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ASU’s Torkelson goes No. 1, D-backs take CF in ESPN MLB mock draft

General manager Mike Hazen of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches batting practice during a postseason workout at Chase Field (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

An MLB mock draft from ESPN had Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson going first overall and the Arizona Diamondbacks adding an outfield prospect in the first round.

Torkelson, projected by many to be the first overall pick, went first to the Detroit Tigers in Kiley McDaniel’s mock 2.0 of the 2020 MLB Draft, which will take place on June 10-11.

McDaniel even gives his confidence level as a percentage for each pick and its alternatives. He felt that Torkelson, a first baseman from ASU who hit for both power and average, had an 85% chance of being the first pick.

The remaining 15% chance was spared for Texas A&M southpaw Asa Lacy.

This one still isn’t locked in, but I’m told it’s basically down to signability signals, as Torkelson’s camp (i.e. [agent] Scott Boras) isn’t expected to give a hard number. Although Detroit might publicly say that it is considering more than two players, I’m told it’s down to Lacy, who fits Detroit’s preferences to a T, and Torkelson, the consensus top player in the draft.

Torkelson hit .337 with 54 home runs in 129 college games over three years and was well on his way to breaking ASU’s all-time career home runs record before the coronavirus ended his junior season.

“If that particular team is looking for a hitter in that top pick, what’s your choice?” Torkelson’s head coach, Tracy Smith, said last week. “That’s what he is. He’s one of the best that, I think, to ever play the collegiate game. So there’s no sales pitch from us. If you guys don’t take him you’re ‘blank’ crazy.”

The D-backs pick 18th, and McDaniel has them going with Pete Crow-Armstrong, a center fielder from Harvard Westlake High School in California who is committed to Vanderbilt. McDaniel didn’t give percentage confidence on this pick because of the unpredictability of how a draft could shake out up to that point.

The D-backs are another team that seems to have zeroed in on a specific type (contact-first, up-the-middle prep bats) and has gotten solid recent results with that approach (Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll). Crow-Armstrong fits it to a T. It isn’t a coincidence that the other best fit to that type in the first round, Robert Hassell, is Arizona’s other heavily rumored target.

McDaniel adds that the D-backs are rumored to be eyeing high school arms that have a lot of upside, and he mentions right-hander Nick Bitsko from Central Bucks East High School in Pennsylvania. He also mocks Wake Forest left-hander Jared Shuster going to the D-backs 33rd overall with their competitive balance pick.

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