The 2020 Major League Baseball player draft is off and running from the Holland Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Detroit Tigers did just as expected, taking the consensus top prospect with the first pick in Wednesday’s abbreviated 2020 MLB Draft.
Detroit selected Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, who joined Rick Monday in 1965 (A’s), Floyd Banister in 1976 (Astros) and Bob Horner in 1978 (Braves) as Sun Devils to be drafted No. 1 in the draft. Oddly enough, the Tigers picked Torkelson to play third base, knowing he is versatile in the field, hitting the ball from foul pole to foul pole.
Unlike the NBA and NHL, there is no lottery for the MLB Draft. The draft order is set at the reverse order of the previous year’s standings, so the Tigers hold the No. 1 pick in 2020 after losing 114 games in 2019.
While there’s still almost $8.5 million allotted to the No. 1 overall pick, the 3 1/2 percent increase that was previously on the table for the draft is out the window for 2020, meaning that the 2019 values are still in place for this year’s draft.
Torkelson hit 54 homers in his 129-game Arizona State career, finishing his freshman year with 26 home runs to break Barry Bonds’ freshman record (11) in his first 25 games. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-handed hitter finished his career with a .337/.463/.729 slash line with more walks (110) than strikeouts (104).
In the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft, each pick is assigned a certain amount of money that teams are allowed to spend on signing a player without facing a penalty. This year, with only five rounds in the draft and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, only 160 picks are allotted six figures and up, with any and all unsigned free agents maxing out at $20,000.
Of course, as punishment for their role in the sign stealing scandal, the Houston Astros will forfeit their first- and second-round picks in the draft. The Boston Red Sox also forfeited their second-round pick in the draft as punishment for their own sign-stealing violations. The 2020 Major League Baseball Draft can be viewed on ESPN.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at email@example.com.