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We’ll need a few years to see how every team did in the 2020 draft, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own opinions on how each team’s draft classes look right now. After taking a look at five draft classes we were excited about last week, today we look at three that have us a bit more puzzled.
Players are listed with BA 500 ranks in parentheses, where applicable.
There is no question the Rangers had the most unconventional draft of 2020. Foscue was seen as a reach for pick 14, but he was one of the better college middle infielders in the class.
The draft got much weirder after that. The Rangers are much higher on Carter than most teams. Others saw him as a young, projectable outfielder but one with enough swing and miss that they would have let him go to Duke to prove he can hit college pitching (he hit .324 in his junior year of high school). MacLean has plenty of command and projectability and had shown an uptick in his velocity in workouts this spring, but he sat in the mid-80s last summer.
The Rangers four prep picks are all players who they believe would have broken out if there had been a normal spring high school season. But taking four high-risk, non-consensus high school players in a five-player draft is risky for any team, especially one that has had a spotty track record in the draft.
After losing their second-round pick due to sign-stealing penalties, the Red Sox could have opted to play things safe. That’s certainly not the strategy the team employed. Boston gave us the surprise of the first round by jumping on high school 2B Nick Yorke, and took another risky demographic in 3B Blaze Jordan at pick 89.
This could pay off in a big way for the Red Sox, because both Yorke and Jordan have been highly acclaimed for their hit and power tools, respectively, but both players carry significant risk. With their two final selections, the Red Sox opted for two college lefthanders with some upside, but both come with reliever risk.
The success or failure of the Red Sox draft will likely be pinned on how Yorke pans out, as many consider him a bit of a reach. If he hits, the scouting department will look great. If he doesn’t, well, Boston passed up many talents at No. 17 who we ranked significantly higher.
There was chatter leading up to the draft that the Orioles would be willing to pass on the No. 2 player in the draft, Austin Martin, in order to get an under-slot deal and spread pool money around for later picks.
That’s exactly what the Orioles did by selecting OF Heston Kjerstad with the second pick. While Kjerstad is an accomplished hitter, he ranked No. 13 on the BA 500 and presumably will come significantly cheaper than the $7,789,900 slot value. However, we expected the Orioles could get more aggressive with their second-round pick considering some of the talent still on the board when Baltimore picked at No. 39. Pitchers like Cole Wilcox, Jared Kelley, Chris McMahon, Dax Fulton, Jared Jones and JT Ginn were on the board, but Baltimore kept up the theme of going heavy on hitters that has characterized its last two drafts.
A lot of the Orioles pool money instead is heading towards two upside prep picks in the fourth and fifth round. Coby Mayo has big power potential and a massive arm at third base, while Baumler is a classic, projection-type righthander with a clean delivery and arm action. The Orioles got solid talents at every pick, but they’ll always be remembered for passing up Martin. How that decision plays out will determine how this draft class looks in five years.