MLB Draft Grades: SEC – Mississippi State With A Dominant Draft, Florida Struggles

The SEC made MLB draft history when they had four of the first six players selected in the most recent draft, but how did individual programs fare – let’s score each of the 14 SEC teams from 0 to 10.

Mississippi State – 8.7
The Bulldogs had one of the best drafts in the country and in the SEC from a collegiate standpoint, as Mississippi State saw two first-round draft picks and three in the first two rounds. First rounders Justin Foscue and Jordan Westburg weren’t drafted out of high school, and the Bulldogs turned them into elite prospects in just three years. Meanwhile they kept JT Ginn as a second rounder despite recent Tommy John surgery. Their biggest concern is making sure high schooler Blaze Jordan doesn’t sign with the Boston Red Sox and gives the Bulldogs access to one of the best high school bats in the country. Great program, great draft. 

Arkansas – 5.1
The Razorbacks got an early surprise when their elite prospect – outfielder Heston Kjerstad – went second overall, but then they watched their other projected first rounder Casey Martin drop all the way into the middle of the third round, so it was a bit of a strange draft for the Razorbacks, and it’s tough to judge the program much off this shortened draft. 

LSU – 4.3
LSU had two draft prospects, both who were considered fringe first-rounders, but both slipped at least ten spots, with pitcher Cole Henry going 55th overall, and outfielder Danny Cabrera went 62nd. Nothing too much of note for the Tigers – both Henry and Cabrera will likely go pro, but their draft-day slips don’t reflect very well on LSU. 

Texas A&M – 5.0
I listed the Aggies as a loser in yesterday’s draft analysis article – as I believe they are going to lose more prospects then they anticipated. Asa Lacy went fourth overall, which reflects well, but projected third rounders Zach DeLoach and Christian Roa skyrocketed over thirty picks higher than their expected value. It’s a great long-term look for the program, if Texas A&M converts on the recruiting front, but the Aggies will be a little weaker than they anticipated in 2021. 

Ole Miss – 8.3
If Mississippi State boasted one of the best drafts in the country, at least Ole Miss wasn’t far behind. The Rebels saw both of their picks go in that perfect zone of above slot value, without going so high that they become a much higher risk of turning pro. Shortstop Anthony Servideo and third baseman Tyler Keenan went in the third and fourth rounds respectively. No top-tier talent, but the Rebels did a solid job turning these prospects into draft commodities, without seriously endangering their short-term hopes as a program. 

Auburn – 5.2
Relatively neutral stuff here from Auburn. Projected first rounder Tanner Burns slipped a little bit but snuck into the back end at pick #36, while hurler Bailey Horn somewhat unexpectedly heard his name called in the fifth round. They probably would have liked to see Burns go a little closer to his slot value, but Horn’s selection was an unexpected addition, so tough to judge this one. 

Alabama – 6.5
The Crimson Tide had one legitimate draft prospect in outfielder Tyler Gentry, and he went right about where he was supposed to, early in the third round. Alabama finished last in the SEC West last season, so this is about as good as it gets on the diamond for the Tide. 

Vanderbilt – 7.8
Vandy had a top-five pick in Austin Martin, arguably the best player in the draft, but then projected second rounder Jake Eder dropped all the way into the fourth round. Right-hander Ty Brown jumped into the third round, and hurler Mason Hickman rounded out the Commodores’ stable of picks. Lots of volume and a first rounder, so it’s hard to critique one of the best programs in the country too much. 

Georgia – 6.1
The Bulldogs came into the draft with two projected first-round hurlers, and while Emerson Hancock went sixth overall, Cole Wilcox tumbled down into the third round. Up and down draft, although the bonus is Wilcox may opt to stay another year with Georgia – he has three years of eligibility left and should be a first rounder in another year. 

Tennessee – 6.4

The Volunteers came away from the draft with three picks, headlined by eleventh overall pick Garret Crochet. Meanwhile, outfielder Alerick Soularie made one of those jumps that’s scary for a college program, from a projected early fourth rounder into the middle of the second round, where the signing bonuses became extremely enticing. Dangerous territory for the Volunteers, but overall three draft picks is a solid showing in the draft. 

Missouri – 4.6
The Tigers did very little in this draft, with only one significant draft prospect that fell 34 spots further than expected. Missouri is a middle-of-the-road SEC team, and they had a very middle-of-the-road type of draft. 

Florida – 1.0
Florida is one of the best programs in the country and won a national championship in 2017, appearing in the College World Series in 2018. Despite a tough year last year, it’s not customary for Florida to have elite talent on their roster. They only had two projected draft picks coming into last week’s draft, but then the Gators saw neither player selected, putting an exclamation point on a low point in the Florida baseball program.  

South Carolina – 6.0
Carmen Mlodzinski gave South Carolina a first round pick, but that was pretty much all the Gamecocks got in this year’s draft. About what was expected from a struggling SEC program. 

Kentucky – 4.0
Kentucky is one of the worst teams in the SEC, and they really had nothing to lose or gain from this draft with no top-level prospects. No draft picks and nothing much else to comment on here from the Wildcats.

MLB Draft Grades: ACC – Louisville leads the way

We’re going Dave Portnoy pizza review style for this piece, grading every ACC college baseball program draft. The grades included how successful programs were in getting players drafted, but also rating their short-term losses and gains from prospects going unexpectedly high facing greater temptation to turn pro. Each grade is 0 to 10 – let’s see who won and lost the draft in the ACC.

Miami – 5.2
Miami saw all three of their projected draft picks get picked, led by RHP Slade Cecconi. Cecconi was selected 33rd overall, right around his projected slot, but the Hurricanes saw Chris McMahon slide into the second round as a projected first rounder. Any more of a slide would have been a blow towards Miami’s reputation of producing top-level pro talent. Meanwhile, shortstop Freddy Zamora skyrocketed from the 100th ranked prospect to 53rd selection –  a great look on the recruiting front, but the Hurricanes now will have a tough time bringing back an elite multi-year starter.  

Virginia – 4.3
The Cavaliers had only one real draft prospect for 2020 in bullpen arm Andrew Abbot. He was a projected fourth-rounder, but he didn’t hear his name called over the course of the two-day draft. No draft picks from a team that won the national championship just five years ago is tough. They are engaged in brutal recruiting battles within the ACC, and not turning out pro talent will make winning some of those recruits an uphill battle.  

Duke – 7.7
The Blue Devils had only one draft prospect in Bryce Jarvis, who became the second ever 1st round pick in program history. The other one was Marcus Stroman, so that bodes well for both Jarvis’s success, and Duke’s improving program. Jarvis was a projected first rounder, so keeping him was always unlikely, and seeing him go 18th overall – after being a 37th round pick in high school – is a good look for the Blue Devils. It was only one pick, so Duke now need to prove they’re not a one-hit wonder. 

Georgia Tech – 6.4
Georgia Tech was a tough assignment, as they had a very confusing draft. They had one projected draft pick, but saw two players selected – but their one projected pick remained on the board. Defending ACC batting champion Michael Guldberg went 98th overall towards the end of the third round, so the Yellow Jackets will need to hope he won’t be enticed by a signing bonus expected to be in the $600,000 area. Outfielder Baron Radcliffe was a late pick in the fifth round, and shortstop Luke Waddell (ranked 125th by MLB.com) went unselected. Very tough draft to gauge, but ultimately not a bad one for the Yellow Jackets. 

Virginia Tech – 8.2
The Hokies saw both of their draft prospects drafted well above slot value with Ian Seymour (115th) going 57th and catcher Carson Taylor (194) going 130th. The Hokies got a great grades not only for their success in the draft, but also they look great compared to Virginia’s struggles, giving the Hokies an inside track on in-state recruiting. Seymour may turn pro, but Taylor likely stays on with another three years of eligibility, so overall a highly successful draft for Virginia Tech. 

North Carolina – 7.8
Aaron Sabato came in as a projected early second rounder and went late in the first round as UNC’s only top prospect. Not much to complain about there. 

Pittsburgh – 4.0
No top draft prospects. No draft picks. Nothing much to say for one of the worst teams in the ACC on this one.

Notre Dame – 6.5
The Fighting Irish saw projected fifth-round pick Joe Boyle drafted 143rd overall, about 20 picks ahead of where he was expected. He was their only legitimate prospect so nothing much to speak of here for Notre Dame, solid results, and a little better than expected. 

Clemson – 7.1
The Tigers had two pitchers – Sam Weatherly and Spencer Strider – selected last week. Weatherly went within a few picks of his expected slot value at 81st overall, and Strider jumped from outside of MLB.com’s top 200 prospects into the fourth round. It was a good showing from the Clemson prospects, without jumping into the world of seven-digit signing bonuses that would almost certainly draw these hurlers into professional ball. 

Louisville – 9.2
Louisville had two first round picks in pitchers Reid Detmers and Bobby Miller. Both hurlers went from late draft selections out of high school (32nd and 38th rounds) to top-30 picks in 2020, so that says a lot for the Cardinals’ program. Outfielder Zach Britton also heard his name called in the fifth round, although he seems like a likely candidate to return to Louisville for another run at the College World Series. 

NC State – 6.8
The Wolfpack can thank the San Francisco Giants for taking their battery pair in catcher Patrick Bailey and left-handed hurler Nick Swiney in the first two rounds. Projected fifth-rounder Tyler McDonough remained unselected. Swiney jumped into the second round, so he may test the professional waters, which would be a tough loss for NC State, but it was ultimately a good day for the Wolfpack.

Florida State – 5.4
The Seminoles had two players drafted, both slightly under slot value, and one potential selection in outfielder Elijah Cabell left on the board. Nothing spectacular, and nothing particularly unexpected from FSU. 

Wake Forest – 4.6
From a program standpoint, seeing junior Jared Shuster jump fifty spots into the first round may have been nice for the Demon Deacons. But now they will likely lose Shuster to the Atlanta Braves’ organization, and no other Wake Forest player heard their name called. It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling for the Demon Deacons after this draft. 

Boston College – 4.0
Same deal as Pittsburgh here. No real prospects, No draft picks. Nothing more to say.

MLB Draft: College Teams And Players Who Won and Lost the Draft

Much is made of which MLB teams had good and bad drafts, with each team’s selections graded and separated into distinct winners and losers. But what about collegiate teams? College baseball is more affected by the draft than most other sports, as high school prospects battle a decision between signing with the team that drafted them, or honoring their commitment to play at the NCAA level. So which teams and players were most impacted by the results of the shortened, two-day, five-round MLB Draft? 

Winner: Texas
There’s one reason for Texas making the winner’s category, and that reason is Jared Kelley. Kelley became the first ever draft pick out of Refugio High School in Texas, but despite being ranked as the 12th best prospect by MLB.com, Kelley’s name went uncalled during Wednesday’s first round. Fears of the power-throwing righty being a tough sign caused Kelley to slip all the way to the Chicago White Sox at pick #47. Why is that good news for Texas? Because if Kelley was considered a tough sign near the top of the first round, it’s going to be way tougher for the White Sox to lure the Texas product from his in-state commitment. The slot value for pick #12 is 4.4 million, the 47th overall pick comes with an expected 1.6 million dollar signing bonus. Getting Kelley to leave his home state for barely a third of the money is going to be a tough one to sell for the White Sox, leaving Texas ready to enjoy the luxuries of a stud who looks like he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the country. 

Losers: Mississippi State, Arizona

On the flip side of Texas’s situation is Mississippi State and Arizona, who both couldn’t have been too happy with the Boston Red Sox. For Arizona, they watched one of their premium prospects in Nick Yorke get drafted 112 spots above his ranking, going from a projected fifth-round pick to 17th overall. While the Red Sox did make the pick to save some money on the slot value of the 17th pick, they will likely make an offer far more competitive and enticing to Yorke, who was described by Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin as “the best high school hitter in the nation”. Arizona may not have anticipated it being a battle to keep Yorke in the program for the next three years, but Boston just made it a lot harder. Meanwhile. Mississippi State was likely ecstatic when viral slugger Blaze Jordan slipped all the way to the third round. The further he slipped, the more it looked like they would be benefiting from the services of one of the nation’s best power hitters, until Boston swooped in and grabbed the Missouri product at 89th overall. Boston did not have a second round pick, and they will either not sign Yorke or sign him for below slot value, leaving them with plenty of money to throw at Jordan, making his decision a lot tougher. With some of their top prospects’ future on their teams in doubt, Mississippi State and Arizona are in the losers category for this draft. 

Winner: Austin Martin
Slipping from a potential first overall pick to fifth may not be a ideal situation normally, I think this a massive win for Austin Martin. Martin got drafted to the Toronto Blue Jays, meaning he avoids the hapless organizations of the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, and the Kansas City Royals. The Blue Jays are the only team out of that group of five that has recently shown some upside, and they have a recent track record of developing elite prospects like Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It’s a great situation for the best all-around player in the 2020 MLB Draft.

 Loser: Texas A&M
The Aggies knew they were losing Asa Lacy, their ace left-hander was picked fourth overall. However, they then saw outfielder Zach DeLoach go 36 spots earlier than his ranking suggested, and pitcher Christian Roe jump 41 slots. Both juniors, it looks unlikely they’ll return to the crowded collegiate rosters, with their expected signing bonuses jumping up by nearly a million dollars, leaving Texas A&M floundering a little more than expected in a highly competitive SEC next season. Long-term, however, the Aggies may look like a winner if they can turn this draft night surprise into success on the recruiting front.

MLB Draft: Grading Every First-Round Selection

The first 37 selections of the 2020 MLB Draft have come and gone – with 29 players fulfilling their dreams to be a first-round pick. Here’s a brief thought on each of those 29 picks, along with grades for each of the 37 selections made on Wednesday night.

R1 P1: Detroit Tigers select Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Expected pick here. The Tigers have a pitching-rich system, so the obvious choice was the premier power bat available in this year’s draft in Torkelson, who’s average exit velocity exceeded 96 mph, greater than Aaron Judge’s MLB-leading mark. Detroit didn’t overthink it, and they make a solid selection here. Grade: A

R1 P2: Baltimore Orioles select Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
This one was an early surprise. Austin Martin was considered the favored option for Baltimore here, but the Orioles were intrigued by the power-hitting outfielder out of the SEC, who hit 30 HR in his first two seasons with the Razorbacks. With a clear-cut top-3 prospects, this is a bit of a risk that will haunt Baltimore if Kjerstad doesn’t pan out. Grade: C-

R1 P3: Miami Marlins select Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
If you are going by draft rankings, this pick is very surprising, as the Marlins had their choice of pitching prospects, and #3 overall prospect Asa Lacy available here, but Miami goes for Meyer. I really like Meyer as a prospect, but Lacy projects more as a starter, so using a top-3 pick on a player that projects more as a reliever is definitely risky. Grade: C

R1 P4: Kansas City Royals select Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
I thought the Royals may jump for Austin Martin, somehow still available at pick #4, but Kansas City opted to boost their farm system via the mound, snaring left-handed Lacy. Considered by many the best pitching prospect in the draft, there isn’t too much to second-guess on this pick. Grade: A-

R1 P5: Toronto Blue Jays select Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt
Toronto was expected to have to make a potentially very difficult decision between several prospects, but Martin fell into their laps, and Toronto made the obvious selection. Great pick, and I consider this one of the top steals of the first round. Grade: A+

R1 P6: Seattle Mariners select Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Another very solid pick here, as the surprising selections by Baltimore and Miami pay dividends for the Mariners. Hancock was their top target, and the fourth-ranked prospect survives to the sixth pick, allowing Seattle to scoop up yet another SEC product, giving the conference four of the first six picks in the draft. Grade: A

R1 P7: Pittsburgh Pirates select Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State
Gonzales was projected anywhere from Picks 4-9, and the Pirates gladly snare one of the best pure hitters in the draft class with the seventh overall selection. Gonzales was the Cape Cod League MVP this past summer with a .351 average and seven home runs, and he’s put up video game numbers at New Mexico State. Grade: A

R1 P8: San Diego Padres select Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence HS (TN)
Eh. I liked the Padres going for a hitter, which is what our mock draft had them doing. But with OF Zac Veen still on the board, I would have liked to see San Diego go in that direction, or maybe for Austin Hendrick or Garrett Mitchell, another pair of outfield prospects. Hassell is a bit more speed than power and definitely a very solid player, just not sure he was the best available here. Grade: C+

R1 P9: Colorado Rockies select Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (FL)
The Rockies capitalize on San Diego’s surprising pick, grabbing Veen, who was projected to go as high as fourth overall. Only other prospect I considered a potential fit here was Garrett Mitchell at UCLA, but Mitchell brings a few health question marks, and Veen has extremely high upside. Grade: A-

R1 P10: Los Angeles Angels select Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville 
The Angels were known to be targeting Detmers, and the eighth ranked prospect slipped just far enough for Los Angeles. With the possibility of expanded playoffs in the next few seasons, the Angels could be looking at the possibility of a return to the playoffs, and Detmers is one of the most major-league ready arms. Grade: A

R1 P11: Chicago White Sox select Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
The White Sox go with a high-risk, high-reward option in Crochet. Injuries are a concern, but the Tennessee southpaw offers three-above average pitches, leading with a fastball that plays up to 97 mph. I think Chicago could have gotten more upside and less question marks with one of the available high school pitching prospects. Not bad, but maybe a reach by the White Sox. Grade: C+

R1 P12: Cincinnati Reds select Austin Hendricks, OF, West Allegheny HS (PA)
The Reds become the fourth team of this draft to adhere to our mock draft, snaring Hendricks at twelfth overall. I didn’t anticipate Mitchell still being available at this point – I really think people are overblowing the concern surrounding him being a Type 1 diabetic – so I would have preferred the UCLA product at this point, but Hendricks is an excellent alternative. Grade: A-

R1 P13: San Francisco Giants select Patrick Bailey, C, NC State
I’m not personally extremely high on Bailey, and the Giants were thought to prefer high school prospect Tyler Soderstrom, but they elect for the more proven collegiate option in Bailey. The decision between those two may be a bit of a toss-up, so I can’t fault San Francisco too much. It just feels slightly early, but if they felt Bailey was their guy, it’s a decent pick. Grade: B+

R1 P14: Texas Rangers select Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
I thought I was bold when slotting Foscue at pick #29 in our mock, but the Texas Rangers are even bolder, jumping for the Mississippi State product at 14th overall. The Rangers were known to be targeting Crochet, but he is somewhat surprisingly already off the board, and Texas shifts gears entirely, not selecting a pitcher and preferring a second baseman in Foscue. To reach this high for Foscue and not address a seemingly more prominent need on the mound seems highly questionable. Grade: D 

R1 P15: Philadelphia Phillies select Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (OR)
The Phillies needed a pitcher, and they went out and got the best available, with Abel sliding to pick #15. No complaints here. Grade: A 

R 1 P16: Chicago Cubs select Ed Howard, SS, Mt. Carmel HS (IL)
I do think the Cubs got great value in Howard, who we had projected at #11, but I would have liked Chicago to pursue a pitching prospect with their first-round selection. Drafting for ‘need’ is always tricky in the MLB Draft, when dealing with prospects that are still years away from the major leagues, so it’s difficult to judge this pick too much. Grade: B+

R1 P17: Boston Red Sox select Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty HS (CA)
No words will suffice my absolute shock at this pick. I had seen Yorke’s name in creating our mock draft, but I never considered him a first-round possibility. With the Red Sox not picking again until 89th overall, it seemed like they would want a surer thing with their first-round selection. Multiple pitching prospects were still on the board, particularly high school products Jared Kelley and Nick Bitsko. But Boston went diving for a player I really believe would still have been available at pick #89, losing out on some premium prospects. Grade: F

R1 P18: Arizona Diamondbacks select Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
Jarvis was definitely a first round talent, but there were a few college arms most draft boards had rated above the Duke righty, along with the aforementioned Kelley and Bitsko. Right position, but, in my opinion, not the right selection from the D-Backs. Grade: B- 

R1 P19: New York Mets select Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Our mock had the Mets going after an outfielder, but our target for New York – Hassell – was taken off the board over ten picks ago, so the Mets grab the best available here. Crow-Armstrong was ranked the 20th-best prospect, and he truly feels like the right pick for New York here. Grade: A

R1 P20: Milwaukee Brewers select Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
I knew our mock draft, which had Mitchell going fifth overall, may have been high on the UCLA outfielder, but his fall to #20 was absolutely shocking. Thought the Brewers may go for a pitcher, but Mitchell is just too good a prospect to pass up on here – best value pick of the first round. Grade: A

R1 P21: St. Louis Cardinals select Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS
Our mock had Walker going to the Rays at pick #24, which may have been a reach, but the Rays have the best farm system in the league, so they can afford to draft for need. St. Louis’s system, ranked 24th, has not such luxury, and coming off a NLCS appearance, I would have preferred see St. Louis go with a college pitcher, or somebody that may make an impact sooner than a high school third baseman. Grade: D+ 

R1 P22: Washington Nationals select Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
I was all over the map with who the defending World Series champions would pick here, and although I thought they may go after a bat, there wasn’t necessarily a clear-cut pick available at 22. I didn’t anticipate Cavalli to be on the board here, so it’s definitely a solid pick, although I still believe Bitsko and Kelley were the top options available, but I respect the decision to go with a college arm. Grade: B+ 

R1 P23: Cleveland Indians select Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)
Got some major question marks surrounding this pick. Francisco Lindor is entrenched as a franchise shortstop for Cleveland, so it seems strange to draft one with their first pick. And if they were committed to going for a shortstop, there seemed to be other options available prior to picking Tucker. Cleveland later picked at 36th overall, and it’s likely Tucker still would have been there for the taking. They did not seem to address a priority, nor attain top-level talent with this selection. Grade: D 

R1 P24: Tampa Bay Rays select Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks HS East (PA)
It’s worth wondering whether the Rays even had Bitsko on their draft board, as he was projected to go roughly ten picks earlier. Regardless of whether they thought he or Jared Kelley would be available at this point, Tampa Bay had to be thrilled to have their choice of these two hurlers. My only argument is that the Rays have a pitching rich system, so drafting for a need may have been more prudent, but again, Bitsko is absurdly good value at pick #24. Grade: A-

R1 P25: Atlanta Braves select Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest
Shuster, along with Yorke, was one of two first-round selections that didn’t appear anywhere in our two-round mock, so I was quite surprised at this selection. I didn’t think Atlanta would go for a pitcher, and if they did, Jared Kelley was far and away the highest ranked prospect available. And if they wanted a college arm, there were five other projected first round college pitchers available. And if they wanted a lefty, there were four more southpaws ranked above Shuster. However, Atlanta doesn’t pick again until #97, so if they truly felt Shuster was their man, it makes sense to get him here, as he likely would not have survived the second round. Grade: C-

R1 P26: Oakland Athletics select Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (CA)
Sometimes in the draft, it’s hard to weigh value versus need. The Athletics have Sean Murphy one of the best catching prospects in the game, as one of their top prospects, so going for a catcher is strange. On the flip side, Soderstrom is superb value – as many mocks had him going at Pick #13 to the Giants. Hard to blame the Athletics going after the Cali product, but there may have been better ways to address their farm system needs. Grade: B

R1 P27:  Minnesota Twins select Aaron Sabato, 1B, UNC
Sabato only played one full season in college, but he absolutely mashed ACC pitching with the Tar Heels, and it’s no surprise to see a first round selection used on him. I considered first base and catcher the biggest needs in a deep Minnesota system, and I did feel there were some better catching prospects available, but Sabato was the best available 1B, so overall a very solid pick. Grade: A-

R1 P28: New York Yankees select Austin Wells, C, Arizona (AZ)
Our mock also had the Yankees going after a college catcher, but with 24th-ranked Dillon Dingler out of Ohio State still on the board, it was slightly surprising that New York opted for Wells, but nothing crazy like we saw in this first round (see: Red Sox). Addressing a need with a very solid prospect is a great use of their first round pick. Grade: A- 

R1 P29: Los Angeles Dodgers select Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
My original pick for LA’s selection here was Foscue, who ended up going fifteen picks earlier to the Rangers. Miller is definitely first-round value and a solid pick for the Dodgers, although they do have three top-100 right-handed pitching prospects. There were three available right-handers rated above Miller, including two college prospects and Jared Kelley, who is still inexplicably available. Our mock had Miller going one pick later, to the Orioles, but we also didn’t anticipate so many top right-handers still available. Some question marks, but not a bad pick by any stretch. 

Round 1, Supplementary Round

Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State
Grade: B

Pittsburgh Pirates: Carmen Mlodzinski, P, South Carolina
Grade: A-

Kansas City Royals: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
Grade: A

Arizona Diamondbacks: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
Grade: B+

San Diego Padres: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano (TX)
Grade: D

Colorado Rockies: Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands HS (TX)
Grade: B-

Cleveland Indians: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
Grade: A-

Tampa Bay Rays: Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State
Grade: A-

2-Round MLB Mock Draft

Welcome to the College Kids Talking College Sports MLB Mock Draft. It covers the first 72 picks – two full rounds. No explanations are written here, but if you are interested in a particular selection, or your favorite team’s picks, or have comments, as always you can contact our writers at collegetalking@gmail.com, or leave a comment.

FULL MOCK DRAFT

Round 1

Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, OF/3B, Vanderbilt

Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

KC Royals: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State

Toronto Blue Jays: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

Seattle Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

Pittsburgh Pirates: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (FL)

San Diego Padres: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

Colorado Rockies: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

Chicago White Sox: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (IL)

Cincinnati Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny (PA)

San Francisco Giants: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (OR) 

Texas Rangers: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Texas)

Philadelphia Phillies: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

Chicago Cubs: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (PA)

Boston Red Sox: Tyler Soderstorm, C, Turlock HS (CA)

Arizona Diamondbacks: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

New York Mets: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (TN)

Milwaukee Brewers: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia

St. Louis Cardinals: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

Washington Nationals: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (CA)

Cleveland Indians: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

Tampa Bay Rays: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS (GA)

Atlanta Braves: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas

Oakland Athletics: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami

Minnesota Twins: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State

New York Yankees: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State

Los Angeles Dodgers: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

Round 1 Supplementary

Baltimore Orioles: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville

Pittsburgh Pirates: Austin Wells, C, Arizona

Kansas City Royals: Drew Romo C, The Woodlands HS (TX)

Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

San Diego Padres: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

Colorado Rockies: Daniel Cabrera, OF, LSU

Cleveland Indians: Aaron Sabato, 1B, UNC

Tampa Bay Rays: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami

Round 2

Detroit Tigers: Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere HS (FL)

Baltimore Orioles: Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State

Miami Marlins: Blaze Jordan, 1B, DeSoto Central HS (MS)

Kansas City Royals: CJ Van Eyk, RHP, Florida State

Toronto Blue Jays:  Dax Fulton, LHP, Mustang HS (OK)

Seattle Mariners: Kevin Parada, C, Loyola HS (CA) 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Logan Allen, LHP, Florida International

San Diego Padres: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State

Colorado Rockies: Cade Horton, RHP/SS, Norman HS (OK)

Chicago White Sox: Burl Carraway, LHP, Dallas Baptist

Cincinnati Reds: Cole Henry, RHP, LSU

San Francisco Giants: Seth Lonsway, LHP, Ohio State

Texas Rangers: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)

Chicago Cubs: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech

New York Mets: Masyn Winn, RHP/SS, Kingwood HS (TX)

Milwaukee Brewers: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano (TX)

St. Louis Cardinals: Tanner Witt, RHP, Episcopal HS (TX)

Washington Nationals: Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada HS (CA)

Cleveland Indians: Isaiah Greene, OF, Corona HS (CA)

Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Santos, RHP,  Mount St. Michaels Academy (NY)

Oakland Athletics: Jeff Criswell, RHP, Michigan

Minnesota Twins: Jake Eder, LHP, Vanderbilt

Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyle Harrison, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA)

Round 2 Supplementary

Miami Marlins: Kyle Nicolas, RHP, Ball State 

Detroit Tigers: Drew Bowser, 3B, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) 

St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan McLean, 3B/RHP, Garner HS (NC) 

Seattle Mariners: Cam Brown, RHP, Flower Mound HS (TX)

Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Hagenow, RHP, Farragut HS (TN) 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Hudson Haskin, OF, Tulane

San Francisco Giants: Ben Hernandez, RHP, De La Salle (IL)

San Francisco Giants: Petey Halpin, OF, St. Francis (CA) 

New York Mets: Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami Christian (FL)

St. Louis Cardinals: Nick Garcia, RHP, Chapman

Washington Nationals: Daniel Susac, C, Jesuit (CA) 

Houston Astros: Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida

Daily Headlines: MLB Draft announcement has major implications

Weekend Headlines

There were a few major headlines that affected the college sports world this past weekend, as COVID-19 continues to affect collegiate athletes. 

MLB Draft shortened to five rounds
The MLB announced that their traditional 40-round draft was being shortened to five rounds due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Although MLB teams will be allowed to sign unlimited numbers of undrafted players, this will have ripple effects throughout college baseball, as there will be a lot of players unwilling to go pro with only a 5-round draft and limited money available. For draft eligible rising seniors, their draft stock is likely harder to evaluate after a very short 2020 season, and as such, it will likely benefit many players to stay for another year with their collegiate teams. Graduating seniors, with the ability to return for grad school and an additional year of eligibility, will have far more negotiating power as well. With only the premier talents getting selected, expect to see far more players returning to the NCAA, which will affect incoming recruits. Playing time will be shifted, and it would hardly be surprising to see a lot of transfers, depending on which schools see mass quantities of returners. Announcements on potential roster expansion have not been made, but this draft decision will affect college baseball for years to come. 

Taulia Tagovailoa enters transfer portal
Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former Alabama star and now Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has entered the transfer portal, expressing his intention to leave Alabama. With stud five-star recruit Bryce Young entering the quarterback room to challenge Mac Jones, who started when Tua suffered a season-ending injury, for the starting job, Taulia’s path to playing time seemed narrow, and so he will look for an opportunity elsewhere. He is most definitely an elite talent, and he will be a great pick-up for whoever lands him. 

January 29, 2020: NCAA Hockey Power Rankings

There were some unexpected results and turmoil within the NCAA hockey world, and a series of upsets resulted in some major changes within the second edition of our NCAA Hockey Power Rankings, including two new teams, and a new #1 team. Below is a quick summary of the biggest changes, with the full rankings following. 

Biggest Riser: Denver (3 spots)

Biggest Fallers: UMass (4 spots)

Dropped Out: UMass, Ohio State, 

Joined The Rankings: Arizona State, Northern Michigan

Honorable Mention

  • Providence
  • Arizona State
  • Northern Michigan

The Rankings

#10 – Minnesota Duluth (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • UMD can hang their hats on one of the most impressive victories of the season – a 7-4 onslaught of a scorching hot North Dakota team. Unfortunately, they dropped a 3-2 decision the next day, still a solid result against one of the best offenses in the nation. Combined with the collapse of a few of our top-10 teams, it was enough for the Bulldogs to climb into the rankings. 

#9 – Bemidji State Beavers (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • I’m way higher on the Beavers than pretty much anyone else, as the latest polls have Bemidji State at just 19th, but this is a team that is 6-1-1 in their last eight, with their lone loss coming in a road series split with #3 Minnesota State. They still might be on the outside looking in on the NCAA tournament picture, but the Beavers are consistently impressing every weekend. 

#8 – Harvard Crimson (Last Week: 9)

  • Harvard played two games with a pair of bloodless results. Their tie against Colgate didn’t do much for their resume, but a road tie against #1 Cornell again showcased this squad’s ability to hang with the best, and, to me, justified them rising to #8 in this week’s power rankings. 

#7 – Boston College Eagles (Last Week: 4)

  • Although both games went to overtime, the Eagles were swept at home by an unranked UMaine squad. UMaine is close to cracking the Top 20, but this is a team that BC has historically dominated, so to enter the series red-hot and then drop both games was a severe disappointment that made the Eagles our biggest faller of the week. 

#6 – Clarkson Golden Knights (Last Week: 5)

  • Clarkson played a competitive series at home with Arizona State, but they ultimately split the result, managing an overtime victory in the opener before dropping a 3-2 decision in the second game. It wasn’t a horrific result by any means, but the Golden Knights failed to keep pace with most of their closest competitors and slid two spots as a consequence.

#5 – Penn State Nittany Lions (Last Week: 6) 

  • Penn State salvaged their weekend with a gutsy overtime victory at Michigan State to split the series after a loss in the opener. It was an impressive rebound performance from the Nittany Lions, and their ranked road win was enough to lock them in at #6 for the second straight week.

#4 – Denver Pioneers (Last Week: 7)

  • Denver went to Miami of Ohio and swept the Redhawks, squeaking out a 3-2 decision in the opener before cruising 5-2 in the second game. Denver has not lost since December 6 – although they have three ties in that span – and that justifies their three-spot jump in this week’s rankings. 

#3 – North Dakota Fighting Hawks(Last Week: 3)

  • North Dakota in my mind is still one of the elite three teams in the country, but they showed that defense could be a huge weakness by giving up seven to UMD. Their rebound win was needed, and it kept the Fighting Hawks at #3, but they’ll have to figure out their defense before March rolls around. 

#2 – Minnesota State Mavericks (Last Week: 1)

  • Minnesota State suffered a tough loss to Bemidji State and split the series overall. I’ve already discussed that I really like the Beavers, and I don’t regard this as any kind of disaster for the Mavericks; I just believe any slip up can be costly when your competition plays at an elite level. 

#1 Cornell Big Red (Last Week: 2)

  • Cornell posted another unbeaten effort this weekend, beating a quality Dartmouth team before escaping Harvard’s upset bid with a tie. Their 1-0-1 weekend keeps them at just one loss for the year, and, combined with losses from North Dakota and the Mavericks, propelled the Big Red to #1.

January 20, 2020: NCAA Hockey Power Rankings

It’s the first edition of the NCAA Hockey Power Rankings! Here are the College Kids Talking College Sports rankings for the college hockey season, with our Top 10 listed, as well as a couple of honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ohio State
  • Minnesota Duluth
  • Bemidji State

#10 – Providence Friars 

  • The Friars have been difficult team to figure out, as they opened up their season impressively, with a 7-0 win versus the University of Maine, and then thumping BC on the road later that month, 6-2, before muddling through an 11-game stretch that saw them go 4-4-3. But the Friars are streaking again, with a 6-1-2 record since December 7, including an impressive tournament victory in the Fortress Invitational. Their next three games are against Northeastern and UMass (2 games) which should show where Providence stands. 

#9 – Harvard Crimson

  • I might be a little high on this Harvard team, but I really like what the Crimson are doing. The results aren’t always apparent, but statistically, this is a very good hockey team. After starting 6-0 on the year, Harvard has cooled off a little bit, but they recently took a series from #14 Arizona State and cracked the whip on Yale, throttling them 7-0. The Beanpot tournament in early February will give them a clearer idea of where they stand.

#8 – UMass Minutemen

  • Last year’s national runner-up, the Minutemen have shown the ability to beat elite teams, but they have not quite established consistency. At times, their defense has seemed a problem, but they seemed to handle it just fine in whipping Vermont in a two-game sweep this past weekend. They’ve beaten Boston College and Northeastern, but they were also swept by Denver. Consistency will be key for this team in unlocking the potential for a deep run. 
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 03: forward Brett Stapley (7) of the Denver Pioneers tries a wrap around shot on goaltender Filip Lindberg (35) of the Massachusetts Minutemen against the defense of defenseman Marc Del Gaizo (2) of the Massachusetts Minutemen in the first period at Magness Arena January 03, 2020. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

#7 – Denver Pioneers

  • Statistically, Denver should not be doing what they’re doing. They don’t rank in the top 10 in scoring offense, defense, or scoring margin. They are pretty solid on the penalty kill and powerplay, but it doesn’t really explain their stellar 15-4-5 record. However, this team did start 8-0, so maybe those statistics are starting to catch up to them. They just lost a series to Omaha, snapping a six-game winning streak. Denver is in the rankings largely due to record and national standing (#4 in the last poll), but I’m not too optimistic about them right now. 

#6 – Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Penn State has been impressive, and they may be the Big 10 favorite, but one has to wonder if they peaked too soon. The Nittany Lions are just 6-5-1 since a 10-2 start to their season. They just lost a home series to Michigan, including a demoralizing 6-0 loss. Their offense and defense have both been really good at times, but they ultimately haven’t put it all together in the same game very often. The pieces are there, the results are inconsistent. 

#5 – Clarkson Golden Knights

  • Clarkson is one of the hotter teams on this list, with a 9-2-1 record since mid-November. They boast a recent win at Harvard and a series victory over Michigan Tech. They made a statement by opening the year with a series victory at Michigan, and the Golden Knights have been a pinnacle of consistency, having not had a losing streak all year; only once have they followed a loss or tie with less than two wins in a row. 
Photo Courtesy of Boston College Athletics

#4 – Boston College Eagles

  • A four-game slide in late October and early November took the Eagles off the national radar, but BC is 12-1 since that slide, and they are absolutely cooking right now. They outscored Notre Dame in a home and home series 10-1, They split with UMass, and they have another road date with the Minutemen upcoming, as well as the Beanpot tournament. But ladies and gentlemen…BC hockey is back…and really scare to play right now. 

#3 – North Dakota Fighting Hawks

  • Although BC is fighting for their inclusion, the top 3 are remaining the same, as it has been for much of the year. Their ‘hot streak’ has basically been the whole season, as the Fighting Hawks have amazed to the tune of an 18-2-3 record. They are, 16-1-2 since October 19. They’ve scored 29 goals in their last 6 games and are in direct opposition to the two defensive stalwarts that top this week’s rankings. A road series against Minnesota-Duluth will test this team’s season-long hot streak. 

#2 – Cornell Big Red

  • Cornell has been muddled in a bit of a weird stretch. They’re not losing games…but they lack the killing stroke they had for the beginning portion of the year. After winning their first eleven, the Big Red finally stumbled at Dartmouth. They followed that up with a second-place finish in the Fortress Invitational, losing via shootout, and then a 2-0-2 record in four games. Overall, since their 11-0 start, the Big Red are 2-1-3. Again, that’s not bad, it’s just strange for a team that was so proficient at putting away opponents earlier in the year. The defense is still elite, having given up 3 goals in a game just once, so the offense may need to step it up so Cornell can keep recording victories. 

#1 – Minnesota State Mavericks

  • The Mavericks were my clear choice for #1. They lead the nation in power-play efficiency, goals allowed, scoring margin, and winning percentage. They are 6th in goals scored and 2nd in penalty kill percentage. All-in-all, I felt Minnesota State was the obvious pick for #1 this week. The Mavericks doubled down on this feeling by earning another impressive sweep this weekend, going on the road and taking down #18 Bowling Green twice. They’ve won seven straight games, outscoring their opponents 28-7 in the process.