Major League Baseball completes 2020 Draft


Major League Baseball tonight completed its 2020 Draft presented by T-Mobile, with a total of 160 players being chosen in the five rounds, two Competitive Balance rounds and one Compensation round. The Draft resumed this evening on MLB Network and ESPN2 with the 38th overall selection at the start of the second round following Wednesday’s completion of the first round and Competitive Balance Round A.

Throughout the entire two-day Draft broadcast, a top Baseball Operations representative from each of the 30 Major League Clubs, as well as 26 of the top draft-eligible players, each equipped with T-Mobile phones, appeared remotely from their respective locations.

Frontline heroes were featured during every round in the 2020 MLB Draft to put their favorite team “on the clock.” The pre-recorded videos, which were shown prior to the team’s selection, showcased these individuals who are medical care professionals, first responders, and specialty social service workers in one of their favorite team’s surrounding communities. Following are the names and when their videos were featured during the Draft:

 Jeff Cortazzo, Emergency Medicine Physician – Seattle Mariners (Round, 1, Pick 6)
 Jonathan Frasca, Firefighter – Los Angeles Angels (Round 1, Pick 10)
 Will Rodriguez, Immigrant Advocacy – New York Mets (Round 1, Pick 19)
 Michelle Jackson, Registered Nurse – Washington Nationals (Round 1, Pick 22)
 Michael Lechman, Hospital Environmental Services – Colorado Rockies (CB-B, Pick 35)
 Katie Moss, Registered Nurse – San Diego Padres (Round 2, Pick 45)
 Risa Candelord, Oncology Nurse Navigator – Pittsburgh Pirates (Round 3, Pick 79)
 Sandy Encarnacion, Delivered PPE to doctors and nurses – Boston Red Sox (Round 4, Pick 17)
 Linette Kress, Registered Nurse and former “White Sox Pride Crew Member” – Chicago White Sox (Round 5, Pick 11)

Pitchers were the most frequently chosen players, with 86 being selected (63 RHP, 23 LHP). The rest of the 2020 pool was comprised of 36 infielders (including 22 shortstops, nine third basemen, four second basemen and one first baseman), 28 outfielders and 10 catchers.

Arizona State University and Texas A&M University each had five players selected, marking the most in the Draft. The University of Michigan, the University of Oklahoma and Vanderbilt University followed with four players each, while three players were drafted out of Mississippi State University, the University of Louisville, the University of Miami and the University of Tennessee. Overall, 113 players (70.6%) were selected from the college ranks, while 47 high schoolers (29.4%) were drafted.

Players were selected from 30 states, with California (25) producing the most selections, followed by Texas (22), Florida (15), Tennessee (10), North Carolina (7) and Arizona (6). In addition to the players selected from the United States, three players from Canada were also drafted.

Sixteen of the first 73 selections (21.9%) come from diverse backgrounds, including African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders. Those 16 included Austin Martin (5th overall, TOR); Nick Gonzales (7th overall, PIT); Ed Howard (16th overall, CHI); Jordan Walker (21st overall, STL); Carson Tucker (23rd overall, CLE); Alika Williams (CB-A, TB); Ben Hernandez (2nd round, KC); Christian Roa (2nd round, CIN); Freddy Zamora (2nd round, MIL); Masyn Winn (2nd round, STL); Alerick Soularie (2nd round, MIN); Tink Hence (CB-B, STL); Isaiah Greene (2-C, NYM); Sammy Infante (2-C, WSH); Alex Santos (2-C, HOU); and Trei Cruz (3rd round, DET).

The selections of Howard by the Cubs and Walker by the Cardinals mark the first time ever that two alumni of the Breakthrough Series – a diversity-focused, amateur development experience by MLB & USA Baseball – have been selected in the first round of the MLB Draft. Both Howard and Walker are alumni of additional diversity-focused development programming offered, in part, by MLB & USA Baseball, including the Hank Aaron Invitational(Howard participated in 2015 & 2018) – which is funded by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation – and the DREAM Series (Walker participated in 2019). Howard is also a product of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) through the Chicago White Sox ACE program, which competed in the 2017 RBI World Series.

Other alumni of diversity-focused development programming selected in the 2020 Draft included Tink Hence (2018-19 BTS & 2020 DS; CB-B, STL); Connor Phillips (TX States Play; CB-B, SEA); Isaiah Greene (2019 BTS & 2019 HAI; 2-C, NYM); Sammy Infante (FL States Play; 2-C, WSH); Zavier Warren (2014 RBI & RBI WS – Detroit Arsenal; 3rd round, MIL); Werner Blakely (2017 RBI & RBI WS – Detroit PAL; 4th round, LAA); and Mackenzie Wainwright (2015 & 2017 HAI; 4th round, CIN).

Twenty-one players who participated in the inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League by MLB and USA Baseball were selected during the 2020 Draft. The players include Robert Hassell III (8th overall, SD); Austin Hendrick (12th overall, CIN); Mick Abel (15th overall, PHI); Howard (16th overall, CHI); Walker (21st overall, STL); Tucker (23rd overall, CLE); Tyler Soderstrom (26th overall, OAK); Drew Romo (35th overall, COL); Dax Fulton (2nd round, MIA); Hernandez (2nd round, KC); Jared Jones (2nd round, PIT); Jackson Miller (CB-B, CIN); Infante (2-C, WSH); Santos (2-C, HOU); Kyle Harrison (3rd round, SF); Liam Norris (3rd round, ARI); Petey Halpin (3rd round, CLE); Blakely (4th round, LAA); AJ Vukovich (4th round, ARI); Milan Tolentino (4th round, CLE); and Colt Keith (5th round, DET). The PDP League served as a primary identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, which competed in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea in September 2019. Additionally, the League served as a feeder for a new MLB All-Star High School Prospect Game for the best high school baseball players, which took place in Cleveland as part of MLB’s All-Star Week festivities in July 2019.

Robert Hassell III, Austin Hendrick, Jordan Walker, Blaze Jordan (3rd round, BOS) and AJ Vukovich were five of the eight participants in the 2019 High School Home Run Derby during MLB All-Star Week in Cleveland.

The Detroit Tigers selected third baseman Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State University with the first overall pick in the Draft. Torkelson was the first third baseman taken with the first overall selection since Philadelphia selected Pat Burrell in 1998, and he joined Matt Anderson (1997) and Casey Mize (2018) as the only number one overall picks in Tigers history. The Tigers became the sixth team to hold the top overall pick twice in a three-year span, joining San Diego (1972, 1974), Seattle (1979, 1981), Tampa Bay (2007-08), Washington (2009-10) and Houston (2012, 2014). Torkelson became the fourth player from Arizona State University to be selected first overall, joining Rick Monday (1965), Floyd Bannister (1976) and Bob Horner (1978). In addition, he became just the seventh collegiate player to be chosen first overall after not having previously been drafted out of high school, joining Mize (2018), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Anderson (1997), Kris Benson (1996), Andy Benes (1988) and Dave Roberts (1972). Following the selection of Adley Rutschman atop the 2019 MLB Draft, this marks the second consecutive year that an alumni of the Pitch, Hit & Run National Skills Competition was chosen with the number one overall pick.

The Cleveland Indians selected Mountain Pointe H.S. (AZ) shortstop Carson Tucker with the 23rd overall pick in the Draft. Tucker is the brother of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, who was drafted with the 24th overall pick by the Pirates in 2014. Other notable selections included:

• Duke University right-hander Bryce Jarvis (18th overall, ARI), who is the son of former Major League pitcher Kevin Jarvis, who was a 21st round pick in the 1991 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds;

• Turlock H.S. (CA) catcher Tyler Soderstrom (26th overall, OAK), who is the son of former Major League pitcher Steve Soderstrom, who was drafted sixth overall in the 1993 Draft by the San Francisco Giants; and

• Rice University shortstop Trei Cruz (3rd round, DET), son of former Major League outfielder José Cruz Jr., and grandson of two-time All-Star outfielder José Cruz

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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