MLB Mock Draft 2020: Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin pass 1-2; Marlins select first pitcher off the field

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1 To choose: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State (location value $ 8,415,300)The Tigers taking Torkelson are close to a lock at this point. The alternative is more likely than Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy than Vanderbilt superplayer Austin Martin, but it looks like Detroit is leaning heavily towards Torkelson. He is the “safest” of the three elite draft hopes as a potential impact hitter with an excellent track record. Teams don’t write out of need, especially not with choice # 1, but Torkelson’s premium bat would balance the Tigers’ rich pitching system well. Torkelson would be the first base player from the first college to win first place overall and only the second pure base player to be selected with the best selection, joining Adrian Gonzalez in 2000. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Torkelson as # 2 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: SI Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
May 19, choice simulation: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
1st simulated choice of June 1: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State

2 To choose: SI Austin Martin, Vanderbilt (value of $ 7,789,900)Rumblings the Orioles will strike a deal under the slot here so that they can use the savings on premium talent that fall under their competitive choice (# 30) to increase more and more, and it should be noted that GM Mike Elias has used this strategy effectively when writing drafts for the Astros. That said, the most likely scenario still has the O’s taking on Martin, which is the dream of a modern front office given its output speeds and versatility. If Baltimore were to strike a deal under the cleft, New Mexico’s infielder Nick Gonzales and Florida outfielder Zac Veen are likely targets. Another possibility is Arkansas hitter Heston Kjerstad. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Martin as # 1 prospect in the repechage class.

Simulated choice of April 15: 2B Nick Gonzales, State of New Mexico
May 19, choice simulation: SI Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
1st simulated choice of June 1: SI Austin Martin, Vanderbilt

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To choose: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M (location value $ 7,221,200)

In a sense, the Marlins have the simplest decision of the project. They will simply take any of the three elite prospects who are still on the board. If the O leaves the table with a pick below the slot, Miami would likely take Martin over Lacy because the prospects of elite players are more valued than the prospects of elite pitching due to the risk of injury. In addition, Marlins screening director DJ Svihlik has close ties to Vanderbilt (he previously coached there). Torkelson and Martin being absent from our model, Miami obtains Lacy. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Lacy as # 3 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: 1B Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State
May 19, choice simulation: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M
1st simulated choice of June 1: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M

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To choose: DE Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida) (slot value of $ 6,664,000)

In a recovery class rich in throws, the Royals have been connected mainly to bats in recent weeks. They would leap on Torkelson or Martin should slide here, although this is unlikely. Veen has been connected to almost every team in the 4-9 range because he offers perhaps the most benefits among players outside of the top three hopefuls, and the Royals have been linked to him a lot. Gonzales and the best remaining university launchers are other possibilities here. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Veen as # 6 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia
1st simulated choice of June 1: DE Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida)

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To choose: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia ($ 6,180,700 value)

At this point, the only thing close to a lock here is that the Blue Jays are taking on a college player, even if it means passing on Veen. Gonzales is a possibility, but it is more likely that Toronto will go with a pitcher. Hancock was only average in four starts before stopping, ending any chance he had of making his first choice. The advantage, however, is considerable. The Blue Jays preferring Minnesota law, Max Meyer to Hancock, wouldn’t surprise me. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hancock as # 4 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: LHP Asa Lacy, Texas A&M
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia

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To choose: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota (location value $ 5,742,900)

The Mariners would jump on Hancock if he stayed on the set. In the absence of that, they have been the most connected to Meyer and Gonzales in recent days. Meyer is the most likely candidate to join a list of 50 players and enter the big leagues this season, although that is not necessarily Seattle’s motivation for selecting it. It’s a good bonus that his ETA is aligned with top hopes Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Meyer as # 6 hope in the repechage class.

Simulated choice of April 15: DE Garrett Mitchell, UCLA
May 19, choice simulation: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville
1st simulated choice of June 1: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville

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To choose: 2B Nick Gonzales, State of New Mexico (location value $ 5,432,400)

The Pirates have always been connected to college bats this spring and they would have their pick of Gonzales and Kjerstad here, as well as North Carolina state wide receiver Patrick Bailey. If in doubt, bet on the midfielder being selected on the corner player. Is there a chance that Pittsburgh will zig after zagging for weeks, and grab a high-end high school pitcher (Mick Abel or Nick Bitsko) or a prep bat (originally from the Pittsburgh Austin Hendrick area?) Rather than a sure university post player they like, but don’t really like. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Gonzales as # 9 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon)
May 19, choice simulation: 2B Nick Gonzales, State of New Mexico
1st simulated choice of June 1: 2B Nick Gonzales, State of New Mexico

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To choose: DE Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee) (location value $ 5,176,900)

This has been a stable connection throughout the spring. The Padres would like Hassell. Enough to pass Meyer or Veen should they fall here? I’m not sure about that, but it didn’t happen in our simulation project, so it’s Hassell. San Diego always targeted the pure bullish trend at the start of the project under the leadership of GM A.J. Preller and Hassell is the best pure hitter in the high school rankings this year. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hassell as # 20 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: DE Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania)
May 19, choice simulation: DE Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida)
1st simulated choice of June 1: DE Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee)

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To choose: FROM Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas (location value $ 4,949,100)

Believe it or not, the perpetually launched needy Rockies would not like any of the arms likely to be available here in a rich draft class, and they would probably prefer Hassell or Veen to Kjerstad. Since neither is available, we have Colorado who picks up the player with the most usable playing power in the draft class outside of Torkelson. It’s not impossible that the Rockies could take an arm here. I just think it’s unlikely. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Kjerstad as # 17 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville
May 19, choice simulation: FROM Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
1st simulated choice of June 1: C Patrick Bailey, State of North Carolina

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To choose: LHP Reid Detmers, Louisville (value of $ 4,739,900)

More than any other team in the top 10, the Angels will wait with breath until their choice comes back. The dream scenario is Meyer, which a somewhat desperate Angels team could put on their list of 50 men this year. They are said to also like Hassell, and I’m sure they’re trying to convince themselves that Veen could get here. None of this happens in our model. Detmers does not have the advantage of Meyer, but he could pitch in MLB this year, and it is a reasonably safe bet to have a long career as a starter as long as he remains healthy. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Detmers 8th in the repechage.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)
May 19, choice simulation: DE Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee)
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota

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To choose: C Patrick Bailey, State of North Carolina (slot value of $ 4,547,500)

The White Sox haven’t used their first round pick on a high school player for nearly a decade now, and although some pre-players can adapt here (Abel, Bitsko, Hendrick, wide receiver Tyler Soderstrom) , there are still a lot of quality college players on the board. Bailey is the best all-round catcher in a deep draft recovery class, and the top safety net is always written higher than what the public rankings suggest. The White Sox are a candidate to put Detmers on their list of 50 men this season if he were available for that choice. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Bailey as # 13 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota
May 19, choice simulation: C Patrick Bailey, State of North Carolina
1st simulated choice of June 1: FROM Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas

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To choose: DE Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania) (value of $ 4,366,400)

If anyone knows how much the Reds are looking at this point, let me know. They’ve been all over the map this spring. The connection with Hendrick has been regular, though college pitchers like Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli and leftist Garrett Crochet of Tennessee are also legitimate possibilities. Hendrick to the Reds in three consecutive dummies makes me seem more confident in this choice than I really am. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hendrick as # 10 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee
May 19, choice simulation: DE Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania)
1st simulated choice of June 1: DE Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania)

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To choose: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California) (niche value of $ 4,197,100)

The Giants have two more choices (# 67 and # 68) and a large bonus pool after losing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free will, giving them lots of options. They can pay Abel or Bitsko as the top 10 choose their talent as they should, or they could go the college route and maybe save some bonus money for later. San Francisco has been connected to Soderstrom a lot in recent weeks, enough to make it easy to put it in here even if I imagine Abel or Bitsko would be terribly tempting. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Soderstrom as # 21 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: DE Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee)
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon)
1st simulated choice of June 1: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California)

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To choose: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee (slot value of $ 4,036,800)

The Rangers are not afraid to take risks and Hook has been limited to 3 1/3 of innings by a shoulder problem this spring. However, his advantage as a left-hander is huge, and with little player separation available at this point, betting on that advantage is a reasonable decision. I suspect that the willingness to sign below will be a major factor in how the project will proceed from this choice. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hook as # 14 hope in the repechage class.

Simulated choice of April 15: DE Zac Veen, Spruce Creek High School (Florida)
May 19, choice simulation: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee
1st simulated choice of June 1: LHP Garrett Crochet, Tennessee

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To choose: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma (Slot machine value $ 3,885,800)

As tempting as it is to take Bitsko, a local kid just north of Philadelphia, the Phillies weren’t much connected to high school this spring, and they’re running out of money after giving up their second round (and over 1 million dollars in associated pool money) to sign Zack Wheeler. Cavalli offers a huge advantage with his premium stuff, and he is confident that he will really take off now that he launches full time after spending his first year and his second year as a two-way player. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Cavalli perspective # 16 in the project class.

Simulated choice of April 15: FROM Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School, Pennsylvania

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To choose: DE Garrett Mitchell, UCLA ($ 3,745,500 slot value)

The Cubs want more, but they also want a player who can move fairly quickly through their system, which means that upper preparation arms like Abel and Bitsko are unlikely targets. Mitchell has powerful tools – he’s a great athlete with great raw power and top speed – but also some swing issues, and he’s a type 1 diabetic, which creates additional worries. Chicago has had some success with college hitters, and Mitchell has the advantage they are looking for. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Mitchell as # 11 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: C Patrick Bailey, State of North Carolina
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon)

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To choose: RHP Mick Abel, Jesuit High School (Oregon) (value of the slot machine $ 3,609,700)

Even though they’ve been stripped of their second round pick as punishment for the sign theft scandal and have the fifth smallest bonus pool, the Red Sox prioritize upward with that pick. Abel could be one of the top 10 talent picks, although his high school hadn’t played a single game before the shutdown, so it’s been a while since the teams saw him in action. I think the Red Sox would prefer a better high school hitter than a pitcher here, which makes California preparation fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong a possibility with Hassell and Hendrick (and Veen) off the field. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Abel as # 7 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School, Pennsylvania
May 19, choice simulation: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel Secondary School, Illinois
1st simulated choice of June 1: DE Garrett Mitchell, UCLA

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To choose: DE Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California) (slot value of $ 3,481,300)

This one fits perfectly. The Diamondbacks have had success with fast high school championships with high-end bat-to-ball skills in recent years (Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, etc.) and that perfectly describes Crow-Armstrong. Crow-Armstrong could be the best defensive fielder in the repechage class, and there is enough attacking ability to give him an exciting edge. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Crow-Armstrong as # 18 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Cole Wilcox, Georgia
May 19, choice simulation: DE Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California)
1st simulated choice of June 1: DE Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California)

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To choose: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel High School (Illinois) (value of $ 3,359,000)

Howard is arguably the best pure shortstop in the repechage class, yet he is a difficult player to place in a mock draft. He could go from the 10-15 range to the depths of the 1920s, as he plans to be a regular contributor more than a star with an impact tool. The Mets would monitor various high school bats and Howard is the best available. I wouldn’t exclude Bitsko here given the Mets’s aggressiveness in GM’s first draft Brodie Van Wagenen last year. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Howard as # 19 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: DE Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake High School (California)
May 19, choice simulation: DE Garrett Mitchell, UCLA
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn

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To choose: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn (slot value of $ 3,242,900)

The Brewers surely want to piece together their pitcher pipeline – their “hors-getters” pipeline, as manager Craig Counsell calls it – and a college arm with the potential to quickly scale the minor leagues ladder makes sense here. This draft class is deep in pitching and about a dozen college players are possibilities here, although Burns has the best track record and excellent Trackman data (turnover rate, etc.), which the Brewers prioritize during the evaluation process. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Burns as # 15 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: C Drew Romo, Woodlands High School (Texas)
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Cole Wilcox, Georgia
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech

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To choose: RHP Cole Wilcox, Georgia (value of $ 3,132,300)

They’re mostly college pitchers linked to the Cardinals in recent weeks, although they were (surprisingly) heavy on high school players in the first round. Wilcox is still learning to exploit his nasty tricks, and St. Louis knows a thing or two about the development of pitching. The Cardinals have a sufficiently large bonus pool to meet their asking price as a second year student eligible for the project with additional negotiation leverage. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Wilcox as # 30 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Carmen Mlodzinski, South Carolina
May 19, choice simulation: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California)
1st simulated choice of June 1: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel Secondary School, Illinois

22

To choose: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State (slot value of $ 3,027,000)

The defending World Series champions have been connected to college players all spring and I’m sticking to Ginn, who matches their M.O. as the best talent slipping for non-performance reasons. They’re ready to roll the dice on talented injured players (Lucas Giolito, Erick Fedde) or make-up questions (Seth Romero), because getting premium talent in the back half of the first round isn’t easy. Ginn was among the top 10 picks before undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. I am stubbornly faithful to the idea that the Nationals will return there well. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Ginn as # 24 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State
May 19, choice simulation: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP J.T. Ginn, Mississippi State

23

To choose: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School (Pennsylvania) (value of $ 2,926,800)

If the Indians have a first round type, it is the secondary players who are younger than their peers and who have seen their stock slide for reasons of non-performance (Ethan Hankins, Brady Aiken, etc.). In the case of Bitsko, it has been announced that he will graduate a year earlier in January, so he is essentially a high school student. His talent suggests that he could be a top 10, but he slips into our simulation project because his high school did not play any games before closing, and the teams did not really support him last summer because ‘They expected it to be a 2021 prospect project. It was basically under surveillance. Indians have a competitive balance choice (# 36) and therefore a fairly large bonus pool, and can make money work (that is, pay Bitsko as a top 10). Our R.J. Anderson ranked Bitsko as # 12 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)

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To choose: SS Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State (slot value of $ 2,831,300)

Difficult to pin the combs two days before the draft. Pitching in high school is a popular rumor and they have the bonus pool money to get someone like Bitsko or Texas Jared Kelley to work. The Rays also adore intermediate infielders with offensive potential. Westburg passed the analytical test with high exit speeds and he was very good with wooden bats against elite competition in the Cape Cod League last summer. In a quality shortstop light project, Westburg could sneak in the first round as a bonus guy under the slot, which would prepare Tampa to do something creative with his choice of competitive balance (# 37 ). Our R.J. Anderson ranked Westburg as # 45 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: SS Casey Martin, Arkansas
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School, Pennsylvania
1st simulated choice of June 1: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor

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To choose: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke (slot value of $ 2,740,300)

The Braves have the third smallest bonus pool after losing their second round to sign Will Smith, but they are reportedly aiming backwards here, and do not necessarily plan to be conservative. Jarvis increased his inventory significantly this spring after training at Driveline Baseball, a major independent data-driven facility, last summer and adding nearly 10 mph to his fastball. Jarvis is an older college junior (22 1/2 on draft day) and is a prime candidate to sign below, which fits well with the Atlanta bonus pool situation. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Jarvis as # 31 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: C Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock High School (California)
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Chris McMahon, Miami

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To choose: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor (value of the slot machine $ 2,653,400)

Athletics relies heavily on college ranks for selection at the end of the first round and, depending on what you think of Austin Martin’s defense, Loftin might be the best university shortstop in the class of repechage. He can defend and is one of the most difficult batters in the country (8.3% career withdrawal rate at Baylor). Loftin passes both the analytical test and the traditional eye test. The alternative here would be one of the many quality university right-handers still available. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Loftin as # 29 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: C Austin Wells, Arizona
May 19, choice simulation: SS Nick Loftin, Baylor
1st simulated choice of June 1: 2B Justin Foscue, Mississippi State

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To choose: RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech (slot value of $ 2,570,100)

Beeter is one of the most fascinating players in the draft class. It has climbed ironing boards in recent weeks, even though college baseball has been closed due to its Trackman data (rotation speed, etc.) so well off the charts. There is a risk here – Beeter had Tommy John’s surgery in the first year and walked 20 in 20 1/3 inning in the second year – but teams inclined to analysis like the Twins see untapped potential. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Beeter as # 37 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel Secondary School, Illinois
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Carmen Mlodzinski, South Carolina
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma

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To choose: SS Carson Tucker, Mountain Pointe High School (Arizona) (slot machine value $ 2,493,900)

The Yankees gave up their second and fifth round picks to sign Gerrit Cole and, therefore, have the second smallest bonus pool. They are now said to want a position player and pitch with their later choices, and Tucker matches their M.O. as a midfielder with an attacking advantage. Tucker, the younger brother of hopeful pirate Cole Tucker, would also be highly motivated to sign, even if it means taking a bonus below the slot. It works well for New York. Our R.J. Anderson did not rank Tucker among his top 50 prospects in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: LHP Jake Eder, Vanderbilt
May 19, choice simulation: C Dillon Dingler, State of Ohio
1st simulated choice of June 1: C Austin Wells, Arizona

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To choose: RHP Chris McMahon, Miami (niche value of $ 2,424,600)

The available player pool suggests that the Dodgers will catch a college here, although it’s not exactly frozen. Los Angeles has targeted the first university bat championships in recent years (Michael Busch, Kody Hoese, etc.) and someone like Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue or Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin could agree (same as Westburg if he is still on the board). In the end, I think McMahon’s advantage as a four-pitch pitcher with athleticism and skill will be hard to let go. It should be noted that the Dodgers have acquired a competitive balance choice (# 66) in the Kenta Maeda trade and have some additional pool money to play. Our R.J. Anderson ranked McMahon as # 23 prospect in the draft class.

Simulated choice of April 15: RHP C.J. Van Eyk, State of Florida
May 19, choice simulation: RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech
1st simulated choice of June 1: RHP Bryce Jarvis, Duke

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