Meyer is a competitive monster that is only going to make him evolve into a severe threat in the major leagues. 


6) Patrick Bailey, C – NC State (San Francisco Giants)

This pick surprised many because The Giants already have a talented catcher and future star waiting in the wings of the minor leagues in Joey Bart, but now it looks like they have another. The Giants couldn’t pass on Bailey, who is a power-hitting catcher who can hit from both sides of the plate. Bailey hit .302 with 29 homers, and 106 RBI’s over his college career. With so many upsides, being a catch-and-throw guy, a solid zone hitter, and a natural leader tops it off.


7) Dillion Dingler, C – Ohio State (Detroit Tigers)

Dingler is another catcher poised to make a huge impact and was predicted to get drafted in the first round. However, a hamate bone injury kept him from being scouted last summer. He has the edge over a lot of catchers defensively, and while power isn’t his strong suit, his ability to call games already places him in strong contention for being a top catcher in this organization. 


MLB Draft
Photo Credit: Baseball Prospect Journal

8) Asa Lacy, LHP – Texas A&M (Kansas Royals)

Lacy’s stat line is phenomenal. In 128 innings of work, he racked up 178 strikeouts, 2.32 ERA. There was no doubt the royals were gunning for this kid. When asked for a comparison, think somewhere between Clayton Kershaw and Aroldis Chapman, and if you see his wind up, you will know why.


9) Emerson Hancock, RHP –  Georgia (Seattle Mariners)

A solid arm that can throw strikes and walk very few batters, 1.79 per nine during his sophomore season to be exact. Emerson has a good 93-97 mph fastball, with a changeup and slider that needs tweaking in the minors before he becomes a force to be reckoned with in the majors.


10) Heston Kjerstad, RF/OF – Arkansas (Baltimore Orioles)

The surprise number two pick has a bit of a swing-and-miss problem and a mediocre strikeout to walk ratio to boot. On the flip side, however, Heston is a left-handed power hitter who can make high contact in the strike zone and rarely misses in the zone. In time, he will just have to tighten up his plate discipline and cut down on the strikeouts to make it to the next level. The power and potential are most certainly there. 

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-Joshua Rushford – Franchise Sports Media

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