The 2020 MLB draft will be held on June 10-11, and it will consist of five rounds. Teams will also be able to sign non-drafted players for a maximum $20,000 bonus.
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the seventh overall pick in this draft, as well as the 31st and 44th overall picks. Their draft bonus pool for five rounds was announced last month (that link has been updated since the Red Sox lost their second round draft pick). Each Saturday, we have been taking an in depth look at draft prospects who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as players who fits better with those two lower picks. We have run out of guys who have been mentioned near the seventh pick, but we still have plenty of options for the two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.
We have posted 19 Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are all linked here:
Nick Gonzales and Jordan Westburg
Asa Lacy, JT Ginn and Emerson Hancock
Garrett Mitchell and Freddy Zamora
Austin Wells and Patrick Bailey
Tyler Soderstrom and Drew Romo
Heston Kjerstad and Daniel Cabrera
Robert Hassell and Pete Crow-Armstrong
Carson Montgomery and Tanner Witt
Austin Hendrick and Garrett Crochet
Dillon Dingler and Casey Martin
Cole Wilcox and Clayton Beeter
Today we look at two of the top ranked players who haven’t been covered here yet. Both are strong possibilities for the 31st overall pick. At this point we are just trying to cover all of the bases here, so we are looking at the two highest rated players by Baseball America in their latest mock draft, who aren’t listed above. Hard to believe with 38 players that we haven’t covered all of the possibilities for the 31st pick yet, but there have been late rising/falling prospects, so some of the players above fit better with the 44th pick now.
We skipped Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin here because neither will drop to the seventh spot in the draft. That’s safe to say. So the next highest ranked player that we need to cover went 21st overall in BA’s last mock draft. Justin Foscue, a 21-year-old second baseman from Mississippi State will probably be off the board before the Pirates pick in the 31st spot. If he slides through, he offers a solid college bat, which is what the Pirates are reportedly looking for with the seventh overall pick. MLB Pipeline ranks him 32nd in this draft class.
Foscue stands 6’0″, 200 pounds, bats right-handed, and his double play partner is Jordan Westburg, who is linked above. Before play was halted this season, he was hitting .321/.461/.509 in 16 games, with 15 walks and three strikeouts. He has shown a lot of improvements at the plate since his freshman year when he put up a .685 OPS.
Foscue isn’t a toolsy player by any means. He’s a well-rounded player with a high floor, who should move through the system quickly. He has a little pop in his bat and makes consistent contact, with good bat speed. His defense has improved and he should be able to stick at second base. He’s a below average runner, but all of his other tools are average across the board. It’s not a flashy profile here, though you’re talking about a potential solid defender, who will get on base at a decent clip and reach double digits in home runs every year.
Here’s a video of 2020 highlights
Here’s a video from Prospect Pipeline that shows a bit of defense, along with two different angles from the batting cages
Our second player is Aaron Sabato, a first baseman from North Carolina. He turns 21 years old on June 4th and offers a potential middle of the order bat. He’s strong at 6’2″, 230 pounds, and has plus power from both sides of the plate. BA notes that he has moved up the draft boards recently as teams look for a big college bat at the end of the first round. That gives him the potential to be around in the 31st overall spot. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore.
Sabato is all bat here. He’s a mediocre defensive first baseman, who doesn’t run well. The power is legit though. He doesn’t have much of a track record. He played shortstop in high school, though it wasn’t a legit option at higher levels. He had surgery on his shoulder last year, so scouts didn’t get to see him during the summer.
Since he’s a sophomore, his college career has been limited. In 64 games last year, he had 25 doubles, one triple (see video below) and 18 homers. Through 19 games this year, he was hitting .292 with six doubles, seven homers and 22 walks. He has a decent strikeout rate and a patient approach at the plate, which means that his power should translate well to the pros.
Here’s a video from Perfect Game Baseball
Here he is hitting for the cycle last year. The homer is a bomb to straight away center field. This also shows his only college triple.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.