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ASU’s Spencer Torkelson goes 1st overall in MLB mock draft by ESPN

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2019, file photo, Arizona State's Spencer Torkelson bats during an NCAA college baseball game against Notre Dame in Phoenix. Torkelson is only the third player in Pac-12 history to hit 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons and is a projected top-three pick in the draft. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Arizona State baseball’s Spencer Torkelson didn’t get the chance to break the school’s career home run record. Nonetheless, his gaudy home run total has put him among the best in this year’s MLB Draft class.

A recent mock draft from ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel has Torkelson going first overall in the draft to the Detroit Tigers.

McDaniel leaves the door open, though, for Torkelson not to go first overall, despite calling the first baseman the chalk pick.

Torkelson and Vanderbilt second baseman Austin Martin are the consensus top two prospects in this draft and they’re both represented by Scott Boras. I normally don’t mention who is advising draftees before the draft because in the past it could affect a player’s college eligibility, but the rules have since changed and it’s very relevant in this specific instance. Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy is represented by a smaller outfit.

Torkelson only got to play in 17 games in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak halted the college baseball season. In that short amount of time, he hit .340 with six home runs and 11 RBIs. He finished his three-year ASU career with 129 games played, hitting .337 with 54 home runs, 130 RBIs and 33 doubles.

Torkelson was two home runs shy of tying the school’s career home run record, held by Bob Horner.

Martin, meanwhile, hit .368 in 140 games across three seasons at Vanderbilt. He had 39 doubles and a slugging percentage of .532, drawing 85 walks and striking out 82 times. Martin also had 14 home runs and 76 RBIs with 43 stolen bases.

After the Tigers, the next four picks in the draft are the Orioles, Marlins, Royal and Blue Jays, in that order. The Diamondbacks won’t pick until the 18th overall selection and then again at 33rd overall.

This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB will cut its amateur draft from 40 rounds to five this year, a move that figures to save teams about $30 million.

Clubs gained the ability to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players’ association and MLB plans to finalize a decision next week to go with the minimum.

The start date of the draft will remain June 10 and the deadline to sign likely will be pushed back from July 10 to Aug. 1. The draft will be cut from three days to two.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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