We are just a few days away from the 2020 MLB Draft and because of the modified format in response to COVID-19, the focus on a select bunch has since shifted to a select few. The normal 40-round amateur draft has been condensed to just five rounds with teams permitted to sign an unlimited number of undrafted players for up to $20,000.
Of course, with draft season comes research. One of the best aspects of the draft is learning about the stories and histories of each prospect. Everybody has a story and many of them include some incredibly unique bios.
We decided to corral a handful of gold nuggets we found regarding this year’s draft class. From celebrity parents to former World Series bat boys, one thing is for sure, these kids certainly do not lack storylines.
Here are 30 fun facts in preparation of this year’s draft.
1.) Projected No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson (OF, Arizona State) broke Barry Bonds’ freshman home run record at with the Sun Devils (25).
2.) Pete Crow-Armstrong (OF, Harvard-Westlake High School) may not be the most famous member of his family. His mother, Ashley, played Billy Heywood’s mom Jenny in “Little Big League.”
3.) Trei Cruz (SS, Rice University) is the son of Jose Cruz Jr. and grandson of Jose Cruz Sr. Trei’s father clubbed 204 home runs across 12 MLB seasons. His grandfather won the Silver Slugger award in back-to-back seasons with the Astros (1983-84) .
4.) Tyler Soderstrom (C, Turlock High School) and his father, Steve, could become just the 10th father-son duo to both be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.
5.) Blaze Jordan (1B, DeSoto Central High School) clobbered a pair of 500-foot home runs when he was just 13 years old.
6.) Austin Wells (C, Arizona) hit a home run in his first ever collegiate at-bat for the Wildcats.
7.) Robert Hassell III (OF, Independence High School) faced Little League World Series star Mo’Ne Davis in the 2014 tournament in Williamsport.
8.) Hassell III homered in his first plate appearance of the season all four years in high school.
9.) Jared Kelley’s (RHP, Refugio High School) football coach, Jason Herring, said he was “a sure-fire [Division I player]…probably the NFL…He would’ve been the next big-time quarterback to come from Texas.”
10.) Kelley struck out 34 batters in the 36 outs recorded (12 innings pitched) before his senior season abruptly ended due to COVID-19.
11.) Most big league organizations have only seen Nick Bitsko (RHP, Central Bucks East High School) pitch in person a total of three innings, according to ESPN. Bitsko accelerated his graduation and became draft-eligible after just three years of high school — his last season being cut short due to COVID-19.
12.) Mick Abel (RHP, Jesuit High School) could become just the second high school player out of the state of Oregon to be selected in the first round since 1977.
13.) Carson Tucker (SS, Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School) is the brother of Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker.
14.) Kyle Nicholas’ (RHP, Ball State) uncle, Todd Blackledge, led Penn State to a national title as the starting quarterback in 1982 and was later drafted No. 7 overall (ahead of Dan Marino and Jim Kelly) in the 1983 NFL Draft.
15.) After being hit by a line drive and breaking his jaw, Garrett Crochet (LHP, Tennessee) returned to the mound two weeks later and pitched in the NCAA Tournament.
16.) Peyton Glavine (LHP, Auburn) has some big shoes to fill, considering he’s the son of Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.
17.) Darren Baker (INF, University of California), son of Astros manager Dusty, starred in one of the wackiest World Series moments ever. As Darren went to fetch the bat as the Giants bat boy, J.T. Snow had to rescue him as teammate David Bell was chugging full speed down the third base line.
18.) Tanner Burns (RHP, Auburn) played five years of high school baseball. He was pulled up to varsity as an eighth grader at Decatur High in Alabama.
19.) Another Boone in MLB? That’s right. Jake Boone (INF, Princeton) is expected to be selected and the son of three-time All-Star Bret Boone, nephew of Yankees manager Aaron Boone, and grandson of seven-time Gold Glover Bob Boone. Jake’s great grandfather, Ray Boone, was also a longtime big leaguer and two-time All-Star.
20.) Garrett Mitchell (OF, UCLA) possesses some of the most talent in this draft, however, there are some risks due to him having to battle Type 1 diabetes since he was nine years old.
21.) Projected early-round draft pick Jaden Agassi (INF/RHP, Palo Verde High School) is the son of two of the greatest tennis players the game has ever seen. Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff combined to win 30 grand slam titles and two Olympic gold medals.
22.) Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin thinks Austin Martin (INF, Vanderbilt) has similarities to those of Michael Jordan: “…while I’m watching [“The Last Dance”], I’m thinking of this kid. You can see how competitive people control and command their adrenaline in a high-pressure situation. They crave and survive those moments and push others to raise themselves.”
23.) Nick Gonzalez (2B, New Mexico State) was a walk-on with the Aggies after hitting .600 his senior year in high school.
24.) Cade Cavalli (RHP, Oklahoma) has his own Instagram page dedicated to cutting hair.
25.) Austin Hendrick (OF, West Allegheny High School) won the 2019 Under Armour All-America Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. Previous winners include Bo Bichette and Nolan Gorman.
26.) Ed Howard (SS, Mount Carmel High School) was a member of the Jackie Robinson West team that won the 2014 U.S. Little League World Series. The team was later stripped of its title due to ineligible players.
27.) Orlando Hernandez Jr. (son of “El Duque”), Dante Giradi (son of Phillies manager, Joe Girardi), Marquis Grissom Jr., Cole Percival (son of Troy Percival), and Kyle Karros (son of Eric Karros) are all among draft-eligible players whose fathers had successful MLB careers.
28.) J.T. Ginn (RHP, Mississippi State) and Rafael Palmeiro are the only two Bulldogs from Starkville to take home the National Freshman of the Year award.
29.) Bryce Jarvis (RHP, Duke) went to high school with Cavaliers first round pick Darius Garland and Bills tight end Dawson Knox at Brentwood Academy in Tennessee.
30.) Jarvis’ father, Kevin, has the highest career ERA (6.03) in MLB history (minimum 750 innings pitched).