Expect to see many of these names called when the draft is held in June
The 2020 MLB draft is set for June 10, although it will look different than usual. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which interrupted spring training and has put the start of the 2020 season on hold, the draft will only feature five rounds instead of the usual 40. Additionally, this year's draft was originally intended to be held in Omaha, Nebraska, in conjunction with the start of the College World Series. But the CWS was one of the countless sporting events that were canceled due to the pandemic and MLB announced in late May that the draft will once again originate from MLB Network Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
As for the draft itself, each of the last two No. 1 overall draft picks has come from college (Adley Rutschmann and Casey Mize), but the previous two top picks (Royce Lewis and Mickey Moniak) both came straight from the prep ranks. The top pick in the 2020 draft is expected to be one of Spencer Torkelson, Emerson Hancock, or Austin Martin, but plenty of high schoolers will go early.
Here's a look at the top 50 high school prospects, courtesy of Baseball America's JJ Cooper:
1. Austin Hendrick, OF, Imperial, Pa.
Hendrick has impressive power potential and has a chance to hit for average as well. The Mississippi State signee’s swing is high maintenance, however, thanks to a significant toe tap that makes it harder to time pitchers.
2. Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio, Texas
Kelley’s performance at the Area Code Games last summer was one of the best scouts could remember ever seeing. He has a 96-99 mph fastball, a plus changeup, and he gets to that velocity with ease.
3. Robert Hassell, OF, Thompson's Station, Tenn.
Hassell has proven to be a consistent hitter on the summer showcase and with USA Baseball. He uses the whole field and has developing power. The Vanderbilt signee also has a shot to stay in center field.
4. Mick Abel, RHP, Portland, Ore.
Abel was inconsistent at times last summer, but he also showed the foundations of being a pro starter. He sits 91-94 mph with his fastball, and he also spins a hard, tight slider that could give him two plus pitches.
5. Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel, Ill.
This draft class is a little light on quality high school shortstops, which should help Howard. He’s not a particularly imposing hitter, but he has some potential to develop at the plate and is a sure-fire plus defender at shortstop.
6. Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock, Calif.
A strong-armed catcher who has third base as a solid fallback option, Soderstrom likely will go higher in the draft than fellow high school catcher Drew Romo because he has a more advanced bat.
7. Daxton Fulton, LHP, Mustang, Okla.
Fulton’s summer ended early because of an undisclosed injury, but before that, he was proving to be one of the more polished pitchers in the class. Now he just has to prove that he’s fully healthy.
8. Blaze Jordan, 1B/3B, Southaven, Miss.
Jordan reclassified to be eligible for the 2020 draft. It made him one of the younger players in the draft class as well as one of the better pure hitters. Jordan has plus-plus raw power to go with solid bat control.
9. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Studio City, Calif.
Crow-Armstrong entered last summer in consideration for the top spot in the class, and he may get back there with a strong spring. He had some swing-and-miss issues with Team USA, but he’s also one of the best center fielders in the class.
10. Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, Kingwood, Texas
There are few prospects who are truly two-way talents. Winn is one of them. He can play shortstop and has some hitting ability, but he also blows 98 mph at his best on the mound. He can hit. He can field. And he can pitch.
11. Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands, Texas
Romo is an excellent catch-and-throw defender behind the plate, but teams generally are scared away from that profile in the draft unless prep catchers prove they can hit. Romo has a chance to do that as a switch-hitter with some juice in his bat.
12. Cam Brown, RHP, Flower Mound, Texas
Every year, Texas high schools produce a bounty of hard-throwing pitching prospects. Brown should continue the lineage. He’s a mid-90s fireballer with a potentially plus slider.
13. Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere, Fla.
Montgomery has one of the better arms in the class as he can consistently sit 92-94 mph (and touch 96) in shorter outings. He also throws a promising if inconsistent slider. What he needs to do now is show he can develop his control and command.
14. Zac Veen, OF, Port Orange, Fla.
Veen has one of the prettier swings among the high school outfielders, and he also has impressive power potential. His arm should allow him to play right field in pro ball.
15. Alex Santos, RHP, Bronx, N.Y.
Because he comes from New York, Santos was a little lesser-
known prospect when the summer showcase season began. He was well known by the end due to a steadily improving fastball (that has touched 95) as well as a promising breaking ball and changeup.
16. Jared Jones, RHP/OF, La Mirada, Calif.
Whether he’s on the mound or in center field, Jones shows that he has the best arm among the high school senior class. He’ll get to 100 mph regularly at some point, and that arm is just as devastating in center field. He’s an explosive athlete but swings and misses too much.
17. Victor Mederos, RHP, Miami, Fla.
The spring will give Mederos time to show whether he’s the pitcher who sometimes showed excellent feel for staying a step ahead of hitters or the one who at other times overthrew and struggled to locate his breaking ball.
18. Petey Halpin, OF, La Canada, Calif.
Halpin plays the game with intensity and also has shown that he should be able to stick in center field for a while even though he’s only an average runner. He does need to show he can develop his power.
19. Isaiah Greene, OF, Corona, Calif.
Greene may have a chance to catch Pete Crow-Armstrong on teams’ draft boards with an impressive spring. He’s a polished hitter, and while scouts differ in their opinions, many believe he will stay in center.
20. Drew Bowser, SS, Studio City, Calif.
Another top prospect from Harvard-Westlake (which had Jack Flaherty, Max Fried and Lucas Giolito at the same time), Bowser will likely eventually move to third base. But his bat should be able to handle the switch.
21. Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami, Fla.
Rosario has plenty of velocity — he’s touched 96-97 in showcase events — but he needs to spend the spring figuring out how to better spin his breaking ball. His changeup has shown some promise.
22. Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur, Ga.
There’s not a ton of confidence that Walker will be able to play anywhere other than first base or maybe right field in the long term, but there is a lot of confidence in his power potential. He’s a slugger who is working to hit for average as well.
23. Dylan Crews, OF, Lake Mary, Fla.
Crews should always hit. He has a simple, pretty swing that lives up to the adage that if it looks good, it is good. And he has an abundance of bat speed that helps him generate solid power easily.
24. Tanner Witt, 3B/RHP, Bellaire, Texas
Witt is not close to fully unlocking his significant potential, but even with room to grow, he’s already a power-hitting third baseman who also shows potential on the mound. Eventually, his 88-92 mph fastball should add a few ticks.
25. Chase Davis, OF, Elk Grove, Calif.
There are hitters with prettier swings than Davis, but in his case, unconventional works pretty well. Davis has some of the best bat speed around, and his swing helps his bat stay in the zone on plane with the pitch for quite a while.
26. Timmy Manning, LHP, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Manning will go relatively high in the draft because scouts love his curveball. It is a big breaker with excellent spin rates. He also has feel for a changeup but needs to increase the velocity on his 87-91 mph fastball.
27. Brandon Fields, OF, Orlando, Fla.
Fields is committed to play both football and baseball at South Carolina. He’s an athletic outfielder with good strength, but he has yet to figure out how to really tap into his power with his swing.
28. Milan Tolentino, SS, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Tolentino can make the acrobatic play at short and has shown he can make throws from multiple angles. What he hasn’t yet done is make scouts confident he’s going to hit.
29. Enrique Bradfield, OF, Plantation, Fla.
Bradfield is a burner with top-of-the-scale speed. He knows better than to try to lift the ball because he has very little power. His game is built around beating out base hits, swiping bases and running down everything in center field.
30. Kevin Parada, C, Los Angeles, Calif.
Parada is a slugger who plays catcher. There is a chance he will have to move off the position eventually. But the power is worth watching.
31. Robert Moore, SS, Shawnee Mission, Kan.
The son of Royals general manager Dayton Moore is a little undersized, but he is one of the better and more reliable up-the-middle defenders in the class. Scouts love his makeup and his high-energy approach to the game,
32. AJ Vukovich, 3B, East Troy, Wis.
Eventually, Vukovich may end up at first base, but what enamors scouts is his power potential. He had an up-and-down summer showcase season, but as he develops at the plate, there’s a chance he could have plus power.
33. Jackson Miller, C, New Port Richey, Fla.
Miller has a lot of useful indicators that he could develop behind the plate. He is a solid receiver, he moves well, and he has an average arm. And there’s pull-side power as well.
34. Yohandy Morales, SS, Miami, Fla.
Morales is probably a third baseman in pro ball, but he’ll be a good one defensively. He is going to have to improve his pull-heavy approach, but he knows that power is his calling card.
35. Coby Mayo, 3B, Parkland, Fla.
Mayo has shown that he will take pitches off the plate and take his walks. He has arm strength and a pro body, but his ability to make consistent contact on hittable strikes is a bigger question.
36. Cade Horton, SS/RHP, Norman, Okla.
Horton can do it all. He’s an Oklahoma signee as both a quarterback and a two-way player for the Sooners baseball team. He’s a little more polished as a pitcher than as a hitter at this point.
37. Kyle Harrison, LHP, Concord, Calif.
A UCLA commit, Harrison is more pitcher than thrower. As a pro prospect, one question he faces is whether his 88-92 mph fastball is going to get better as he matures or if this is who he is.
38. Ben Hernandez, RHP, Chicago, Ill.
Most high school pitching prospects have a fastball and maybe a breaking ball, but the changeup is usually more of an idea than a refined pitch. Hernandez has a 90-94 mph fastball and a pretty advanced changeup to go with some feel for pitching.
39. Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange, Calif.
Another UCLA signee, Rajcic has been seen in pressure-packed situations for several years because he pitches for Orange Lutheran HS and because of his summer showcase work. He has plenty of pitchability but little projection.
40. Marquis Grissom Jr., RHP,
Grissom’s father was a two-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves. The son is forging his own path as a relatively polished pitcher. Grissom’s 12-to-6 curveball is already a pretty impressive pitch, and he’s added a splitter.
41. David Calabrese, OF, Vaughan, Ont.
Calabrese is one of the youngest players eligible for the 2020 draft. His plus-plus speed plays both in center field and when he’s in the batter’s box. His swing is simple, which should help him hit.
42. Steven Ondina, SS, Ceiba, P.R.
If there’s someone who gets to challenge Ed Howard for the title of best defensive shortstop in the prep class, it’s Ondina. He excels defensively and has a line-drive approach at the plate.
43. Daniel Susac, C, Carmichael, Calif.
The younger brother of MLB catcher Andrew Susac has a plus arm and plenty of power to go with the soft hands teams love to see in a catcher.
44. Hunter Barnhart, RHP, Santa Maria, Calif.
An Arizona State signee, Barnhart may make it to college because teams are often hesitant to spend big to convince a prep pitcher with a fringe-average present fastball (88-91 mph) to forgo college. Barnhart can really pitch. Now the question is if he’ll add velocity.
45. Colt Keith, SS, Biloxi, Miss.
Another Arizona State signee, Keith is a very well-rounded multi-position player. He can play pretty much any infield position, a capable outfield and could be a prospect as a pitcher as well. He’s a pure baseball player who will entice some team.
46. Nate Wohlgemuth, RHP, Owasso, Okla.
Wohlgemuth is going to be one of the most debated pitchers in the draft class. Teams have seen the arm strength for years. He can spin a breaking ball too, but he has not gotten much better, and that leads to prospect fatigue.
47. Cayden Wallace, 3B, Greenbrier, Ark.
An Arkansas commit, Wallace is one of the older high school players in the draft class. He’s a high school shortstop, but his future in pro ball is as a third baseman with some power potential.
48. Jason Savacool, RHP, Baldwinsville, N.Y.
A fresh-armed Northeast pitcher, Savacool may have a lot more to come, but he’s already starting to touch 93-94 mph after generally sitting at 88-92 in the past.
49. Jackson Phipps, LHP, Dallas, Ga.
There are more exciting pitching prospects than Phipps, but there are few more reliable. He has a lot of average pitches that work because of his understanding of his craft. He should be durable too.
50. Kellum Clark, 3B/RHP, Brandon, Miss.
Clark has a big arm, although he hasn’t pitched all that much so far (he’s been a reliever for his high school team primarily). As a hitter, he has significant power potential and that plus arm at third base.