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2020 MLB Draft: Top 10 Toolsiest Prospects In This Year's Class

Baseball America reflects industry thinking about draft prospects and has done so for the last 40 draft classes.

One of the most valuable pieces of information to emerge from our annual draft coverage is our ranking of amateur players with the best tools, as determined by scouts, crosscheckers and scouting directors.

That Best Tools information could be even more valuable this year if the minor league season is truncated or lost because of coronavirus concerns. Without a minor league season, essential performance data about 2020 draft picks would be lost, thus increasing the value of scouts’ pre-draft evaluations of players’ tools.

Even in a normal year, our pre-draft Best Tools evaluations are essential for those in dynasty leagues—at least I think so. That's why I have gathered the top 10 toolsiest 2020 draft prospects in this post.

Note that there are separate rankings for high school players and collegians, meaning that there are two No. 1s, two No. 2s, etc., for each Best Tools category.

Credit for all Best Tools and scouting report information goes to national writer and draft guru Carlos Collazo and his team. I am merely curating his work in a dynasty-friendly way. 

1. Austin Martin, OF

College Best Tools
No. 1 Hitter
No. 1 Strike-Zone Judgment
No. 5 Defensive Outfielder
No. 5 Athlete

Martin began to realize his potential late in his sophomore year and took another leap forward through his first 16 games of 2020 before the season was halted. He hit .377 with six doubles, three home runs and a 10-to-2 walk-to-strikeout ratio that indicates why he is regarded as the best and most disciplined hitter in the college class. Some scouts go as high as 70 on Martin’s hit tool, while his athleticism could allow him to settle in at any number of positions, ranging from center field to third base to second base to possibly shortstop.

2. Mick Abel, RHP
Jesuit High, Portland, Ore.

High School Best Tools
No. 2 Fastball
No. 2 Breaking Pitch (slider)
No. 3 Changeup
No. 1 Control

Abel didn’t throw a pitch for his high school team this year before the season was canceled, but his offseason work to improve his physicality and repertoire bore fruit in bullpen sessions this spring. Last summer he showed a peak velocity of 97 mph while sitting in the low 90s. He flirted with 100 mph in offseason workouts and now has the second-best fastball in the high school class. Abel also throws an outstanding slider and changeup and has the best strike-throwing ability among high school pitching prospects this year. The most promising part of Abel’s future outlook is that his 6-foot-5, 198-pound frame suggests even more potential for growth.

3. Max Meyer, RHP


College Best Tools
No. 2 Fastball
No. 1 Breaking Pitch (slider)
No. 1 Athlete

With two pitches that grade as 70s on the 20-80 scouting scale and supreme athleticism, Meyer offers at least three attributes that clubs covet. Here’s another one: many high-level decision-makers saw him early this season. In his four starts this spring, Meyer compiled a 1.95 ERA with 46 strikeouts and eight walks through 27.2 innings. He spent the last two summers playing for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and moved into the Minnesota rotation full time this spring, just in time to become a top 10 overall pick.

4. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
Arizona State

College Best Tools
No. 2 Hitter
No. 1 Power
No. 3 Strike-Zone Judgment

Torkelson shattered Barry Bonds’ Arizona State freshman record for home runs in 2018 and, fittingly, received the Bonds treatment afterward. Opponents this spring intentionally walked Torkelson 15 times in 17 games. He drew 16 additional unintentional walks as he waited for a pitch he could damage—and inflict damage he did by hitting .340 with six homers. Torkelson’s impact offensive upside, highlighted by the potential for 80 power, pairs with his fine batting eye to make him the presumptive favorite to be drafted No. 1 overall.

5. Garrett Mitchell, OF

College Best Tools
No. 2 Speed
No. 1 Defensive Outfielder 
No. 3 Athlete

Mitchell is a scout’s dream. He’s a top-of-the-scale runner, elite athlete and potential Gold Glove center fielder with a plus arm. Mitchell shows huge power in batting practice but focuses on hitting line drives and ground balls in games to maximize his speed. Learning to tap into his power in pro ball—to keep pitchers and defenses honest—could make him a prototype leadoff candidate.

6. Jared Kelley, RHP
Refugio (Texas) High

High School Best Tools
No. 1 Fastball
No. 2 Changeup
No. 3 Control

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound high school senior already looks like a major league starting pitcher, and Kelley has a fastball to match. He reaches 99 mph with relative ease and repeats his mechanics so efficiently that scouts envision future plus fastball command. That can take a pitcher a long way, especially if he possesses a plus, diving changeup as Kelley does. In recent seasons, fastball/changeup-dominant pitchers such as Chris Paddack and Luis Castillo have shown that not all dominant righthanded starters require a plus breaking ball.

7. Austin Hendrick, OF
West Allegheny High, Imperial, Pa.

High School Best Tools
No. 2 Hitter
No. 1 Power
No. 5 Strike-Zone Judgment

Hendrick won the home run derby at the Under Armour High School All-American Game last summer at Wrigley Field, hitting a ball over the right field scoreboard that underscored his bat speed and incredible raw power. Though he faces questions about the swing-and-miss ability in his game, Hendrick has the highest offensive upside of any high school player in this year’s draft. He receives bonus points for having the type of coordination and coachability required to work through changes that would result from seeing a steady diet of pro pitchers after feasting on lower-grade Pennsylvania high school arms.

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8. Zac Veen, OF
Spruce Creek High, Port Orange, Fla.

High School Best Tools
No. 3 Hitter
No. 4 Power
No. 1 Strike-Zone Judgment

As is the case with Spencer Torkelson, Veen isn’t anybody’s idea of a five-tool prospect with an up-the-middle profile. But like Torkelson, Veen projects to dominate the two most important tools—hitting for average and hitting for power—while showing the discerning batting eye required to get the most out of his raw ability in the batter’s box. With a corner profile, developing plus hit and plus power will be essential for Veen.

9. Emerson Hancock, RHP

College Best Tools
No. 1 Changeup
No. 1 Control

Hancock entered the 2020 draft cycle as the No. 1 college pitching prospect. While he ceded that title to Texas A&M lefthander Asa Lacy, Hancock offers a wide array of tools and attributes that will result in him being drafted near the top of the board. Most impressive are his pinpoint control and plus, tumbling changeup. That Hancock is a model of mechanical efficiency, has an ideal starter’s frame and owns a wide repertoire of solid pitches only adds to his appeal.

10. Robert Hassell, OF
Independence High, Thompson’s Station, Tenn.

High School Best Tools
No. 1 Hitter
No. 2 Strike-Zone Judgment

Though Hassell faces questions about his projected power production and ability to stick in center field, he has the type of hitting track record and command of the strike zone to adjust seamlessly to pro ball. While his swing elicits comparisons with high first-round prep outfielders of years past, Hassell doesn’t have the same type of physical projectability in his frame. Still, many gifted natural hitters learn to add sock in pro ball as they mature.

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