As MLB and the MLB Players Association continue negotiations to resume this season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Detroit Tigers selected Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson with the first pick in the 2020 draft Wednesday.
Torkelson became the fifth third baseman ever taken with the No. 1 overall selection and the first since Pat Burrell in 1998. The Tigers selected him as a third baseman, though he primarily played at first base with the Sun Devils.
“To hear the commissioner say my name is a moment I will never forget,” Torkelson said. “And to celebrate with my family and friends and former teammates is so amazing. … It’s not a shock to me. I prided myself as a baseball player, and a baseball player isn’t stuck at one position.
“You’re playing all over the place [as a kid], and that’s what I pride myself on. I pride myself on winning and getting the job done, and if that’s at third base, that’s what it is. I’ll do my best over there and make it happen.”
Torkelson, 20, was projected by many to be picked with the top choice in this year’s draft. The Arizona State slugger led the Pac-12 in home runs as a freshman (25) and sophomore (23).
He was having another standout season in 2020 with a .340 batting average and six homers in 17 games before the NCAA canceled spring sports because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Baltimore Orioles took Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad with the second pick. The 21-year-old slugger had a .448 average with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 16 games before this season was scrapped.
The Miami Marlins drafted right-hander Max Meyer from the University of Minnesota with the No. 3 pick. He began his college career in the bullpen before transitioning into the starting rotation.
The Kansas City Royals grabbed Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy at No. 4. With the fifth pick, the Toronto Blue Jays picked Vanderbilt infielder Austin Martin.
The 2020 MLB Draft was shortened from 40 rounds to five this year due to the pandemic. Undrafted players can sign with any club for a maximum $20,000 bonus.
Rounds 2-5 of the draft will take place Thursday.
The Houston Astros forfeited first- and second-round picks as part of the team’s punishment for illegally stealing signs.
Below is the first-round results from the 2020 MLB Draft:
1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B, Arizona State
2. Baltimore Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
3. Miami Marlins: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
4. Kansas City Royals: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
5. Toronto Blue Jays: Austin Martin, 3B, Vanderbilt
6. Seattle Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
8. San Diego Padres: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)
9. Colorado Rockies: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Fla.)
10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
11. Chicago White Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
12. Cincinnati Reds: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)
13. San Francisco Giants: Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
14. Texas Rangers: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
16. Chicago Cubs: Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)
17. Boston Red Sox: Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty HS (Calif.)
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
19. New York Mets: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)
20. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA
21. St. Louis Cardinals: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS (Ga.)
22. Washington Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
23. Cleveland Indians: Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.)
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.)
25. Atlanta Braves: Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest
26. Oakland Athletics: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)
27. Minnesota Twins: Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
28. New York Yankees: Austin Wells, C, Arizona
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
Competitive Balance Round A:
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 HS (Texas)
35. Colorado Rockies: Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands HS (Texas)
36. Cleveland Indians: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn
37. Tampa Bay Rays: Alika Williams, SS, Arizona State