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The 2020 MLB draft (also known as the Rule 4 draft), bringing players into the league from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, is the most unusual in memory since the draft began. Instead of the 40 rounds of draft picks that the clubs would make, there are just five this year, one tonight and four tomorrow. Additionally, to help protect the teams’ financial situations (really?), clubs only have to pay a maximum of $100,000 towards the players’ signing bonuses this year with the balance being paid in 2021 and 2022.
After selecting Vanderbilt infielder/outfielder Austin Martin in the first round, Florida State pitcher CJ Van Eyk in the second, and Jacksonville righty Trent Palmer in the third, the Blue Jays went on to select pitcher Nick Frasso of Loyola Marymount University in the fourth round.
Frasso, 21, is a tall, lanky righty from Southern California who went to Loyola Marymount University. Known as a two-sport start in high school, he was thought to be an excellent basketball player who had some trouble transitioning from basketball season to baseball season while in high school. Once he went to LMU, he took off as a pitcher, tossing 60 innings as a freshman, splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation, with a 3.15 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, strikin out 74 and walking 17. As a sophomore, he continued his dual role, spending more time in the bullpen with 19 appearances and five starts. He had a 2.22 ERA and 0.83 WHIP over 56 2/3 innings, striking out 73 with just 17 walks. He pitched two innings in the Cape Cod League, getting all six batters he faced out and then started 2020 as a starter, opening with a 4.15 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in just two outings and 8 2/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking three before an elbow injury took him out before baseball shut down.
MLB.com ranked Frasso as the #98 draft prospect. He gets a 60 grade for his fastball that gets up to 97 mph and he adds a curveball that’s rated as a 50 grade while his changeup is a 45 and his control gets a 50 grade. The fastball isn’t just all velocity as MLB.com writes that he’s “lived off his four-seamer up in the zone almost entirely during his college career and it misses a ton of bats, as it has tremendous life.”
Baseball America ranked Frasso at #107 and noted that he “impressed with four scoreless innings in his lone start for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer.” He was a potential first round pick going into the spring baseball season but dropped due to his injury. He’s noted for his athleticism, with BA noting that he was “capable of throwing down emphatic dunks” on the basketball court. He has a high spin rate on his fast ball and “plus extension” while his “high-spin slider gives him a second potential plus offering, although it is inconsistent.”
While there’s a lot of upside with Frasso, I think that he’ll have do a lot of work with his pitches and mechanics to remain a starter. And of course, we’ll have to hope that he’s got a clean bill of health by the time the minor leaguers get to playing, maybe in camp this fall.
What do you think of the Jays’ fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft? Let us know in the comments!
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