A shortened Major League Baseball draft means only 150 players will be selected next Wednesday and Thursday. There's a good chance a handful of them will have ties to the state of Michigan.
That does not include Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson, who owns the top spot in ESPN's updated MLB draft rankings posted Tuesday, and is the front-runner to be taken by the Detroit Tigers at No. 1 overall.
"'Tork' is the safest pick in the draft because he raked from the moment he stepped on campus and in two summers for Team USA with a wood bat," Kiley McDaniel of ESPN's MLB Insider writes. "He has edged ahead of Austin Martin in the eyes of the scouts and analysts, but it's close."
Among McDaniel's top 150 prospects, Owen Caissie checks in at No. 89. An outfielder from Notre Dame Catholic in Burlington, Ontario, Caissie is a Michigan commit. He's followed shortly by Michigan right-hander Jeff Criswell at No. 93.
Criswell (Portage Central) was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts for the Wolverines before the season was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he was coming off a season in which he was 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched, as Michigan finished second in the College World Series.
Caissie and Criswell were not ranked among McDaniel's top 102 players in his initial MLB draft rankings posted in April, suggesting their stock is rising in the ESPN writer's eyes.
Also making McDaniel's top 150 is Central Michigan third baseman Zavier Warren at No. 111, Michigan State right-hander Mason Erla at No. 121, and Michigan outfielder Jordan Nwogu at No. 141.
Warren (Birmingham Groves) was hitting .328 through 17 games this season, following a 2019 season in which he hit .369 with eight home runs and 70 RBIs in 61 games. He had a 1.080 OPS.
Erla (Cass City) was 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four starts this season, with 42 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched. Nwogu (Ann Arbor Pioneer) was leading the Wolverines with a .353 average through 15 games, including a pair of home runs.