Prep Baseball Report

Top Arizona College Prospects for the 2020 MLB Draft

PBR Staff

The 2019 College Draft class from Arizona was a strong one with Arizona State 1B Hunter Bishop going 10th Overall to the San Francisco Giants. Bishop was followed by University of Arizona SS Cameron Cannon and ASU RHP Alec Marsh, both going in the second. 

The 2020 Class has the potential to be even stronger with multiple names already drawing first-round buzz. Today, we take a look at the top seven prospects to follow this coming season. 

Spencer Torkelson 1B / Arizona state

A repeat USA CNT member, Torkelson combines power production with hit ability and finished the summer with a .260/.361/.440 slash. A physical build at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds with a thick neck and shoulders, Torkelson has a balanced and quiet setup with minimal pre-pitch movement and a short stride. He’s able to extend at-bats by fouling off offspeed pitches and getting to the next fastball; a rare skill for power hitters. He’s also solid defensively at first base with an above average, accurate throwing arm and quick release. He routinely made crisp throws that were on the money and fielded everything hit his way with solid range. He's a near average runner underway on the base paths. Torkelson continues to improve from a previous look from last fall in Tempe. He is the premier bat in this year’s college class and with continued production will likely be considered where similar talent Andrew Vaughn was selected this past June; 3rd overall.

Nick Gonzales 2B / New Mexico State

*Although Gonzales goes to New Mexico State, we included him in this as he attended Vail Cienega HS in Arizona. 

 Lightly recruited as a prep out of Vail Cienega HS, Gonzales received consideration for the Golden Spikes Award with a slash of .432/.532/.733 with 16 HRs and 80 RBI as a sophomore last spring. He came to the Cape with high expectations, both for himself and from the scouting community. And in the Cape, he did nothing but rake. He finished second in the league with a .351 batting average and RBIs with 33. Has a short stroke with good bat speed. His pure swing also has good extension, producing extra base power with seven home runs and 14 doubles in 154 at-bats. Gonzales mainly uses center to left field and controls the strike zone with a keen eye and a very still head, allowing for good pitch recognition. On the base paths he is an above average runner underway with good quickness and instincts. Defensively, he turns the DP well, but overall is a work in progress at the keystone. He shows an above average arm with good carry and displayed the ability to easily and accurately throw from all angles. With his strong work ethic and a high desire to improve, he will likely turn himself into at least an average defender by professional standards. Gonzales is arguably the top pure hitter in college baseball for the 2020 draft and profiles to be an offensive second baseman who will receive first round consideration.

Austin Wells C / Arizona

Wells enjoyed a breakout freshman campaign in Tucson this spring, slashing .353/.462/.552 with more walks (46) than strikeouts (43) in his 56 games and 277 plate appearances. He then followed it up with more offensive magic this summer with Y-D, slashing .308/.389/.526 through 42 games and 180 plate appearances, while launching seven home runs along the way. Wells gets good natural lift and possesses the bat speed and core strength to drive the oppo gap as effectively as he can go out front and pull the ball with authority. He manages the strike zone well, working counts effectively to find pitches to drive while also taking the free pass when available. Defensively, the Wildcat product is a capable backstop with good hands and footwork along with an ability to break off consistent pops around 2 seconds. It’s a potential impact profile with Day One projection.

Alika Williams SS / Arizona State

An athletic, wiry built middle infielder at six-foot-two, 170 pounds, Williams finished 2nd on the CNT with a .364 batting average to go along with his .545 SLG%. His body type reminds of Braden Shewmake (1st round, 21st overall by Atlanta in 2019). Offensively, Williams shows a good approach at the plate, puts the bat on the ball and uses all fields. From an open stance his swing can get long and disconnected at times with his hands too far out front. He also tends to drift to the ball, which added some length to his swing. But he uses his hands well, knowing when to pull them in closer to his body to get the barrel to the ball. He turned around a 96 mph inside fastball for a base hit through the 6-hole. After walking during his second at-bat of the opening scrimmage, Williams showed his base running acumen with a pair of stolen bases, then scored from third base on a ground ball with the infield in. A plus runner underway, he ran a 4.26 and 4.19 down the line from the right side. He is blessed with really good, soft hands and good actions with an average arm from shortstop. Shows excellent body control and the ability to throw from all angles. Also has a high baseball IQ and instincts for the game. As one of the top draft-eligible college shortstops for the 2020 draft, Williams will likely push his way into the back of Day One next June.

Roderick (RJ) Dabovich RHP / Arizona State

With a clean delivery and high, near over-the-top slot, Dabovich dazzled for four innings against Hyannis, allowing just one hit and no runs. He was very consistent this summer for the Anglers, striking out 29 batters in 19 IP while not allowing more than one earned run in any of his first six appearances. He stays back over the rubber and uses his entire body in his delivery. The result is a three pitch arsenal which fills the zone. He made it look easy with a 92-95 mph fastball and hard downer curveball at 82-86. Although he lacked command of his fastball at the upper velos, he moved it around the zone at 92-93, setting up his swing/miss curveball. It was his main weapon during his nine strikeout evening. Dabovich added a late action change of pace at 84-86 mph showing short fade and late dip at times. With starter-type traits in his delivery, arm action, body type, athleticism and stuff, Dabovich profiles as a starter at the pro level. With continued strong performance for the Sun Devils, he is one healthy spring season away from being a top round pick in 2020.

Gage Workman 3B / Arizona state

At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds Workman is a top of the scale athlete who possesses three plus-to-better tools. He's a plus-plus runner underway and fun to watch as his long stride eats up ground quickly while he cuts around the bases. His type of speed doesn’t translate to plus run times down the line, nor will it allow him to steal a ton of bases, but it is another exciting tool in his shed. With big league actions on the dirt, excellent body control and elite jumping ability, Workman also shows a plus to plus-plus arm across the infield. It’s enough to complete all plays from all arm angles. He’s a polished, natural defender who makes plays from the six-hole with ease. He has a chance to play shortstop for a long time at the pro level, despite likely not ever getting a chance on his college club due to the presence of stalwart Alika Williams. A switch-hitter, Workman has been an enigma during our looks over the past couple of years. He shows average bat speed with more power from the left side than the right. His left-handed swing is smoother and more polished than the right. He pulls off the ball with an uppercut swing that fits the Sun Devil's power first philosophy. His right-handed swing is a bit rigid with less raw power as he cuts off his swing. Moving forward, he must cut down on his strikeout rate (25.5% career at ASU, 26.2% Cape in 2019) and generate more over the fence power (one in 154 Cape at-bats). Overall, Workman is young for his college class, still just 19 years old, turning 20 in late October. With adjustments to focusing on consistent hard contact, instead of hitting the ball as far as he can and a strong performance in the batter’s box this spring, expect him to rise rapidly on draft boards. His ascent may not be as great as former Sun Devil teammate Hunter Bishop, but it could be enough to vault Workman into late Day One consideration.

Boyd Vander Kooi RHP / arizona state

A highly decorated two-way star out of Skyline HS as the 2017 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, Vander Kooi has put down the bat and concentrated on the mound during his two years at Arizona State. Although he struggled at times on the bump last season (4-4, 5.59 ERA, 95 IP, 111 H, 39 BB, 89 SO) he will likely begin the 2020 college season as a weekend starter for the Sun Devils. At his best the 6'5, 220 pound righty works downhill with a balanced delivery from a high three-quarter slot. His sinking fastball tops out around 94 and also shows a hammer breaking ball. More consistently, Vander Kooi lives in the 90-92 range with his fastball and low-80s with the breaker while possessing the ability to manipulate its shape. At this point he projects as a potential Top 5 round talent for the 2020 draft. However, with his physical size, athleticism and remaining projection, he could be just one spring season of continued good health and consistent high performance away from jumping into early Day Two conversations.  

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