We continue to look at the best prospects in the MLB Draft for the Mariners’ consideration. Today, we look at prospects number 21 through 25.
The odds that the Mariners will select a player from inside our Top 10 with the sixth overall pick are astronomically high. But they could be tempted by a few of the players we will be ranking shortly, particularly if there is an opportunity to save significant bonus pool money, or perhaps (although unlikely) to overpay at the 43rd selection.
The 2020 MLB Draft is one of the best and deepest classes we have seen in a while so it is crucial for the Mariners to come away with at least one difference-maker and one or two solid contributors going forward.
Now if you missed our top 20 draft prospect list and want a full breakdown, you can click here. But as a refresher, here are the prospects we ranked inside the Top 20:
- Emerson Hancock
- Asa Lacy
- Spencer Torkelson
- Max Meyer
- Austin Martin
- Nick Gonzales
- Zac Veen
- Garrett Crochet
- Garrett Mitchell
- Mick Abel
- Cade Cavalli
- Reid Detmers
- Jared Kelly
- Nick Bitsko
- Pete Crow-Armstrong
- Dillon Dingler
- Cole Wilcox
- Robert Hassell
- Casey Martin
- Heston Kjerstad
The next ten names are so unlikely to be the selection with the sixth pick, while also not being likely to available with the 43rd pick. But stranger things have happened and it is always nice to be prepared. So let’s take a quick look at prospects 21-30 right now:
21. Austin Hendrick, OF West Allegheny (PA)
Austin Hendrick is a well built, 6’0″, 195 lbs outfielder with plus raw power and a chance to hit for some average. He has above-average speed and a strong arm and should be a fringe-average defender in centerfield.
Hendrick needs a more consistent swing but he has plus bat speed and generates a ton of backspin. He tinkers with his swing often, which is both good and bad. The lack of a consistent stroke will drop him down some boards, but the plus power and good athleticism are likely going to get him drafted in the middle of the first round. Hendrick may have the highest upside of all prep bats in the class, but there is a significant downside in his game.
22. Ed Howard, SS Mount Carmel (IL)
Ed Howard was the starting shortstop for the infamous Jackie Robinson West Little League team that made an improbable run towards the Little League World Series in 2014 and has since blossomed into one of the best prospects in the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft. The 6’2″, 185 lbs shortstop has some of the tools in his draft class and may very well end up selected in the Top 10 of the draft.
Howard will be an above-average defensive shortstop in the pros, with a chance to win some Gold Gloves in his career. He has soft hands, quick feet, and a strong arm, leaving no doubt he can stick at the position. Howard also boasts above-average speed and could steal 20 bags for you.
The real question comes in the bat. Howard has average raw power with good bat speed. A simple approach leads to a ton of hard contact and there is the possibility that he can add good weight to his solid frame and generate 20 home run power someday.
23. Bryce Jarvis, RHP Duke
Bryce Jarvis may be the prospect that rose the most up draft boards in the shortened 2020 College Baseball season. After the 2019 season, he carried and Andrew Moore like ceiling, featuring mediocre stuff with good command and a solid changeup.
But Jarvis went to work this fall and winter, adding 20 pounds to his 6’2″ frame and saw his average fastball velocity jump from 86-90 MPH to 92-95 MPH in one year. Both of his breaking balls got crisper and flash plus, giving him an opportunity to have 4, above-average offerings with plus command when all is said and done.
The lack of track record will drop Jarvis towards the middle of the first round but had the season not been cut shorts and Jarvis had continued to carry his newfound stuff all year, he would have likely been a top 10 pick.
24. Patrick Bailey, C North Carolina State
Patrick Bailey is going to be in the conversation as an under slot selection for the Mariners with the sixth overall pick. Personally, I think that would be a terrible idea, but not because Bailey is a bad prospect. Fangraphs ranks the switch-hitting catcher as the 11th best player in the draft, but I disagree.
Quality catching is hard to find, but the Mariners have stacked up some serious, controllable big leaguers in recent years, including Cal Raleigh, Tom Murphy, and Austin Nola. Bailey is a solid defender, but there are serious questions about his bat. He struggled with wood bats in the summer circuit and is unlikely to hit for much average, which hurts his OBP skills slightly, though Bailey does take a fair amount of walks.
Bailey is a good, but not great prospect, who belongs in the discussion after the 15th pick. His average raw power and solid defensive skills make him a probable big leaguer but not an All-Star quality player.
25. Tyler Soderstrom, C Turlock High (CA)
If Patrick Bailey is a glove-first catcher with some offensive upside, Tyler Soderstrom is the opposite. He possesses one of the best hit tools in this class featuring an advanced approach with a simple but efficient swing. He is more of a hitter than a power bat, but he does possess above-average raw power. A good athlete, Soderstrom has solid speed and a strong arm.
Defensively, Soderstrom is a work in progress. He is solidly below-average behind the plate and would need to improve both his receiving and blocking and learn how to call a game. To accelerate his time clock, teams may consider moving him out of the position, potentially to either third base or a corner outfield spot, where he should be at least average defensively or slightly better.
Soderstrom is a fascinating player to watch on draft day and is signed on to play at UCLA next spring. There is a slight possibility Soderstrom can be talked down to the 43rd pick with a promise of an over-slot deal, so keep an eye on his movement up and down mock drafts.
The Mariners will be one of the teams to watch on draft day and while I still believe they will go with the best player available in Round 1, any of the names mentioned could be in play at either sixth or 43rd overall. It will depend on how Jerry Dipoto, Scott Hunter, and the Mariners try to get the most bang for their buck in this unusual draft.