I could get used to this. Day two of a normal MLB Draft concludes with the last pick of round 10, so ending at round five is so much more manageable. For as dramatic as Day 1 was, Day 2 was relatively quiet. Sure there were some reaches and other guys fell but nothing was so outlandish that it really needs to be singled out. In fact, it would be hard to be too outlandish in just 150 picks.
As I suspected, the draft was going to be dominated by college players. Of the 160 total picks, only 44 (or 28%) were prep players. Instead of going over every one of the 123 Day 2 picks, I’m going to summarize each round and then talk about a few teams that I like how they drafted, and a few teams I didn’t. You can read my thoughts on Day 1 here.
The second round began exactly how I thought/hoped it would, with the Tigers selecting catcher/utility Dillion Dingler. Clearly the best available player, Dingler has the defensive chops to play all over the diamond, including catcher where he has a plus arm. He’s also got plus power. The only question mark was his contact which seemed to make a turning point last summer. The Mariners seemingly made a reach pick with Texas A&M’s Zach DeLoach. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be around by the time they picked again, given his breakout in the Cape Cod League last summer and subsequent dominance in non-conference play before the cancellation of the NCAA season. DeLoach has plus power potential.
That sound you heard at pick 47 was Jared Kelley hitting the ground in Chicago after falling due to signability questions. If the Sox can work a miracle, he fits right in with the power-arm direction they are going. Kelley is an advanced prep arm for his age, featuring a plus changeup and good control. J.T. Ginn “fell” to the Mets and I like this pick for them, especially if they breeze him through the minors in 2021 and part of 2022 en route to bullpen position. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, his transition should go more smoothly — and the Mets could use the help in the pen.
the Blue Jays grabbed C.J. Van Eyk which is a steal at pick 42. The Florida State junior has as good of stuff as almost any pitcher in this draft. If the Blue Birds can help him with consistency, this will be one of the best picks in the draft. Finally, Cleveland doubled down on pitching in the first two rounds, nabbing Florida International lefty Logan Allen. He won’t blow you away (he sits 90) but his plus changeup and near plus curve — not to mention his plus control — make him an intriguing pick for the Indians, who have a history of getting the most out of their pitching prospects.
CB B and C
I’m going to lump the supplemental rounds B and C together as they amounted to just 12 picks and there really wasn’t much to note outside Daniel Cabrera falling to pick 62. Cabrera was maybe LSU’s best player. He has plus power potential and above-average speed. No one would be surprised if he was a top 100 prospect in two years. I also want to note that Miami picked it’s third of six pitchers in Kyle Nicolas. Pitching for Ball State, Nicolas improved each season. He’s got a 100-mph heater to go along with a plus slider. There is reliever risk here, but it’s worth the gamble at pick 61.
The C round lacked outstanding picks, although I do like Isaiah Greene to the Mets. A pop-up prep outfielder (if you can call someone a pop up, considering nobody has played meaningful baseball in three months), Greene’s speed and contact approach will play well as he adjusts to pro ball. On top of that, there is some room for power to develop.
Let’s get one thing straight: Baltimore reached on almost every pick they had. That said, I do like Anthony Servideo even in the third round. The Old Miss middle infielder made a swing change over the summer and the results speak for themselves: .390/.695/1.270 with five homers in 17 games against non-conference competition that included one game vs Reid Detmers. Obviously this is one pick everybody would like to see if he could keep up such high production. If he could, however, he’d be selected 50 picks higher.
The Padres made a splash snatching Cole Wilcox so low, but it’s likely that the Georgia sophomore will return to school. It’s always a risky proposition to wait a year, play college and improve your draft status to get a higher bonus, but with the possibility of losing more time to COVID in 2021, that must be a difficult decision to make. San Diego can also offer the fireballer more money for his bonus, having picked over-slot the previous two rounds.
The Phillies got great value picking Casey Martin at No. 87. Thought to be a fringe first-rounder, Martin is very fast with a lot of pop, but there is no nuance to his game. By that I mean he’s getting by on sheer physical talent. Time to refine skills. I don’t applaud the way the Red Sox have handled the draft, but I do like the Blaze Jordan pick at 89. I don’t know why he fell so far. He’s got as much power potential as anybody in the draft — he has been hitting 500 homers since he was 13. I doubt he doesn’t sign. After all, he reclassified to jump ahead one year early to the draft. The suddenly money-conscious Sox probably don’t have to pay him over slot to get him to sign. Smart move.
Rounds 4 and 5
Usually, we aren’t into throwaway picks this early, but since these are the final two picks of a catastrophically shortened draft during a year where baseball will lose money, I think teams went into money-saving mode. A.J. Vukovich to the Diamondbacks was a good match. A cold-weather corner infielder who might have the most power of any high schooler in the draft, Vukovich is likely to be a first baseman and will have to shorten up his swing, but there are obvious changes he can make early in his career to unlock his potential.
The Rays snatched Jeff Hakanson up at pick 155. A career reliever at Central Florida, Hakanson has come into his own in 2019 and 2020. Between the two years he recorded a 18+ K/9 and and 12 saves. Before the season was cancelled, the right-handed reliever was working on aK:BB ratio of 20:1. He’s got plus velocity and a very good slider to go with some wild movement in his delivery that makes the ball explode out of his hand. Hakanson could move quickly and be a potential high leverage arm out of the pen.
While we’re talking about relievers, the Cubs grabbed Luke Little at 117. His surname is pure irony, as Little stands 6-8 and 220 pounds at 19 years old. A pitcher this big generally gets extra extension playing up their fastball, but Little doesn’t need that. Last summer the lefty touched 105. Playing for San Jacinto College North, Little was a starter, which is not likely to continue in pro ball. He’s very wild right now and will need to shorten his exposure to be successful against tougher competition.
Who I Liked
There were a number of teams who I liked their drafts (Indians/Yankees/Mets/Padres/Mariners/Rays/Blue Jays), consisting of two or three targets I was high on but for the most part, there were just two teams that really stuck out.
Getting by far the best player in the draft is obviously a good start to being on this shortlist. Spencer Torkelson is the best power hitting talent we’ve seen in the draft since Kris Bryant. That said, the Tigers went with all hitters to supplement their deep pitching already in the minors. They went 4-for-6 as far as I’m concerned, with their first three picks (Tork, Dingler, Cabrera). All three have high upsides, power potential, and spread around the field. Detroit went for the best player available in each of those three picks. I also like their Gage Workman selection in the fourth (pick 102). There is a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, but the Arizona State third baseman has power. Trei Cruz (son of former major leaguer Jose Cruz, Jr.) is also a decent third-round pick, but there were other names I’d rather see go first, namely Blaze Jordan.
The Brewers could have shut their laptops as soon as the third round was over and been winners. They grabbed three of my favorite, high ceiling hitters: Garrett Mitchell, Freddy Zamora, and Zavier Warren. The uber-talented Mitchell has the kind of all-around tools that could blossom with professional coaching and development. Freddy Zamora is an up-and-coming shortstop who broke out last summer offensively while having a strong glove, and my favorite pick: Warren. This kid can do it all — even play catcher. A patient, switch-hitting gap hitter, Warren can literally field anywhere on the diamond. The power is middling right now but there could be more. Even though he’s doesn’t have plus speed, he will steal bases thanks to his instincts.