MLB Sports

2021 MLB Mock Draft: Highschool shortstops, Vanderbilt arms among the many high prospects


The MLB Draft is simply over per week away, and in contrast to in previous years, there is no such thing as a slam dunk decide for No. 1. 

In previous years, it was only a query of how briskly the Orioles might announce the decide of Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman (2019) or whether or not the Tigers would begin taking part in Arizona State hitter Spencer Torkelson at first base or third base (2020). 

This yr, there’s a sturdy group of highschool shortstops, a pair of thrilling Vanderbilt pitchers and some faculty bats that would generate some buzz wherever within the high 10. 

We’re taking our greatest shot at what the draft will seem like when the commissioner reads the first-round picks on July 11. 

MORE: Who’s confirmed to swing within the Residence Run Derby? 

Here is our newest projections for a 2021 MLB Draft first spherical. 

1. Pirates — Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake Excessive (Chula Vista, Calif.)

The dialogue round this draft has been that there is no such thing as a consensus No. 1 decide as there was in earlier years, however the Pirates have been linked to Mayer for a very long time. The highschool shortstop has among the finest hit instruments and a few uncooked energy that excites many scouts, particularly when mixed along with his above-average protection at shortstop. 

2. Rangers — Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)

The Rangers are going with the native product second general right here. Lawlar is probably a extra dynamic expertise than Mayer along with his velocity and energy mixture, however his hit device and protection are behind the California product. A shortstop with tons of upside and a house just some miles from Globe Life Park? It seems like an ideal match for the rebuilding Rangers. 

3. Tigers — Brady Home, SS, Winder-Barrow (Ga.) Excessive

Prep shortstops now spherical out the highest three because the Tigers decide to go for the upside in Home’s bat over the dynamic arms of Jack Leiter and Jackson Jobe. Home might need to maneuver off shortstop finally to play third base as he isn’t essentially the most agile, however his bat will play wherever on the diamond. Home and Spencer Torkelson might make for an enviable middle-of-the-order mixture down the highway. 

4. Pink Sox — Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt

The run on highschool shortstops lastly involves an finish at No. 4 with the Pink Sox touchdown the son of former large leaguer Al Leiter. Vanderbilt’s ace has reportedly needed to land in Boston and he’ll have the leverage himself all the way down to the Pink Sox as the highest faculty arm. He’s so refined on the mound that he may not take lengthy within the minors and will assist the resurgent Pink Sox sooner than many different prospects on this yr’s draft. 

5. Orioles — Sal Frelick, OF, Boston School

The Orioles is perhaps tempted to take one of the best expertise off the board left in catcher Henry Davis of Louisville, even with high catching prospect Adley Rutschman of their system, however Baltimore is saving cash and taking the Boston School outfielder early. Baltimore made an analogous transfer final yr in reaching to take Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad second general, however this time as a substitute of energy upside, the Orioles go for Frelick and his hit/velocity mixture. 

6. Diamondbacks — Henry Davis, C, Louisville

Arizona has been linked to different names like Kahlil Watson and Jackson Jobe, but when Davis is on the market right here, the Diamondbacks would most likely soar on the probability to take him. He’s a university catcher with a refined hit device and plus energy who ought to be capable to keep on the place as he’s continued to enhance behind the plate. Even when he can’t maintain up there defensively, Davis presents lots within the bat to make him worthy of a excessive decide. 

7. Royals — Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt

With latest high-round picks of Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Asa Lacy, the Royals have established they’re large on SEC pitching. It simply so occurs {that a} dynamic SEC hurler is on the market for them to take at this spot. Rocker was already coveted out of highschool, and he’s gotten even higher with improved command and refined secondary choices. He might need essentially the most upside of any of the faculty arms taken by Kansas Metropolis lately. 

8. Rockies — Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) Excessive

Watson has generated lots of buzz to go greater than No. 8 and may very well be a possible decide to go as excessive as No. 2 to the Rangers, however right here, he’s falling to the Rockies. He has flown up prospect rankings of late because of his full recreation, with the flexibility to hit for common and energy, his velocity and his slick protection at shortstop. The Rockies reportedly need a hitter, and so they’d be more than pleased with touchdown Watson. 

9. Angels — Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Corridor Excessive (Oklahoma Metropolis)

One other staff very glad to land a excessive upside prep participant, the Angels watch as Jobe falls to them at No. 9. Evaluators have stated Jobe might need essentially the most upside of any pitcher on this class — sure, even greater than the Vandy arms — with premium velocity and one of the best slider within the draft. Jobe has ace potential and the Angels would welcome the prospect to work on creating him into that arm.  

10. Mets — Matt McLain, SS, UCLA

The Mets have been linked to a number of faculty bats, in addition to prep third baseman Colson Montgomery as a bonus-saving decide, however right here they’ll take the highest faculty infielder on this yr’s class. McLain got here into the 2021 yr ranked a lot greater by evaluators, however acquired off to a gradual begin. He put it collectively close to the top of the season and his plus hit device, velocity and the potential so as to add energy might make him an attractive prospect. 

11. Nationals — Ty Madden, RHP, Texas

The Nationals would find it irresistible for Jobe to fall to them, nevertheless it’s not taking place on this mock. As an alternative, they’re going to draft the highest faculty arm left in Texas’ Ty Madden. The proper-hander has mid-90s velocity, a pointy slider and above-average management that makes him a refined pitching prospect and a pitcher many see as being a possible front-of-the-rotation starter. 

12. Mariners — Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston

An outfield of Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis and Taylor Trammell already sounds fairly good. Do the Mariners want extra? Nicely, it’s at all times finest to take essentially the most gifted participant left and that’s the case with Cowser nonetheless on the board. Seattle needs a bat to draft, and Cowser presents among the finest faculty hit/velocity combos on this yr’s class. 

13. Phillies — Benny Montgomery, OF, Pink Land Excessive (Lewisberry, Pa.)

The Phillies have been constantly linked to the central Pennsylvania product, who might need essentially the most upside of any participant within the draft. The hit device has drawn questions from scouts, however he’s one of many quickest gamers within the draft, presents tons of uncooked energy and might play above-average protection in heart area. 

14. Giants — Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

After Cowser and Frelick are off the board, San Francisco will most likely be Wicks as their decide. Far and away one of the best left-handed faculty pitcher within the draft, Wicks has maybe the category’ finest changeup and above-average command. He may very well be a fast riser within the minors given his superior really feel for pitching and well-rounded repertoire. 

15. Brewers — Harry Ford, C, North Cobb Excessive (Kennesaw, Ga.)

Ford is without doubt one of the most fascinating gamers within the draft as a catcher with an above-average run device and the flexibility to play any place on the sector, together with heart area. The Brewers have been linked to Ford and would love so as to add the athletic backstop with the lightning quick bat to their farm system ought to he fall to them at No. 15. 

16.  Marlins — Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork Excessive (Irmo, S.C.)

Studies have indicated it would take so much to pry Taylor from a twin dedication to play soccer and baseball at Clemson within the 2021-22 college yr, however right here, Miami goes to depend on with the ability to signal him away from the Tigers. He’s one of the athletic gamers on this yr’s draft with among the finest run instruments and the flexibility to develop some extra energy with extra growth. 

17. Reds — Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee Excessive (Bogart, Ga.)

The Reds have beloved choosing dual-threat skills in earlier years, with Michael Lorenzen exhibiting off his prowess with the bat as a bonus to his pitching expertise and Hunter Greene getting the prospect to bat earlier than focusing full-time on pitching. Cincinnati will strive the experiment out once more with Chandler right here, seeking to see if the tooled-out shortstop makes extra of an announcement with the bat or if his lights-out fastball/curveball combo forces the staff to look extra at his arm. 

18. Cardinals — Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State

After a blinding outing within the last recreation of the School World Collection to assist ship his staff the win, Bednar is definitely going to be persevering with his stand up prospect rankings. The Cardinals have been linked to a number of faculty arms and Bednar along with his plus command and standout array of pitches would match the staff’s need on this draft properly. 

19. Blue Jays — Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)

Bachman’s slide down the board stops right here. The Blue Jays have discovered success with hard-throwing faculty arms prior to now like Nate Pearson and Alec Manoah, and so they’ll soar on Bachman if he’s obtainable on this spot. The Miami (Ohio) product already hits triple-digits and has one of many hardest fastballs within the draft. On high of that, he presents a wipeout slider and above-average changeup to provide him a well-rounded repertoire. 

20. Yankees — Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi

Earlier than he went down with Tommy John surgical procedure, Hoglund was considered as a potential entrance half of the primary spherical expertise. If the Yankees are keen to attend on him to return again from surgical procedure, as they did with South Carolina hurler Clarke Schmidt again in 2017, who additionally underwent surgical procedure earlier than the draft, they may very well be getting a steal. His management is among the many finest within the draft and his repertoire is deep with a plus fastball and slider. 

21. Cubs — Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara

Chicago has additionally been linked with Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, a dangerous gamble on a participant with upside, however right here the Cubs are going the secure route with a pitcher that has drawn comps to fellow Gaucho Shane Bieber. McGreevy attracts optimistic marks for his properly above-average management and his fastball/slider mixture that would see a rise in velocity with some extra growth in his 6-foot-4 body. 

22. White Sox — Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge Excessive (Huntingburg, Ind.)

Some rumors have had Montgomery going greater within the draft as an opportunity for a staff to chop a deal and get monetary savings for later, however he’s falling all the way down to No. 22 right here to the White Sox. Chicago has been linked to the 19-year-old slugging third baseman, who would give the farm system an enormous upside play as a possible middle-of-the-order bat. 

23. Indians — Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

The Indians have proven a willingness in earlier drafts to gamble on upside early over the upper ground gamers, and that’s what Fabian presents them. A tricky 2021 dropped Fabian in rankings from doubtlessly being the primary faculty bat taken to presumably even a second-rounder, however he has tons of uncooked energy and presents the velocity wanted to play all three outfield positions. If Cleveland can get him to click on, it may very well be getting a steal late within the first. 

24. Braves — Ky Bush, LHP, Saint Mary’s

Atlanta is seemingly linked to arms yearly within the draft and have accomplished properly with a number of latest excessive picks like Mike Soroka and Max Fried having optimistic impacts on the staff. Right here, they’re taking the hard-throwing lefty from Saint Mary’s, Ky Bush. If the Braves wish to velocity him to the massive leagues, he may very well be a weapon out of the bullpen shortly along with his fastball/slider mixture, or they may work him as a starter over time. 

25. Athletics — Alex Mooney, SS, St. Mary’s Prep (Orchard Lake Village, Mich.)

Mooney has made fairly an increase up prospect rankings along with his fast swing and a well-rounded recreation at shortstop. Oakland has been linked to plenty of completely different bats and Mooney might match what the A’s are in search of as a participant that gives some upside at an up-the-middle place whereas additionally offering a excessive sufficient ground as a participant already displaying spectacular instruments. 

26. Minnesota Twins — Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami

Del Castillo was an early favourite amongst evaluators as a catcher with an thrilling hit device and a few pop with the potential to remain behind the plate. Struggles within the 2021 marketing campaign have taken him out of the dialog as the primary catcher taken, however the Twins have been linked to him with the assumption they may nonetheless faucet into that potential and have a bat-first backstop. 

27. San Diego Padres — Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

The Padres haven’t shied away from taking tooled-out gamers early within the draft prior to now, and so they’ll nab one of many highest-upside pitchers within the class with Andrew Painter falling to them at No. 27. Painter has an explosive arm with three plus pitches and above-average management, and at 6-foot-7, there may very well be room for including extra velo. He might go a lot sooner than this spot when draft day comes. 

28. Tampa Bay Rays — Trey Sweeney, SS, Jap Illinois

In a brief period of time, Sweeney has improved his draft inventory by exhibiting off among the finest hit instruments in faculty and a few pop that would develop to be a median or higher device for him. The Rays have proven prior to now they will do so much with excessive ground batters and Sweeney suits that mould properly. His protection at brief isn’t nice, however the bat would play within the outfield or at third base if wanted. 

29. Dodgers — Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland (Linwood, N.J.)

Few groups have the monitor report of efficiently creating excessive upside prospects just like the Dodgers, and so they’re banking on getting essentially the most out of Petty on this yr’s class. Maybe the proprietor of one of the best uncooked stuff of any highschool pitcher, Petty throws within the upper-90s with a fastball within the triple-digits and might spin a plus slider and common to above-average changeup. Some groups have issues over reliever threat, however right here, Los Angeles sees front-of-the-rotation potential.


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