Torkelson, Kjerstad, Meyer lead top 10 picks in MLB draft
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s amateur draft began Wednesday night with the first of a pandemic-shortened five rounds. Here's a capsule look at the first 10 players selected:
No. 1 — DETROIT TIGERS
SPENCER TORKELSON, 1B/3B, ARIZONA STATE (6-foot-1, 220 pounds, 20 years old)
Big-time slugger was long the favorite to be taken No. 1 overall. Undrafted out of high school, Torkelson has power to all fields with a powerful right-handed swing and a great eye and patience at the plate. Hit 54 homers at Arizona State, two shy of the school record by Bob Horner — who went No. 1 in 1978. Played first base throughout college, but the Tigers plan to move him over to third base in the pros.
No. 2 — BALTIMORE ORIOLES
HESTON KJERSTAD, OF, ARKANSAS (6-3, 205, 21)
Arguably the best all-around college outfielder in the draft. Has a powerful left-handed swing that has produced every year in college. The Southeastern Conference freshman of the year in 2018, he followed it up by becoming the first Arkansas player with 50 or more RBIs in his first two seasons since Rodney Nye in 1998-99. Seventh in school history in career HRs with 37. The Orioles took Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the No. 1 pick last year.
No. 3 — MIAMI MARLINS
MAX MEYER, RHP, MINNESOTA (6-0, 185, 21)
The two-way star played the outfield while also developing into the team’s pitching ace. His pro future is on the mound, where he began his college career by tying the school record with 16 saves as a freshman before moving into the starting rotation as a sophomore. Meyer’s slider is wicked and is complemented by a mid-to-upper-90s fastball — all with a smooth delivery. Surpassed Glenn Perkins (No. 22, 2004) as Minnesota’s highest-drafted pitcher.
No. 4 — KANSAS CITY ROYALS
ASA LACY, LHP, TEXAS A&M (6-4, 215, 21)
The Aggies ace was in the discussion to go No. 1 overall, but surpassed fellow pitcher Jeff Granger (No. 5 by the Royals in 1993) as the highest-drafted player in school history. Has a three-quarters delivery and terrific repertoire led by an overpowering mid- to upper-90s fastball, to go along with a hard slider, solid curveball and good changeup. Was third in Division I last year by allowing opponents to hit just .162.
No. 5 — TORONTO BLUE JAYS
AUSTIN MARTIN, SS, VANDERBILT (6-0, 185, 21)
Martin was also mentioned as a potential top pick. He started at six positions as a freshman and played most of last season and this year at third base, but also worked at second and center field in college. The Blue Jays took him as a shortstop despite having Bo Bichette there now, but amateur scouting director Shane Farrell said Toronto has not decided on position for Martin. Considered by some as the best pure hitter — college or high school — in this year’s class. Led the SEC last year with a .392 batting average and .486 slugging percentage, along with a Division I-leading 87 runs.
No. 6 — SEATTLE MARINERS
EMERSON HANCOCK, RHP, GEORGIA (6-4, 213, 21)
The fireballing righty went 8-3 last year with a 1.99 ERA that ranked eighth-lowest in school history. Was 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA, 34 strikeouts and only three walks in 24 innings over four starts this season. Has excellent command of four pitches, including his mid- to upper-90s fastball, a mid-80s slider, solid curveball and tough changeup.
No. 7 — PITTSBURGH PIRATES
NICK GONZALES, SS/2B, NEW MEXICO STATE (5-10, 190, 21)
Slugging middle infielder was picked as a shortstop by the Pirates. He has one of the best pure bats in the draft, and it’s not simply a product of being inflated by New Mexico’s high elevation. Hit a Division I-leading .432 with 16 homers and 80 RBIs, and capped his big year by winning the Cape Cod League MVP award while hitting .351 in the wooden bat college summer circuit. Was hitting .448 and leading the country with 12 homers, 36 RBIs, 67 total bases and 28 runs this season.
No. 8 — SAN DIEGO PADRES
ROBERT HASSELL, OF, INDEPENDENCE H.S. (TENNESSEE) (6-2, 195, 18)
The lefty-hitting Hassell was the first high school player drafted and considered by many to be the best pure hitter among prep players. Also was the first high school position player from Tennessee picked in the first round since outfielder Mike White went 19th overall to the Dodgers in 1986. Also a solid pitcher, but teams envision him as an outfielder — likely in center field.
No. 9 — COLORADO ROCKIES
ZAC VEEN, OF, SPRUCE CREEK H.S. (FLORIDA) (6-4, 190, 18)
Arguably the top overall high school player in the draft with tantalizing five-tools talent. Veen has a powerful but smooth and loose left-handed swing, outstanding speed, a strong arm and solid defensive skills. Florida recruit was hitting .452 with three homers when the season was stopped, further cementing his status as a top-10 pick.
No. 10 — LOS ANGELES ANGELS
REID DETMERS, LHP, LOUISVILLE (6-2, 210, 20)
Last year’s ACC pitcher of the year went 13-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 113 1/3 innings while setting the school’s season strikeouts record (167) and tying the mark for wins. Followed that up by being the ace of the USA Collegiate National Team last summer. Polished with a fastball that sits in the low- to mid-90s with great control to go along with a solid curveball and changeup.