Prep Baseball Report

2020 PBR Draft Board Updated

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Many questions surround Major League Baseball right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has put an indefinite hold on the 2020 season and the uncertainty also extends to the 2020 MLB Draft. While a date hasn’t been finalized, we do know that it will be no later than July 20 and a signing deadline will be no later than August 1.  We also know who the top prospects are and with no more season and the likelihood of any kind of pre-draft league or workout being minimal, the most change we would see in a player’s draft position is probably due to signability, rather than performance. For more on the recent draft changes, please check the Draft HQ.

The 2020 PBR Draft Board has been updated to reflect what little bit of a season we did have and there is new No. 1. Taking over the top spot is 1B Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), who rises all the way from No. 2. The best hitter in the class lit up opposing pitchers to the tune of .340/.598/.780 in 17 games with six home runs. He also walked a staggering 31 times, 15 of which were intentional.

IF Austin Martin (Vanderbilt) is at No. 2, thanks to his pure hit tool, athleticism and defensive versatility. He’ll likely be given a chance to play shortstop in pro ball, but logged some time in center field for Team USA last summer and projects as a likely plus defender at second or third base, and possibly even center field.

The top arm on the board is now LHP Asa Lacy (Texas A&M). Previously at No. 5, he now sits at No. 3 after a dominant run through the shortened season. He has a starter’s frame at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, runs his fastball up to 97 mph and has shown improvements with his secondary stuff and control.

One of the biggest risers on the college side is RHP Max Meyer (Minnesota), who now checks in at No. 4. Though not physically imposing on the mound, his stuff is, with an electric arm that sniffs triple digits on the fastball and also offers a top-of-the-scale slider.

Rounding out the top five is RHP Emerson Hancock (Georgia), who was previously No. 1. He had a modest 2020 campaign performance wise, but his stuff remains strong. He features a mid-90s fastball with good life and his best secondary offering is a plus-plus changeup that has tumbling action in the mid 80s. He also mixes in a solid-average 82-85 mph slider.

The college class is very strong, especially on the mound, and it’s possible only one or two high school players will go in the top 10 picks. But that shouldn’t be an indictment on the crop of prep prospects, as it’s a strong group as well. OF Zac Veen (Spruce Creek HS, FL) took over the top spot in our update of the 2020 Overall Rankings last month, after he came out of the winter with an additional 20-25 pounds on his already impressive frame. He has the ability to hit for average and power to all fields. Typically, a high school bat that might project as a corner defender would get pushed down boards, but his offensive upside nullifies that argument. He is at No. 7 on the PBR Draft Board.

At No. 8 is SS Ed Howard (Mount Carmel HS, IL), who could have battled Veen for the crown of top high school prospect if he had a regular season to play. A premium athlete and defender, he projects to stay at shortstop and though there’s a little length to his swing, there’s enough life in his bat for him to be at least an average hitter.

The third and final high school prospect in the top 10, at No. 10, is RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, OR). He has prototypical projection with long, lean limbs and an easy delivery. His premium stuff includes a mid-90s fastball and plus slider.

1 Spencer Torkelson 1B Arizona State
2 Austin Martin 3B Vanderbilt
3 Asa Lacy LHP Texas A&M
4 Max Meyer RHP Minnesota
5 Emerson Hancock RHP Georgia
6 Nick Gonzales 2B New Mexico State
7 Zac Veen OF Spruce Creek (HS)
8 Edward Howard IV SS Mount Carmel (HS)
9 Garrett Crochet LHP Tennessee
10 Mick Abel RHP Jesuit (HS)


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