The shortened 2020 MLB Draft that begins June 10 now is less than one week away. In what could be the strangest draft we've seen, the Giants are in good position with seven picks over five rounds.
This is your first reminder that the MLB draft is unlike the more popular drafts of the NBA or NFL. This isn't about team needs, and it's extremely unlikely any player drafted plays in the pros this season, if there even is a season. Baseball fans have shown a lot of patience this year, and they'll need more when it comes from prospects drafted, especially this year as players' seasons either were shortened or canceled.
Will the Giants continue their pattern of taking hitters in the first round? They have done so with their last four first-round picks, and certainly could do so again this year.
They're in an interesting spot at No. 13, right above the halfway mark of Round 1. With money slots and odd circumstances when it comes to scouting challenges this year, players could rise and fall for many reasons. After looking at multiple mock drafts and lists of top prospects, here are three hitters the Giants could target with their top pick.
Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock High School
Soderstrom has been connected to the Giants time and time again throughout the draft process. He's listed as a catcher, however, he's much more than that. The prep star split time at third base, can play first base and has the athleticism to possibly play a corner outfield spot.
That certainly could help his case with the Giants. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi values versatility around the diamond. Zaidi was the Los Angeles Dodgers general manager when they took Will Smith in the first round of the 2016 draft. Smith, like Soderstrom, is listed as a catcher but also played third and second base in the minor leagues.
Soderstrom will be picked for his bat, though. Defensive versatility is nice, but hitting dingers is much sweeter. The left-handed hitter packs plenty of power, too.
Prior to his senior season being shut down, he hit .357 with one homer through five games. As a junior, Soderstrom hit .450 with four home runs and 1.340 OPS. Soderstrom also has a strong track record against top talent with a wood bat, and hit .364 with 10 RBI over nine games for the Team USA on the 2019 18U National Team.
Check out this video (volume up) of a recent hitting session for @tylersode. Has a added a great deal of strength to his frame now measuring 6'3" 204 pounds. Consistent exit velo's of 98-103 MPH. #MLBDraft #ShapeTheState #BeSeen @PBR_California pic.twitter.com/xa9DCNy5kT— 𝐋𝐞𝐬 𝐋𝐮𝐤𝐚𝐜𝐡 (@LesLukach) June 3, 2020
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Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
Mitchell might have some of the best tools in the entire draft. Baseball America gives him 80-grade speed, the highest a player can have. He is a true center fielder who only got better and better at the plate throughout his college career.
After a strong freshman year, Mitchell broke out as a sophomore by hitting .349 with six homers, 14 doubles and a UCLA single-season record 12 triples. He also stole 18 bases. Before his junior season ended, Mitchell was hitting .355 with six doubles and ended the year on a 10-game hitting streak.
Mitchell also has Type-1 Diabetes, and some teams might be worried about his health risks. As far as tools and skill set go, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is one of the best in this year's draft class.
B4 | Garrett Mitchell rips a fly ball off the top of the right-center field wall for a two-run triple, cutting the deficit to just one run!— UCLA Baseball (@UCLABaseball) March 7, 2020
🎥 | https://t.co/Ofp0GAOEct
TCU 4, UCLA 3#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/cMzeDY4uUh
Robert Hassell, OF, Independence High School
Hassell might be the best pure high school hitter in the country. There also is a real chance the top of the draft goes college-heavy, especially with shortened seasons and scouts not able to see as many prep prospects this year.
If Hassell still is available at No. 13, the Giants should seriously consider him. The two-time Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year hit .423 with 14 homers and 22 steals as a junior, and then slashed .514/.548/.866 for the 18U USA National Team last September at the WBSC 18U World Cup in South Korea.
Robert Hassell III could be one of the first prep position players taken in this year's #MLBDraft and the first from Tennessee selected in the first round since Mike White in 1986. @MannyOnMLB has 10 things you should know about the outfielder: https://t.co/SDyMSsDYOA pic.twitter.com/yB8EZdZ7PG— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 1, 2020
With the 13th pick in the draft, the Giants could be in prime position for this young, advanced bat to fall to them. They also could look at high school outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong and Austin Hendrick, along with high school shortstop Ed Howard.
It would be a shock if Arkansas slugger Heston Kjerstad still is available at No. 13. But if he is, the Giants would have a hard time passing on his bat after hitting .345 with 35 homers over his college career.
MLB Draft 2020: Three hitters Giants could target with No. 13 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area