The 2020 MLB Draft will take place from June 10-11 and will feature only five rounds.
The New York Yankees have been preparing for this year’s edition of the MLB Draft, but under much different circumstances. The 2020 installation will feature just five rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, the annual event sees over 1,200 players get drafted, but we’ll only see 160 this time around, with the rest signing as undrafted free agents (for just $20K).
Nonetheless, general manager Brian Cashman needs to hit a home run in these five rounds because absolutely nothing is guaranteed after that. It appears as if some baseball publications feel he’ll get off to a good start by targeting a couple of pitchers in the first round with the 28th pick.
The first mock draft provided by Baseball America has the Yankees taking Georgia right-hander Cole Wilcox, who has hit 100 MPH on the gun before (though he primarily sits between 93-97) and has a solid changeup and slider. He’ll be an especially interesting case to keep an eye on considering his collegiate path.
As a 19-year-old, Wilcox enjoyed little success. In 2019 with Georgia, he appeared in 19 games (four of which were starts) and owned a 4.07 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 59.2 innings. Then he got destroyed in two starts in the Cape Cod league, which left him with a 6.75 ERA.
But the start of 2020 was a completely different story. In four starts before the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilcox was 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 23 innings of work. That’s bolstered his stock immensely.
Don’t like him because of the small sample size? Then you might not like MLB.com’s mock selection of Clayton Beeter at No. 28. He’s similar to Cole in the sense he was a reliever in 2019 (3.48 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 8 saves and 40 strikeouts across 21 games) before toeing the rubber as a starter in 2020. In four outings (21 innings) this year, the right-hander went 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 33 strikeouts (and only walked four!).
He’s hit 98 MPH on the gun, but general sits 93-96 with his fastball, which he pairs with a curve and slider.
Though both of these pitchers don’t have much collegiate experience under their belts, it’s quite possible scouts loved what they saw earlier in 2020. New York has plenty of position player talent at the MLB level and in the farm system, so it wouldn’t hurt to add another pitching project. After all, guys like Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, Albert Abreu and Nick Nelson need to take a big step forward whenever the season starts for the Yanks to know where they stand with their pitching prospects.
Odds are only one of those guys will be a top line MLB starter, so it’s imperative the pipeline keeps growing.