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2020 MLB Draft Preview: Baseball America and ESPN have new mock drafts with the Braves going the college route

Kiley McDaniel over at ESPN put out his first mock of 2020, and Baseball America serves up their fourth mock draft.

MLB: JUN 09 First-Year Player Draft

As soon as I put out a mock draft article, Baseball America put out their latest mock and Kiley McDaniel at ESPN posted his first mock draft of the year. Now ESPN’s mock is behind their ESPN+ paywall. The only site that we are missing a recent mock draft is from Fangraphs. I fully expect them to post one as soon as soon as this article is posted.

Updated mocks:

MLB Pipeline (April 27th):

1st round - Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

Prospects Live (May 1st with picks made by Matt Powers):

1st round - JT Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State

3rd round - Owen Cassie, OF, HS Canada

Perfect Game (May 7th - behind paywall):

1st round - Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

Prospects 365 (May 8th):

1st round - Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

ESPN (May 11th - behind paywall)

1st round - Justin Lange, RHP, Llano HS (TX)

Baseball America (May 13th):

1st round - Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

Say what you will, but one of the guys in the business I respect most is Kiley McDaniel. And for more reasons than because he used to work for the Braves. I had about 10 High School pitchers that I at least heard something about and thought interesting. Most of guys you likely have heard about too like Marquis Grissom Jr, Jared Kelly and Mick Abel. However, Justin Lange was not a guy I’d really heard about. So when Kiley McDaniel not only mentions him, but mocks him to the Braves, well then I’m paying close attention.

Justin Lange stands at 6’4” and 190 lbs. Definitely has the size you’d want and certainly looks projectable to put on at least 20 lbs or more. He was throwing in the low 90’s last fall, but has regularly hit 100 mph in spring games and over 100 mph in bullpen sessions. However, that’s where the positives end. His control and mechanics need a lot of work, which might be an understatement. His secondaries probably don’t even flash average right now (throws a slider). So this is all about projections and that 100 mph heater. I’ve said before that I would rather the Braves strike out with a high ceiling pick than a floor prospect. Kiley didn’t mock JT Ginn in the first round. I still have a hard time believing the Braves would pass on Ginn for a pure lottery ticket. It’s also interesting that Kiley has Lange going ahead of Nick Bitsko, another hard throwing righty that reclassified from the 2021 class (and one of the top prep arms in that class too). Go ahead and listen to catcher’s glove popping. It is a beautiful sound.

Baseball America 3.0 mock had the Braves selecting Cole Wilcox, RHP, UGA. In their 4.0 mock that came out on May 13th, they went in a completely different direction. BA slotted a college shortstop from Baylor in Nick Loftin to the Braves. Wilcox ended up going to the Brewers with the 20th pick.

Nick Loftin is actually one of four players I wrote that have a lower ceiling, and would not be happy with the pick. He has no plus tools. Loftin is more or less a contact heavy hitter with very little power (though he was showing more gap power before the season shut down). He won’t strike out much, but also doesn’t walk much either. Unless he’s hitting at a high clip, he’s not going to be a high on base guy. He has some athleticism and a good enough arm that he should stick at short. He’s a solid base runner, but at best he has average speed. All in all, he has some pretty average tools, but not a single plus tool. His swing does remind me a bit of Dansby Swanson. And once again, Nick Bitsko and JT Ginn were not mocked in the 1st round.

Let me know your thoughts on the two latest players being mocked to the Braves.

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