With the 2020 MLB Draft on the horizon, our extensive draft coverage here at RotoFanatic continues. We kicked off our evaluations of this year’s draft-eligible prospects by diving into a deep catcher crop and our assessments continue today with an in-depth look at the corner infielders whose names could be called come draft day.
This is a somewhat talented group headlined by the top prospect in the entire class, Spencer Torkelson. He’s clearly on a tier of his own, but following him on this list are a number of high-upside power threats and some unique athletes, too.
Each of these blurbs was evenly written by both of our draft analysts: Diego Solares and Joe Doyle. After several hours of churning through video and information, these are the consensus rankings agreed upon by our staff. Without further delay, let’s get into it:
1. 1B Spencer Torkelson, 20 years old, Arizona State
Torkelson represents one of the highest floors of any slugger to come through the draft in a few years. At 6-foot-1, ‘Tork’ is an inch taller than 2019 draftee Andrew Vaughn who carried a similar profile. Both have beautifully sound swings, though the Arizona State product has a much more compact cut. Torkelson is also a better athlete than Vaughn. While the floor is high, the ceiling is just as tantalizing. Torkelson has an easy 60 hit tool, quite possibly more. He also owns a comfortable 60 power, that too may reach 70 when all is said and done. At the end of the day, you’re looking at a guy who should have no problem hitting .280 at the big league level with 30+ home runs. Again, he may eclipse both of those figures. On the diamond, he’s an average defender with good athleticism for the position. He probably has the ability to shift to third base or left field, but why expose his profile to defensive warts? Torkelson has every chance to be one of the best first basemen in the game.
Where are our Tigers fans at dreaming of Spencer Torkelson’s swing one day finding a home in the middle of Detroit’s lineup?
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 20, 2020
2. 3B Jordan Walker, 18 years old, Decatur HS (GA)
The top third baseman in this class, Walker is a physical specimen standing at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. He’s an impressive athlete, moving well for his size and showing a strong control for his body. The clear appeal with Walker is the jaw-dropping power potential that could come once he’s fully matured in a few years. There’s going to be unavoidable swing-and-miss issues because of his long levers, but Walker does have feel to hit with at least an average hit tool to pair alongside his massive raw power. Despite the arm strength to stick at third base moving forward, Walker’s pure size alone makes a transition to either first base or the outfield inevitable. Touted by evaluators as a smart kid with high academic pedigree, Walker is expected to be a tough sign out of Duke. Look for a team that chooses to under slot their first pick to take a chance with him either in the competitive balance round or later in the draft. If he makes it to that highly analytical Duke program, Walker could end up being a monster come the 2023 MLB Draft. Going to the right professional team, however, may unlock a new element to Walker’s game and turn him into an absolute menace.
3. 3B Gage Workman, 20 years old, Arizona State
In selecting Workman, you’re buying high on potential. A switch-hitter, Workman’s bat is still a work in progress. There’s easy 60 raw power in the tank, though he’s had a difficult time getting to it in-game. The approach at the plate needs some work as strikeouts and weak ground balls have been too prevalent. As it stands, he projects as a fringe-average hitter with solid-to-average power. Again, he could surpass both of those marks. A supreme athlete, Workman could play a passable shortstop with his soft hands, solid range, and a plus arm. At 6-foot-3, Workman is built exactly how scouts want to see them. There’s a ton of projectability in his profile and if given plenty of time to develop, three or four years, he could legitimately turn into one of the best third basemen in baseball. The bat will ultimately dictate how high his profile can ascend.
4. 3B Justin Foscue, 21 years old, Mississippi State
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a prospect out of the first round with a safer floor than Foscue. A highly decorated college career that included All-American honors and complete dominance of the SEC, Foscue boasts an impressive hit tool. He makes contact at a steady rate and doesn’t strike out much, a skill that’ll certainly bode well in his favor moving forward. There’s natural pull-side power in his strong 6-foot frame and it’s not hard to see a scenario where he hits 15-20 home runs on an annual basis. He’s an experienced second baseman with an average glove that may ultimately play better at third base, which is where we project him to play at the next level. Foscue is a high- floor, low-ceiling prospect that could be one of the first players to make his major league debut from this class.
5. 1B Aaron Sabato, 21 years old, North Carolina
Sabato has all the makings of one of the better sluggers in pro ball. Frankly, Pete Alonso probably opened the door to his stock surging in 2020. Sabato is a boom or bust bat that has a track record all too similar to his predecessor. Sabato has a longer track record of power than Alonso did, but Alonso also struck out a little less during his days at Florida. At the end of the day, Sabato will have to write his own script. As it stands, the Tar Heel projects a fringe-average hitter with plus-plus power. He has no problem getting to it in-game. Sabato should easily eclipse 30 home runs per year should he get the at-bats to do it. Sabato crushes mistake pitches but can struggle with breaking balls away. He’s a well-below average defender and a 30 runner as well. There’s no doubt he’s a first baseman and likely a designated hitter if the National League adopts the position in the coming years.
Aaron Sabato has some of the biggest raw power in the 2020 draft class.
It even rivals Spencer Torkelson’s.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 12, 2020
6. 3B Cayden Wallace, 18 years old, Greenbrier HS (AK)
The top prep prospect out of Arkansas in this class, Wallace has slowly crept up our composite rankings as the draft approaches. He truly balled out at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Arizona last June, where he posted borderline elite exit velocities for his age with a wood bat. It’s a short and simple swing with easy bat speed that helps him drive the ball to all fields. There’s 60-grade power potential in Wallace and the ball just sounds different off his bat when he finds the barrel. His hit tool will likely never be anything more than average, which could hinder Wallace’s production, but he makes enough contact to still be a threat at the plate. Defensively, Wallace has a true 60-grade arm across the diamond and has even been up to 93 mph on the bump. He’ll likely stick at third base in the future with an average glove that is capable of holding its own. Luring a hometown kid away from a hometown commitment is never an easy task, so it’s possible we see Wallace make it to Arkansas in the fall. If a team matches his price, however, they’ll be taking on a raw prep prospect with a high offensive ceiling.
7. 3B Tanner Witt, 18 years old, Escopisco HS (TX)
The biggest question surrounding Witt is whether or not he’ll actually play third base at all. A force on the mound, Witt already has 95 in the tank with his fastball. The heater pairs well with a hammer curveball that projects 60. It’s been clocked consistently in the 2800 RPM range… damn near elite. At 6-foot-6, Witt is a tall, imposing force on the bump with a clean, easy delivery. Many scouts think he’ll be a free and easy 94-96 at his peak. That being said, at the plate, Witt has huge pull-side power from the right side. It’s definitely more power than hit right now. He’s athletic enough to stick at the hot corner, but whether or not he’ll hit enough to be a big-league regular remains in question. As it stands, he’s probably a below-average hitter with plus power and fringe-average actions at third base. There are certainly teams that may try him as a two-way player, but from this chair, his future home may be on the mound.
8. 3B/RHP Casey Schmitt, 21 years old, San Diego State
This year’s top two-way talent, Schmitt has a legitimate chance to do both for at least the first few seasons of his professional career. He’s a polished bat that can hit for both average and contact, driving the ball with authority when he finds the barrel. Schmitt should hit for more home run power than he does, especially given the all-around strength in his frame, but he was slowly starting to tap into that right before the season-ending cancellation. Tapping into that plus raw power that we all know is there would put Schmitt on another level in terms of pure polished bats from this class. Schmitt has all the actions of an above-average third baseman. His feet field in rhythm and his silky smooth hands do an excellent job of corralling the baseball. Like the aforementioned Wallace, Schmitt also owns a true 60-grade arm with borderline elite velocities across the diamond from the hot corner. An injury-free track and the right organization could develop him into an absolute masher.
If Schmitt flails out offensively he’ll be able to continue his professional career on the mound. He controls a low-to-mid-90s fastball that jumps out of his hand and works comfortably up in the zone. His go-to out pitch is a splitter with natural downward tumble and he’ll mix in a simple breaking ball with gradual depth. Schmitt’s arsenal isn’t overpowering, but it resembles that of current Padres’ closer, Kirby Yates, because of its effectiveness. He mixes speeds effectively and tunnels his fastball/splitter combo efficiently, making him a tough at-bat for any opponent. Schmitt is a unique talent that will be drafted somewhere between rounds two and four come June 11th.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) February 19, 2020
9. 1B Tyler Keenan, 21 years old, Ole Miss
At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Keenan is a big-bodied third baseman with the accompanying power you’d expect from a player of his size. Scouts are pretty sure he’ll move off third base in pro ball and over to first base. Defensively, he profiles as one might expect. He has soft hands and receives the ball very well, though his lateral ability is limited. The arm is fringe-average to maybe average with consistency being the biggest piece in question. Keenan has a sound approach at the plate, limiting strikeouts. He has shown an ability to drive the ball to all fields and hit for plenty of power while he does it. He likely projects as an average hitter with above-average game power. Like Sabato, a universal DH would help his big league value.
10. 3B Coby Mayo, 18, Stoneman Douglas (FL)
Hailing from a high school that’s produced several highly talented big league players, Mayo could potentially be on pace to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. He’s a physical 6-foot-5, 215-pound corner infielder with pure raw strength throughout his build. There’s easy double-plus raw power to the pull-side in his swing and Mayo’s power potential alone will make some high-end talent evaluators fall in love with him. His hit tool is where the questions start to pop up as there are concerns about whether or not he’ll hit enough to truly tap into that power. There are swing-and-miss issues as well and right now you’re looking at a player who’s likely going to strike out a ton if he makes his way into the professional ranks. Mayo has arguably the strongest arm of any prep corner infield prospect, but his hands are average and his footwork gets a bit stiff at times. A move over to first base could come sooner rather than later, but he has enough pure power that it doesn’t matter which corner infield spot he plays. Mayo is a hometown kid committed to Florida that could end up being a tough sign. He’d be better off going to a pristine college program like Florida and improving his all-around offensive game.
11. 1B Blaze Jordan, 17 years old, Desoto Central (MS)
Jordan has been on, well, everyone’s radar for the better part of four years. A viral sensation, Jordan was once labeled “The Next Bryce Harper” by No Day Off, a popular baseball YouTube channel. While he almost certainly won’t reach such heights, Jordan does represent an intriguing corner power bat profile at the next level. There’s little doubt he’ll get to his plus, maybe plus-plus power in pro ball. Just 17 years old, Jordan will almost certainly have to move off third base and over to first base once he gets to Mississippi State or into a big-league organization. The arm is more than strong enough to handle the hot corner, though his footwork and mechanics need a lot of refinement to stick if he hopes to stay on the left side of the infield. Jordan is still growing into his body, shedding baby weight the last couple of years and getting into better shape. He’s still young enough to conceivably stick at third, but it’ll require patience and plenty of player development. Defense aside, the bat is his calling card. He’s potentially a solid average hitter with plus, maybe plus-plus power depending on what direction he takes his body.
— Perfect Game USA (@PerfectGameUSA) May 12, 2020
12. 3B AJ Vukovich, 18 years old, East Troy (HS)
An All-State basketball player with ridiculous athleticism, Vukovich is a tantalizing prospect hailing from the Badger state. He’s the next big prospect to come out of Wisconsin, which has apparently become a breeding ground for electric draft prospects over the last five seasons. Nonetheless, Vukovich is a lanky 6-foot-5, 210-pound prospect with massive raw power and minimal feel to hit. His overall setup and swing are unconventional but he somehow still manages to get the job done. Seeing him crush home runs at the high school All-Star game last summer was impressive and there’s easy pull-side pop there that he hasn’t fully tapped into because of his 45-grade hit tool. Vukovich has moved all around the diamond over the last year and could make the full-time move to right field sometime soon. A five-round draft hinders his chances of being drafted and it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll make his way to Louisville this fall. Vukovich is the type of prospect that could absolutely blow up after his college career is over and solidify himself as a first-round pick in 2023.
13. 1B Alex Toral, 21 years old, Miami
Toral is no stranger to big-league scouts. When he arrived in Miami may thought he’d hit his way into the top of the first round in 2020. That hasn’t materialized, but there’s still projectability in his profile that may certainly be worth paying a draft pick signing bonus for. Toral has huge pull-side power. It’s light tower pop by some evaluations. There have always been some issues with hitting breaking balls, but Toral seemed to take a step forward in his abbreviated 2020 campaign hitting five home runs, slashing .296/.435/.593, and only punching out nine times. Toral, like the names before him, is a below-average defender and below-average runner, so much of his value leans on the bat. If a team believes in the bat, he may be worth a fourth or fifth-round selection. More than likely, Toral will return to Miami and revitalize the draft sheen he lost during his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
14. 3B Jamal O’Guinn, 21 years old, Southern California
O’Guinn, like several others on this list, is a massive human being. He’s got pure physicality in his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame with proportional all-around strength. O’Guinn has flashed plus raw power in batting practice videos, but he has yet to consistently tap into it during gameplay because of a 45-grade hit tool that hasn’t shown signs of improving. He played third base for the Trojans this season out of pure necessity and doesn’t project their long term with a move over to first base being the most likely outcome. O’Guinn has the raw power in his swing and some upside for a corner infield spot but it’s pretty unlikely that he hits enough to show it. He’ll be back in college this fall unless he decides to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
15. 1B Niko Kavadas, 21 years old, Notre Dame
Kavadas is an extremely large and strong first baseman. The anchor in the middle of the Fighting Irish lineup, Kavadas is a bit of a boom or bust profile at the plate. He’s hit plenty of home runs in South Bend, but he’s also run a 22 percent punch out rate. Even more troubling, it hovered around 30 percent in the Cape Cod league. That’s not the type of bat-to-ball skills pro scouts want to see. Still, Kavadas is a better athlete than some of the names before him. He’s a fringe-average defender with a fringe-average arm. He moves well for his 6-foot-1, 235-pound frame. He’ll be 22 years old before the end of 2020, so there won’t be much leverage left in the 2021 draft should he elect to return to school. It may behoove Kavadas to get into a pro organization now and secure his spot with minor league contraction potentially on the horizon. He may be worth a fifth-round pick in this draft, especially as an under slot option.
16. 3B Cole Fontenelle, 18 years old, Skyline (WA)
Arguably the best pure athlete on this list, Fontenelle was a three-sport standout in high school and has played all across the diamond. He’s not built like your prototypical power-hitting corner infielder but moves well and his athleticism plays in short ranges on the field. Fontenelle has played shortstop in the past and his smooth actions will play just fine at third base in the long-term. His swing plays from both sides of the plate and his feel to hit is advanced for a high school kid. While he doesn’t hit for much power right now, Fontenelle does have plenty of room to fill out his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. Scouts didn’t get a chance to see him at all this spring because he’s in the Pacific Northwest and he’s a safe bet to be at Washington this fall. This is a sneaky name to remember for the 2023 MLB Draft as a potential top-round pick.
17. 3B Jacob Berry, 18 years old, Quinn Creek (AZ)
Committed to the University of Arizona, there’s little chance Berry ends up getting drafted or signing a pro deal in 2020. There’s a lot of tools scouts are intrigued by in Berry, specifically his bat speed and ability to switch-hit. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Berry is a muscled up physique with some projection left. He makes solid contact and has shown above average-to-plus power. He’s a fine defender, but his footwork needs a good bit of work. The arm is average at best, and he’s a below-average runner at this stage. There’s definitely a solid profile here to project a future early-round draft pick in 2023, but as it stands, Berry will likely end up in Tucson to continue his development.
18. 1B Bobby Seymour, 21 years old, Wake Forest
Seymour destroyed the ACC as a sophomore slashing .377/.439/.576 and leading the NCAA with 92 RBI en route to Player of the Year honors. A physical freak at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Seymour is a hit-over-power first baseman with an above-average hit tool. He finds the barrel at a steady rate and sprays the ball to all fields. His overall approach at the plate for a first baseman is impressive, but Seymour doesn’t hit for nearly enough power as you’d think someone of his size would. We’ve seen him flash a raw power tool in batting practice, meaning that it’s there, but he just can’t consistently translate it into games. Seymour’s strikeout struggles at the Cape Cod league last summer don’t help his cause, either. He’s a limited athlete that’s glued to first base in the future and could ultimately be a DH early on in his career. Seymour’s bat is going to have to overcompensate for the little defensive value he provides.
19. 1B Ray Gil, 21 years old, Miami
Gil entered 2020 as a third baseman with some of the better helium of the class. He’s a bat-first profile that may end up moving to first when his below-average mobility and hands will be less obvious. Gil has plenty of pop in the bat having hit 13 home runs in 2019. He was off to an awfully slow start in 2020 when play shut down and the strikeout issues that have plagued him in the past were painfully present. If a team is willing to take a chance on Gil in the draft, he should be an easy sign with little leverage heading into 2021 and his best stat lines may be behind him. For his plus power to get the respect it deserves, he’ll need to improve his approach at the plate and find a way to get on base at a higher clip.
20. 1B Michael Brown, 18 years old, Vacaville HS (CA)
Rounding out this list is a Brown: a 6-foot-5, 230-pound left-handed-hitting first baseman with plenty of room to mature. He’s athletic in the box with a smooth setup and stays in rhythm well through contact. Brown has plus raw power that stems from his pure raw bat strength and strong hands. His swing is flat at times, staying on a level plane and doesn’t elevate the ball as much as someone with his power potential should. A swing adjustment has to be made that’ll enable Brown to hit the ball in the air more, increasing his power output and making him a legit threat at the plate. Brown is a limited athlete with a below-average arm and doesn’t move particularly well for his size, locking him at first base for the future. He’s an interesting prospect that would likely get over slot money in the later rounds of a normal draft based on projection alone but will make it to campus this fall because of the uncertainties surrounding his game.
Recent @UW_Baseball commit ‘20 1B Michael Brown (@PBR_California) shows no issue handling mid-90s velo with this hard single that came off the bat at 98.1 mph. The big first baseman still shows projection to the frame. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/KyP9rPK2yu
— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) August 8, 2019