We are now inside of three weeks until the 2020 MLB Draft, and Jonathan Mayo’s latest mock draft up at MLB.com gives us another player to look at as a possible pick by the Dodgers in the first round, and continues a trend.
Mayo has the Dodgers taking Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin with the 29th overall selection.
“The Dodgers don’t shy away from college players in the first round, taking six collegians with their eight first-round picks over the last five drafts,” Mayo wrote. “Many think Loftin will go higher than this thanks to his bat-to-ball skills and his ability to stay up the middle defensively.”
Several mock drafts in the last month have had the Dodgers taking a middle infielder with their first-round pick:
- Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State shortstop (Mayo’s first mock draft)
- Ed Howard, Illinois high school shortstop (Baseball America)
- Junstin Foscue, Mississippi State second baseman (ESPN, then Jim Callis at MLBcom)
- now Loftin
Loftin at Baylor hit .316/.374/.484 with 14 home runs and 34 doubles in 121 games, including .321/.362/.585 in 13 games in his shortened junior season this year. He was named the preseason Big 12 player of the year by multiple outlets.
Baseball America ranks Loftin as the 29-best draft prospect, and praises his versatility: “He fields his position well, has good instincts and is an above-average defender at shortstop with the versatility to play almost every position.”
Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez expanded on Loftin’s versatility for the Baylor Bear Insider:
Rodriguez said his versatility to play multiple positions actually adds to Loftin’s draft stock. Because of the defensive shifts that a lot of MLB teams now employ, “the traditional question of can he play shortstop at the next level is irrelevant,” Rodriguez said. “But, I tell them, ‘Absolutely he can. He’s played at the highest level in college, why wouldn’t he be able to play in minor league baseball as well?”
MLB.com ranks Loftin the 36th-best prospect in this draft, noting, “While he does have some sneaky power, he’s mostly content with hitting line drives to all fields.”
The Dodgers have six picks in the 2020 draft. The slot bonus value for their first-round pick is $2,424,600