MLB Draft 2020: Spencer Torkelson goes to Detroit Tigers, Blue Jays grab Austin Martin

The 2020 MLB Draft started on Wednesday (June 10) and will conclude on Thursday as the selection process spans just five rounds this year. The 2020 MLB Draft – officially known as the First-Year Player Draft or the Rule 4 Draft – has been reduced by the MLB from the usual 40 rounds down to only five rounds due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Detroit Tigers held the top overall pick for the second time in three years as they registered only 47 victories last season. The Tigers used that No. 1 selection to draft in Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson. Austin Martin of Vanderbilt was ranked as the top player in the class.

It was widely expected that the Tigers would select Torkelson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft as he hit .337/.463/.729 with 54 home runs in 129 games as a Sun Devil. The Tigers, however, left everyone surprised by taking Torkelson as a third baseman because it will be a new position for him. 

The Blue Jays acted smartly to grab super utility player Austin Martin who was passed over with the top four picks. With Martin’s inclusion, Toronto’s great young position player core (Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., etc.) only became stronger.

In a first, seven college players were selected with the first seven picks of the draft. The previous record was five college players to begin the draft, done twice: 1992 (Phil Nevin, Paul Shuey, B.J. Wallace, Jeffrey Hammonds, Chad Mottola) and 2018 (Casey Mize, Joey Bart, Alec Bohm, Nick Madrigal, Jonathan India). 

The seven college players are Spencer Torkelson, Heston Kjerstad, Max Meyer, Asa Lacy, Austin Martin, Emerson Hancock, Nick Gonzales.

The Red Sox made a surprise pick by taking California high school infielder Nick Yorke with the No. 17 pick. Baseball America ranked Yorke as the 96th-best prospect in the draft class, while he was ranked 139th by MLB.com.

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