With the 2020 MLB Draft on the horizon, our extensive draft coverage here at RotoFanatic continues.
We jump-started our pre-draft evaluations on Monday and have finally finished each of our positional breakdowns. You can find all of those by clicking HERE, but today we’ll start to wrap up our player analysis by diving into the right-handed pitchers of this class.
It’s hard to think of a class in recent memory of right-handed arms, or pitchers in general, as deep as this 2020 crop. Led by Emerson Hancock, there are multiple first-round talents scattered throughout this list and some potential late-round gems should they sign with their teams. There’s no denying that this is a special group.
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. Emerson Hancock, 21 years old, Georgia
Emerson Hancock has seen his stock surge and now falls over the course of two calendar years. A year ago, Hancock was the odds-on favorite to go 1-1 in the 2020 Draft. But after a few lackluster starts over the course of an abbreviated 2020 campaign and some questions surrounding his health, the Georgia Bulldog now finds himself firmly in top 10 consideration, but likely not a top-three selection.
Hancock is built exactly how organizations want to see their starting pitchers. Standing 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Hancock has an athletic build. He has long legs and a high waist, meaning he’ll likely develop and age well. It’s a super projectable frame. He’s free and easy on the mound and has a beautifully repeatable delivery. The fastball is a 60 offering with consistent tail and run. He had a more difficult time spotting the pitch this year than in the past, but the pitch still displayed exceptional life. Alongside the heater, Hancock possesses an above-average slider and changeup, both of which have shown swing-and-miss capabilities. There’s also a curveball that he seldom offers, but has shown growth and development. Given the body, athleticism, track record and arsenal, Hancock is a good bet to enjoy a long big league career somewhere near the top or middle of a team’s rotation, so long as the health holds up.
Emerson Hancock, Buckles. pic.twitter.com/Yydiw3CbZU
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 23, 2020
2. Max Meyer, 21 years old, Minnesota
Arguably no prospect in the entire country benefited more from the shortened college baseball season than Meyer. He went from primarily being a closer in college to earning a spot in Minnesota’s starting rotation and cemented himself as a top-five talent in this class. Some would consider Meyer undersized for a pitcher. He’s only six feet tall and weighs in at roughly 185 pounds, but Meyer’s extreme athleticism on the mound allows him to play up. He uses that athleticism to keep himself under control despite having an efforty delivery that might be a concern for some evaluators. Meyer boasts two 70-grade pitches and has arguably the most strikeout effective pitch arsenal in this class. His heater regularly sits in the mid-to-high-90s with blistering life, exploding out of his hand and into the zone. Meyer’s money pitch is his slider and some consider it to be the best overall pitch in the draft. It typically sits between 87-91 mph, tunneling well with his heater and working effectively on both sides of the plate. Don’t disregard his changeup either, as it’s flashed above-average potential at times with natural tumbling action. His pitch mix, athleticism, and demeanor all suggest that he can stick as a starter long-term. Meyer likely profiles as a number three starter with top-of-the-rotation upside during his peak seasons.
Max Meyer, Back Foot Slider (home plate view).
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 26, 2020
3. Mick Abel, 18 years old, Jesuit (OR)
Mick Abel is by and large our favorite pitching prospect in this entire draft. Right-handed prep pitchers are a volatile bunch and tough to value near the tops of drafts. There’s the looming question of fragility and long-term projectability with frames that have not yet been pushed into bigger workloads and professional ball. That being said, it’s hard not to love everything in the package Abel brings to the table.
At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Abel has an uber-projectable frame with long levers and a high waist. His mechanics are fluid and consistent. The pitch arsenal is every bit as impressive as anyone on this list. The fastball is some of the easiest high 90s you can find. It’s a 2-seam primarily that exhibits exceptional arm-side run and tail. The pitch is a terror on right-handed hitters. Also in the toolbox is a plus slider, easily the best prep breaking ball in the class. It’s a tight slider with good vertical and horizontal movement at the plate. More importantly than anything, Abel knows the pitch and consistently commands it. There’s also a changeup that shows similar life to the 2-seam with impressive tumble and tunneling on the first two pitches. It’s generally a low-80s offering that plays beautifully off the fastball. Abel has also messed around with a curveball and cutter, both of which have shown the potential for fringe-average pitches. If Abel were a left-handed pitcher with this arsenal, or 21 years old, he’d likely be a top 3 pick in this draft. As it stands, he likely gets picked in the middle third of the first round and will sign, forgoing his commitment to Oregon State.
Mick Abel has run his fastball up to 100 mph in bullpens this spring.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 24, 2020
4. Cade Cavalli, 21 years old, Oklahoma
It’s possible that us here at RotoFanatic could end up being the highest publication on Cavalli once all draft ranks are finalized. There’s a lot to like about him, so much so that we’ve comfortably put him above two of the best right-handed pitching prep prospects in the class. With a strong 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame, Cavalli just looks like a big-league starter. He’s built proportionally, with broad shoulders and strong legs that allow him to generate some of the easiest velocity in the class. His fastball is an easy 93-96 mph, touching 98 mph with late elevation into the zone. Cavalli throws two distinct breaking balls, both of which have flashed above-average to plus potential. He’ll throw a low-80s curveball down in the zone to strike batters out and it’s an offering that he’s comfortable throwing. The slider shows strong lateral movement and it plays in the upper-80s, but he’s still learning how to throw it. His fourth offering is a changeup, although he doesn’t throw it much. Cavalli is still relatively new to pitching and he does struggle to control his pitches at times. He also doesn’t have the best track record of staying healthy, which is obviously the biggest concern with pitchers. There’s frontline upside here with Cavalli and it’s all about him just putting it together.
5. Nick Bitsko, 18 years old, Central Bucks East (PA)
Nick Bitsko is one of the high-risers in recent weeks leading up to the draft. He’s barely 18 years old on draft day, and because of that, he gets a small stock bump in the eyes of scouting and player development staffs. But the age has nothing to do with the ascent. Bitsko’s Rapsodo readings are absolutely insane. A heater that touches 99 and plus spin, a cutter that has elite, elite horizontal tilt, a changeup that tumbles through the zone. There is certainly reason to believe there are three-plus pitches in the profile and a top-of-the-rotation role. At 6-foot-4, and 220 pounds, Bitsko already has the body to handle a big workload. The mechanics are clean and very advanced for his age. Command is the biggest question mark surrounding his name right now, but that’s the case for 99 percent of preps. There’s almost no doubt he’s a starting pitcher at the next level and could be ready at some point in 2023 or 2024. It’s some of the best stuff in the draft and he’ll be highly sought on June 10.
Mick Abel has run his fastball up to 100 mph in bullpens this spring.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 24, 2020
6. Jared Kelley, 18 years old, Refugio (TX)
After the summer circuit came to an end, Kelley was considered by most publications as the consensus top prep arm and a potential top-10 pick. Things have changed since then, but that’s mostly because both Abel and Bitsko have made significant jumps in their games. Kelley should still be viewed as an impact talent in the class and he could end up being the best arm of the bunch.
Kelley is built like your typical hard-throwing Texas right-hander. He’s every bit of 6-foot-3 and 215-pounds with proportional strength, but there’s little-to-no projection left. He repeats his delivery well, doesn’t throw with much effort, and throws a ton of strikes for an 18-year-old. Kelley throws some of the easiest gas you’ll ever see, regularly sitting between 94-96 mph and flashes arm-side run. His bread-and-butter pitch is a plus changeup that dives down into the zone with swing-and-miss actions. The knock on him, for right now, is his inability to consistently spin his slider. Thankfully, some organizations have the technology and player development teams to teach spin, so that isn’t a grave concern right now. Kelley’s stuff paired with his pure pitchability gives him a relatively safe big-league floor. It’s rare to say that a teenage pitching prospect could ascend through the minors quickly, but Kelley could be up at the major league level around age 21 or 22.
Here’s one scout on HS righty Jared Kelley:
“The last guy who I saw who could pitch fastball/changeup like that was Chris Paddack, and you saw how quick he got to the big leagues—and Kelley has better stuff than Paddack in high school.”
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 21, 2020
7. Cole Wilcox, 21 years old, Georgia
Wilcox is no stranger to first-round grades. 2018 saw him ranked as one of the best prep arms in the entire country, but signability concerns pushed him into the 37th round to the Nationals. That pick was largely posturing — a way for Washington to get to know Wilcox a little better before his eventual eligibility into the 2020 draft.
Ironically, Wilcox now slots pretty comfortably into the Nationals draft position at the 22nd pick. Regardless, he’s an immense talent, albeit still a bit raw. The fastball is a mid-90s offering with significant tail and sink. He couples the heater with a mid-80s slider and changeup, both of which have flashed plus at times. The story on Wilcox is his command. Walks have been an issue during his time in Athens, though 2020 saw improved control and the walks were way down. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, he’s built like a prototypical starter and will have every opportunity to achieve that mid-rotation ceiling. There’s a legitimate reliever floor here if the command doesn’t ultimately improve, but it’s more likely than not he straightens things out and remains in a team’s stable of starting pitchers.
8. Bobby Miller, 21 years old, Louisville
Drafted by the Orioles in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Miller obviously honored his commitment to Louisville and quietly turned himself into one of the best arms in college baseball. You’ll be hard-pressed to find multiple arms with a more effective fastball than Miller, regularly sitting in the high-90s with explosive life into the zone. He doesn’t just hold his fastball velocity well into starts, but consistently pumps a high-80s slider late into outings as well. It’s his strikeout pitch, tunneling well with his fastball and generating some pretty ugly swings. He started to show comfort in a changeup that sits in the low-80s and works down in the zone.
Miller has the velocity, strikeout pitch, and massive 6-foot-5 frame to stick as a starter long-term. He throws with some effort and doesn’t always stay in sync, causing him to get a bit erratic at times. Some evaluators believe he’s destined for a bullpen role, while others view him as an absolute steal towards the end of the first round. His upside as a starter is obviously appealing, but he also has the stuff to be a dominant reliever. Miller will hold value regardless of what role he ends up being long-term.
9. Carson Montgomery, 18 years old, Windermere (FL)
Carson Montgomery is pretty advanced for a high school pitcher, as is evidenced by his high draft stock. At 6-foot-2, Montgomery isn’t the tallest or most projectable build in the class, but his ability to manipulate a baseball is seldom seen in players his age. The fastball comfortably projects as he develops. The pitch has a ton of arm-side run and late life. It generally sits 90-92 right now, but explodes at the plate and plays way more superior than the velocity would suggest. The slider is already an above-average offering and will likely be a plus offering with a couple years in pro ball. The biggest question mark on the breaking ball is its consistency, but the late break it’s shown is extraordinary. It tunnels unbelievably well with the fastball. Montgomery does a good job of hiding the ball prior to release, so everything in his arsenal tends to play up. There’s also a changeup in the arsenal, though he’s had a difficult time separating its velocity from the fastball enough to make it anything more than an average offering for now. Montgomery is committed to Florida State and could be a difficult sign in this draft unless a team is really sold on the profile and willing to stretch their budget to bring him on board.
10. Chris McMahon, 20 years old, Miami
There are so many good college pitchers coming out of the state of Florida this year, but for my money, McMahon is the best of the bunch. Super-athletic for his position, McMahon looks like he could be a starting quarterback on the mound. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he has an extremely controlled and fluid motion to the plate. There’s not a ton of concern in long-term durability, though that’s never a statement you can take to the bank.
McMahon features a mid-90s fastball with good life thanks to plus spin rates and efficiency. Deception in his delivery makes the pitch appear as though it’s exploding at the plate. He also employs a cutter/slider as well as a changeup. The slider is probably his best out pitch, though the changeup projects an above-average offering at the next level too. McMahon is a reasonably safe bet to achieve his no. 3/4 ceiling.
11. Slade Cecconi, 21 years old, Miami
A draft-eligible sophomore, Cecconi is one of the youngest college arms available in the draft. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Cecconi’s strong with the type of frame that makes scouts’ jaws drop. His fastball typically sits in the mid-90s, touching 96 mph with decent control to both sides of the plate. For someone that has started for most of his life, Cecconi doesn’t hold his velocity well deep into starts and his stuff leaks over the heart of the plate as his outing goes on. His best secondary offering is a hard high-80s slider with late lateral break and serves as a true power pitch. That’s pretty much it for Cecconi in terms of his mix, as he’ll occasionally throw a changeup and curveball but both don’t do much. Cecconi has upside because of his size but there are also some pretty evident question marks to his long-term future. He does hold leverage in these contract negotiations as a sophomore that can return for his junior season. There will be a team that takes a chance on him, as they should, but there’s certainly going to be an inherent risk.
12. Jared Jones, 18 years old, La Mirada (CA)
Jared Jones has been considered a premier talent for his entire prep career. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, he doesn’t possess prototypical size or length like a lot of other players on this list. He does, however, possess quite possibly the fastest arm in the entire draft. It’s elite arm speed. That’s not a gradable tool, but if it were, he’d stand alone at the top. The arm speed generates high 90s fastballs that can touch triple digits. But it’s not just brute force with Jones. He’s got a ton of polish with three, maybe four offerings on the mound.
The aforementioned fastball is a 70, maybe 80-grade heater. He dances pitches around that to keep hitters off balance. The slider is a plus offering that has extraordinary depth and lateral tilt. Control has been an issue, but that’s all too common for pitchers his age. There’s also a changeup that grades out as average, maybe 55 on occasion. Since the pandemic started, Jones began working on a 12-6 curveball to mix in. He’s already achieving true shape, though spin efficiency and consistency are a work in progress. So long as the health holds up, Jones should be a force for whichever team brings him on board. Teams are generally apprehensive to overspend on prep righties, especially those with smaller frames. Jones hopes to buck that trend this June. He’s committed to the University of Texas.
Buckle up for safety kids #unclecharlie #hammertime #mrnasty #banger #2750spinrate @PBR_California @prepbaseball @PBR_DraftHQ @12sixacademy @NathanRode @ShooterHunt @Jacked_23 @TrackManBB @MLB @socalscouts pic.twitter.com/zt0m5wwHiV
— Steve Doherty (@SteveDoherty643) May 28, 2020
13. JT Ginn, 21 years old, Mississippi State
Let’s be clear out of the gates — the chances of Ginn actually signing this year as a draftee are slim. He will almost certainly be selected, but after missing the entire 2020 campaign with Tommy John surgery, his stock has really never been lower. Considered a top ten selection by many pre-season publications, Ginn’s ability has never been in question. He, like Meyer, has a devastating fastball-slider combo, both of which have flashed plus-plus in recent years. The talent is there. The durability is not.
Ginn missed all of 2020 after missing several starts in 2019 with right arm soreness and general fatigue. He gutted through several short outings toward the latter half of the year and ended up taking most of the offseason off to recover. The 30th overall pick by the Dodgers in the 2018 draft, Ginn is still barely 21 years old. He’ll hold value in next year’s draft too. Ginn probably won’t be ready to pitch opening day in 2021 for Mississippi State. Teams will be cautious in selecting the small-statured righty in the 2021 draft, so from this chair, if he sneaks into the Top 40, Ginn should consider eating his dinner while it’s hot.
14. Bryce Jarvis, 21 years old, Duke
After being a relative unknown, potentially not even a top five-round pick, Jarvis exploded onto the scene in 2020 after several dominant performances — one, a 15-punch out perfect game against Cornell. The stuff has ticked up in a huge way this season. Because of it, Jarvis has shed his reliever profile and established himself as one of the better right-handed pitching prospects in the draft.
Jarvis’ fastballs generally sits 93-95, but he’s touched triple digits in bullpens during this down period. The changeup is one of the more underrated pitches in the entire draft and plays off his heater extremely well. It’s a low-to-mid 80s offering with late tumble. He controls the pitch very well and is comfortably a plus offering. There’s also a slider that flashes plus but is more often than not a 55-grade offering. It’s likely a plus offering with some tinkering and consistency at the next level. Jarvis is your prototypical pop-up prospect from the 2020 season and may represent excess value in Comp Round A if he lasts that long. He’s already 22 years old, so there’s no doubt he’ll sign.
— Bryce Jarvis (@BryceJarvis28) May 25, 2020
15. Tanner Burns, 21 years old, Auburn
To be completely honest, Burns has the talent and pure stuff to rank higher on this list. He came into Auburn as one of the top prep players in his class and immediately vaulted himself into a weekend rotation that featured former number-one overall pick, Casey Mize. His fastball typically sits anywhere between 92-95 mph, touching 97 mph, and he has excellent quadrant command of it. He’s flashed feel to spin a potential plus breaking ball that doesn’t have a true consistent shape yet but does have advanced actions. Burns’ third pitch is a changeup with sink that could someday be an average pitch, even though he doesn’t throw it much. The one thing holding Burns back from being ranked higher on this list are durability concerns, most notably a shoulder issue that he suffered during his sophomore season. Still, from a true talent and stuff standpoint, Burns belongs to go somewhere in the first round.
16. Tommy Mace, 21 years old, Florida
Mace strung together one of the more impressive starts of the 2020 season when he went into Miami and tossed seven innings of one-run ball, only allowing two hits and striking out eight. He would’ve been the Friday starter on arguably the best team in the country this season had there not been a cancellation. Mace has the size that scouts can’t help but dream on. At 6-foot-6, there’s still more projection to come in his wiry frame. His fastball is heavy with low-riding action, topping out at 96 mph and usually sitting in the low-90s with natural movement. His go-to secondary pitch is a hard cutter that’s thrown with conviction and flashed swing-and-miss potential. He uses a low-70s, somewhat loopy curveball simply as a change of pace pitch, and his fourth offering is a changeup that he’ll use sparingly. While his arsenal isn’t anything to write home about, Mace’s demeanor, command, and pitchability all make him an intriguing prospect on the mound. He brings that true bulldog mentality on the mound and consistently throws a ton of strikes down in the zone. Mace has a fairly safe floor as a back-end starter.
17. Cole Henry, 20 years old, LSU
Cole Henry is another guy entirely familiar with being near the top of draft boards. Possessing a 97-mph heater in high school, he was squarely one of the top 200 guys in the 2018 draft. Two years later, he’s clearly ascended to a new prospect tier. Henry generally sits 91-94 with his fastball, mixing in a curveball and changeup. The former is a power bender that tunnels well with the fastball when he’s able to spike the pitch. When Henry misses, the curveball can get loopy and sit in the zone too long. Nevertheless, the pitch flashes an above-average offering at the next level. More than anything, Henry currently lacks the consistency to profile him a top of the rotation big leaguer. If he can find better command and consistency with his secondary offerings in pro ball, the ceiling is awfully high. Henry won’t even be 21 years old in June, so there are some signability concerns that come with his draft ability.
18. CJ Van Eyk, 21 years old, Florida State
Van Eyk enters this draft as one of the more polished right-handed arms available. He owns a solid three-pitch mix, two of which grade out as above-average to plus offerings, and he’ll comfortably throw all three for strikes. Van Eyk’s fastball typically sits between 93-94 mph and he’s able to consistently locate it on both sides of the plate for strikes. His best pitch is his high-spin 12/6 breaking ball with exceptional bite to it. It’s already a swing-and-miss pitch that he’s comfortable with throwing at any time in the count. Van Eyk’s changeup isn’t as advanced as his breaking ball, but it mimics his fastball and typically plays down in the zone. He might not have this illustrious high strikeout profile, but he’s a relatively safe prospect with back-end starter written all over him.
19. Justin Lange, 18 years old, Llano (TX)
Lange has been one of the fastest risers in this entire draft class and for good reason. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Lange has completely transformed his body over the past calendar year. He’s packed on a ton of muscle and alongside it has come velocity and athleticism. Already a projectable frame, Lange turned that projection into reality earlier than many anticipated. He’s put on 20 good pounds in one calendar year and now absolutely looks the part. The biggest criticism of Lange has been his erratic control. At times, he can dot his fastball for strikes at will. Other times, he completely loses the zone and simply can’t find it. That’s something that could come in time with increased strength, athleticism, and experience. Already an above-average offering last summer, Lange’s heater now hovers in the high 90s, touching triple digits consistently in bullpens. It’s a smooth, clean, and easy 70-grade offering. There’s also a fringe-average slider and changeup being worked into his arsenal, though both are in their infancy. Lange’s arm talent is undeniable and if drafted into the right player development system, the ceiling could be massive. He’ll be a project for sure, but it’s hard not to like the raw ability put on display.
20. Masyn Winn, 18 years old, Kingwood (TX)
You could make a case for Winn to be the most athletic player in this entire class. He’s a legitimate two-way prospect that blew up this past October after hitting 98 mph with his fastball and launching a home run in the same game. Winn has drawn some intrigue in the field, but his upside is much higher on the mound. His athleticism is on full display when he’s pitching, showing excellent body control and truly elite 80-grade arm speed. He’ll run his heater up to 98 mph and usually sits anywhere between 93-96 mph. It’s a high-spin fastball that works well up in the zone, giving him a true swing-and-miss pitch right there. Winn consistently flashed a plus high-70s breaking ball in October and a sinking changeup that grades out as average. There’s no denying that Winn could be a special talent, but his delivery is high effort and he’s barely even six feet tall, leading to some obvious durability question marks. He’s without a doubt one of the more intriguing prospects in the class and it’ll be interesting to see what teams do with him should he get drafted. If he does make it to campus, Winn could form a formidable up-the-middle duo with Robert Moore at Arkansas.
21. Ben Hernandez, 18 years old, De La Salle (IL)
Hernandez finally made a name for himself this summer after a stretch of impressive performances at the PDP league and basically the entire showcase circuit. Illinois has produced some pretty intriguing draft talent over the years and it’s possible that Hernandez ends up being one of the more successful players of that bunch. At first glance, Hernandez just straight up looks like he belongs. He’s a strong, well-proportioned 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete with a durable frame capable of holding a starter’s workload. Hernandez was extremely impressive in his bullpen at the PBR Super 60. His mechanics are clean and he consistently repeats an extremely simple delivery. Hernandez’s fastball usually sits between 93-95 mph and he can essentially throw it wherever he wants to whenever he wants to. He pairs that fastball with an elite changeup that’s arguably the best in this class. It’s a 70-grade pitch with elite fading action that is already an effective strikeout pitch. As wonderful as his changeup is, the huge knock on Hernandez is his consistent inability to spin a breaking ball. He tried to throw a cutter/slider hybrid at the Super 60 and couldn’t get a feel for it, which could ultimately hurt his draft status in the future. If he goes to an organization that can properly develop at least an average breaking ball, Hernandez could be a serviceable back-end starter for a big league club. He has the makeup, pitchability, and command to carve out a fairly lengthy career as a professional baseball player.
— Sean Duncan (@SeanDuncan729) April 21, 2020
22. Carmen Mlodzinski, 21 years old, South Carolina
Mlodzinski’s ascent up draft boards started this past summer when he was truly masterful in the Cape Cod league. He looked every bit the part of a first-round caliber player at that point, but there have been some pitch arsenal concerns that have caused him to drop this far on our list.
Mlodzinski’s fastball has effective velocity, typically sitting between 93-96 mph arm-side run and occasional sink. The problem that he has with his fastball is that he isn’t comfortable throwing it inside to hitters and tends to leave stuff over the heart of the plate as a result. This is something that he could’ve gotten away with in college based on pure talent alone, but professional hitters will absolutely hammer pitches in that area of the zone. Mlodzinski does have two featured off-speed pitches, both of which could be above-average down the road. He throws a power-cutter that plays in the low-80s, usually staying down in the zone, and also throws a changeup with natural sink. Mlodzinski is talented enough to go in the first round and be an impact arm, but there are some pitchability red flags in my opinion that’ll hold him back from being that type of player.
23. Markevian Hence, 17 years old, Watson Chapel (AK)
Markevian “Tink” Hence has been compared to some extraordinary pitchers of the past. Whenever your name is being thrown around with the likes of Tom Gordon and Yordano Ventura, there’s clearly a special talent there. Hence fits the tall billing. The arm speed, athleticism, and fluidity of it all are remarkable.
Just 17 at the time of the draft, Hence has shown every inclination of signing and jumping into pro ball. He’s currently committed to Arkansas, a premier program, though most would be surprised if he makes it to Fayetteville. The arsenal is already impressive. Hence sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, though he’s touched 100 in bullpens. More than anything, he’s shown touch in spinning his slider and curveball. In bullpens, he can land both consistently for strikes. Just 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, there’s still a lot of growth and development to be had here. The athlete is special, and with time, could develop into one of the more fun pitchers in baseball, or an absolute shutdown reliever.
An electric arm with high-end athleticism that shows promise with all pitches.
— PBR Texas (@PBR_Texas) May 19, 2020
24. Cam Brown, 18 years old, Flower Mound (TX)
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Brown has that prototypical big-league starter build that evaluators look for. He’s proportionally strong, with broad shoulders and a defined lower half. His delivery is fairly simple, although he puts an emphasis on his back leg during his load, and Brown’s short arm circle allows him to keep everything short and to the point. His fastball plays between 92-94 mph with heavy sinking action and is more effective against right-handed hitters. Brown can really laterally spin a sharp 78-82 mph slider that flashes plus potential and he throws a firm changeup in the mid-80s that plays straight. Brown’s consistent mechanics allow him to pound the zone with strikes at a high rate. He’s certainly polished on the mound for his age and could go anywhere between the second or third round, although his commitment to TCU could end up being strong enough to get him to campus.
25. Clayton Beeter, 21 years old, Texas Tech
There’s no way around it, Clayton Beeter has some of the loudest stuff in this draft. The Red Raider pumps mid-to-high 90s fastballs over the plate, and couples that with a power curveball that is a plus offering. He’s shown improved command and tallies a bevy of strikeouts along the way. But at the end of the day, his stuff really isn’t the story.
Beeter has one of the most combustible profiles in this draft. Having already had Tommy John surgery in high school, the chances of it happening again obviously increase. The mechanics of his extreme over-the-top delivery give scouts a lot of pauses. There’s a significant lag in his arm action, and some worry his body won’t be able to hold up to an extended starter’s workload. That being said, whoever selects Beeter this year will almost assuredly be drafting him as a power reliever. As previously mentioned, he’s the true two-pitch mix guy with extreme strikeout numbers. The walks have been an issue throughout his career, but they were improved in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. At just 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, and with questionable actions to the plate, look for Beeter to get plugged into the backend of a bullpen somewhere. He should be a quick mover and could debut as early as 2020 in a taxi squad.
26. Tanner Witt, 17 years old, Episcopal (TX)
It would not be easy to find a prep prospect, outside of Abel/Kelley/Bitsko, than Witt. Ranked as the number seven overall corner infield prospect on our top 20 list, Witt also has plenty of upside on the mound, where some think he’s better suited.
Standing at a massive 6-foot-6 and roughly 200 pounds, Witt has so much room to fill out his highly projectable frame. It’s not crazy to think he’ll add on at least 15-20 pounds of muscle over the next three seasons, which could ultimately lead to continued durability and an uptick in fastball velocity. He usually sits between 89-92 mph with his fastball, but he was actually sitting 92-93 mph in his final start prior to the nationwide cancellation. It’s possible that we see him take a significant velocity jump over the next few years and a triple-digit heater from Witt is not out of the question. His breaking ball shows true vertical break with high spin outputs and sits in the mid-70s. We’ve also seen him spin off a few aggressive sliders in the past that could honestly be more effective if he does take that velocity jump. Witt throws a firm changeup with fastball arm speed that isn’t that different from his fastball outside of the obvious velocity difference.
For someone his size, Witt controls his body well on the mound and does an adequate job of staying in sync. He’s probably better right now in the field, but there’s no denying his upside on the mound is much higher. Given the uncertainties and uniqueness of this draft, Witt could ultimately honor his commitment to Texas and get to campus.
‘20 RHP Tanner Witt of @PBR_Texas worked 88-90 (2684 RPM) w/FB and 74-76 (2996 RPM) w/CB in 2nd inning. Dropped CB in for a strikeout twice in a full count. #ShapeTheState #BeSeen @NathanRode @ShooterHunt @prepbaseball pic.twitter.com/z3I9NHGBA9
— 𝐋𝐞𝐬 𝐋𝐮𝐤𝐚𝐜𝐡 (@LesLukach) August 9, 2019
27. Landon Knack, 23 years old, East Tennessee State
You have to feel for a guy like Landon Knack. At 23 years old, he finally had his breakthrough campaign, albeit a very short season at that. Now, that being said, a lot of guys never experience a breakthrough, so Knack has that going for him. But here’s the thing; a 23-year-old will never receive the signing bonus he deserves. Teams know he can’t go back to school, so when he should probably be receiving a few hundred thousand dollars, he’ll likely receive a fraction of that, especially in a financial crisis like baseball is currently in.
On the mound, Knack possesses some of the best command in the draft. His 51:1 strikeout to walk ratio easily bested the country in 2020. That control didn’t come at the expense of his stuff either. Knack saw a meteoric uptick in his fastball velocity, pumping 97-98 into the zone on occasion. His first four years of college ball saw radar guns flashing 90-92. Impressive, indeed. Knack also has an average curveball and a developing changeup, so he has the repertoire of a starting pitcher. At the next level, unless those pitches improve, you may see him slot into a long-relief role. There’s some funk in the delivery, so don’t be surprised if a team uses that motion as a change of pace mid-game. Considered a fourth-round talent, Knack will probably be selected in the second round of this draft, but more than likely as a cost-saving measure for a team looking to stretch their pool.
28. Kyle Nicolas, 21 years old, Ball State
Ball State has produced some flamethrowing right-handed pitchers over the last few seasons and Nicolas figures to follow in their footsteps as the next man up. His fastball is one of the best in the draft, consistently sitting somewhere in the mid-to-high-90s and touching triple-digits early on in his starts. It’s a high-spin rate pitch that he’ll comfortably be able to throw up in the zone and use as a swing-and-miss offering. Nicolas’ go-to secondary pitch is an overpowering slider with sharp break and can touch 90 mph. The slider is also a high-spin pitch, just like his fastball, and it’ll legitimately be able to get professional hitters out. Nicolas should scrap his curveball all together, as it’s basically a worse version of his slider, and he needs to start throwing his changeup more if he wants to stick as a starter long-term. He doesn’t repeat his mechanics and or stays in sync well, causing him to fly open at times and lose command. There’s high reliever risk with Nicolas, but that’s honestly not a bad thing in today’s game. An improvement in mechanical efficiency should increase the strike rate and make him a potential weapon out of the bullpen.
29. Alejandro Rosario, 18 years old, Miami Christian (FL)
Alejandro Rosario is a ball of power and electricity when he takes the mound. Tipping the scales at just 165 pounds, Rosario exhibits some of the best arm speed in the class and has seen his fastball touch 98 because of it. There’s a changeup and slider in there as well, both of which flash the ability to be above average offerings.
The story on Rosario is how hittable he is. Although his stuff is electric, he wasn’t missing many bats as a junior, and that carried over into his senior year at Miami Christian as well. It’s not to say he wasn’t dominating his high school district, but moreover, his stuff just didn’t strike many batters out. We’re not talking about national premier circuits here or even select league guys. We’re talking about high school league play — a bit concerning. It’s a clean delivery, smooth, easy, and fluid… but it lacks deception. It’s easy to wonder if Rosario telegraphs his pitches a bit. A commit to Miami, odds are he ends up at school. He’s a guy that could have serious helium moving into 2023 where he’ll be draft-eligible again.
30. Carson Seymour, 21 years old, Kansas State
From a pure physicality standpoint, Seymour might be the most physical arm in the class. He’s every bit of his listed 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and just brings a different kind of physicality to the mound. Seymour’s fastball is his best pitch, sitting between 92-95 mph and touching 97 mph with natural downward tilt. His recently added slider is his best pitch, although it was his curveball that flashed above-average actions in the Cape this past summer. Seymour also has a changeup in his arsenal, although he rarely throws it and it’s a below-average pitch. There’s certainly upside with Seymour given his pure physicality, he doesn’t throw nearly enough strikes to stick as a starter long-term. He does still have sophomore eligibility and could return to Kansas State to improve some minor things before testing the draft waters again next season.