The first round of the 2020 MLB Draft took place last night, and it provided plenty of excitement for baseball fans who have been deprived of their sport for the past three months. While the league and the players are still unable to figure out how to play the 2020 season, 37 individuals had their lives changed last night when they got the call that they were drafted in the first round.
There were some surprising picks, and some not so surprising picks. The first round of this year's draft proved to be a historic one, with seven consecutive college players being taken to start things off.
In today's blog post, I'll try to highlight some of the things that stood out to me, and some of the best picks that I saw in the first night of the draft.
Best Overall Pick
This one is pretty easy. When you have as much hype surrounding you as Spencer Torkelson does, it's pretty hard not to be drafted number one overall. Whichever team had the first pick in this year's draft was going to get Torkelson, and as a result get the best pick in the first round of the draft. But the Tigers should be really happy that they ended up with him.
Detroit has the fifth-best farm system in the league according to MLB.com, with top prospects such as Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Riley Greene. Torkelson will bolster the team's infield prospects and add one of the best power bats in the draft.
It's interesting that the Tigers picked Torkelson as a third baseman when he never played the position in college and was listed as a first baseman. Perhaps they're hoping he'll make his MLB debut while first baseman Miguel Cabrera is still with the team, in which case moving Torkelson to third would make sense.
But putting his defensive position aside, when you have a talent like Torkelson, you have to be satisfied with that pick. The guy hit 26 home runs in his freshman season at Arizona State, shattering Barry Bonds' freshman record of 11. The team - and everyone around baseball - has high hopes for him.
Most Surprising Pick
This superlative actually goes to two different picks, and they're the ones that came immediately after Torkelson. Heston Kjerstad and Max Meyer were taken second and third, respectively. And while they're certainly not bad picks, they were definitely surprising ones.
Every mock draft that I saw leading up to last night had Austin Martin going second and Asa Lacy going third, so it was a shock to see neither of them get taken in those respective spots.
Kjerstad is a great pick for the Orioles though, and D1Baseball.com's Aaron Fitt has high praise for him.
As for Meyer and the Marlins, he should be a good pick, but it's tough to say why they would've passed up on Lacy, who was widely regarded as the best available pitcher tonight.
Best Value Pick
Another guy who was projected to be a top-five pick, high schooler Zac Veen fell to No. 9, ultimately going to the Colorado Rockies. A native of Spruce Creek, Fla., Veen has been compared to reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. He's more of a contact hitter, but has flashes of power at times.
Veen was just the second high schooler taken in the first round, following Robert Hassell III, who was taken one pick ahead of him. The fact that many teams with top 10 picks passed on him is not a reflection of his talent, but it does mean that the Rockies got a steal of a pick when he fell into their hands.
Whenever he makes his MLB debut, he'll remind the eight teams that picked ahead of the Rockies what they missed out on.
Round two of the MLB Draft begins tonight at 5 p.m. with coverage on ESPN2.