2020 Draft: Top 10 College 1B
By Teddy Cahill
College first basemen historically have not fared well on draft day, as teams instead prefer to draft premier pitchers or players higher on the defensive spectrum.
Last year, however, challenged those traditional notions. Andrew Vaughn, the 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner, was drafted No. 3 overall by the White Sox. He was the first primarily first baseman from the college ranks to be drafted in the top five picks since San Diego State’s Travis Lee went second overall in 1996. UCLA’s Michael Toglia joined Vaughn in the first round and Louisville’s Logan Wyatt was a second rounder.
This year’s crop of college first baseman is poised to challenge the norms in a new way. Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson is the top-ranked prospect in the class, and should the Tigers select him first overall he would be the first ever college first baseman drafted first overall. There’s pretty good depth at the position beyond Torkelson, especially in the ACC where the first-team all-conference spot will be hotly contested all season.
This list is based on draft status and was composed of players who are expected to play most of their games this season at first base. It does not include players who are expected to move to first base as professionals but are not playing there in college.
Niko KavadasNotre Dame 1BNotes:
Kavadas last season hit 12 home runs for the Fighting Irish and then led the Cape Cod League with nine home runs during the summer. That power stands out, though it does come with a fair amount of swing-and-miss.More Less
- 4Wake Forest 1BNotes:
Seymour last season was named ACC player of the year after hitting .377/.439/.576. His profile is a bit different from many of the other players listed here who have gaudy home run totals. Seymour has 16 career home runs (nine last season), but has been a highly productive hitter throughout his career.More Less
- 5Miami 1BNotes:
Long a prominent player in high school, Toral rebounded from a disappointing freshman season to hit 24 home runs in 2019. There is tradeoff for that power, and he struck out in 26 percent of his plate appearances last season.More Less
Tyler HardmanOklahoma 1BNotes:
Hardman only hit seven home runs in his first two seasons at Oklahoma but showed off his raw power in the Cape Cod League. He hit eight home runs last summer and won the home run derby. He offers some defensive versatility as he’s worked at third base, but he’s back at first base this spring for the Sooners.More Less
Trevin EsquerraLoyola Marymount 1BNotes:
The Lions play in a tough pitcher’s park but Esquerra, a senior, has shown he has the power to drive the ball out of any stadium. The switch-hitter hit 37 extra-base hits last season, including 16 home runs.More Less
- 8Oregon State 1BNotes:
A redshirt-junior, McGarry last year had a solid first season at Oregon State after transferring from Tacoma (Wash.) JC. He’s hitting at the heart of the Beavers’ lineup this spring and the lefthanded hitter packs a punch in his bat.More Less
Cael BakerOle Miss 1BNotes:
Baker was the junior college player of the year in 2019 after hitting .506/.596/1.051 with 25 home runs. He’s a righthanded hitter with a big frame (listed at 6-foot, 260 pounds), but if he keeps hitting, he can be a solid draft pick.More Less
Tristan PetersonNew Mexico State 1BNotes:
Peterson, a senior, can sometimes get overshadowed by teammate Nick Gonzales, but he has serious ability of his own at the plate. Peterson hit .400/.510/.769 with 20 home runs last spring, an outstanding first season at New Mexico State. He’s off to a slow start in 2020 but it’s only a matter of time before he finds his stride, especially hitting behind Gonzales.More Less