The 2020 MLB amateur draft is less than two weeks away. In an effort to cut costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB has shortened the draft from 40 rounds to five rounds this year. That will save roughly $30 million in bonus money league-wide. It also means only 160 players will be drafted this summer. Last year 1,217 players heard their name called.
Here are the details for this year's draft, which will be held remotely:
- Dates: June 10-11
- Times: 7 p.m. ET on June 10 and 5 p.m. on June 11
- Television: MLB Network (June 10-11), ESPN (June 10), ESPN 2 (June 11)
The first round and Competitive Balance Round A will be held June 10. That covers the first 37 selections. The remaining 123 picks will take place June 11. The signing deadline is Aug. 1 and teams can begin signing undrafted free agents at 9 a.m ET on June 14. Bonuses for undrafted free agents are capped at $20,000 this year.
Unlike the NBA and NHL, there is no lottery for the MLB draft. The draft order is set at the reverse order of the previous year's standings, so thee Tigers hold the No. 1 pick in 2020 after losing 114 games in 2019. This is the third time Detroit has held the top pick. They selected Rice closer Matt Anderson with the No. 1 pick in 1997 and Auburn righty Casey Mize with the No. 1 pick in 2018. Mize is now one of the top prospects in the game.
Every team is given a set bonus pool for draft spending each summer, and savings from a below-slot bonus with one pick can be used for an over-slot bonus with another pick. The penalties for excessive spending are harsh enough (tax on overage, forfeiting a future first rounder, etc.) that the bonus pool effectively acts as a salary cap. Here are this year's five largest bonus pools:
The O's hold the No. 2 pick and the highest competitive balance pick (No. 30), nudging them ahead of the Tigers for the largest bonus pool. The Astros, who were stripped of their first and second round picks as part of the sign-stealing scandal punishment, have the smallest bonus pool at $2,202,600.
R.J. Anderson recently ranked the top 25 pitchers and the top 25 position players in the 2020 draft class. He also ranked the top 50 draft prospects overall. This is our third mock draft (April 15, May 19), and although no amateur games have been played in weeks, draft boards are still changing. Here is our latest 2020 MLB mock draft based on the latest rumors and reporting.
Pick: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State ($8,415,300 slot value)
Torkelson, a future middle of the order masher, is the favorite to go No. 1 overall with the draft nine days away, though I would not consider it set in stone. Vanderbilt infielder Austin Martin is a legitimate No. 1 overall talent and Texas A&M lefty Asa Lacy is right up the Tigers' alley as a potential impact starter with a track record of dominance in the SEC (similar to Mize and Alex Faedo), college baseball's toughest conference. This pick could come down to money. Whichever one of Lacy, Martin, or Torkelson is willing to take the most below-slot deal could be the pick. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Torkelson as the No. 2 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: SS Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
Pick: IF Austin Martin, Vanderbilt ($7,789,900 slot value)
There are rumblings the Orioles could cut a below-slot deal here and spend the savings on a top talent that falls to their competitive balance pick (No. 30). That's a strategy GM Mike Elias employed effectively when he ran drafts for the Astros. The bet here is the O's will instead jump on Martin, the best pure hitter in the draft class and someone who could provide the kind of positional versatility modern teams love. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Martin as the No. 1 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: 2B Nick Gonzales, New Mexico State
Pick: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M ($7,221,200 slot value)
The Marlins would probably love to get Martin here -- scouting director DJ Svihlik coached at Vanderbilt and used last year's No. 4 pick on a fellow Commodore (JJ Bleday) -- but since he is off the board in our mock draft, Lacy it is. The best pitching prospect in the draft class is a nice consolation prize. Miami is likely to take whichever one of Lacy, Martin, or Torkelson is still on the board. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Lacy as the No. 3 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
Pick: OF Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida) ($6,664,000 slot value)
Early in the spring it appeared the Royals would again steer toward pitching, but the latest rumblings have them focusing on bats. Veen went from projected late first rounder to no-doubt top 10 pick despite barely playing this spring because he's a great athlete with upside, and he might be open to a below-slot bonus. New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales is the other named rumored here. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Veen as the No. 6 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia
Pick: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia ($6,180,700 slot value)
In our mock draft the Blue Jays find themselves picking between Minnesota's Max Meyer, the draft's top pitching riser, and Hancock, who came into the spring as a candidate to go No. 1 overall before four so-so starts. Meyer could pitch in the big leagues this year and it would be tempting to grab a quick moving arm now that all those young position players have arrived in Toronto. The guess here is the Blue Jays will take Hancock, a no-doubt starter with ace upside. Gonzales is a possibility here as well. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hancock as the No. 4 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M
Pick: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville ($5,742,900 slot value)
The Mariners gravitate toward college players and there's no reason to think this draft will be different. My hunch is Hancock would be the dream scenario and it's plausible he gets here on draft day, but since he's off the board in our mock draft, Detmers is the pick. The lefty is very polished and a good bet to carve out a long MLB career as a starter as long as he stays healthy. As an added bonus, his ETA lines up nicely with top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Detmers as the No. 8 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Garrett Mitchell, UCLA
Pick: 2B Nick Gonzales, New Mexico State ($5,432,400 slot value)
The latest scuttlebutt has the Pirates all over college bats and there are a few good ones available here in Gonzales, Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey. Gonzales has put up video game numbers at altitude and in a weak conference (.399/.502/.747 in 128 career games) and projects to remain at second base, though his bat will always be his calling card. Pittsburgh would pivot to Kjerstad or Bailey should Gonzales come off the board in the top six picks. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Gonzales as the No. 9 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon)
Pick: OF Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee) ($5,176,900 slot value)
The Padres have chased pure upside early in the draft under GM A.J. Preller. They've been connected to Hassell throughout the spring but I think they're hoping Veen will be on the board here. Hassell is one of the top pure hitters in the draft class and has enough upside at the plate to overcome uncertainty about his defensive home. He's a clear fit for the Padres with Veen off the board in our mock draft. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hassell as the No. 20 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania)
Pick: C Patrick Bailey, North Carolina State ($4,949,100 slot value)
It's easy to give the Rockies a pitcher, especially in a pitching-rich draft class, but the board is set up for them to take one of the top bats here while still getting quality arms with their next two selections (Nos. 35 and 46). Bailey is the best all-around catcher in the draft and the top catcher is almost always selected earlier than the public prospect rankings would lead you to expect. Position scarcity matters. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Bailey as the No. 13 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville
Pick: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota ($4,739,900 slot value)
Given the Angels a truth serum and I think they'd tell you they consider this their best-case scenario. Meyer's stuff is good enough to pitch in a relief role in the big leagues this year and I think the Halos would carry him on their expanded 50-man roster once the regular season begins. There's a real urgency to win -- GM Billy Eppler is in the final year of the contract -- and a clear need for pitching help. It fits, and it's not like Meyer would be a reach. If they can't get Meyer or Detmers, the draft's other quick-to-MLB pitcher, expect the Angels to dip back into the high school outfield ranks. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Meyer as the No. 5 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)
Pick: OF Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas ($4,547,500 slot value)
It has been nearly a decade since the White Sox used their top pick on a high schooler and that probably won't change this year, even with a new scouting director (who was promoted from within). Kjerstad has huge power that rivals Torkelson's, and he has a strong track record in college baseball's toughest conference. This pick could come down to whichever one of Bailey, Gonzales, or Kjerstad is still on the board. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Kjerstad as the No. 17 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota
Pick: OF Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania) ($4,366,400 slot value)
Things seem wide open for the Reds with the draft less than two weeks away. They've been connected most to Hendrick, who has the biggest power in the high school ranks this year, these last few weeks, so he's the pick. The Reds would likely grab Veen or Hassell should either be available. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hendrick as the No. 10 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee
Pick: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California) ($4,197,100 slot value)
Because they have two extra picks (Nos. 67 and 68) for losing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free agency, the Giants have a huge bonus pool, and are in position to pay any top talent who slides here. They've also been connected to Soderstrom, a talented hitter who might wind up at third base, in recent weeks. San Francisco might be able to cut a below-slot deal with Soderstrom, then use the savings to grab two premium talents with their extra picks. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Soderstrom as the No. 21 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee)
Pick: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee ($4,036,800 slot value)
The board really starts to open up right around here and bonus demands will drive selections as much as talent. With Veen and Hassell, two players the Rangers are said to covet, off the board, we'll give them Crochet, a hard-throwing lefty who was limited to 3 1/3 innings by a shoulder problem this spring. He's risky, but his ceiling rivals Lacy's and Hancock's. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Crochet as the No. 14 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida)
Pick: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School (Pennsylvania) ($3,885,800 slot value)
Bitsko, a local kid from the Philadelphia suburbs, is graduating a year early and his high school didn't play any games this spring, so teams haven't seen him since last summer. Even then, they didn't bear down on him because they thought he was a 2021 draft kid. On talent, Bitsko could be a top-10 pick, but the lack of information is pushing him down draft boards. It would not surprise me to see him go in the middle of the first round or as late as the 61-72 range, when teams with extra picks will target high upside players who've slipped. The Phillies haven't had much luck with high schoolers in recent years, but they have a new scouting director, and it's not often you can get an arm like Bitsko's at 15. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Bitsko the No. 12 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
Pick: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon) ($3,745,500 slot value)
Rumor has it the Cubs are targeting upside rather than a quick moving college pitcher who could help their MLB team in short order. Abel's high school did not play any games prior to the shutdown, but he's a potential top-10 pick on talent, and it's been a long time since a player with this high a ceiling has been available to Chicago. If not Abel, it could be Bitsko, or possibly even one of the prep outfielders if they're still on the board. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Abel as the No. 7 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: C Patrick Bailey, North Carolina State
Pick: OF Garrett Mitchell, UCLA ($3,609,700 slot value)
Despite being stripped of their second-round pick as punishment for the sign-stealing scandal, the Red Sox are said to be targeting upside here, even if they have to skimp on their later picks to make the money work. Abel or Bitsko would be ideal. Since they're off the board, we'll go with Mitchell, who is an incredible athlete with huge power and speed, but also rather risky given his swing concerns and Type 1 diabetes. There's upside though. A lot of it. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Mitchell as the No. 11 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School (Pennsylvania)
Pick: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California) ($3,481,300 slot value)
Speedy outfielders with high-end contact skills are a popular target for the Diamondbacks under GM Mike Hazen and Crow-Armstrong fits perfectly. He's on the short list of the best defensive players in the draft, and if the power he started to show prior to the shutdown is real, he could be a steal at this pick. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Crow-Armstrong as the No. 18 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Cole Wilcox, Georgia
Pick: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn ($3,359,000 slot value)
The five-round draft means the Mets won't be able to manipulate their bonus pool as aggressively as last year, when they turned a third-round pick into a first-round talent (Matthew Allan). College pitching is the best bet at this point and Burns is a personal favorite thanks to the measurables (velocity, spin rate, etc.), the intangibles (dogged competitor), and the history of strong performance in the SEC. Pretty much any college pitcher who comes off the board after this pick in the mock draft will be in play here. There isn't a huge separation in talent at this point. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Burns as the No. 15 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California)
Pick: RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech ($3,242,900 slot value)
The Brewers have a history of drafting Trackman studs (i.e. guys with big exit velocity or spin rates, etc.) and Beeter might have the most impressive measurables in the draft. Big velocity on the fastball and huge spin on the out-pitch curveball. Also, Beeter had Tommy John surgery as a freshman, and the Brewers have not shied away from players with injury concerns in recent years (Keston Hiura, Nathan Kirby). It should be noted the Brewers traded their competitive balance pick to the Mariners in the Omar Narvaez trade, so they don't have an extra pick and have one of the smaller bonus pools. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Beeter as the No. 37 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: C Drew Romo, The Woodlands High School (Texas)
Pick: SS Ed Howard, Mount Caramel High School (Illinois) ($3,132,300 slot value)
The Cardinals have been high school heavy in the first round in recent years, more than I realized, and Howard might be the best natural shortstop in the draft class. He has a strong well-rounded game with a slow heartbeat and good instincts. Maybe not a superstar, but a rock solid ballplayer who contributes in a variety of ways. A middle infielder with upside would be a very nice pick this late in the first round. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Howard as the No. 19 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Carmen Mlodzinski, South Carolina
Pick: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State ($3,027,000 slot value)
Going to stubbornly stick with Ginn here. He was a potential top-10 pick before blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery in March. The Nationals have a history of drafting talented pitchers who slide because of elbow trouble (Lucas Giolito, Erick Fedde) and Ginn fits to a T. The defending World Series champs are willing to take risks to get potential impact players late in the first round. This would be more of the same. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Ginn as the No. 24 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State
Pick: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas) ($2,926,800 slot value)
The Indians have a clear first-round strategy -- they go after high schoolers who came into the spring as top prospects but saw their stock slip leading into the draft (Ethan Hankins, Brady Aiken, etc.) -- and while that could change at any moment, I see no reason to deviate now. Kelley was seen as a possible top-10 pick at times, though his Trackman data (spin rate, etc.) is not as impressive as some other top prep arms, so he's slipping down draft boards. The Indians develop pitching as well as any organization and Kelley would be a great get this late in the first round. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Kelley as the No. 22 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn
Pick: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor ($2,831,300 slot value)
This is not a great draft for middle infielders, and Loftin might be the best college shortstop available depending how you feel about Austin Martin's defense. He's a contact machine and he played five positions with Team USA last summer, so he could provide the versatility the Rays love. Tampa has a competitive balance pick (No. 37) and a below-slow deal with Loftin could set them up to grab a high upside arm later. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Loftin as the No. 29 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: SS Casey Martin, Arkansas
Pick: RHP Chris McMahon, Miami ($2,740,300 slot value)
The Braves gave up their second-round pick to sign Will Smith and have the third smallest bonus pool, so a signable college player is the safe bet. McMahon is no slouch as a physical college righty with three pitches and command. He should move quickly through the farm system while still offering some sneaky good upside. Our R.J. Anderson ranked McMahon as the No. 23 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California)
Pick: 2B Justin Foscue, Mississippi State ($2,653,400 slot value)
It's a bit cliche at this point, but the Athletics lean toward college players, especially when they pick late in the first round. Foscue fits their M.O. as a top college performer with a chance to be an impact hitter, and his less than stellar glove work will be somewhat easy to hide in the era of defensive shifts. I can't promise it'll be Foscue, though I do feel strongly that the A's will take a college player here. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Foscue as the No. 32 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: C Austin Wells, Arizona
Pick: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma ($2,570,100 slot value)
This draft class is very deep in college pitching and, in our mock draft, the Twins can pick from several who would fit nicely in into the middle of the first round in a typical draft year (Cavalli, South Carolina's Carmen Mlodzinski, Duke's Bryce Jarvis, Georgia's Cole Wilcox, etc.). Cavalli will touch 98 mph while looking like he's playing catch, and his breaking ball gives him a potential out-pitch. Some injuries and control questions keep him out of the top half of the first round, but there's nice upside here. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Cavalli as the No. 16 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: SS Ed Howard, Mount Caramel High School (Illinois)
Pick: C Austin Wells, Arizona ($2,493,900 slot value)
The Yankees have only three picks this draft -- they surrendered their second and fifth rounders to sign Gerrit Cole -- and the latest rumblings have them taking a bat early and arms late. New York prioritizes offense at the catcher more than most teams and Wells has a first-round bat. His receiving is rough, though there's a decent chance the automated strike zone will render pitch-framing moot by time he's MLB ready. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Wells as the No. 26 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: LHP Jake Eder, Vanderbilt
Pick: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke ($2,424,600 slot value)
The Dodgers acquired a competitive balance pick (No. 66) in the Kenta Maeda trade and they have some bonus pool money to play with. Jarvis trained at Driveline Baseball last summer, a leading data-driven independent training facility, and showed up this spring with an extra 5-6 mph on his fastball. The added velocity plus two distinct breaking balls have put him in the first-round mix. Because he's an older college junior (22 1/2 on draft day), Jarvis figures to sign below-slot, setting the Dodgers up to something big with their extra pick. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Jarvis as the No. 31 prospect in the draft class.
April 15 mock pick: RHP C.J. Van Eyk, Florida State