Draft Prospect Watch: Two of the Top High School Pitchers in the 2020 Draft Class

The 2020 Major League draft will tentatively be held on June 10-12 (here’s the latest update), with the Pittsburgh Pirates making the seventh overall pick on day one of the event. They also have the 31st and 44th overall picks that day. Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at one prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as another who rates a little lower and fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.

We have posted six Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are linked here:

Nick Gonzales and Jordan Westburg

Asa Lacy, JT Ginn and Emerson Hancock

Jordan Walker and Zac Veen

Garrett Mitchell and Freddy Zamora

Austin Wells and Patrick Bailey

Tyler Soderstrom and Drew Romo

Today we look at two of the top high school pitchers in this draft class. It’s the only group of players from HS/college-hitters/pitchers that we haven’t looked at yet. Our first pitcher is rated right near the seventh overall pick by all three sources we have been using. Jared Kelley from Refugio HS in Texas is ranked sixth in this draft class by Baseball America, seventh by MLB Pipeline and tenth by Fangraphs. The 6’3″, 215 pound right-hander is slightly old for his draft class, turning 18 back in early October.

Kelley is a beast for a high school pitcher. He’s already filled out some and brings mid-to-high 90s heat, with an easy delivery that allows him to command his pitches and hold his velocity late into games. As good as the fastball is already, his best pitch is his changeup, which has a lot of movement and good separation from his fastball. Kelley uses it in any count and it’s a true out pitch. His slider/slurve is thrown hard, but lacks consistency at this point, though multiple sources say that it’s improving. There’s a chance that he could end up with three plus pitches and above average command.

This would be a tough kid to pass up with the seventh overall pick. He already commands two plus pitches and you have to like the combination of a low effort delivery, along with a workhorse frame and a current advanced feel for pitching at a young age. He’s advanced for a high school pitch and could move quicker than your normal prep first round pick. Kelley has a commitment to Texas, but he’s going to be a top ten draft pick, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Here are some videos, starting with this one from Prospect Pipeline

Here is a second one from Prospect Pipeline

Here’s one from Prospect Live

Our second pitcher is the best one I could find lining up with the 31st pick. Alex Santos is ranked 27th by Baseball America, 36th by Fangraphs and 39th by MLB Pipeline. Just like Kelley, Santos is a right-hander who stands in at 6’3″. The difference between the two right now is that Santos hasn’t started filling out yet, coming in at 185 pounds (30 less than Kelley). He just turned 18 years old last month.

Santos hails from New York and he’s a bit raw right now. He sits low-90s with his fastball, which has good movement. His second best pitch is a slow slider with good spin. He throws a changeup that has nice separation from his fastball, but it’s a clear third pitch at this point. The control is a bit inconsistent now, though the intrigue here is the projection.

With a frame that has room to fill out, to go along with athleticism and a clean delivery, he is going to continue to improve once he gets out of a cold weather state and into environment that allows him to pitch more. Scouts like the current package, but they also see a lot of projection here. Santos has a commitment to Maryland.

Here’s a video from Prospect Pipeline

Here’s one from a channel simply titled Baseball.

Here’s a final one from Perfect Game Baseball




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