With the 2020 MLB Draft just hours away, the Orioles find themselves yet again at the top of the draft board.
The Orioles have three picks in the top 40 and four in the top 100. With this year’s draft being just five rounds compared to 40 in recent years, teams have to pick the best of the best, and the Orioles have some great options to choose from when it comes to the No. 2 overall pick.
Arizona State first baseman, Spencer Torkelson, is projected to be chosen as a lock at No. 1 overall by the Detroit Tigers, so he will not make this list.
Austin Martin: 3B/OF Vanderbilt
Being praised as the best pure hitter in the draft, Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin seems to be the most reasonable and obvious route the Orioles will take with the No. 2 overall selection.
Martin, 21, “has tremendous feel for the barrel and makes consistent hard contact with a short, quick right-handed stroke. He’s not overly physical and may not have more than average raw power, but his hitting ability allows him to tap into every bit of it. He controls the strike zone extremely well and uses the entire field, exhibiting no weaknesses at the plate,” according to MLB.com.
They’re not wrong. The Jacksonville, FL, native has hit .338, .392, and .377 respectively in his three years of collegiate ball.
Although his power numbers aren’t that high, hitting just 14 home runs overall in college, Martin’s consistency at the plate and ability to avoid striking makes him very intriguing.
Fielding has been the biggest question mark for Martin. He is listed as a primary third baseman, but he got a lot of playing time in center field last season. Some think he will eventually move to second base, but it’s nice to see the versatility Martin brings.
Martin is also a threat on the base paths, stealing 43 bases for the Commodores in college. The combination of getting on base and stealing a bag with ease makes Martin a perfect threat at the top of any lineup
If the Orioles don’t select Martin second overall, this guy writing this article will be shocked.
Asa Lacy: LHP Texas A&M
Yes, that is his real name, and yes, he can really pitch.
Lacy, a 21-year-old Bryan, TX, native, has an electric fastball that can reach 97 mph with ease, using his 6-foot-4 frame to create a downhill plane.
According to MLB.com, “He employs two distinct breaking balls, a downer curveball and a harder slider in the low 80s, with the slider surpassing his curve this spring and becoming a plus pitch. His changeup fades and sinks and grades as a well above-average pitch at its best, and it should become more consistently plus as he uses it more often.”
If the Orioles wanted to take the pitching route, this would be the guy.
Nick Gonzales: 2B/SS New Mexico State University
Having played three seasons at New Mexico State University, middle infielder Nick Gonzales would be a great pick for the Orioles if they choose to stay away from a pitcher with their first pick.
Standing at 5-foot-10, the 21-year-old from Cienega, AZ, looks to be one of the highest drafts picks from New Mexico State.
In his first year of college ball, Gonzales had a slash line of .347/.425/.596., which is very impressive for a freshman. In 57 games in 2018, Gonzales accumulated 67 base hits, with 17 of those being doubles and nine being home runs. With 36 RBI and 23 walks, the young kid showed promise as a factor for any team.
2019 was a great improvement on an already great season. In his second year, Gonzales played in 55 games, with a slash line of .342/.532/.773. His fantastic slugging percentage of 1.304 was fueled by 95 hits, 19 of which were doubles and another 16 were home runs. Batting in 80 runs and walking 45 times made for what could have been an MVP season had that been the majors.
2020 was a shortened year for Gonzales as he only played in 16 games, where he still hit 12 home runs out of his 26 hits. Gonzales ended 2020 with the same 36 RBI as 2018, while coming to the plate 150 less times.
In the field, Gonzales had his best year in 2019, when he had a near perfect fielding percentage at .963. In 160 chances, the second baseman had 53 put outs and 101 assists, committing just six errors. A strong arm and a smart baseball mind set Gonzales up as one of the top prospects going into the draft.
Who do you think the Orioles will take with their second overall selection? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!