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Baseball America 2020 MLB Staff Draft

Image credit: Spencer Torkelson (Photo Courtesy of USA Baseball)

Yet again, we’re putting Baseball America staffers in MLB war rooms.

We’ve spent the last year digging in on this year’s draft class. And with the draft just days away, we wanted to see how the first two rounds would play out if our staff made the picks.

Below you’ll see the results of our two-round staff draft. Keep in mind this is not a mock draft — we aren’t predicting what teams will do — but rather an experiment of how we would make picks if acting as decision-makers for various teams.

Carlos Collazo, J.J. Cooper, Ben Badler, Teddy Cahill, Josh Norris, Mark Chiarelli and Chris Trenkle participated.

You can see the team-by-team results below, followed by our pick-by-pick rationale below.

First, here are the team-by- team results. Scroll past the table to find our pick-by-pick rationale.

Round Pick Team Slot Writer Player BA 500 Rank
1 10 Angels $4,739,900 Josh Norris Max Meyer 10
1 26 Athletics $2,653,400 Mark Chiarelli Jordan Walker 34
2 58 Athletics $1,214,300 Mark Chiarelli Jeff Criswell 53
1 5 Blue Jays $6,180,700 Mark Chiarelli Zac Veen 7
2 42 Blue Jays $1,771,100 Mark Chiarelli Bobby Miller 28
1 25 Braves $2,740,300 Teddy Cahill Cole Wilcox 24
1 20 Brewers $3,242,900 Ben Badler Ed Howard 20
2 53 Brewers $1,370,400 Ben Badler Alex Santos 45
1 21 Cardinals $3,132,300 Chris Trenkle Tanner Burns 26
2 54 Cardinals $1,338,500 Chris Trenkle CJ Van Eyk 46
1 16 Cubs $3,745,500 Carlos Collazo Patrick Bailey 14
2 51 Cubs $1,436,900 Carlos Collazo Jared Shuster 43
1 18 D-Backs $3,481,300 Teddy Cahill JT Ginn 23
1S 33 D-Backs $2,202,200 Teddy Cahill Justin Foscue 36
1 29 Dodgers $2,424,600 JJ Cooper Nick Loftin 29
2 60 Dodgers $1,157,400 JJ Cooper Christian Roa 64
1 13 Giants $4,197,300 Ben Badler Robert Hassell 16
2 49 Giants $1,507,600 Ben Badler Petey Halpin 82
1 23 Indians $2,926,800 Carlos Collazo Tyler Soderstrom 18
2 56 Indians $1,276,400 Carlos Collazo Justin Lange 50
1S 36 Indians $2,045,400 Carlos Collazo Chris McMahon 30
1 6 Mariners $5,742,900 Ben Badler Nick Gonzales 5
2 43 Mariners $1,729,800 Ben Badler David Calabrese 67
1 3 Marlins $7,221,200 Josh Norris Asa Lacy 3
2 40 Marlins $1,856,700 Josh Norris Drew Romo 39
1 19 Mets $3,359,000 Mark Chiarelli Cade Cavalli 22
2 52 Mets $1,403,200 Mark Chiarelli Freddy Zamora 73
1 22 Nationals $3,027,000 JJ Cooper Dillon Dingler 27
2 55 Nationals $1,307,000 JJ Cooper Clayton Beeter 58
1 2 Orioles $7,789,900 Carlos Collazo Austin Martin 2
2 39 Orioles $1,906,800 Carlos Collazo Kevin Parada 48
1S 30 Orioles $2,365,500 Carlos Collazo Aaron Sabato 35
1 8 Padres $5,176,900 JJ Cooper Austin Hendrick 9
2 45 Padres $1,650,200 JJ Cooper Jared Jones 41
1S 34 Padres $2,148,100 JJ Cooper Bryce Jarvis 37
1 15 Phillies $3,885,800 JJ Cooper Mick Abel 11
1 7 Pirates $5,432,400 Chris Trenkle Reid Detmers 8
2 44 Pirates $1,689,500 Chris Trenkle Daniel Cabrera 42
1S 31 Pirates $2,312,000 Chris Trenkle Carmen Mlodzinski 25
1 14 Rangers $4,036,800 Chris Trenkle Jared Kelley 12
2 50 Rangers $1,469,900 Chris Trenkle Cade Horton 65
1 24 Rays $2,831,300 Josh Norris Casey Martin 38
2 57 Rays $1,243,600 Josh Norris Carson Montgomery 40
1S 37 Rays $1,999,300 Josh Norris Isaiah Greene 49
1 17 Red Sox $3,609,700 Josh Norris Garrett Crochet 15
1 12 Reds $4,366,400 Mark Chiarelli Heston Kjerstad 13
2 48 Reds $1,543,600 Mark Chiarelli Chase Davis 55
1 9 Rockies $4,949,100 Carlos Collazo Garrett Mitchell 6
2 46 Rockies $1,617,400 Carlos Collazo Jordan Westburg 33
1S 35 Rockies $2,095,800 Carlos Collazo Slade Cecconi 32
1 4 Royals $6,664,000 Teddy Cahill Emerson Hancock 4
2 41 Royals $1,813,500 Teddy Cahill Masyn Winn 47
1S 32 Royals $2,257,300 Teddy Cahill Alika Williams 31
1 1 Tigers $8,415,300 JJ Cooper Spencer Torkelson 1
2 38 Tigers $1,952,300 JJ Cooper Cole Henry 44
1 27 Twins $2,570,100 Ben Badler Nick Bitsko 19
2 59 Twins $1,185,500 Ben Badler Jimmy Glowenke 110
1 11 White Sox $4,547,500 Teddy Cahill Pete Crow-Armstrong 17
2 47 White Sox $1,580,200 Teddy Cahill Gage Workman 51
1 28 Yankees $2,493,900 Chris Trenkle Austin Wells 21

1. Tigers
Player: Spencer Torkelson
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: I did think about Asa Lacy here, but Torklelson is the best, most productive power hitter to come out of college since Kris Bryant.

2. Orioles
Player: Austin Martin
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I figured JJ would take Tork and I’m thrilled to get Martin here. I would probably take him 1-1 if I was in that spot. I love his pure hitting ability and I’m confident he’ll add defensive and base running value as well. Adley Rutschman and Austin Martin is a pretty exciting 1-2 prospect punch.

3. Marlins
Player: Asa Lacy
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: Lacy appears to be the consensus best pitcher available and the top-ranked player on the board, so this was a pretty easy choice.

4. Royals
Player: Emerson Hancock
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: There are some good bats on the board—Zac Veen and Nick Gonzales especially—but Hancock has premium talent and fits right in with the impressive pitching the Royals have stockpiled.

5. Blue Jays
Player: Zac Veen
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: The Blue Jays have mostly been linked to college names so far, but Veen’s bat and potential are too good to pass up.

6. Mariners
Player: Nick Gonzales
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: The swing, the power, the plate discipline, the performance record—there’s a lot to love with Nick Gonzales.

7. Pirates
Player: Reid Detmers
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Not only do the Pirates not have a lefthander in their Top 30 Prospects, but Steven Brault was the only lefty to make more than 10 starts last year for them. The Pirates get a lock to be an effective major league starter in Detmers.

8. Padres
Player: Austin Hendrick
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: This is a staff draft, not a mock draft. While I don’t expect Hendrick to go here, I do think he fits in this range as one of the best prep bats in the class.

9. Rockies
Player: Garrett Mitchell
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: Again, I figured JJ wouldn’t take my guy right in front of me, and that’s Mitchell. I am probably one of the highest people on Mitchell in the industry, but just imagine how his speed could play in Coors Field. If he starts tapping into his power as well, he’s going to be a star. I’m all in on the tools.

10. Angels
Player: Max Meyer
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: Meyer is athletic, college-seasoned and has the best slider in the class. I’m putting him on the fast track to Los Angeles.

11. White Sox
Player: Pete Crow-Armstrong
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: I considered Jared Kelley here, but Pete Crow-Armstrong can do so many things, so well on the diamond. Sign me up.

12. Reds
Player: Heston Kjerstad
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: Torn between Kjerstad or a college arm, I’ll go with Kjerstad’s track record and mighty power.

13. Giants
Player: Robert Hassell
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: Scouts voted Hassell the best pure hitter in the high school class. The track record of those players is strong, and I love the smoothness and hitterish qualities Hassell brings in the box.

14. Rangers
Player: Jared Kelley
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: The Rangers do not have a legitimate top pitching prospect. Kelley gives them that, and should make it to the big leagues before any other prep pitcher in this year’s class.

15. Phillies
Player: Mick Abel
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Picking a prep RHP at the top of the first round has not had a great track record over the past 15 years. Taking the best prep pitcher in the class at pick 15 is getting value, as you’re now comparing him to the fifth best college pitcher in the class, the fifth best prep bat and the sixth best college bat.

16. Cubs
Player: Patrick Bailey
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: Well, it was finally time for JJ to pick my pocket. I figured a run on some of these preps were coming and was hoping to get either Hassell or Abel in this spot. Both were gone, so I’m going for the best player available in Patrick Bailey, who I think is still a terrific value at 16.

17. Red Sox
Player: Garrett Crochet
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: I’ll keep my run of high-end college arms going and take a lefthander with arguably the nastiest stuff in the draft.

18. D-Backs
Player: JT Ginn
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: Ginn was sidelined by Tommy John surgery, but when he’s healthy, he’s electric. I’ll happily take one of the biggest arms in the draft.

19. Mets
Player: Cade Cavalli
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: Amazingly, Teddy scoops Ginn one slot ahead of me. So with the chance to roll the dice, a la Brodie Van Wagenen, gone, I’ll settle for our top-ranked college arm in Cavalli, who has a fastball and a body you can dream on.

20. Brewers
Player: Ed Howard
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: I love getting the best high school shortstop in the class this late in the first round. I’m a big fan of Howard’s actions on both sides of the ball.

21. Cardinals
Player: Tanner Burns
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: You know what you’re getting with Tanner Burns. He should be able to help the Cardinals pitching staff quickly as an anchor at the back of the rotation to improve a team that reached the NLCS in 2019.

22. Nationals
Player: Dillon Dingler
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Dingler is one of the fast-risers of the shortened draft season. If we had held this staff draft in January, he wouldn’t be a consideration. If there had been a full 2020 season, he may not have been available at 22.

23. Indians
Player: Tyler Soderstrom
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: This is reminiscent of the Indians’ Bo Naylor selection a few years ago. When I saw the run on a few arms in front of this pick I was happy to take one of Dingler, Austin Wells or Soderstrom if they got to me. Even if Soderstrom doesn’t catch, his lefthanded bat and power potential are exciting.

24. Rays
Player: Casey Martin
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: I’m ending my run of college arms by taking one of the toolsiest players available in the college ranks. Is it risky? Yes. But the upside is tremendous.

25. Braves
Player: Cole Wilcox
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: Let’s stay local for the Braves, just like the good ol’ days. Wilcox has a premium fastball and started strong this spring. And I like getting the chance to pick both of Georgia’s twin aces.

26. Athletics
Player: Jordan Walker
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: He may be a tough sign for the real-life A’s, but I love the power and wouldn’t see Oakland deterred by potential hit tool questions.

27. Twins
Player: Nick Bitsko
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: I’m not crazy about taking a high school righthander in the top 30 picks, but Bitsko has too much value here for me to pass up.

28. Yankees
Player: Austin Wells
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Wells was picked by the Yankees out of high school and I have them picking him again here. He may not be a catcher, but his power will certainly play in Yankee Stadium.

29. Dodgers
Player: Nick Loftin
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Loftin does a lot of things well. Putting him in the hands of Dodgers’ outstanding player development staff makes me like this pick even more.


30. Orioles
Player: Aaron Sabato
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: There are a lot of arms to choose from here, but I love the idea of loading up on bats for the Orioles. Sabato is a Spencer Torkelson lite in some ways and I already got Austin Martin. He has massive power and he’s shown the ability to walk at a good clip as well, which I like. I could care less about the defense here. Give me a masher.

31. Pirates
Player: Carmen Mlodzinski
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: I will take Mlodzinski’s upside here and pair him with Detmers to give the Pirates two impressive arms.

32. Royals
Player: Alika Williams
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: Williams is one of my favorite players in the draft class to watch. I just can’t get enough of the effortless way he plays shortstop.

33. D-Backs
Player: Justin Foscue
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: It’s one-stop shopping in Starkville for the D-backs. After taking JT Ginn, we’re coming back for Foscue, whose all-around hitting ability stands out

34. Padres
Player: Bryce Jarvis
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: I didn’t expect Jarvis to last til this pick. He’s a very good fit for a quickly improving Padres team.

35. Rockies
Player: Slade Cecconi
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I figured I would have some good arms to pick from with my second pick for the Rockies and I was right. I debated both of the Miami arms here but liked Cecconi’s upside a tick more than Chris McMahon, who I would also be happy with.

36. Indians
Player: Chris McMahon
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I debated all the arms remaining on the board, including Bobby Miller, Jared Shuster and a few prep pitchers, along with the toolsy and athletic Jordan Westburg. In the end I like McMahon’s all-around repertoire, strikethrowing and collegiate track record.

37. Rays
Player: Isaiah Greene
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: There are a lot of interesting options still on the board, but Greene’s smooth lefty swing was too tempting to pass up.

38. Tigers
Player: Cole Henry
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Picking at the top of the second round, give me a college pitcher with a fastball that misses bats. Considering the injury histories, I might take Henry over JT Ginn, who went 22 spots earlier.

39. Orioles
Player: Kevin Parada
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I’m continuing to load up on bats for Baltimore. I thought about Daniel Cabrera, but I like Parada’s offensive upside a tick more. His hit tool is one of the most exciting for me in the entire class. If you’ve been following me at all, you knew I wasn’t going to let someone else take Parada.

40. Marlins
Player: Drew Romo
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: Getting Romo here will add an elite defender to the system and eventually give Miami’s stable of excellent pitching prospects a fantastic batterymate.

41. Royals
Player: Masyn Winn
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: With Hancock and Williams already in the fold for the Royals, it’s time to take a swing. Winn is undersized, but has serious two-way ability.

42. Blue Jays
Player: Bobby Miller
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: I’m surprised Miller is still here at 42. After passing on a college arm at No. 5, we snag one in Miller, who has an enticing fastball/slider combo and is great value at this spot.

43. Mariners
Player: David Calabrese
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: Premium athlete, premium position and I liked what I saw last summer from his lefthanded hitting ability, especially for someone who’s still 17 on draft day.

44. Pirates
Player: Daniel Cabrera
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Cabrera can flat out hit as he showed in all three seasons at LSU. Despite not putting up great numbers in the Cape Cod League, he was much better there last summer and I expect him to keep hitting with a wood bat at the next level.

45. Padres
Player: Jared Jones
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Jones is one of those two-way high school stars who impresses both with his tools and also with his understanding of the game and ability to rise to the occasion.

46. Rockies
Player: Jordan Westburg
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I thought about Westburg 10 picks in front of this spot and I’m a bit surprised he’s available. I would have liked another arm for Colorado, but this is what the board is for. Westburg is clearly the top player available at this spot, so I’m not going to overthink anything.

47. White Sox
Player: Gage Workman
Writer: Teddy Cahill

Rationale: An impressive athlete who can play either position on the left side of the infield who is just coming into his own as a hitter. I’m liking the upside here.

48. Reds
Player: Chase Davis
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: Yes, we took Heston Kjerstad in round one, but I’m betting the Reds like the physicality and upside of Davis here.

49. Giants
Player: Petey Halpin
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: Blaze Jordan was on my mind here, but I’m not sure if he’s going to be signable at this price; I could see him going to Mississippi State and turning into what Spencer Torkelson is now. Instead I’ll go with Halpin, one of the more well-rounded players in the class who impressed me with his all-fields hitting ability and chance to stick in center field.

50. Rangers
Player: Cade Horton
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Horton has great athleticism and if he focuses on baseball, he could develop as a dangerous hitter.

51. Cubs
Player: Jared Shuster
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I love all the progress Shuster has made over the past year. The fastball velocity is up, the strikes are better, and he’s always had a legit changeup. A college lefthander who touches 96-97 with starter traits and a developing slider? At 51? Sign me up.

52. Mets
Player: Freddy Zamora
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: Zamora had the feel of a guy who could play his way up the board before suffering a season-ending knee injury. I’ll gamble a bit here and bet on the value.

53. Brewers
Player: Alex Santos
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: This is a sweet spot for a lot of high school pitching I like on the board. Markevian Hence, Alejandro Rosario, Victor Mederos… I’d be happy with any of them. But I’m going with Santos, who didn’t pitch this spring due to the pandemic, but has good stuff a ton of positive projection indicators going for him.

54. Cardinals
Player: CJ Van Eyk
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: I’ll take Van Eyk and his ability to help the Cardinals as either a long reliever or spot starter in a short time.

55. Nationals
Player: Clayton Beeter
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: I don’t think Beeter will last this long in the actual draft. He rose quickly up draft boards with an excellent start to the spring.

56. Indians
Player: Justin Lange
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: There’s a really exciting group of preps to choose from here for the Tribe, including arms like Lange, Carson Montgomery, Ty Floyd, Victor Mederos, Alejandro Rosario and Hunter Barnhart. In the end, Lange’s massive fastball velocity and exceptional athleticism make him the pick. I trust Cleveland’s pitching development to iron him out.

57. Rays
Player: Carson Montgomery
Writer: Josh Norris

Rationale: Montgomery has two excellent pitches in his fastball and slider and gets hitters to swing and miss quite frequently. I like the upside.

58. Athletics
Player: Jeff Criswell
Writer: Mark Chiarelli

Rationale: The A’s haven’t taken a non-four-year player in the second round since 2010 (Yordy Cabrera), so who am I to rock the boat? Oakland gets the track record and experience it seems to covet in this area in Criswell, who, not unlike some other arms they’ve drafted in recent years, comes with some reliever risk.

59. Twins
Player: Jimmy Glowenke
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: There’s more high school pitching that I like here, but after taking some risk in that demographic earlier with Nick Bitsko, I’m going to balance the Twins class with a college bat, perhaps one I can save some slot money on to either pay Bitsko at 27 or get another high school arm for over slot with a later pick. Glowenke’s tools don’t jump out, but I like the swing, hitting ability and on-base skills.

60. Dodgers
Player: Christian Roa
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: I guess I am swayed by players who performed well this spring, as that seems to be a running theme with my picks. Roa looked really good in his best starts before the shutdown.

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