Early 2020 Draft Preview: Top 10 High School Prospects
Now that the 2019 draft is in the books, we turn our attention to the class of 2020 and the top high school talent that will be available.
A lot can change in a year—especially for rising high school seniors—and so much will depend on how these prep prospects fare on the summer showcase circuit in front of scouting directors and next year when they are under the draft microscope.
1. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
Harvard-Westlake HS, Los Angeles
Crow-Armstrong ranks No. 1 on the high school side and is the top name in what is expected to be a deep Southern California crop. He is a polished lefthanded hitter who has some of the best feel for the barrel in the class, to go along with plus running ability, plus defense in center field and plus arm strength. The one tool that’s not currently a plus offering is power, so scouts will be interested to see how much impact the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Crow-Armstrong displays. He is committed to Vanderbilt.
2. Dylan Crews, OF
Lake Mary (Fla.) HS
An underclassman on USA Baseball’s 18U National Team in 2018, Crews stands out for his hitting ability and power potential from the right side. He consistently makes loud contact and has barreled elite pitchers, including many who are older. He should be one of the best overall bats in the 2020 draft class. A 6-foot, 185-pound Louisiana State commit, Crews posted plus running times in the 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase early this summer and also showed off impressive arm strength with a 92 mph throw from the outfield.
3. Jared Kelley, RHP
Refugio (Texas) HS
Kelley is one of the premier power arms in the 2020 class. He stands in at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and throws a fastball that routinely touches the upper 90s. At the Perfect Game National Showcase, Kelley threw the hardest fastball of the first day of the event, touching 98 mph and also showed two promising secondaries with an upper-70s breaking ball and changeup. His fastball has sat in the mid-90s during shorter outings and features impressive running life. A Texas commit, Kelley doesn’t show much effort in his delivery despite one of the better fastballs in the class.
4. Mick Abel, RHP
Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore.
There hasn’t been a first-round prep pitcher out of Oregon since Matt Smith in 1994, but Abel will have a chance to become the second. An ultra-projectable 6-foot-5, 185-pound righthander with plenty of more room left to fill out, Abel has a fastball that has steadily climbed over the past few seasons. It now settles in the mid-90s and has touched 97 mph at PG National. Abel also has a firm mid-80s slider that could be a plus offering and shows some feel for a changeup, though there’s some length to his arm stroke. Abel is an Oregon State commit.
5. Austin Hendrick, OF
West Allegheny HS, Imperial, Pa.
Hendrick will rival Crews and Crow-Armstrong in what is shaping up to be a strong high school outfield class. He brings impressive bat speed and power potential from the left side. Hendrick has plus raw power, though it comes from an unconventional setup that includes a few timing mechanisms in a late toe tap as well as a slight hitch and hand drop during his load. Hendrick has the pure hand speed to consistently time velocity and was responsible for one of the hardest-hit balls—105 mph—at PG National. Hendrick is a Mississippi State commit.
6. Jared Jones, RHP/OF
La Mirada (Calif.) HS
The top two-way player in the class, Jones is an exceptional athlete who shines on the mound, at the plate and in center field, where he’s capable of highlight-reel plays. He has standout arm strength and gets his fastball into the mid-to-upper 90s and also has a sharp, late-biting slider that looks like a plus pitch when he’s locating. Jones has a tendency to scatter the strike zone, and there’s some effort in his delivery. While his upside might be higher on the mound, Jones is also a legitimate pro prospect as a righthanded hitter who also is a plus runner.
7. Timmy Manning, LHP
Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale
A 6-foot-2, 175-pound lefthander committed to Florida, Manning is polished with excellent arm speed and plenty of projection, but doesn’t have the biggest present stuff. He was one of three underclass pitchers to join USA Baseball’s 18U National Team last fall and has a fastball that gets into the low 90s, feel for a changeup and a sharp, three-quarters breaking ball that flashes depth and bite. Manning has a clean arm action and does a nice job with his lower half. He should see more stuff come between now and next June.
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8. Drew Romo, C
The Woodlands (Texas) HS
Romo impressed Team USA coaches so much with his work behind the plate in 2018 that he was named the 18U National Team’s starting catcher last fall as an underclassman. A switch-hitter, he started eight games while hitting .458/.618/.708 with nine walks and four strikeouts. Romo has offensive upside, but his calling card is his glove. He’s a polished receiver and blocker with a quick transfer and clean arm action in addition to plus arm strength. The Louisiana State commit is clearly the top backstop in the high school class.
9. Blaze Jordan, 1B
Southaven (Miss.) HS
Jordan was originally a member of the 2021 draft class, but he reclassified to become a young member of the 2020 class. He will be 17 and a half on draft day, which will appeal to scouting models, but Jordan’s standout tool isn’t his youth—it’s his massive raw power and feel for hitting. He became famous as a freshman in scouting circles after homering at a prolific rate during travel ball tournaments against older competition, and he has dramatically improved his body over the past year. His combination of youth and offensive firepower will be enticing.
10. Yohandy Morales, SS
Braddock HS, Miami
Morales is a physically imposing shortstop, listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds with big power potential from the right side. A Miami commit, Morales stood out as an underclassman last fall at Perfect Game’s Jupiter tournament with his defensive actions at shortstop and his ability to drive a 93 mph fastball from 2019 first-rounder Brennan Malone for a long triple. Morales has plenty of arm strength for shortstop, but he carries some risk to move to third base given his present size, and he will need to cut down some of the swing-and-miss in his game. n