Prep Baseball Report

Initial 2020 PBR Draft Board Released

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

In seven months, the Detroit Tigers will make the first pick of the 2020 MLB Draft—their third time doing so in franchise history and the second time in three years. A year ago, it was very clear that C Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) was the top prospect and he did nothing in the spring to dissuade the Baltimore Orioles from selecting him. The picture isn’t as clear for the 2020 class right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent to be had. There is depth among the college and high school groups, especially college pitching, as well as a particularly strong junior college class.

The first rendition of the 2020 PBR Draft Board is live and RHP Emerson Hancock (Georgia) is atop the list. With a frame similar to Gerrit Cole, mid-90s fastball, above average changeup and at least an average slider, it’s easy to see why he would be in consideration for the top pick. However, the top five is made up of strictly college prospects at the moment and all of them have the credentials to be selected first. 1B Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) sits at No. 2 and has similarities to 1B Andrew Vaughn (California), who was selected third in 2019. Torkelson wields a special bat. He broke Barry Bonds’ record for home runs as a freshman Sun Devil and spent two summers hitting in the middle of the USA Collegiate National Team’s lineup.

At No. 3 is IF Austin Martin (Vanderbilt). He held down third base for the Commodores last season and has a chance to slide back over to shortstop, the position he played in high school. Either way, his bat will carry him thanks to his excellent hand-eye coordination and pure swing from the right side. Defensively, he has sure hands, quick feet and an above average arm, giving him the chance to be a plus defender at third or second base.

2B Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) is ranked No. 4 and has gone from overlooked high schooler to one of the best college bats in just two years. He hit 16 home runs and knocked in 80 for the Aggies as a sophomore before dispelling any doubts that it was high altitude that helped him with a very strong performance in the Cape Cod League. Rounding out the top five is LHP Asa Lacy (Texas A&M), a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder. He pitches at 92-95 with control over command and he shows feel for a changeup in the mid 80s and a low-80s breaking ball. Six of the top 10 prospects come from the college ranks with OF Garrett Mitchell (UCLA), a super athletic and speedy left-handed hitter, checking in at No. 8.

The top high school prospect is currently OF Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA), a polished and instinctual Vanderbilt recruit with a sweet left-handed swing and above average defense in center field. He is ranked No. 6. While there isn’t a high school prospect banging down the door to be the No. 1 pick, there is a large group receiving high praise and the upside of being picked inside the top 15. Inside the PBR Draft Board’s top 10 are LHP Nate Savino (Potomac Falls HS, VA), RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, OR) and SS Ed Howard (Mount Carmel HS, IL).

The top junior college prospect is LHP Luke Little (San Jacinto JC, TX), who stands at an imposing 6-foot-7, pitches at 96-98 and touches 100. Not far behind him are RHP Connor Phillips (McLennan CC, TX) and RHP Franco Aleman (St. Johns River State JC, FL). Phillips was a top prospect in the 2019 high school class and opted to enroll at McLennan as opposed to Louisiana State. He ran his fastball up to 97 this fall and can spin a power slider/cutter in the mid 80s. Aleman transferred from Florida International and features a sinking fastball in the low 90s to go with a low-80s slider and above-average changeup with plus pitchability.

Here is a look at the top 20...

1 Emerson Hancock RHP Georgia
2 Spencer Torkelson 1B Arizona State
3 Austin Martin 3B Vanderbilt
4 Nick Gonzales 2B New Mexico State
5 Asa Lacy LHP Texas A&M
6 Pete Crow-Armstrong OF Harvard-Westlake (HS)
7 Nate Savino LHP Potomac Falls (HS)
8 Garrett Mitchell OF UCLA
9 Mick Abel RHP Jesuit (HS)
10 Edward Howard IV SS Mount Carmel (HS)
11 Carmen Mlodzinski RHP South Carolina
12 Robert Hassell III OF Independence (HS)
13 Reid Detmers LHP Louisville
14 CJ Van Eyk RHP Florida State
15 Kyle Harrison LHP De La Salle (HS)
16 Jared Kelley RHP Refugio (HS)
17 Austin Hendrick OF West Allegheny (HS)
18 Heston Kjerstad OF Arkansas
19 Patrick Bailey C North Carolina State
20 Tyler Soderstrom C Turlock (HS)


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