MINORS: 2020 NCAA Names to know

Photo: Austin Martin (IF/OF, Vanderbilt)

This article first appeared in the 2020 Minor League Baseball Analyst.

Here’s our list of 2020 draft-eligible college players who project as top MLB fantasy prospects heading into the 2020 season, which begins this weekend and ends with the College World Series (June 12-24) in Omaha, Neb. The MLB Draft will also be in Omaha for the first time, and run June 10-12. 

All stats are from the 2019 college season unless noted.

1. Austin Martin, IF/OF
Vanderbilt, R/R, 6-0, 170
Martin can do everything and is a legit 1/1 candidate with an outstanding approach (87% ct%, 14 bb%, 1.20 Eye) that translates into elite production (.392/.486/.604) thanks to an uncanny ability to hit the ball hard with regularity. Martin stole 41 bases his first two collegiate seasons and added the long ball (10 HR) to his arsenal late last year. He was outstanding at third base in 2019, may play center this year and could play there, or perhaps at shortstop, in the bigs.

2. Emerson Hancock, RHP
Georgia, R/R, 6-4, 213
A mid-season lat problem was about the only damper on Hancock’s phenomenal sophomore year, during which he flashed a 9.7 Dom and a 5.4 Cmd. Hancock’s a polished, four-pitch guy who can get into the high-90s with his fastball—it’s his best pitch, and hitters have a tough time seeing it until it’s too late—might be the first arm taken in 2020.

3. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
Arizona St., R/R, 6-1, 220
Torkelson’s mashed 48 homers in two college seasons, and slashed .351/.446/.707 in 2019. He gets Andrew Vaughn comps, but the Eye (0.90) and patience (14% bb%), while good, aren’t at Vaughn’s level. There’s plenty of power and likely and some batting average, too. 

4. Garrett Mitchell, OF
UCLA, L/R, 6-3, 204
Mitchell’s shown more of promise than production, but the latter’s starting to catch up, when his raw power and speed tools began to show last year (6 HR, 18 SB, 12 triples) to go with a huge jump in Eye (0.30 to 0.70) and ct% (75% to 84%). Mitchell’s a Type 1 diabetic and that’s a concern, but he’s a potential across-the-board fantasy star. 

5. Nick Gonzales, 2B
New Mexico St., R/R, 5-10, 190
The former walk-on produced (.432/.532/.773, 16 HR) in a ridiculously-favorable hitting environment, but blew up as a prospect with a .351/.451/.630 showing in the Cape Cod league last summer, with 7 HR and 6 SB. Gonzales, a mature player with a compact swing who showed tremendous growth in Eye (0.60 to 1.50), profiles as a second baseman who can hit for average and some power.

6. Asa Lacy, LHP
Texas A&M, L/L, 6-4, 214
The highly-competitive lefty who nearly untouchable (13.7 Dom, .162 oppBA) last season. His mid-90s fastball headlines a four-pitch mix that includes a slider that’s particularly tough on lefties. Command is the knock on Lacy—his motion is more over the top, and at times, it looks as if he struggles to find a consistent release point—but there’s big upside. 

7. Reid Detmers, LHP
L/L, Louisville, 6-2, 210
Detmers posted a phenomenal 13.3 Dom, 5.1 Cmd and a .177 average against as a sophomore. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but can be tough to hit thanks to terrific arm-side run that can be particularly effective against right-handers—and he complements it with a loopy breaking ball that he loves to use against lefties, plus a change-up. He’s a smart competitor who matured a sophomore and can adjust when it’s not his best day. 

8. Casey Martin, SS
Arkansas, R/R, 5-11, 175
The most high-risk, high-reward player on the list, Martin has home-run power, (28 HR in two seasons) and big-steal upside (he swiped 10 bags in 2019 and he has top-of-the-scale speed). Martin needs a lot of needs refining at the plate (72% ct%, 0.40 Eye) and seems to get sped up in the field, but some blame that on an adjustment that came from playing at a low level of high school baseball. There’s a 20/20 guy in here who’ll play on the left side of the dirt if it works out. 

9. J.T. Ginn, RHP
Mississippi St., R/R, 6-2, 192
Ginn, who the Dodgers took 30th overall in 2019, is a draft-eligible sophomore. He missed a lot of the 2019 postseason with shoulder discomfort. Before that, he earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors thanks to a 10.9 Dom and a 5.5 Cmd. His best grades come on a curve and a fastball he can run into the high-90s.

10. Tanner Burns, RHP
Auburn, R/R, 6-0, 205
Burns’ best pitches are a fastball and a curve that he commands well—as good a pitcher as there is in college baseball when he’s healthy. But health’s the problem: Burns had a sore shoulder that hampered him from late-April on, and wasn’t the same when he returned. He posted an 11.7 Dom and was competitive enough to want the ball during Auburn’s postseason run, when he had far less than his best self.

11. Heston Kjerstad, OF
Arkansas, L/R, 6-3, 200
Kjerstad, who’s mashed 31 HR in two seasons, is one of the best power-hitting prospects in the draft. That’s where is value’s going to lie—a ct% of 76% and Eye of 0.30, and below-average speed limit the rest—but that’s enough to put him on the radar.

12. Garrett Crochet, LHP
Tennessee, L/L, 6-6, 218
Crochet has pitched mostly out of the bullpen, but a high-spin-rate fastball that started touching 100 this fall has excited scouts, and he adds a slider and a change. 

More to watch: 
C.J. Van Eyk, RHP, Florida St.
Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
Cole Henry, RHP, LSU
Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi St.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.