Recap: Analysis on every pick from Round 1 of MLB draft

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

We found out the next puzzle piece of the Tigers' rebuilding efforts during the first round of the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday night.

And as all signs indicated, the Tigers took Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson.

Check out a complete list of all the picks from Round 1 below.


1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

Torkelson was the top pick and for good reason. He bested Barry Bonds’ freshman home run record at Arizona State and was on pace to break both the ASU and Pac-12 career marks as a junior before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While he was announced as a third baseman during the draft broadcast, his greatest asset will undoubtedly be his powerful bat. Torkelson is a right-handed masher who has a great plate discipline, as evidenced by his .337/.463/.729 career slash line. He racked up 54 home runs, 33 doubles and 130 RBIs in 129 games at Arizona State.

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2. Baltimore Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

It didn't take long for the draft's first twist. While most projections had Baltimore taking either Texas A&M ace Asa Lacy or Vanderbilt star Austin Martin, the Orioles went with Kjerstad, one of the top college outfielders in the draft. After winning the SEC freshman of the year in 2018, he followed that up by becoming the program’s first player to record at least 50 RBIs in his first two seasons since Rodney Nye in 1998-99. He batted .448/.513/.791 in 16 games this spring and has a .343/.421/.590 slash line in 150 career games at Arkansas. 

The Orioles select Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad with the second overall pick.

3. Miami Marlins: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

Most believed Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy would be the first pitcher off the board but that honor went to Meyer. He tied the school record with 16 saves as a freshman before moving into the starting rotation as a sophomore. Meyer has explosive stuff with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and a wicked slider.

4. Kansas City Royals: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

The hard-throwing southpaw was viewed as a potential top pick in the draft. While he went No. 4 overall, Lacy still became the highest-drafted player in program history. Lacy ranked third in Division I last year by holding batters to a .162 average and was lights out this past season, posting a 0.75 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 24 innings.

5. Toronto Blue Jays: Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt

Martin was in the discussion to potentially be the No. 1 selection and was arguably the most talented prospect in the pool. Instead, one of the best hitters in the draft dropped down to the Blue Jays. Martin led the SEC with a .392 batting average as a sophomore and was hitting .377 this past season. He’s a versatile defender who primarily played at third last season, but he has the glove skills to handle second and center field.

6. Seattle Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

Hancock, who is considered the top right-hander in the draft, had a dominant sophomore season where he went 8-3 with a 1.99 ERA. While his junior year got off to a rough start, he still went 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings over four outings.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico State

The middle infielder hit a Division I-leading .432 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs last season. He followed that up by leading the country with 12 homers in 16 games this spring. In between all that, he won the Cape Cod League MVP award after hitting .351 in the college summer circuit.

8. San Diego Padres: Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence (Tenn.) High

Hassell became the first prep player to come off the board. The Vanderbilt recruit has a sweet left-handed swing and is considered to have the most advanced bat of all high school hitters. He hit .514 at the Under-18 World Cup in South Korea. While he’s also a left-handed pitcher, most teams view him as an outfielder.

9. Colorado Rockies: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek (Fla.) High

Veen has drawn comparisons to Dodgers star Cody Bellinger with his smooth swing and power. The Florida recruit has a strong arm and a five-tool skill set. He was hitting .452 with three home runs before this past season came to an abrupt end.

10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

He burst onto the scene last season and earned ACC pitcher of the year honors after going 13-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 113⅓ innings. Detmers tied the single-season program record for wins and set the top mark for strikeouts with 167. He picked up where he left off by going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 22 innings this spring.

11. Chicago White Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

Crochet spent most of his college career coming out of the bullpen and made just one start this spring after missing time with shoulder soreness. But in his lone outing this past season, he was electric and his fastball hit 99 mph. He tallied 149 strikeouts in 132 innings at Tennessee and has the type of stuff where he could be used in a rotation or in the back end of a bullpen.

12. Cincinnati Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny (Pa.) High

Thanks to his bat speed and strength, Hendrick is considered by many to have the best raw power in the high school class.

13. San Francisco Giants: Patrick Bailey, C, N.C. State

Bailey is a capable switch hitter from both sides of the plate and has solid defensive skills. He was the ACC freshman of the year, earned first team All-ACC honors as a sophomore and hit three grand slams in 17 games as a junior. He posted a .302/.411/.568 slash line in 131 career games.

14. Texas Rangers: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

Foscue showed off his power last year with 14 homers and 60 RBIs as his offensive numbers increased across the board. He's a polished college performer who batted .331 as a sophomore and .321 as a junior against tough SEC competition.

15. Philadelphia Phillies: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) High

The first high school pitcher off the board, Abel checks off several boxes with his arsenal, command and prototypical starter’s frame. He has a fastball that can reach the upper 90s to go with a dirty slider and solid change-up, giving him the potential to be a No. 1 starter. 

16. Chicago Cubs: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (Ill.) High

Howard is viewed as one of the best defensive infielders in the prep class and projects to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues. In addition to his polished glove, he has shown some pop with his bat and has room to grow as a hitter.

17. Boston Red Sox: Nicholas Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) High

Another surprise pick considering MLB Pipeline ranked Yorke No. 139 on its Top 200 Draft Prospects list. Still, he's viewed as the best prep hitters on the West Coast.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

Jarvis boosted his draft start with a stellar start to his junior season. He went 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 27 innings and threw a 15-strikeout perfect game against Cornell this spring.

19. New York Mets: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) High

Crow-Armstrong was the top-rated prep prospect last year before having a rough showing on the summer circuit. He could be the best defensive center fielder in the class and has Gold Glove potential. 

20. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

Mitchell could be a steal considering he might have the best five-tool makeup of all the college prospects. He hit .349 and led the NCAA with 12 triples as a sophomore and .355 with six doubles over 62 at-bats as a junior.

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur (Ga.) High

Walker has a big frame (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and could end up moving over to first due to a lack of range. But the Duke commit wields a powerful stick thanks to his size and strength.

22. Washington Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

Cavalli has a shorter track record as a pitcher than other prospects because he was as a hitter much of his freshman year and missed time with an injury his sophomore year. He still has a power arm and struck out 114 in 101⅓ innings with the Sooners.

23. Cleveland Indians: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) High

The younger brother of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, Carson is a contact hitter who has the athleticism and feet to stick at his position. 

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East (Pa.) High

Bistko reclassified from the 2021 draft class, where he was one of the top-rated prep arms, to this year's draft. However, he didn't get a chance to pitch in the spring so the Rays are taking a chance on his upside.

25. Atlanta Braves: Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest

After a rough freshman year, Shuster improved the following two seasons. He averaged 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a sophomore — the third-highest rate in program history — and struck out 43 while walking only four in 26⅓ innings this spring.

26. Oakland Athletics: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (Calif.) High

The son of former first-round pick Steve Soderstrom (No. 6 in 1993), he has drawn rave reviews as a hitter and has a strong enough arm to potentially make a move to third base or a corner outfield spot.

27. Minnesota Twins: Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina

Sabato is a masher and most of his value is tied to his bat. In his lone full season with the Tar Heels, he set the freshman record for home runs with 18 while also leading the team with a .343 batting average, 25 doubles and 63 RBIs. As a sophomore, he tallied seven homers, six doubles and 18 RBIs while drawing more walks than strikeouts in 65 at-bats.

28. New York Yankees: Austin Wells, C, Arizona

Like Sabato, Wells is another sophomore-eligible prospect who has a lot to love about his bat. He hit .357 and drove in 74 runs in 71 career games at Arizona. The question with Wells surrounds his long-term defensive fit.

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville

Miller made 25 starts in 41 appearances over his three-year career. He went 15-2 with a 3.28 ERA and held opponents to a .199 batting average over 170 innings. The 6-foot-5 right-hander can bring the heat and has a slider/cutter that can be devastating.


30. Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State

31. Pittsburgh Pirates: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

32. Kansas City Royals: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami

34. San Diego Padres: Justin Lange, RHP, Llano (Texas) High

35. Colorado Rockies: Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands (Texas) High

36. Cleveland Indians: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

37. Tampa Bay Rays: Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State

Major League Baseball draft

When: 5 p.m. Thursday (Rounds 2-5)

TV: MLB Network, ESPN2

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