With the 2020 MLB Draft on the horizon, our extensive draft coverage here at RotoFanatic continues.
We kicked off this year’s evaluations by writing up both the catchers and corner infielders yesterday, with the middle infielders following suit. Our coverage continues today with a full analysis of the 20 best outfielders in this class.
Zac Veen is the top prep player in this class and the potential future superstar headlines this group. A plethora of prep outfield bats will find themselves on this list, including Robert Hassell III, Austin Hendrick, and Pete Crow-Armstrong. While the college class is a bit weak, Garrett Mitchell and Heston Kjerstad are top-end talents to know.
After several hours of churning through video and information, these are the consensus rankings agreed upon by both of our draft analysts. Without further delay, let’s get into it:
1. Austin Martin, 21 years old, Vanderbilt
Depending on your flavor, Martin might not fit on this list at all. A Swiss Army Knife, the Commodore boasts some of the best versatility in the class and should see time at a number of positions wherever he’s drafted. There’s peak value up the middle of the diamond, and for that reason, we have him slotted as a center field prospect. Martin has more than enough range to man the position and should represent the best outfield prospect in any of the Tigers, Orioles, or Marlins systems. The polish on his player should immediately make him a top 30 prospect in all of baseball.
As one might imagine, Martin can do it all. He’s a plus hitter with solid-average power potential, maybe more. He’s an easy plus runner and projects to play above average at whatever position he ultimately calls home. The arm could be showcased anywhere on the diamond — another 55 offering. There’s legitimate 5-tool potential in Martin’s game, it all depends on how quickly and to what lengths he develops. The swing is already sound with natural loft and lower body leverage. Just 180 pounds, he’s not the most imposing guy on the diamond, but he’s stronger than most players his size and it shows in his barrel velocity and athleticism. Martin has gotten better every single year at Vanderbilt, culminating in an abbreviated 2020 season where he slashed .377/.507/.660 with three home runs and just two strikeouts in 68 plate appearances. It’s not hard to envision an Alex Bregman-esque player here. He has star potential.
2. Zac Veen, 18 years old, Spruce Creek HS (FL)
The top-ranked prep player on most draft boards, Veen has skyrocketed up lists after an impressive summer circuit and a scorching hot start to his senior season prior to the shutdown. His swing is absolutely gorgeous, showing excellent barrel control and consistently repeating his silky-smooth mechanics. His feel to hit is right up there with any prep prospect we’ve seen over the last five years and don’t sleep on his power production either. Veen unloads on baseballs in batting practice, flashing plus raw power while slowly starting that ever-so-important power transition to games. There’s so much projection to his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame leaving us evaluators with plenty to drool about what he could look like a few years down the road. Veen easily projects as an above-average hit, above-average power type of bat that could even be plus in both categories down the road. He’s a safe bet to give you quality defense in right field and his bat is best suited for a corner outfield role anyway. Veen has all the tools necessary to be an absolute super prospect.
Zac Veen opened the year ranked 26th in our preseason rankings.
Now he’s squarely in the top 10 and is our top-ranked prep bat.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 24, 2020
3. Robert Hassell III, 18 years old, Independence HS (TN)
Hassell has been a high riser over the last few weeks and some publications have started putting him in the top 10 conversations. There’s a lot to like with Hassell, headlined by a natural hitting ability that might be the best in this class. His bat-to-ball skills resemble 2019 first-round pick CJ Abrams as Hassell doesn’t swing-and-miss much and consistently sprays line drives to all fields. It’s certainly a hit-over-power type of profile, but Hassell can pepper the gaps and should run into some home runs every once in a while. The reason he’s the number two outfield prospect on our list is that Hassell has the highest chance to stick in center field. He’s a solid athlete with above-average run times and an above-average arm that’s touched 93 mph on the mound. No prep prospect should truly be considered “safe”, but Hassell’s feel to hit and his defense gives him a high floor.
4. Garrett Mitchell, 21 years old, UCLA
If we’re only looking at tools, Mitchell belongs right up there with anyone in this class. He’s got the freakish athleticism to put them all together and blossom into a truly special player. Mitchell’s swing is a bit awkward and he gets on top of the baseball at times. When he does stay on plane, Mitchell can drive the baseball with authority into the gaps. There’s plenty of raw power in his strong 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, but he rarely translated that into home runs with the Bruins. Evaluators were eager to see him try and tap into that well-known power this season but were robbed of that opportunity because of the shutdown. It’s well documented that Mitchell is a true 70-grade runner that uses his speed to impact the game in multiple facets. He’s got the wheels to steal 20+ bags each season and stick in center field long-term. The big concern with Mitchell, outside of his power production, is the Type 1 diabetes he’s been playing with for most of his baseball career. He’s managed to turn himself into a ridiculously good athlete even with that obstacle, however, and this isn’t as big of a concern as some people are making it out to be. Mitchell has the tools to be a mega prospect should he put it all together. Keep an eye on which organization drafts him because that could ultimately be the deciding factor.
5. Austin Hendrick, 19 years old, West Allegheny (PA)
From a pure physicality standpoint, Hendrick’s natural bat strength rivals anyone in this class. He uses a combination of that and borderline electric bat speed to send baseballs into orbit, giving him an extremely high power ceiling. Hendrick’s swing is a bit unconventional and quirky with an aggressive bat waggle prior to starting it. He does struggle to consistently repeat his swing mechanics and stay in sync, but almost all teenage prospects struggle with consistency issues anyway. There are some question marks about his hit tool, which grades out as fringe-average and it’s possible that he doesn’t hit enough to tap into that massive power potential we all know he has. His pitch recognition skills are suspect as well, so you’re looking at someone who could potentially have high strikeout rates throughout his professional career. Nonetheless, Hendrick’s upside is undeniable and it all relies on how much he’ll be able to hit in order to reach that power. Should he go to the right organization that can improve his game in that regard, Hendrick could be on another level.
You won’t see this ball land . . . because Austin Hendrick hit it over the batter’s eye.
No. 2 high school prospect in the country in Baseball America’s 2020 draft rankings. Vicious bat speed and power.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 27, 2019
6. Pete Crow-Armstrong, 18 years old, Harvard Westlake (OF)
Harvard Westlake has produced several high-end big league players, most notably Jack Flaherty, Max Fried, and Lucas Giolito. Crow-Armstrong seemed like the next big thing prior to the summer of 2019, coming into the showcase circuit as the industry-wide number one prep player in this class. He did struggle a bit against high-end competition throughout the summer and has dropped on lists because of it, but Crow-Armstrong is certainly still a first-round talent. His natural feel to hit and bat-to-ball skills are both drastically advanced for his age and he consistently makes steady line-drive contact. He’s not known for putting up power numbers, but don’t be surprised if he runs into anywhere between 8-12 home runs on an annual basis. Defense plays a key factor in Crow-Armstrong’s ranking, as he’s a sure-fire bet to stick in centerfield moving forward and could compete for Gold Gloves down the road. It might not be the sexiest profile or skill-set but he does have a high floor.
7. Heston Kjerstad, 21 years old, Arkansas
It’s hard to argue against Kjerstad’s production with the Razorbacks over the last three seasons. He has one of the best statistical track records in the draft and that especially applies to this season where he was clearly a frontrunner for Player of the Year honors. Kjerstad’s calling card is true 70-grade raw power from the left side. He does major damage to the baseball, albeit in an unconventional way, and has easy 40+ home run power in his swing. Numbers aside, Kjerstad does have some pretty major flaws in his game that are cause for concern. He’s incredibly aggressive at the plate and did strike out a ton in college despite consistently putting up monster numbers. His hit tool is below-average, leaving little room for optimism that he’s going to make enough contact in order to tap into that power upside we all know he has. The upside alone warrants the ranking on our list but he’s someone that could plummet once he starts to go up against high-end professional talent.
8. Daniel Cabrera, 21 years old, LSU
Widely regarded as one of the safest prospects in the draft, Cabrera is going to make whichever team takes him towards the end of the first-round extremely happy. He was a 26th-round pick by the Padres in 2016 and someone who evaluators considered a top prep bat in his high school class, but ultimately chose to attend LSU instead. Cabrera owns an advanced approach at the plate and doesn’t try to do too much. His ability to recognize pitches and make adjustments when he’s fooled is certainly something that stood out. He boasts an above-average hit tool and should have no problem adjusting to professional pitching once he reaches the minors. There’s some strength in his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame that results in at least average power. Defensively, Cabrera is a solid athlete, but his overall outfield instincts and route running suggest he’s best suited for left field. Still, he’s as safe of a prospect that you’ll find in this class and should be one of the first members to reach the big leagues from this group.
9. Isaiah Greene, 18 years old, Corona (CA)
One of the best overall athletes in this class, Greene has an intriguing combination of several raw tools that, if brought together appropriately, could result in him being an absolute steal a few seasons down the road. The first thing that stands out with Greene is a true 70-grade run tool that he uses to impact the game both offensively and defensively. He can afford to hit the ball on the ground more because of his speed and can be a long-term centerfield option for a team as well. There’s plenty of stolen base upside with his wheels, too. Greene can straight-up hit with a strict contact-oriented approach that doesn’t generate much power. His bat can get a bit flat through the zone at times and he doesn’t try to elevate the ball a whole lot. He does have room to add muscle onto his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame that could ultimately result in some power output in a few years. Greene has the tools that some scouting directors or high-end front office officials will fall in love with. Don’t be surprised if he gets taken in the sandwich round, but understand that his floor isn’t particularly high, either.
One of the top college prospects in the country committed to @MizzouBaseball yesterday.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) September 18, 2019
10. Zach DeLoach, 21 years old, Texas A&M
DeLoach is a personal favorite of several industry-wide draft evaluators and it’s not hard to see why. He dominated the Cape Cod league last summer and kept that hot streak going into this spring, ending the season with a .421/.547/.789 slash line with six home runs in 17 games. DeLoach added muscle onto his 6-foot-1 frame, giving him more proportional strength and further developing his power tool. He’s got at least above-average raw power now, something that we slowly started to see at the start of this season. DeLoach doesn’t have crazy good bat speed and instead relies on a solid approach at the plate to do damage with the baseball. He does get a bit aggressive at times, but he stays within himself for the most part. His feel to hit is average and doesn’t project to get much higher than that mark. He’ll be a tough prospect for evaluators to analyze because they didn’t get an entire season to see if the adjustments he made this season were real. Look for him to go somewhere between the second or third round of the draft.
11. Chase Davis, 18 years old, Franklin (CA)
Davis is fairly similar to the aforementioned Austin Hendrick. He has pretty electric bat speed with loose hands that allow him to whip his bat through the zone with no problem. A left-handed hitter, Davis has flashed raw power to his pull-side at times and crushes pitches on the inner half of the plate. Scouts do question how much he’ll actually be able to tap into that power because of a below-average hit tool and high swing-and-miss issues. Davis is a solid athlete that runs well and has one of the strongest outfield arms in the class, making him an ideal fit for right field. He does have upside at the plate and right now it’s just a question of whether or not he’ll make enough contact to reach his ceiling. He is committed to Arizona and could be a tough sign.
12. David Calabrese, 17 years old, St. Elizabeth (ON)
Calabrese is one of the top pure runners in the class, recording 80-grade run times both out of the box and in the outfield. His speed plays anywhere on the diamond and he’s got enough athleticism to impact a game with that alone. Expect him to wreak havoc on the basepaths and steal a ton of bags at the college or professional level. At the plate, Calabrese makes consistent contact and is more of a gap-to-gap hitter than anything else. He does get a bit slappy at times but gets away with it because of that game-changing speed. Calabrese is going to stick in centerfield moving forward, adding more value onto his plate. A team could lure Calabrese away from his Arkansas commitment later on in the draft with over slot money based on his athleticism alone. He’s an intriguing player to monitor, especially in the fantasy game.
13. Dylan Crews, 18 years old, Lake Mary (FL)
Once in the upper-echelon of prep outfielders from this class, Crews has dropped considerably on most draft ranks due to his struggles on the summer circuit last season. He does have some intriguing tools and can hit for both average and power when he’s on, but an extremely poor approach at the plate doesn’t allow that to happen often. His swing is short and he does have loose bat speed. Crews has flashed above-average raw power during batting practice, but his swing-and-miss issues have limited him from getting to that in games. A complete refinement in the approach and a significant increase in pitch recognition needs to improve before he can confidently hit professional pitching. He’s best suited to play right field, where his instincts will play up and his above-average arm strength is adequate for the position. The talent and pedigree alone warrant the ranking, but he’ll significantly benefit from making it to campus in the fall.
14. Enrique Bradfield, 18 years old, American Heritage (FL)
Similarly to David Calabrese, Bradfield is a true 80-grade runner with game-changing wheels that play both offensively and in the field. He’s a grinder-type at the plate, working counts and doing whatever it takes to get on base in order for his speed to impact the game. Bradfield isn’t afraid to put a bunt down, hit the ball on the ground, or even get a bit slappy at times either because he understands how truly special his athleticism is. There is absolutely no power to his game right now, although it could end up reaching the 40-grade level should he add more muscle onto a fairly lean 6-foot, 155-pound frame. Bradfield is as safe of a bet to stick in centerfield as anyone in the class, where he’ll essentially get to everything and play borderline elite defense at a key position. He could end up being an everyday leadoff hitter that gets on base at an above-average clip and plays elite outfield defense.
15. Petey Halpin, 18 years old, St. Francis (CA)
Halpin wasn’t invited to participate in either of the All-American games this past summer as somewhat of an under-the-radar in draft circles early on. He then balled out in the PDP League and performed well at the Area Code games later in the summer, rightfully locking himself in as a name-to-know from the California crop. Halpin is a quick-twitch outfielder with easy bat speed that does legit damage from the left side of the plate. We’ve seen him hammer some baseballs to his pull-side in batting practice and he keeps his hands inside the baseball. His swing mechanics are smooth and while there isn’t much elevation, he does consistently find the barrel. Halpin is a plus runner that has shown natural baserunning instincts in the past. He’s athletic enough to stay up the middle and has a 60-grade arm as well. While it’s likely that he gets to Texas this fall, Halpin is a name to monitor for the 2023 class as a potential first-or-second round guy.
— Mason McRae 📊 (@mason_mcrae) May 2, 2020
16. Jake Vogel, 18 years old, Huntington Beach (CA)
Vogel missed out on almost the entire summer circuit this past year and most teams didn’t get extensive looks on him because of that. He kicked off his senior season with some impressive performances that put him back onto team’s radars and has been somewhat of a riser dating back to March. It’s impossible to deny the tools that Vogel has. He’s a 70-grade runner with impact wheels and knows how to use his speed on the bases to swipe bags. That athleticism translates onto the field, as Vogel is a rangy defender with an above-average arm that can lock up center field for a long time. His swing is simple and he doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, leaving some evaluators to believe that he’ll be able to hit at the next level. He’s fairly undersized at 5-foot-11 and roughly 165-pounds with little-to-no power in his game. Vogel’s combination of speed/athleticism make him an interesting draft prospect, but it’s more likely that he finds himself at UCLA than with a professional team.
17. Kala’i Rosario, 17 years old, Waiakeia (HI)
The top prep prospect out of Hawaii in this year’s draft, Rosario has double-plus raw power in his 6-foot-1, 205-pound compact frame. He impacts the baseball with ferocity to his pull-side in batting practice, generating loft with ease. That same pull-happy approach translates into games, forcing Rosario to be over his front foot at times and ignoring the other sides of the field. His hit tool is well below-average, even for a high school player, and it doesn’t matter how much power he has if he can’t successfully tap into it. Rosario doesn’t offer much defensive value as a right fielder. He probably would’ve gotten drafted as an over-slot signee if this were a normal draft, but it’s pretty likely we see him at California Baptist in the fall.
18. Mario Zabala, 18 years old, International Baseball Academy (PR)
Zabala is the perfect example of high risk, low reward type of prospect. His tools and athleticism are off the charts, but his actual baseball instincts and feel for the game just aren’t there. Zabala is a plus runner with borderline elite athleticism that is on display no matter what he does. He makes some fairly difficult things look easy and that makes him such a treat to watch on the field. There’s plus raw power from the right side of the plate and we saw him perform well against top competition at times during the summer circuit. Zabala’s hit tool is below-average and he’s way too aggressive at the plate. He doesn’t yet understand how to pick out his pitch to do damage with and instead tries to launch everything into the bleachers. Zabala is athletic enough to play center field but lacks the instincts necessary to have success. There’s no denying his raw arm strength with accuracy that’ll almost certainly play in right field. A Florida International commit, someone may decide to take a chance on him on the upside alone, although that isn’t the likeliest outcome.
19. Tyler Gentry, 21 years old, Alabama
Gentry has been the best position player for Alabama over the last two seasons after transferring in from Walters State following his freshman year. His pure raw power is his most intriguing tool and he’s even flashed double-plus raw power at times. Like a majority of power-hitters in our game, Gentry struggles with strikeout issues, whiffing 51 times in 210 at-bats as a sophomore in the SEC. He doesn’t have a great history against spin or an innate ability to pick it up out of the hand either. A significant improvement in the hit tool could result in more contact and less strikeouts, allowing that power to truly show itself. It remains to be seen if that is even possible, but Gentry has upside.
M4 | Leading off the fourth – Tyler Gentry. In case you missed his last at-bat, take a 👀
— Alabama Baseball (@AlabamaBSB) April 5, 2019
20. Jace Bohrofen, 18 years old, Westmoore (OK)
One of the top prep prospects in an intriguing Oklahoma class, Bohrofen is a power-hitting masher from the left side that’s committed to his hometown Sooners. There’s no denying Bohrofen’s plus raw power or his desire to send baseballs into orbit. His bat travels on an uphill path specialized to elevate the baseball and create loft. Surprisingly, Bohrofen doesn’t have crazy swing-and-miss issues nor does he have poor plate discipline. He picks up spin well and is willing to take a walk, but he doesn’t always get to his power because of inconsistent swing tendencies. Bohrofen doesn’t have bat speed and he tends to drag his barrel through the zone instead of exploding it. So, while he does make contact at a decent rate, he doesn’t always make contact with the part of the bat you want a power hitter to make contact with. Clean up these inconsistencies and we could see a new level of Bohrofen that hasn’t been tapped into yet. He will likely get to campus.
21. Parker Chavers, 21 years old, Coastal Carolina
Chavers’ prospect status has dropped after strikeout issues plagued him on the Cape and he also dealt with an injury that limited his offensive production. This slip could ultimately result in an absolute draft steal if someone was to take a chance on him late in the draft. Chavers earned All-American honors in his freshman season as the best hitter on Coastal Carolina’s team and has found success throughout his entire career with the Chanticleers. He’s an off-the-charts athlete with a 70-grade run tool, 60-grade arm, and 55-grade raw power from the left side. He could easily hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bags over the course of a 162-game season should he ever be given the opportunity. Chavers has shown above-average defensive skills in the outfield throughout his collegiate career and there’s reason to believe he can stick there long-term. Health issues are the main reason why Chavers is this low and teams’ inability to fully clear him prior to the draft may ultimately hold him back. There’s no denying the talent, or tools, that Chavers has and it’s possible someone takes a flier on him because of that.