2020 MLB Draft Review: National League
While it was only five rounds instead of the normal 40, the 2020 draft was still jam-packed full of excitement and oodles of talent, especially on the mound. After discussing each American league team last week and all of their intriguing selections for fantasy, we switch our focus to the senior circuit this week where hitters like Garrett Mitchell, Nick Gonzales, and Zac Veen lead the charge.
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2020 MLB Draft Review – National League
25. Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest
97. Jesse Franklin V, OF, Michigan
126. Spencer Strider, RHP, Clemson
156. Bryce Elder, RHP, Texas
The Braves only had four picks this year and went entirely with collegiate talent. With only one selection in the first two rounds, I was anticipating a more buzzy pick at 25, but Jared Shuster, a southpaw from Wake Forest was the pick. That’s not to say I’m not a Shuster fan though. The 6’3 lefty looks like a potential SP3/4 with one of my favorite changeups in the class. The pitch is easily plus with plenty of depth and around 12-14mph of velocity separation from his fastball. Out of Strider and Elder, I’m higher on Elder who profiles as a nice back-end starter that can eat innings. His fastball doesn’t blow anyone away, but Elder has two breaking balls that can miss bats regularly.
For fantasy purposes, Jesse Franklin V has some appeal. There are some questions around how much average he’ll hit for, but Franklin grades as a 55 in both the speed and raw power departments and can draw plenty of walks. He’s a great target later on in fantasy FYPDs.
3. Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
40. Daxton Fulton, LHP, Mustang HS (OK)
61. Kyle Nicolas, RHP, Ball State
75. Zach McCambley, RHP, Coastal Carolina
104. Jake Eder, LHP, Vanderbilt
134. Kyle Hurt, RHP, USC
One of the best under the radar drafts was the Miami Marlins. Even with all the pitching talent in their system, they decided to use all six of their draft picks on pitching, five from the collegiate ranks. They surprised everyone by taking Max Meyer over Asa Lacy (and Austin Martin) at #3 overall. While I prefer Lacy to Meyer, there’s plenty to like about the Golden Gophers’ ace righty. He’s one of the few top arms in this MLB draft that wasn’t 6’3 or above, but even at 6′, Meyer is as electric as they come with a borderline double-plus fastball in the mid to upper 90’s with plenty of movement and the best slider in the class. For fantasy purposes, I’d slot him just behind Sixto Sanchez and in front of Edward Cabrera.
Almost as interesting as Meyer is Dax Fulton, the lone high school arm taken by Miami this year in the 2nd round. On stuff alone, Fulton is a 1st round pick. No doubt about it. But Tommy John surgery caused the big southpaw to slip into pick 40 which is an incredible value. Fulton is already listed at 6’6/225 with projection left on that frame. If his velocity returns to pre-surgery levels and progresses with physical maturation, we’re likely looking at at least a plus fastball, maybe more. Pair that with a plus, curve, potential above-average changeup, and solid command, and Fulton has the ceiling of a #2 starter. He’s a great target in the 30-40 range of FYPDs.
As for the other four arms, Kyle Nichols projects as a reliever for me, but one that can pitch in high-leverage situations with an upper-90’s fastball and plus slider. The bullpen might be in Zach McCambley’s future as well as the righty from Coastal Carolina possesses one of the best curveballs in the 2020 class, but has yet to find consistency with his changeup or control. Both Eder and Hurt have strong frames and could solidify the back-end of a rotation.
New York Mets
19. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
52. J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State
69. Isaiah Greene, OF, Corona Senior HS (CA)
91. Anthony Walters, SS, San Diego State
120. Matthew Dyer, C, Arizona
150. Eric Orze, RHP, New Orleans
For fantasy purposes, the Mets dominated with their first three picks. Pete-Crow Armstrong is a borderline top-10 prospect for FYPDs with an above-average to plus hit tool and plus speed. He doesn’t project as a big power bat, but currently is close to average raw power with some physical projection left too. This won’t alleviate the sting of losing Jarred Kelenic, but PCA has the skills to develop into a Kelenic-lite type of player.
The other outfielder taken by the Mets is honestly one of my favorite players from this MLB draft. At pick 69, Isaiah Greene offers substantial upside and won’t come with a huge price tag in fantasy initially. I’m not saying he’s on the same level as CJ Abrams, but there are some similarities. Greene is a double-plus runner with above-average contact skills. He’ll need to add loft to his swing if he wants to tap into his power, but that adjustment can be made over time. Peak Greene could be in the vicinity of 55-hit, 45/50-power, 65-speed if he adds bulk and strength to his frame. This is a name to be excited about in fantasy.
Switching over to the mound, JT Ginn is an electric right-hander that was taken in the 1st round by the Dodgers back in 2018. He didn’t go quite as high this time around, but with three pitches that project as above-average or better, Ginn is quite intriguing for fantasy purposes due to his ability to miss bats at a high clip.
15. Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (OR)
87. Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas
116. Carson Ragsdale, RHP, South Florida
146. Baron Radcliff, OF, Georgia Tech
One of my favorite picks of the 2020 MLB draft was the Phillies selecting Mick Abel 15th overall. It also stung a bit as I was crossing my fingers that he would fall to my Boston Red Sox at pick 17. Honestly, I like Abel more than Max Meyer. He’s my #3 pitcher from this MLB draft, just behind Hancock and Lacy. The prep righty from Oregon might just have three plus to double-plus pitches when his development is through. Abel is a lanky 6’5 with a ton of physical projection left and already possesses a mid-90’s fastball and two secondaries that project as plus. If he bulks up and pushes that fastball into 70-grade territory to pair with two plus secondaries, the Phillies will likely have another front-line starter on their hands to pair with Aaron Nola.
Mick Abel, 87mph Slider and 94mph Sinker, Overlay pic.twitter.com/khFf9akY9T
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 11, 2020
Jumping ahead to their 5th round selection, Baron Radcliff is a great flier at the tail end of FYPDs, depending on how deep your league goes. The Georgia Tech product is a major power bat, but has questions surrounding the hit tool. If he can sniff a 50-grade hit tool, he has a chance to make some noise as a prospect. As for Casey Martin, you got to love the power/speed potential, but the bat didn’t really progress at all in his 2+ years at Arkansas. The upside is a 20/30 shortstop, but as of now, I think the hit tool will hold him back from reaching that level.
Even with his move to the rotation in 2020, Carson Ragsdale projects as a reliever for me. Below-average command and control along with a lackluster changeup don’t lead me to believe in a future for him in the rotation. In the pen, the big 6’8 righty could pitch in a setup role, but I’m not sure he has closer upside.
22. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
55. Cole Henry, RHP, LSU
71. Samuel Infante, SS, Monsignor Edward Pace HS (FL)
94. Holden Powell, RHP, UCLA
123. Brady Lindsly, C, Oklahoma
153. Mitchell Parker, LHP, San Jacinto College North (TX)
For a 21-year-old collegiate arm, Cade Cavalli isn’t quite as advanced as others of similar age. That’s part of his intrigue though. Cavalli flashes three potential plus pitches in his fastball, curveball, and newly-added slider and there’s still plenty of room for growth too. There’s a lot to like here with #2 starter upside if he continues to develop. With Henry, the upside isn’t quite as high, but with a plus heater, plus curveball, and a changeup that flashes 55-grade, this is still an arm to be excited about. Unfortunately, there some added risk here too as he’s dealt with a few injuries over the last few years, including some elbow soreness last year.
The rest of the Nationals draft class is underwhelming from a fantasy perspective. Samuel Infante is solid across the board, but doesn’t impress in any one area. Brady Lindsly doesn’t come close to the upside of a Soderstrom or Dillinger, so his fantasy appeal is quite limited. And finally, both Holden Powell and Mitchell Parker project as back-end rotation arms or middle relievers down the road.
16. Ed Howard, SS, Mt Carmel HS (IL)
51. Burl Carraway, LHP, Dallas Baptist
88. Jordan Nwogu, OF, Michigan
117. Luke Little, LHP, San Jacinto College North (TX)
147. Koen Moreno, RHP, Panther Creek HS (NC)
The Cubs quietly put together a pleasant little draft class for both real-life and fantasy purposes. Ed Howard at #16 overall is a prime example of that. A local kid from Illinois, Howard is about as solid of an all-around shortstop as you could find in this year’s draft class. A plus defender with a strong arm, Howard has also flashed 55-grade upside on his hit tool, raw power, and speed. While he might never stand out with any one tool offensively, there’s enough across the board to make an impact in fantasy while his defense gives him a good fallback when the bat isn’t contributing.
Spoiler alert, I’m going to be ranking Jordan Nwogu fairly highly in my upcoming FYPD rankings. With his combination of offensive tools, Nwogu is about as big a boom or bust prospect as you’ll see in your 2020 FYPD pool. With a stout and athletic 6’3 frame, Nwogu displayed easy plus raw power at Michigan and at least average foot speed on the bases. It’s all going to be about how much the hit tool progresses and if he can clean up his swing.
On the mound, both Burl Carraway and Luke Little are intriguing, to say the least. Everyone saw Little hitting 105 on social media a month or two ago, but everyone needs to calm down for a second. Literally, everything else here is a work in progress. This could be an electric bullpen arm, but that outcome is miles away at this point. He will not be in my top-100 FYPD rankings. I’m not certain Carraway will either. Why? Well, he’s a reliever. A position that has very little value in fantasy FYPDs. But I will say, Carraway’s fastball/curveball combination is intriguing coming out of the bullpen down the road.
12. Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (PA)
48. Christian Roa, RHP, Texas A&M
65. Jackson Miller, C, J.W. Mitchell HS (FL)
84. Bryce Bonnin, RHP, Texas Tech
113. Mac Wainwright, OF, S. Edward HS (OH)
143. Joe Boyle, RHP, Notre Dame
You can see a distinct trend for the Reds in this MLB draft, selecting three high school position players and three collegiate pitchers. They even alternated them, isn’t that pretty. Some had Austin Hendrick neck and neck with Zac Veen and Robert Hassell for the top prep bat in the country. However, recent (when baseball was being played) struggles dropped him down a few spots. Offensively, this is a very intriguing prospect. He doesn’t quite have the contact skills of power ceiling that Veen has, but Hendrick could be a 30-homer threat in time while adding in a respectable batting average and double-digit steals. He’s a great FYPD target after pick 10 or so.
As for Jackson Miller, I’m not intrigued by them for FYPDs. Miller is a solid all-round catcher that can hold his own on both sides of the ball, but he’s far from a desirable fantasy target right now. But you know who would be if he signs? Mac Wainwright, that’s who. The Ohio high school outfielder possesses plus raw power with a quick and smooth right-handed swing. If Cincinnati can sign him away from his Ohio State commitment, I’d be looking Wainwright’s way late in FYPDs.
Playing Robin to Asa Lacy’s batman, Christian Roa vaulted way higher than I think anyone expected in this draft. Taken 48th overall, Roa projects as a SP3/4 to me with three of his four pitches flashing 55-grade or better. Although, I’m not overly enthralled with his heater which has proven to be inconsistent in a variety of ways, including movement. Both Bryce Bonnin and Joe Boyle lack the upside to consider them in FYPDs.
20. Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
53. Freddy Zamora, SS, Miami
92. Zavier Warren, SS, Central Michigan
121. Joey Wiemer, OF, Cincinnati
151. Hayden Cantrelle, SS, Louisiana-Lafayette
I’m just going to assume that Milwaukee decided on their pre-draft Zoom call to take nothing but collegiate bats. And honestly, they could’ve drafted me and had a new #1 prospect in their system. But on a more serious note, Milwaukee didn’t do that bad in this year’s MLB draft. At #20 overall they got an absolute steal in my book, taking Garrett Mitchell from UCLA. The detractors are the hitch in his swing and inability to consistently translate raw-power into game-power, but the all-around tools here are mouth-watering. Only six of hit batted balls cleared the outfield fence in 2019, but his contact skills, ability to impact the ball, and speed allowed him to also rack up 14 doubles and 12 triples. If he can start driving the ball in the air more, Mitchell has a chance to be an absolute fantasy beast.
Round 1 | Pick 20
— Prep Baseball Report (@prepbaseball) June 11, 2020
While none of the other draft picks here can sniff Mitchell’s upside, all four warrant consideration in FYPDs depending on how deep your league goes. All three of these shortstops have differing profiles. Zavier Warren is a hit over power bat that should hit for a solid batting average, but the power and speed upside is minimal here. Like Warren, Zamora and Cantrelle’s power projections are below-average, but Cantrell can make an impact with his plus speed and Zamora has shown the potential for around average contact skills and speed with above-average defense at short. Lastly, Joey Wiemer might look like a slugging corner outfielder due to his 6’5/215 frame, but the Cincinnati product is far from it, rather, excelling in the speed, defense, and throwing arm departments.
7. Nick Gonzales, 2B/SS, New Mexico State
31. Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
44. Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada HS (CA)
79. Nick Garcia, RHP, Chapman University
108. Jack Hartman, RHP, Appalachian State
138. Logan Hoffman, RHP, Northwestern State
Nobody went more bonkers in the shortened NCAA season than Nick Gonzales. A whopping 12 homers in 15 games cemented the Aggies shortstop’s place as a top-10 pick for the 2020 MLB draft. Shortstop is where he’ll start his professional career as well after working primarily as a 2nd baseman before 2020. Gonzales is a pure hitter through and through with one of the best hit tools in the draft. Some will say he did his damage against lesser competition, but this is a .290-plus bat in the making with the power to threaten 20 homers as well. Don’t forget too, Gonzales was one of the most impressive hitters on the Cape in 2019. There’s even enough speed for 15-20 steals as well, but Gonzales didn’t run too much in college.
After Gonzales, Pittsburgh drafted a quintet of right-handed pitchers, but only two offer FYPD appeal. Carmen Mlodzinski has innings-eating mid-rotation arm stamped on his damn forehead. However, that’s just on the surface as the sturdy right-hander wasn’t able to rack up much mound time at South Carolina. Still, his improving command on top of three 55-grade or better offerings makes him an enticing target in the middle rounds of FYPDs. A few rounds after that, Jared Jones name comes into play. The 6’1 California high school right-hander needs to improve his command and control, but the end product could feature a three-pitch arsenal with two of those grading as plus (Fastball and Slider). The changeup, while inconsistent, shows promise as well.
St. Louis Cardinals
21. Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS (CA)
54. Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, Kingwood HS, (TX)
63. Tink Hence, RHP, Watson Chapel HS (AR)
70. Alec Burleson, OF, East Carolina
93. Levi Prater, LHP, Oklahoma
122. Ian Bedell, RHP, Missouri
152. LJ Jones IV, OF, Long Beach State
It felt like every 5th or 6th pick belonged to the Cardinals this year. The Red Birds made seven selections over the two-day MLB draft, starting with three high schoolers and ending with four straight picks from the collegiate ranks. Jordan Walker is a bat I really like in the back half of the first round with double-plus raw power coming from his big 6’5 frame. If he can just get the hit tool to average, which I believe he can, Walker is going to mash. Right behind him in the 2nd round was maybe their most interesting choice with two-way prep star, Masyn Winn, There’s solid upside, both as a hitter and pitcher, but Wynn is very raw. This is a big boom or bust type of selection.
Just nine picks later, St. Louis grabbed someone with even higher upside in my eyes, Tink Hence, a high school righ-hander that flashes two plus pitches and potentially an average changeup. He really shot up draft board over the last year so it will be interesting to see if his rise can continue in the minors.
Out of their last four picks, Alec Burleson makes plenty of contact, but doesn’t have the power to profile nicely as a 1B/Corner outfield type. Ian Beddell has some back-end rotation upide, but not much more than that, and Levi Prater just simply underwhelms me in general.
18. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
33. Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
90. Liam Norris, LHP, Green Hope HS (NC)
119. A.J. Vukovich, 3B, East Troy HS (WI)
149. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, Bellamine University
The Arizona Diamondbacks decided to add to their strength and depth on the pitching side by taking four arms with their five picks in this year’s MLB draft. Jarvis and Cecconi were great picks at their slots. After pitching mostly out of relief to start his collegiate career at Duke, Jarvis transitioned more and more into the rotation which was definitely the right call. The 6’2 right-hander has a dynamic four-pitch mix with three potential 55-grade or better offerings. His dominant 2020 season (4 GS, 27.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 40 K) cemented his status as a first-round pick. As for Cecconi, the Miami product has a dynamic fastball/slider combination with the makings of an average changeup. His upside isn’t quite as high as Jarvis, but there’s Sp3/4 upside here.
Without a 2nd round pick due to signing Madison Bumgarner, Arizona then went with a couple of intriguing prep prospects in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Liam Norris has a plus fastball from the left side and a pair of secondaries that can miss bats, but needs to improve his command and control quite a bit. The really intriguing one here is A.J. Vukovich and his plus power at the hot corner. There are some questions around his contact skills and approach, but the power cannot be denied.
9. Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (FL)
35. Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands HS (TX)
46. Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
81. Sam Weatherly, LHP, Clemson
110. Case Williams, RHP, Douglas County HS (CO)
140. Jack Blomgren, SS, Michigan
ZAC VEEN! Thank you, good night!
Okay, I suppose I can divulge a wee bit more here. Veen is going to rank #2 in my FYPD rankings over the likes of Austin Martin, Aca Lacy, etc. With Veen, I see a star in the making capable of hitting for a high average, plenty of power, and even add in double-digit speed. This is a potential fantasy monster in the making when you add in Coors Field.
Zac Veen's power in Coors Field..
Give me all the shares in FYPDs 📈📈
I know I am not the first to say it, but lots of similarities to Cody Bellinger in how he loads and gets through the ball.
Big home run potential! pic.twitter.com/PorKqjVYbR
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) June 11, 2020
After Veen, the fantasy intrigue slips drastically. The words “Defense-first catcher” have a way of killing the vibe really damn quick. That’s not to say Drew Romo is a black hole offensively, but the upside here is limited, even in Coors. The same can be said for Jack Blomgren, a smaller defensive-minded shortstop. Both can be ignore outside of deeper FYPDs.
Alright, I supposed we need to talk about the pitchers too. I’m actually a fan of Chris McMahon. There’s potential for two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, but it’s just difficult to put too much stock in any Colorado pitching prospect. I’d still draft him in FYPDs, but I wouldn’t advise reaching here. Double that for Sam Weatherly, who projects as a #4 before you add in Coors.
Los Angeles Dodgers
29. Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
60. Landon Knack, RHP, East Tennessee State
66. Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
100. Jake Vogel, OF, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
130. Carson Taylor, C, Virginia Tech
159. Gavin Stone, RHP, Central Arkansas
The Dodgers quietly had a very productive MLB draft this year, both from a real-life and fantasy perspective. With the last pick of the first round, Los Angeles scooped up big righty, Bobby Miller out of Louisville. Not only is Miller big, but he has the blazing fastball to match with strong riding life and both of his secondaries flash above-average as well. Some effort in his delivery leaves a possibility of a future in the pen, but the Dodgers will likely give him a long leash in the rotation. Nearly 40 picks later, Clayton Beeter was added to the mix and he might even have more upside than Miller does. But unfortunately, Beeter comes with plenty of added risk due to all the elbow issues he suffered in college. Landon Knack was sandwiched between these two but is more of a safer floor arm,
The most interesting pick here for fantasy purposes might just be the Dodgers 3rd round pick, Jake Vogel due to his double-plus speed. Don’t expect him to stand out with the bat, but there are at least average contact skills here and a touch of pop.
San Diego Padres
8. Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (TN)
34. Justin Lange, RHP, Llano HS (TX)
45. Owen Caissie, OF, Notre Dame Catholic SS (ON)
80. Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
109. Levi Thomas, RHP, Troy
139. Jagger Haynes, LHP, West Columbus HS (NC)
Arguably the best farm system in baseball got even better following this latest MLB draft. At #8 overall, the Padres stuck to their modus operandi and plucked another talented prep star from the draft pool with Robert Hassell III out of Tennessee. Hassell has a great blend of all-around tools, headlined by his plus hit tool. This is one of the most advanced prep bats from this class that has a chance to hit .280-.300 with above-average raw power and speed as well which should allow him to flirt with some 20/20 seasons. Don’t be shocked if he added a bit of power too. Two rounds later, Owen Caissie possesses a slightly higher power/speed ceiling, but the hit tool and approach are well behind Hassell’s. Still, Caissie has the 25/25 upside and is a nice pick after the first couple of rounds in your FYPD.
Not only did the Padres start the draft strong with Hassell at 8 and Caissie at 45, they grabbed Justin Lange in the middle of those two. A big prep RHP out of Texas, Lange has an electric fastball and a slider that flashes plus, but concerns surrounding his changeup, command/control, and mechanics make the bullpen his likely longterm home instead of the rotation. Nearly 50 picks later, San Diego got potentially the steal of the draft in Cole Wilcox who was a first-round talent but fell due to signability concerns. If they can get him signed, Wilcox would be a big get for this organization due to his upside as a #2 starter. I’ll be targeting him heavily in FYPDs after the first couple rounds.
San Francisco Giants
13. Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
49. Casey Schmitt, 3B/RHP, San Diego State
67. Nick Swiney, LHP, North Carolina State
68. Jimmy Glowenke, SS, Dallas Baptist
85. Kyle Harrison, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA)
114. R.J. Dabovich, RHP, Arizona State
144. Ryan Murphy, RHP, Le Moyne College
When looking at each team’s MLB draft class in its entirety, this San Francisco crop vastly underwhelmed me. Starting out with a defense-first catcher is exactly what everyone in the fantasy world loves right? With that said, Bailey has shown he can handle the lumber as well. He’s likely never going to stand out offensively, but I could see a future where Bailey hits .260 with 10-15 homers annually. This pick also makes you wonder what San Francisco plans to do with Joey Bart defensively, another catcher they drafted in the first round back in 2018.
Following Bailey was a two-way college player in Casey Schmitt. The plus raw power stands out, but there are questions surrounding how much average he’ll hit for and what his long-term role will be. Jimmy Glowenke’s longterm role is also uncertain as the diminutive 5’10 shortstop profiles better at second base. Offensively, Glowenke makes a ton of contact and not much else.
Out of the four arms, only Kyle Harrison and Nick Swiney have any appeal to me in FYPDs. Harrison is a 6’2 high school southpaw that could progress into three 55-grade offerings down the road if he can add some velocity to his fastball. He’s the safer of the two, but Swiney has the higher upside thanks to two potential plus pitches. However, neither one of those two are his fastball. He also was a reliever for a big chunk of time and there’s a chance that’s Swiney’s longterm home.
Media Credit: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire, Chris Cless, Prep Baseball Report, Pitching Ninja.
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