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2020 MLB Draft Prospects Chat (5/21/2020)

Carlos Collazo: Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by and chatting about the draft with me! It feels like June 10 is right around the corner and I can't wait to see how things are going to play out in the most unique draft we've ever seen. We're excruciatingly close to being finished with our BA 500 reports (talk about overkill this year) and we've started rolling out some of the content from our Draft Preview issue on the website. You can find that issue here

Carlos Collazo: I speak for everyone on the staff when I say I'm super proud of this one. I hope you all enjoy it. With that let's jump into your questions.

Mike (Virginia):

    What's the level of draft intel this year as compared to previous years? Is there a true lack of info or is just harder to verify and run down leads?

Carlos Collazo: I’d say it’s both of those things. Teams have less information about which teams are targeting which players because of the lack of games, and because the teams and scouts don’t have that information, it’s hard for those of us doing mocks to get much that’s legit beyond speculation. Most of the people I’ve talked with think that legit info will start coming out a week or so before the draft. It's the least amount of legit info that I've had in the last three years.

Mark (Toronto):

    Thanks for chat Carlos. Jays fan here trying to get an idea of what we have in Orelvis Martinez. Where would he rank on the draft board were he eligible this year?

Carlos Collazo: No problem. Seems like we might going backwards here with this question. I don’t know that it would matter where he’s ranked on the draft board in this hypothetical scenario. I think it’s more useful where players are ranked on our top 30s because we have more useful information in pro ball to guide our rankings. I’m assuming you’ve already read his report, but if not he ranks in the top 10 on our Blue Jays list. You’ll find a much better breakdown of who he is in that report than what I can tell you. 

Brandon (Long Beach):

    Any word on teams that could look to go under slot with their first round picks this year?

Carlos Collazo: As in which teams specifically could go under slot? No hard information on that at this point on my end, though that’s certainly a factor that will come into play. Probably shortly after the first 5-7 players come off the board, similar to last year I would guess. When teams get into the tier of players that are fairly close talent wise, it makes some sense from their perspective to go shopping for deals and some teams always do that.

Mike (Denver):

    If the top J2 guys (Carlos Colmenarez, Cristian Hernandez) were in this draft, where would they likely be selected in the draft and where would they be in your rankings? Would guys like this be considered as volatile as the HS Pitching demographic?

Carlos Collazo: This is an interesting question for this year’s class specifically, because the shortstop talent isn’t great, particularly on the prep side. I enlisted Ben Badler’s help for this one and after talking with him it sounds like both would both be first-round talents. While I would prefer Howard’s defensive skill, both of their offensive upside is a bit more exciting, IMO. Given their age and the projection you have to do on kids that young they would definitely be towards the more volatile side of the spectrum. None of these guys (including Howard) have been scouted for a while, so they all have some uncertainty.

Joe D (Connecticut):

    What do you think will be the impact on how teams assess high school prospects in the shortened format without a high school season to go off? I know a lot of the time you see pop-up prep prospects ala Josh Wolf last year. Those aren’t possible in 2020.

Carlos Collazo: We’ve touched on this plenty before, but I’ll just re-iterate here that most people I talk with are expected it to be a very college-heavy draft. I think the talent lines up that way at the top regardless of the COVID situation. But also for all the reasons that come with not seeing many of these high school kids and questions about signability and general risk. You’re right that fewer players had a chance to pop up this spring. We’ll look back at this draft for a long time and wonder “what if” once we can actually see how the group develops as a whole. There’s a lot of talent. There were a few Southern players who popped up, Nick Garcia being one of the most obvious ones. Kyle did a podcast with him here. 

George (Miami):

    Where do you see Dylan Crews, Coby Mayo and Yohandy Morales going 2,3,4 or 5th round ?

Carlos Collazo: We have Crews as a second round talent and Mayo and Morales as third round talents. All of these players are in the high school tier where I would start to wonder if they don’t just go to college this year given the shortened draft environment. Crews is a Louisiana State commit, May is a Florida commit and Morales is a Miami commit. I don’t anticipate any being easy signs. All three could boost their stocks significantly by performing in school.

Ryan (California):

    What is your opinion on the Angels typical draft strategy? That is they avoid pitching with their top selections and then almost exclusively focus on pitching after round 3 (quantity over quality, hoping to hit a HR on one of those quantity guys)? Is this intelligent given the risk of injury/bust for pitchers taken in the 1st/2nd round?

Carlos Collazo: They have been pretty heavy on hitters in the first two rounds over the last half decade or so. Going back to 2015, they have only taken one pitcher (Griffin Canning) in the first or second rounds. I generally like that strategy and I especially like in in this year’s class given the quality of the pitching depth deeper in the draft. I like strategy generally more because of the scarcity of high-end bats in most drafts than any concern about the pitchers who go in the first/second though.

Rich (Atlanta):

    2020 Georgia Tech Commits who ends up at GT: Parada DeLeo or Grissom?

Carlos Collazo: I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them made it to campus in a five-round draft. I would guess Parada has a reasonably high price tag but don’t know that for sure. If I am drafting I’m trying to get his bat before he mashes in the ACC though. I'm all in on that one.

Chris (Washington):

    As a mariners fan, is Gonzales the dream scenario or should I be rooting for Hancock/veen to slip? Or should I be rooting for Jerry to do something crazy like mitchell/Meyers/detmers?

Carlos Collazo: Based on our rankings, Hancock would be the best talent to get to you at No. 6, though the gap between him and Gonzales is negligible. As for who you should specifically root for, it just depends on what you like. Detmers doesn’t have the upside that some of these other players have but he’s probably the highest-probability major leaguer of the names you mentioned, outside of Hancock. Mitchell, Meyer and Veen all have tremendous upside but come with more risk, whereas Gonzales is the best pure hitter. I don’t think you can really go wrong with rooting for any of those as a fan. Pick the guy you like and run with it.

Luke (Tampa):

    What leads evaluators to believe Crochet could end up in the bullpen? Is there something mechanical/lack of 3rd pitch etc, or is it just that he has yet to prove himself in that role?

Carlos Collazo: Good question. I don’t think it’s a mechanical issue or a lack of a third pitch. He has a chance for two secondary pitches that are above-average or better. Definitely more so the lack of track record. This is what I wrote in his draft report about just this issue: “There aren’t any glaring reasons why Crochet couldn’t start, and his strike-throwing with Tennessee has been fine (3.37 walks per nine for his career), but teams are wary of the relative lack of track record in that role.” He split time as a starter and reliever as a freshman and sophomore and only threw three innings this spring, so scouts have just never seen him handle that role over a full season.

Peter (Texas):

    Cade Cavalli seems to be trending up in a lot of mock drafts/rankings. Wouldn't he be an incredibly risky pick in the top 15 given his injury history/lack of track record?

Carlos Collazo: He is. I've heard his name mentioned a lot closer to the top 10 than I would have guessed a few months ago. I do think he has risk for all the reasons you've mentioned, and his fastball has been much more hittable than the velocity would suggest. I think it's pretty flat and his delivery is so clean, that maybe it's easier for hitters to pick up his stuff. However, he does have an excellent body and all of the pure stuff on paper that scouts want to see. Perhaps many teams think he is a guy who can take another step once he gets into pro ball and makes a few tweaks. Additionally, he really performed early this spring and I do think that's going to matter more than previous years. It's simply all teams have to go on, and he struck out 37 batters and walked five in 23 innings.

Peter (Florida):

    Hi! I've seen the Yankees picks all over the place in various mock drafts. Any chance the Yanks reach for arms like Jared Shuster or Clayton Beeter? OR is it best player available at pick # 28? THANKS!

Carlos Collazo: The Yankees have been given players all over the place in mocks because they pick No. 28 and no one really knows what's going to happen. All the clubs picking back here would tell you the same thing. As for the second question, it should always be the best player available. Who's to say Shuster or Beeter aren't the top talents on New York's board?

Hank (Georgia):

    What are your thoughts on Mick Abel rapsodo information? Could he sneak into the top 10? Are teams putting any weight into bullpen sessions right now?

Carlos Collazo: It's impressive. What I find more convincing is the increased physicality that he's shown that can allow him to get to those numbers and sit with a bigger fastball more consistently. I think he has the upside to sneak into the top 10 for sure. Teams are putting weight on as much information as they can possibly gather. As to the specific amount of weight... that's the tougher question.

Owen (San Diego):

    What are you hearing about the Padres at #8? Do you think Mick Abel or one of the HS bats could be an option there?

Carlos Collazo: I would never count the Padres out on any prep player, so those make sense.

Chris (Washington):

    Do you expect to have a clear picture of the first 7-10 picks in the draft beforehand or do you think it'll stay pretty quiet until the draft this year?

Carlos Collazo: I am hoping to have a much better picture of the top 10 as we get closer to the draft. I would also hope to get more hard information on teams outside of that range as well, but it's hard to say at this point whether I should expect that to happen or not. We'll keep digging.

Greg (Toronto):

    I'm a huge Robert Hassell fan, any chance a team like Toronto would take him at 5 and sign him for underslot? Speaking of undetslot, the Jays have been connected to Veen and Max Meyer who are both ranked slightly lower. Would those guys be undetslot types or would they basically command full slot?

Carlos Collazo: We have Veen and Meyer both ranked higher than Hassell. Though I do think Hassell is the most polished prep hitter in the class. Veen and Meyer have both been talked about in that range enough to where I wouldn't expect a huge underslot deal if they went there, but who really knows?

Keith (California):

    Do you think the MLB will ever allow draft picks to be traded? What is the logic for not allowing teams to trade picks?

Carlos Collazo: I'm not sure if that will happen or not. There are plenty of people in the industry who want it to happen. I've also spoken with people who think MLB wouldn't do it because they don't want teams to get taken advantage of (whether financially or otherwise), but that seems like a pretty lame reason not to do it. For me personally, it would probably be a nightmare to cover, but I do understand that most fans are excited about that idea.

Luke (AZ):

    What am I missing with Zavier Warren? He had a .502 OBP last season with a huge power jump, and he continued those performances into the Cape Cod and this season too. There's a non-zero chance he moves back behind the plate, if not he's either a 3B or possibly can continue at SS. I get that maybe he might be a little position-less but he's not a minus defender, and I haven't even seen him inside a top 100 anywhere.

Carlos Collazo: We have him at 122 so that's really not far off from the range you're talking about when you consider the difference between players that deep. If he had a standout tool or the raw power to profile at a corner he would be higher.

Mason (Texas):

    Chances a guy like Crochet could be the next Sale and a team in the mid teens gets an absolute steal?

Carlos Collazo: Not a bad comparison, in terms of the value and upside potential. They're completely different players, but they do have some of the same profile/role questions at the same time. Good call, I like it.

Logan Field (MI):

    What are your thoughts on this mock draft? 1.1 Torkelson, 2.38 Nick Loftin, Comp. 62 Alex Santos, 3. 73 Freddy Zamora, 4.102 Parker Chavers and 5.32 Holden Powell? Thank you Carlos! I love my BA sub and all ur hard work!

Carlos Collazo: Ha, tell me where you are getting your draft dope from in the 2-5 round ranges please.

Isaiah (Dayton, Nevada):

    When it comes to the MLB Draft, does best available top team needs for an organization? For example, could you envision the Angels selecting another prep outfielder at No. 10 overall even though they have Adell, Marsh and Adams? Or do they possibly address a team need and go with a pitcher at the college or high school level? Thanks again, keep up the great content!

Carlos Collazo: I think teams draft for organization need deeper in the draft. Not with their top few picks. Things simply change too much in the time a player will make his way to the big leagues to draft the way NFL or NBA teams do. The window is anywhere from 2-6 years or more and by that team your major league team and your "needs" will be completely different. Just take the best player available and worry about the rest later.

Advisors (Boras Corp):

    Will BA provide information on Advisors for each player as is done in Draft Database at time. I know Boras has Tork, Martin, JT Ginn. Anybody else?

Carlos Collazo: Our public draft database does not have that information. I don't see any reason why people would need that before these guys are professionals.

Jim (MI):

    Is Holden Powell a 5th rounder? Is he a tough sign?

Carlos Collazo: We recently bumped him up into that range or a tick higher on our most recent update. He's got a chance to move quick and is one of the better relievers in the class.

Jet Woo (BC):

    I'm still a bit skeptical of Nick Gonzales' bat. Not only is he in a weaker conference, but New Mexico is an extreme hitters park. I know he hit incredibly in the Cape Cod league last summer, but that's not dispositive for me. The sample size was only 42 games, and the pitching on the Cape last year was not exactly the cream of the crop. The best pitchers from what I can see were Mlodzinski who had a 5+ era his first two years, and is a projected late firs rounder, Logan Allen and Jared Shuster who are 2nd or 3rd rounders respectively. Additionally, his numbers outside of his home park against elite competition has been poor (albeit in a small sample). If you're taking Gonzalez in the top 5 you're roughly hoping he's something along the lines of Altuve at the plate? Or Luis Urias if we're looking at prospects?

Carlos Collazo: It seems like you're picking and choosing the stats you want to buy into with Gonzales. You don't want to buy into his Cape Cod sample, that's fine. But you can't then discount his entire 128-game sample in college either. It's fine—and smart—to be skeptical of his numbers in a hitter-friendly park, but I think you might be going a tough overboard. For me what's most convincing is the way that scouts talk about him and his swing. I don't have the numbers or splits, but I've talked with scouts who have said his numbers against 92 mph + are still pretty impressive. So I'm not too concerned about him.

Carlos Collazo: I've also broken my previous rule of not allowing Nick Gonzales slander in the chat. Sorry guys.

Scott (Newfoundland, Canada):

    If you could build your team around 1 player in this draft who would it be? #GoTigers

Carlos Collazo: I'd personally take Austin Martin, but don't fault any one who goes with Spencer Torkelson. Both would be awesome to have.

Harris (Bayside):

    Do you see teams basically punt this draft by either taking well below slot players or taking players just to get the comp pick for next year?

Carlos Collazo: Nothing like wasting opportunities to get good players, am I right? That seems like a poor strategy in a deep draft class. Teams should all take the best players they can in the limited opportunities they have this year.

Mucho (By The Pines):

    It seems like Carson Tucker's tools, especially his speed, may have ticked up this year. Have you heard what type of times he was putting up?

Carlos Collazo: He got a lot stronger over the offseason. We've heard plenty of plus run times early this year.

Carlos Collazo: All right everyone, that's going to have to do it for today. Thanks as always for your draft questions. As always there are a lot I didn't have time to get to and I apologize for that! If you want to throw them at me on Twitter (@CarlosACollazo) I can try and answer some for you there in the meantime. Stay safe!

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