2020 MLB Draft Grades: AL West

2020 MLB Draft Grades: AL West: Justin Foscue

Alex Kielar | June 16th, 2020

The MLB Draft is now over and it is time to hand out grades for every team. There were a few surprise picks and steals, and mostly every team had at least a couple of solid selections. I am splitting these draft grades up by division, continuing with the AL West and the Mariners who had the sixth pick. Keep in mind these grades are initial reactions without putting any potential futures into the equation.

Seattle Mariners: B

Best Pick: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

The top three pitchers in this draft, Hancock, Asa Lacy, and Max Meyer were all very close together. The Mariners were able to grab one of them in Hancock who our own John Lepore believes has the highest ceiling of the bunch. I certainly can’t argue that statement and either way Seattle has a great pitcher to help build for their future. John actually predicted the right-hander being selected to the Mariners in his draft profile, seen here. Hancock has a solid fastball-slider combination and great command with a 131/21 K/BB rate over his last 18 starts in college.

Worst Pick: Kaden Polcovich, 2B, Oklahoma State

Polcovich was the only pick by the Mariners who wasn’t ranked in the top 200 draft prospects by MLB.com. He did show off some impressive power on the Cape with a 1.042 OPS, while he is also a versatile player and a switch-hitter. He hasn’t had the best track record, which is why he was a bit overlooked, as he was dismissed after one semester at Kentucky and played at a community college. Polcovich has potential, but picking someone with a lot of question marks is not the smartest move in a short draft.

Los Angeles Angels: B+

Best Pick: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

Seeing one of the top college arms fall to the Angels was very good for them as they desperately need help in that regard. Detmers is a pretty pro-ready pitcher with a great feel for pitching and control of the zone. He doesn’t blow people away with his fastball, but he really gets hitters flailing with a curveball that sits 20 mph slower than his fastball. He could be a dominant pitcher for the Angels for years to come and work them towards getting a World Series for Mike Trout. Check out his draft profile here.

Worst Pick: Werner Blakely, SS, Detroit Edison HS (MI)

This is not a bad pick, as Blakely has quite a bit of potential. He hit .467 with 10 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 34 RBI, 44 runs and 24 stolen bases during his junior year in 2019. He finished his high school career with 163 hits, 26 doubles, 19 triples and 103 RBI. Blakely has a lot of tools and incredible athletic ability, but he will need a lot of at-bats to refine his abilities. The Detroit Edison star was committed to Auburn but he is expected to sign for about $900,000, which is about $400,000 above the pick’s value; the Angels really believe in his tools and potential so they didn’t want to let him go.

Texas Rangers: D+

Best Pick: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

Foscue is a good hitter, but that is really all he has and was picked way sooner than where he should have been. There were a few other hitters on the board that would have been better options. He has low-strikeout rates and high exit velocity but is a below-average defender and runner.

Worst Pick: Thomas Saggese, SS, Carlsbad HS (CA)

I garner this pick was because of Saggese being a signable hitter who can hit the ball hard and has a solid approach at the plate. The Rangers seemed to reach on their picks and went for four prep guys of their five picks. All of the picks were ranked a fair amount lower than where they were picking.

Oakland Athletics: B+

Best Pick: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (CA)

With top catching prospect Patrick Bailey already gone, the A’s settled for a prep catcher who is the better hitter than catcher. He is very polished at the plate and has a great approach, and could tap more into his power. He also has the versatility to move off catcher and potentially move to the outfield or third base. That will be important for the A’s if his catching ability doesn’t move up to par with what they want.

Worst Pick: Michael Guldberg, OF, Georgia Tech

Guldberg wasn’t ranked on any major draft boards and doesn’t have much power. But he did hit .374 with a .465 on-base percentage in his three seasons at Georgia Tech. He had a shoulder injury that limited him to only 28 games in his freshman season. Because of his injury, he was only a primary DH and his defensive future has a lot of question marks. When he is healthy, scouts have said he still has a future playing the outfield with solid running ability.

Houston Astros: B

Best Pick: Alex Santos, RHP, Mount Saint Michael Academy (NY)

The Astros didn’t have a first-round draft pick, because of, you know, a certain cheating scandal. They did a great job with their first pick in the second round, drafting a right-hander who is still very raw but has the stuff. With the track record the Astros have with developing and rejuvenating pitchers, he should have a promising future. He is tall and projectable at 6’3 and he offers a three-pitch mix of fastball, slider, and changeup.

Worst Pick: Shay Whitcomb, SS, UC San Diego 

Whitcomb was the MLB Draft’s “Mr. Irrevelant”, selected with the 160th and final pick by the Astros. He finished his college career with a .315 batting average and he projects best as a second baseman moving forward. There isn’t much known about Whitcomb as he was not ranked on any big boards, but he is the highest-drafted position player out of UC San Diego history. He was named the CCAA Freshman of the Year in 2018, and the following season, Whitcomb was named the CCAA Player of the Year.

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