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MLB Draft Prospect Outlook: Nick Loftin

June 9, 2020

We're one day away from learning where the next wave of MLB talent will be starting their professional career. The 2020 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft will be different for numerous reasons, it will be shortened to five rounds and be held virtually in its entirety. Teams have

We're one day away from learning where the next wave of MLB talent will be starting their professional career.

The 2020 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft will be different for numerous reasons, it will be shortened to five rounds and be held virtually in its entirety.

Teams have been scrambling to Zoom and watching endless prospect video to try and get a sense of the young players talents without seeing them through the eyes of their scouts.

Down the road, the 2020 MLB Draft will provide an interesting perspective on which organizations found success with a smaller talent pool and less resources to allocate on prospects.

The Oakland Athletics hold the No. 26 overall selection in the first round on Wednesday, and will almost certainly be looking to pick a college position player with that pick.

Unlike the NFL Draft where the experts mock drafts all follow a similar trajectory, many MLB mocks have different players ranked higher and lower than others based on personal believe and discussions with the decision makers for all 30 teams.

Some teams prefer to reach for a player earlier than anticipated because of their skill set, or others hope certain players can fall into the later portions of the draft so the team can sign them for a lesser cost.

CBS Sports' Mike Axisa compiled his latest mock draft ahead of Wednesday's first round. Axisa knows the tendencies of Athletics' Executive Vice President Billy Beane and predicts the organization to take a promising collegiate infielder.

That player is Baylor middle infielder Nick Loftin, a promising prospect who some scouts view as the best defensive shortstop in this class.

Axisa notes that while Loftin does a lot of things well on the diamond, he isn't exceptional at anything but makes the routine plays and consistently provides a quality at-bat.

The Athletic's Keith Law praised Loftin as one of the safest bets in this draft and someone who certainly should be a regular at shortstop in The Show. Loftin struck out less than 10 percent of the time during his college career, a crucial skill that should remain with him throughout his professional career.

Law however isn't nearly as high on Loftin as Axisa, as he has him ranked as the No. 52 overall prospect on his big board. That would put him in the middle of the second round.

Detractors state that Loftin lacks project-ability and that his ceiling is lower than many other position player prospects in this class. However, most teams would take a shortstop who makes every routine play and put the ball in play regularly as the game devolves more and more into three true outcomes.

Loftin is a similar prospect to Jordan Westburg, who I wrote about last week. The A's already have their shortstop of the future in the organization in last year's first round pick Logan Davidson.

And with new Stockton Ports manager Bobby Crosby leading the way, don't be surprised to see the A's grab a middle infielder to add to their collection of home-grown infield talent in the East Bay.