Written by: Shawn Chalmers
Follow him on Twitter: @ShawnMi79848313
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
So far, it’s been a long and boring start to the 2020 Major League Baseball Season. We got teased with the start of spring training, only to have it shut down as quickly as it began due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. It has left the baseball world with empty fields, empty bleachers, and the fans with an empty feeling inside. There is however, a bright light on the horizon. A reason for baseball fans to get excited again. That light, is the 2020 MLB draft, which will be here before we know it in early June. It’s a time for fans to witness the best high school and college players have their names called out, and to don the hat of their new team.
In this article, I’m going to cover my 3 favorite college position players entering the 2020 MLB draft. These players I feel, have a very good chance at becoming MLB all-stars in the near future. I will also be grading each player on a 20-80 tool scale (Hit, Power, Run, Arm, Defense and FV). The grades will show their current value/future value. So let’s get started shall we.
Garrett Mitchell – OF, UCLA
Age: 21 HT: 6’3″ WT: 205 Bat: L Throw: R
HIT: 40/55 PWR: 40/50 RUN: 75/75 ARM: 55/60 DEF: 60/65 FV: 60
Down at UCLA, the Bruins have a world class athlete patrolling their outfield who reminds me a lot of former Cleveland Indians all-star CF Grady Sizemore. That outfielder is Garrett Mitchell, who, when it comes to physical tools, could very well have the highest overall upside of any offensive player in the 2020 draft class.
Mitchell has a nice left handed swing with a slightly open stance and quick hands. His swing can get a little long sometimes, causing him to not drive the ball with authority. He put together a solid season in 2019 posting a .349 AVG, .418 OBP, .984 OPS, with 6 HR, 12 triples and 18 SB. Though many feel he has yet to really put it all together for the Bruins, but the raw talent is evident. Once it all clicks, look out. Many, including myself, feel Mitchell has a chance to hit for more power, which would take his game to the next level.
On the bases, Mitchell is an absolute nightmare for opposing teams with his top tier speed and smart base running. I can easily see him stealing 30+ bases a year at the MLB level.
As a defender, Mitchell covers a ton of ground in the outfield with his blazing speed and good reads. The fact that he also has a strong, accurate arm is just icing on the cake. He has MLB center fielder written all over him and should be a plus defender. He is without a doubt, a premium athlete, and it wouldn’t shock me if he is selected within the first 5-7 picks of the draft.
Austin Martin – INF, Vanderbilt
Age: 21 HT: 6’0″ WT: 185 Bat: R Throw: R
HIT: 45/60 PWR: 40/50 RUN: 60/55 ARM: 55/60 DEF: 55/65 FV: 65
The Vanderbilt Commodores have been a college baseball powerhouse in recent years and have graduated many talented players into the MLB draft. This year will be no different with their offensive spark plug Austin Martin expected to be taken in the Top 5. It’s still up in the air as to where he will end up defensively, but it will undoubtedly be at a premium position due to his athleticism and instincts.
Martin’s hitting ability however, isn’t quite as foggy, as this kid can flat out rake. He is the best pure hitter in the 2020 draft class in my opinion. He has very few, if any weaknesses at the dish and controls the zone very well. He uses his short, quick, compact right handed swing to barrel the ball, and makes consistent hard contact to all fields. In 2019, he had a phenomenal season with Vandy, posting a .392 AVG, .486 OBP, 1.090 OPS, with 105 hits, 87 runs, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 18 SB and an impressive 34 K/ 40 BB in 268 AB.
In his sophomore year of 2018, he was just as productive as Vanderbilt teammate and 4th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, JJ Bleday. If there is one knock on Martin, it’s his lack of raw power, but, his quick bat and natural hitting ability, allows him to maximize whatever power he does have. So 15-20 HR per season isn’t out of the question at the MLB level, possibly even more.
Martin has good speed and instincts on the bases and reads the pitcher well, allowing him to get good jumps when swiping bags. 20 SB per year at the highest level is absolutely in reach.
Defensively, he has very quick feet, soft hands and a good arm. The question however, as I stated above, will be what position does Martin end up at. My gut says it will be 2B. Wherever he does settle in though, there is no doubt in my mind that he will succeed and continue to be a spark plug.
Nick Gonzales – 2B, New Mexico State
Age: 20 HT: 5’10’ WT: 190 Bat: R Throw: R
HIT: 45/65 PWR: 40/45 RUN: 50/55 ARM: 50/50 DEF: 50/55 FV: 60
At New Mexico State University, the Aggies have an infielder by the name of Nick Gonzales, who is best described as a hitting machine. Gonzales has hit everywhere he has played and at every level so far. He hit an absurd .600 in his senior year of high school in Tucson, Arizona. Yet some scouts questioned the level of competition there. Once he got to New Mexico State, he continued to rake with a strong freshman year, followed up by a video game like sophomore season. That year he posted an insane .432 AVG, .532 OBP, .713 SLG, 1.305 OPS, while chipping in a mere 95 hits, 80 runs, 16 HR and 80 RBI…. No biggie. Even after that, questions were still there due to the friendly hitting environment that is New Mexico State. Gonzales put all those questions to bed however that summer, when he won the Cape Cod League MVP, hitting a sweet .351/.451/.630.
Gonzales has a very short, compact right handed swing, with tons of bat speed and great bat control. I see him as more of a gap to gap doubles hitter with the occasional bomb mixed in at the MLB level. But, make no mistake, he his going to be a hit machine, and there is a batting title in his future, maybe more.
Gonzales is a solid base runner with decent speed, so double digit stolen bases annually isn’t out of the question.
Defensively, he is probably going to end up at 2B due to the lack of arm strength and range at SS. But he should be at least an above average defender there with his soft hands and quick feet. I would compare him to Milwaukee Brewers 2B Keston Hiura, with less power. Regardless, his bat will play, and whatever team drafts him, will be glad they did.
These 3 college players will be fun to watch develop in the minors, and I can’t wait to see them blossom into the MLB All-Stars I believe they will become. It will also be very interesting to see where these potential future studs go in this draft. I know that if I were a GM, I would be frothing at the mouth to get my hands on any one of them.
Make sure to check out our Prospects Worldwide Mock Draft by clicking the link below to find out where Garrett Mitchell, Austin Martin and Nick Gonzales were taken.