There’s still over a month left in the 2019 MLB regular season, but for Detroit Tigers fans, the 2020 MLB Draft is the next big thing to look forward to.
As the 2019 regular season is slowly winding down, the race for the number one overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft is starting to heat up. The Detroit Tigers currently hold the worst record in baseball at 37-84, but the Baltimore Orioles are close at 39-85. Since the Tigers are pretty much guaranteed to have one of the top two picks, with a good chance at landing number one, let’s take a look at a couple of names Detroit fans should become familiar with before the draft next June.
Spencer Torkelson- 1B, Arizona State
During this year’s draft, many Detroit Tigers fans were holding out hope that Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn might fall to Detroit at number five overall. Although Vaughn was snatched up by the White Sox with the third pick this year, the Tigers could end up getting their hard-hitting first baseman of the future with one of the top picks in 2020 with ASU’s Spencer Torkelson.
Torkelson is getting plenty of attention as the top hitting prospect in the 2020 draft after his outstanding sophomore year with the Sun Devils. In 57 games this year, the California native mashed 66 RBI, 23 home runs, and hit .351 for the season.
With an exceptional year in the batter’s box, Torkelson was named a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (essentially the Heisman Trophy of college baseball) and received All-American honors from outlets such as Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. To add to his accolades, in 2018 as a freshman, Torkelson led the nation with 25 home runs, falling just two short of the NCAA freshman record, and was named PAC-12 Freshman Of The Year.
Spencer Torkelson seems like the prime candidate to step in as a powerful everyday hitter at first base for the Tigers to fully replace Miguel Cabrera. Even if Detroit doesn’t end up with the number one overall pick, Torkelson could still be in the cards since Baltimore could decide to go with pitching at the top of the draft. Either way, Tigers fans should make sure to keep an eye on Torkelson and the Sun Devils next spring.
Emerson Hancock- RHP, Georgia
When I just mentioned that the Orioles could go with pitching at the top of the draft, Georgia’s Emerson Hancock would most certainly be that pitcher. Along with Torkelson, Hancock is most likely to hear his name called within the first two picks of the draft, but with all their pitching already developing in the minors, why would the Tigers be interested?
Like Torkelson, Hancock was also a Golden Spikes semi-finalist this year and was an All-SEC selection with the Bulldogs. In his sophomore year this year, the righty finished with an ERA of just 1.99 in 14 starts and lasted at least six innings in eleven of them.
As mentioned earlier, there is a likelihood that Hancock is the number one overall pick in 2020, and the mock draft on MyMLBDraft.com has the Detroit Tigers choosing the Georgia arm with the first pick. If Al Avila did make the call to take yet another pitcher first overall, it could further harm his reputation amongst Detroit fans given how desperately the organization’s farm system still needs quality hitters.
There’s still plenty of time between now and June 2020, so things can definitely change as to who might be regarded as the top prospects for next year’s MLB Draft. As of right now, Torkelson and Hancock seem to be the two names teams are highlighting at the top of their draft boards.