The 2020 Major League draft will be held on June 10-12, 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 start with UCLA center fielder Garrett Mitchell. He was a small part of our 2017 draft coverage, getting mentioned in three articles due to the fact that he was one of the top high school draft prospects at the time. His stock has moved from a late first round possibility three years ago to a possible top ten pick this year. Mitchell was drafted in the 14th round in 2017 due to his strong commitment to UCLA. He won’t be tough to sign this year though, so that won’t be an issue.
Mitchell is 6’3″, 205 pounds and swings from the left side. He’s a big strong player, who is loaded with tools. Baseball America gives him a plus-plus tag with his running. He also has a plus arm and solid defense in center field. He slugged .556 last year due to 31 extra-base hits, but scouts see much more power potential. In 111 games with UCLA, he has hit just six homers. Despite that low number, he could develop plus power one day. Mitchell has a chance to contribute to his team on offense, defense and on the bases.
His downside right now is polish to his game. His strikeout rate as a freshman was too high. As a sophomore last year, he had one more strikeout than in 2018, but he also had 116 more plate appearances. So not only was there a significant improvement in his contact rate, it also came with more power.
Here are two videos from last summer, the first from Prospect Pipeline.
This is from 2080 Baseball.
For the second player this week, I went with Freddy Zamora, a shortstop for Miami. This is a very interesting case for this year. Fangraphs recently ranked him 33rd in this draft class, while Baseball America had him 34th. He’s the perfect player for what I’m looking for here. Someone who could fit the 31st pick, but you would love to get a player of his caliber with the 44th overall pick. Top players drop lower than their ranking every year and in Zamora’s case, it’s a strong possibility. He suffered a knee injury during practice recently and will miss the entire season.
When he’s healthy, Zamora is considered to be a strong defender at shortstop. In fact, he was known coming out of high school as a glove-only prospect, but he started hitting once he reached Miami. As a freshman, he batted .303 with more walks than strikeouts, and 17 extra-base hits. He also picked up 20 stolen bases. Zamora batted .296 last year, seeing a small increase in his OBP and a bigger (35 points) increase in his slugging. He stole 13 bases, though he dealt with a hamstring injury last year. His speed is considered average, while his best tool is his plus arm. He’s 6’1″, 190 pounds.
Due to his injury, there aren’t any recent videos. I found a slightly older one where he’s going through fielding drills.
Here’s another older video.
One other, Zamora hitting a home run at this time last year.
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.