The 2020 MLB Draft Begins TODAY: The Cubs Pick, How to Watch, Who to Follow, Big Board, More

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The 2020 MLB Draft Begins TODAY: The Cubs Pick, How to Watch, Who to Follow, Big Board, More

Chicago Cubs

Tonight, the Cubs will make their highest draft selection since 2015, leading off what will be a bizarre and historically unique draft.

Due (in part) to the pandemic, the MLB Draft was reduced this year from 40 rounds to five. The signing deadline for draftees was extended, bonus payments will almost entirely be deferred by 1-2 years, and undrafted players can’t be signed for more than a very modest bonus. There have also been restrictions placed on scouts on what specifically they are allowed to ask from potential draftees. Oh, and those scouts couldn’t really scout these players much this year since most of the seasons were cancelled.

Oh, and ALSO, the Cubs have a new guy in charge of the draft.

It’s all pretty weird. Here’s a how-to guide for following along.

When Will The Cubs Pick?

What we do know is the Cubs will select 16th, 51st, 88th, 117th and 147th. They have a $6,721,600 bonus pool to sign these players, and can exceed that amount by five percent at no real penalty (leaving them about 7.06M total). At the draft’s conclusion, all teams will be able to sign undrafted players for a maximum of $20,000.

Where Can I Watch?

The Draft will begin at 6 pm CT tonight on both MLB Network and ESPN, with coverage of the entire first round, comprising of 37 picks. Day Two of the Draft will be Thursday at 4 pm on ESPN2 and MLBN, and it will cover the rest of the draft, 160 picks in all.

How Can I Read Up on Potential Picks Ahead of Time?

Previously, I previewed the college pitchers, college hitters and high school players the Cubs might be considering with their first pick.

Michael has done a great job in tracking various mock drafts from around the industry, which have really connected the Cubs to six names in particular. However, it must be stated that in the past couple years, the Cubs have been happy to buck industry consensus with their top pick. [Brett: most saw Nico Hoerner as a second rounder a couple years ago, and most had Ryan Jensen as a third rounder, and yet I’d venture a guess that if each of those drafts were conducted again, Hoerner would definitely go earlier in the first round, and the perspective on Jensen also bounced considerably after it became clear that the Cubs did a great job of sandbagging so they could snag him.]

You Got a Big Board?

Sure! Let’s go 16 deep to get right up to the Cubs’ pick:

  1. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
  2. Zac Veen, OF
  3. Austin Martin, UT
  4. Asa Lacy, LHP
  5. Nick Gonzales, 2B
  6. Emerson Hancock, RHP
  7. Garrett Crochet, LHP
  8. Max Meyer, RHP
  9. Nick Bitsko, RHP
  10. Austin Hendrick, OF
  11. Heston Kjerstad, OF
  12. Reid Detmers, LHP
  13. Tyler Soderstrom, 3B
  14. Cole Wilcox, RHP
  15. Cade Cavalli, RHP
  16. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
[Brett: Synthesizing the mocks, and given the unique depth in this draft among guys in that 5 to 25 range, it’s possible that as many as 6 or 7 of these guys will still be on the board when the Cubs pick at 16. I’ve been particularly intrigued to see how many mocks have Crochet falling past the Cubs given how much Bryan likes him. Among the college starters that could be there for the Cubs at 16, I like what I’ve seen/read about him and Cavalli, in particular. You also have to figure the Cubs know Detmers very well, given how closely they’ve scouted – and drafted from – Louisville. Not sure he makes it to them, though.]

Who Should I Follow on Twitter Tonight?

You know Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB Pipeline, along with Jeff Passan at ESPN, will possibly do their job spoiling the picks on Twitter moments before Manfred’s announcements on TV. So, be advised?

The Baseball America crew, led by Carlos Callazo and JJ Cooper are the best in the business. The guys at Prospects Live have had insane output this past month, led by some awesome collaborations with Perfect Game’s Brian Sakowski. Our buddies at Cubs Insider have the hosts of their Growing Cubs podcast, Greg Huss and Jimmy Nelligan, doing a simulcast on The Rant’s YouTube feed. Shouts to Prospect 365’s Mason McRae, The Athletic’s Keith Law, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel will all have great info as well. I’ll surely be busy as well, trying to cover things specifically from the Cubs angle.

Any Rumors to Follow?

Yesterday had plenty. There was a report that a team in the first half of the first round was considering punting the draft, in other words taking a player with zero intention to sign him. The Angels were mentioned as a possibility, but they shot it down. Rumors of surprise underslot deals persist. Baseball America mentioned North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato as a guy with some late helium, and he’s honestly a pick that wouldn’t shock me for the Cubs, given the huge power. I think the Pirates pick at seven is where the draft could start to get weird, possibly unlocking a player the Cubs thought they wouldn’t have a chance at.

So C’mon, Who Are the Cubs taking?

The names that I think are most likely are Austin Hendrick, Garrett Crochet, Cade Cavalli, Tyler Soderstrom, and Garrett Mitchell. I will say Cavalli, who I think is a lot of teams’ back-up plan in the top 15.

No matter who it is, you can slot that player instantly as the #5 prospect in the system, behind the top four of Brennen Davis, Miguel Amaya, Nico Hoerner, and Brailyn Marquez. Should be a fun night.

Author: Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.