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2020 BA 300 Draft Rankings

Austin Martin Draft Billmitchell
Austin Martin (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Baseball America’s MLB Draft Prospects rankings are compiled in consultation with scouts and evaluators from major league clubs. 

We'll also be answering draft questions at 2 p.m. ET. You can submit questions here

By Carlos Collazo

It feels odd to be rolling out an updated draft ranking right now, with the baseball season shut down thanks to the novel coronavirus—but here we are.

We’re expanding our draft list to the top 300 players in the country today, and updating the entire list after feedback from many, many scouts around the country. While we haven’t had college baseball for the last two weekends, this list does attempt to reflect the movement that occurred prior to COVID-19 canceling the season.

MLB scouting departments are in a unique situation at the moment, as many scouts didn’t have the time to work down pref lists and see the players they needed to this spring while plenty of northern states didn’t even get started on the high school side. As long as the draft actually takes place in some capacity this year, teams will be left to make picks based on shortened 2020 seasons and their history with players as underclassmen and over the summer.

RELATED: 10 prospects who improved their stock before play stoppage

Fortunately, Baseball America is in a similar situation to these clubs. We have a detailed understanding of the 2020 class at this point in the season after bearing down on 2020 prospects starting just a week after the 2019 draft a year ago. Our draft rankings are also based entirely on conversations with area scouts, crosscheckers, supervisors and scouting directors. As always, our prospect rankings attempt to gauge the industry consensus on these players.

We’re going to more aggressively expand our draft list to the BA 500 this year, with no games remaining for players to move up or down. However, that doesn’t mean players won’t shuffle as we expand to 400 and 500 players. While the players themselves aren’t being scouted, we are constantly gathering new information and getting more feedback from a larger number of scouts.

One benefit to this halt in baseball is that we should be able to do a better job capturing the consensus of the industry. Ironically, the small sample we were allowed this spring means there could be less of an actual consensus to capture. Regardless, we’ll spend the next few weeks and months gathering as much information as possible to provide a thorough, accurate and clear picture of each of the 500 top 2020 prospects in the class—and then some.

As we’ve written about previously, the 2020 class is a strong one. There’s an incredible depth of pitching that will only be more difficult to line up considering the COVID-19 element and limited looks of players. Are the pitchers who took steps forward with stuff and control legit, or was that simply a factor of a limited sample?

How will teams evaluate high school players, particularly those in the northern half of the country who barely set foot on a field this spring or those who weren’t regular summer showcase fixtures? What about college performers who lack tools and relied on their statistical resume to speak for themselves? Or college relievers who are tough to scout in general, and might not have been seen much at all?

The 2020 draft class has more questions than any draft we’ve covered—perhaps ever. There won’t be any easy answers. But we’re looking forward to trying to answer them.

20 Matches
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 4/1/2020
  1. 14
    Last: 17

    Patrick Bailey

    North Carolina State C

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 192 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Twins '17 (37)
    Age At Draft: 21

    Bailey was heralded as one of the better defensive catchers in the country coming out of high school in 2017, but scouts were concerned about the amount of offensive impact he would be able to provide and let him get to campus in Raleigh. He wasted no time showing that he did have impact ability in his bat, leading all ACC freshmen in hitting (.321), total bases (113) and slugging (.604) while also setting a new NC State freshman home run record (13). And while Bailey hit over .288 in each of his three seasons with the Wolfpack, his strengths are still on the defensive side of the ball. He earns plus grades for his catching and his throwing arm, giving pitchers tremendous confidence that they can rip off their best breaking ball without having to worry about it trickling to the backstop. Bailey is also one of the rare college catchers who calls his own game, which will give him better grades for some scouting departments, and he draws plenty of praise for his leadership ability behind the plate. Offensively, Bailey certainly has more impact than scouts expected back in his high school days and has shown above-average raw power from both sides of the plate. His swing is more fluid with better contact ability from the left side, and most scouts think he’s more of a power bat than a true hitter, with grades ranging from below-average to average on his future hit tool. Bailey has a solid eye at the plate, as evidenced by a 12.8-percent career walk rate, but there are concerns about the swing-and-miss tendencies that he showed last summer with USA’s Collegiate National Team (he led the team with 12 strikeouts) and early in the 2020 season. Still, catcher offense is a low bar to clear and as the best defender in the class with average or better power potential, he will be a coveted asset in the first round.
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  2. 20
    Last: 20

    Austin Wells

    Arizona C

    Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 200 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Yankees '18 (35)
    Age At Draft: 20.9

    Picked by the Yankees in the 35th round in 2018 out of perennial high school powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Wells instead chose to follow in his father’s footsteps by heading to Arizona. He’s posted outstanding hitting stats in both of his seasons with the Wildcats as well as last summer in the Cape Cod League. Wells has an outstanding approach at the plate with plus raw power, using a simple swing with good bat control. In both of his college seasons, he walked more than he struck out, impressive for any hitter but especially for a power hitter like Wells. A hole in his swing gives him problems with pitches away, but that’s a fixable problem. The bat is impressive enough that most teams view him as a first-round player, but questions remain as to where he fits best on the field. If he could stay behind the plate, he’d be a certain first-round pick, but there are more scouts who are skeptical of Wells’ receiving ability than think he can make it as a catcher. He has trouble blocking and receiving pitches, especially knee to knee on the glove side, and there’s a record of elbow issues dating back to high school. An arm that once earned plus grades is now too frequently below-average. He focused heavily on improving his defensive reputation over the offseason but didn’t have much opportunity to showcase the results in a shortened 2020 season. He’s seen time at both first base and all three outfield positions since leaving high school. Some observers believe Wells is athletic enough to handle the outfield and that the range and instincts can be developed, while others think he’s not twitchy enough for the outfield and doesn’t have the footwork for first base. He’s an average runner. If concerns with his defense cause Wells’ draft position to drop more than expected, he's got the leverage to return to Arizona for his junior year but lefthanded bats of his quality are typically highly sought after.
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  3. 25
    Last: 22

    Tyler Soderstrom

    Turlock (Calif.) HS C

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 190 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: UCLA
    Age At Draft: 18.6

    Soderstrom is at the top of a strong 2020 prep catching class (along with Texas catcher Drew Romo) and was one of the biggest risers last summer after a wire-to-wire terrific offensive performance. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound UCLA commit, Soderstrom hit well at a number of big showcase events, including the Area Code Games, showing power potential and a polished lefthanded bat. Almost every scout is excited about the offensive potential he offers, with plus raw power that he gets to frequently in games now, and more physical projection. Defensively, there are more questions. While the consensus on his bat is glowing, almost every evaluator questions his ability to remain behind the plate moving forward. His size is a question, as is his ability to sit behind the plate and be a good receiver. He’ll need to improve his lower-half flexibility, and while his natural arm strength is impressive, he needs to shorten his arm stroke and improve his footwork on throws. Scouts believe Soderstrom has the passion to catch, so some teams could send him out and let him figure it out, while others might be more inclined to let him play third, first or even a corner-outfield spot, where his bat could move quicker and still profile well. There are some similarities with Soderstrom and 2018 Indians first-round pick Bo Naylor (though Naylor had better natural feel to hit at the time) and enough teams seem to like him in the first round that he won’t get to campus in Los Angeles.
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  4. 26
    Last: 23

    Drew Romo

    The Woodlands (Texas) HS C

    Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 205 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Louisiana State
    Age At Draft: 18.8

    Romo has been regarded as an elite catch-and-throw backstop from essentially the first day he started playing high school baseball. Area scouts were quick to take note of his prowess behind the plate, and some think he’s been the best defensive catcher in the state for four years—and Baylor backstop Shea Langeliers was a top-10 pick in 2019. He’s at the top of a deep prep catching class in 2020, alongside the offensive-oriented Tyler Soderstrom, and teams believe he’s as high a likelihood major leaguer as you’ll find out of one of the riskiest draft profiles. Romo has soft hands, is an excellent blocker and receiver and brings a strong, accurate arm to the table as well. By the way scouts talk about his defensive reputation and ability, he has a chance to be a plus-plus defender with plus arm strength. On top of that, Romo offers solid raw power from both sides of the plate. His swing is a bit more grooved from the left side, where his righthanded swing is rigid with a tick more power. The biggest questions with Romo are how frequently he’s going to hit. He’s shown some swing-and-miss concerns and there’s reason to wonder how well he’ll hit against better pitching. Still, he has a good understanding of the strike zone and could carve out offensive value thanks to that, with some ambush power. The baseline for catcher offense in today’s game is low, and the scouting industry almost unanimously sees Romo as an impact defender at the game’s most premium position. So despite any offensive concerns, the Louisiana State commit has a chance to go in the first round or supplemental first round.
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  5. 44
    Last: 62

    Kevin Parada

    Loyola HS, Los Angeles C

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 192 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Georgia Tech
    Age At Draft: 18.9

    Parada won MVP of the 2018 WWBA World Championships as a junior and continued to perform at every major showcase last summer. He got off to a red-hot start this spring and had Southern California area scouts buzzing before the season shut down. Parada is widely considered one of the best prep hitters in the class. He’s a strong, powerful hitter who crushes both fastballs and offspeed pitches, and he has a long track record of performing against good competition. Parada stays in the strike zone, covers the whole plate and already posts exit velocities near 100 mph. Evaluators see a potential .280 or better hitter with a chance to hit 20 or more home runs. Parada is less certain to remain a catcher. He’s a good athlete, but he’s a fringe-average defender whose receiving needs work. His above-average arm strength is nullified at times by a long arm action. Some clubs want to make Parada an outfielder and let him focus on hitting. He is strongly committed to Georgia Tech and could be difficult to sign.
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  6. 72
    Last: 93

    Dillon Dingler

    Ohio State C

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 210 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.7

    Dingler has a chance to rise this spring if he keeps tapping into his offensive potential. After a mediocre freshman season where he hit .244, Dingler put up a .291/.392/.424 line as a sophomore, with more walks than strikeouts. He has more raw power than game power at the moment, but he has massive arm strength and his athleticism is such that he played center field for the Buckeyes before becoming the team’s everyday catcher.
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  7. 94
    Last: 85

    Kyle Teel

    Mahwah (N.J.) HS C

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 173 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Virginia
    Age At Draft: 18.4

    Teel might be the most athletic catcher in the 2020 class, and has the ability to play all over the diamond, at least at an amateur level. He’s a high-energy player who works hard, and over the summer showed great feel for putting the bat on the baseball, though it’s a hit-over-power profile now. He has potential behind the plate but needs refinement in the area, though if a team likes his bat enough, they could try and find another defensive home for him.
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  8. 103
    Last: 92

    Jackson Miller

    Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla. C

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 195 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Wake Forest
    Age At Draft: 18.4

    Miller is the kind of player who grows on you the more you see him. While he doesn’t have in-your-face tools, he does everything well and has a chance to convince teams his hit tool is legit this spring in Florida. He has soft, quiet hands and receives well, with good footwork and solid arm strength, and has a quiet, low-maintenance lefthanded swing. The high school catching demographic is a tough one to shake, but Miller has no real holes to speak of.
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  9. 104
    Last: 94

    Casey Opitz

    Arkansas C

    Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 200 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Indians '17 (27)
    Age At Draft: 21.9

    One of the better defensive catchers in the class, Opitz’ value is almost entirely in his defensive skill at a premium position. He has a light bat—he’s a career .242/.371/.313 hitter with Arkansas—but controls the game from behind the dish as a strong receiver and constantly puts his throws right on the bag at second base. He led all SEC catchers last season with 22 caught stolen bases.
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  10. 125
    Last: 185

    Corey Collins

    North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga. C

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 210 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Georgia
    Age At Draft: 18.7

    Strong, lefthanded hitting catcher with some power potential and average catch-and-throw skill.
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  11. 150
    Last: 126

    Kale Emshoff

    Arkansas-Little Rock C

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 228 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 22.1

    Emshoff started to make noise during the fall, where scouts saw glimpses of his plus raw power in games against strong competition. He missed his entire junior season with Tommy John surgery, and he’s had only modest production in the Sun Belt Conference—a career .253/.352/.364 hitter in 95 games—but he has plus raw power and above-average defensive potential.
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  12. 153
    Last: 128

    Daniel Susac

    Jesuit HS, Carmichael, Calif. C

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Oregon State
    Age At Draft: 19.1

    Susac has exciting raw tools, with plus arm strength and raw power that he shows off during batting practice, but hasn’t gotten to consistently in-game. He’s got major league bloodlines, as his brother Andrew was a big league catcher for five years.
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  13. 156
    Last: 131

    Jack Bulger

    DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, Md. C

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 205 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Vanderbilt
    Age At Draft: 18.8

    Strong and physical with massive—dare we say, bulging?—forearms, Bulger has arm strength and good bat speed, though he needs plenty of refinement behind the dish and is close to being physically maxed out.
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  14. 164
    Last: 140

    Allbry Major

    Xavier CF

    Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 215 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.1

    Major is something of a polarizing prospect entering the season. He had a loud Cape Cod League stint, where he hit .407/.435/.525 and raised some eyebrows, but it was just a 17-game stretch and his Xavier track record is less impressive. He has a major league body at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, but scouts will have to try and determine whether last summer was a blip, or a sign of things to come.
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  15. 218
    Last: 187

    Matheu Nelson

    Florida State C

    Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 195 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Phillies '18 (39)
    Age At Draft: 21.4

    Prominent prep prospect who made it to campus; has solid catch-and-throw skills, handles a pitching staff well and has gap-to-gap pop.
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  16. 233

    Jake Deleo

    Avon (Conn.) Old Farms HS OF/C

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 190 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Georgia Tech
    Age At Draft: 19

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  17. 241

    Michael Rothenberg

    Duke C

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 210 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.7

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  18. 246

    Carlos Perez

    Florida Christian HS, Miami C

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 195 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Miami
    Age At Draft: 18.4

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  19. 260

    Calvin Harris

    Western Dubuque HS, Epworth, Iowa C

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 200 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Mississippi
    Age At Draft: 18.6

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  20. 261

    Adam Kerner

    San Diego C

    Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 185 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Cardinals '17 (37)
    Age At Draft: 21.9

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