Pittsburgh has narrowed their draft board down to 7 players for the first pick. The only thing I can tell you is that a High School pitcher will not be the first pick with four High School batters, two College Pitchers, and one College Batter in play.
The seven finalists to be the first overall pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates with the first overall pick include Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawlar, Jordan Leiter, Kumar Rocker, Henry Davis, Brady House, and Kahlil Watson being the top 7 on their board. Pittsburgh is expected to narrow this list down to five players by June 1, 2021 with many expecting Mayer, Lawlar, Leiter, Rocker, and Davis to round out that top 5.
Jordan Lawlar is the only one of those five whose regular season is officially over. Pittsburgh will watch Mayer's playoff games and the 2021 College World Series in June before interviewing the candidates they like the best. After that, Pittsburgh should have a decision ready by July 11, 2021 when the 2021 MLB Draft takes place.
Even though Kumar Rocker and Jordan Leiter, the Vanderbilt pitchers are the top two players on my big board, I doubt the Pirates draft either pitcher at 1. First, I've heard rumors that Al Leiter already told Jack Leiter not to sign with the Pirates which I think is a bs rumor personally. Second, Scott Boras is going to be Kumar Rocker's agent. Pittsburgh may not be able to draft either Vanderbilt arm without overpaying them which is why I see either Louisville catcher Henry Davis or one of the two High School shortstops going first overall.
Last year, I said the Pirates should draft a College Pitcher because they needed a true ace, but there were reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates would take a College Batter at 7. This year I am saying the same thing with two College World Series Champions at pitcher from Vanderbilt headlining this draft class, but I'm also hearing reports that the Pirates are leaning towards a High School Batter at 1 even though nothing has been officially decided according to Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Ben Cherrington.
Henry Davis could still be in play at 1 since Peter Gammons tweeted he's not getting to 4 even though Gammons also heard the same reports that Jim Callis and myself heard about the Red Sox loving Henry Davis. However, the more likely scenario is that the Pirates take one of the two High School shortstops first overall.
Nobody on Pittsburgh's batting lineup has more than four home runs with five batters tied for a team best 4 home runs. Eastlake High School shortstop Marcelo Mayer had 3 home runs in one game earlier this season and with him still having four regular season games, plus playoffs for High School Baseball in June, that gives him an advantage over Lawlar which may end up being the difference.
One Pirates insider in the Pittsburgh area told me that Mayer and Lawlar are the top two players the Pirates are targeting, but Mayer has the slight edge at the moment. This aligns with what Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com reported last week before Jonathan updated his 2021 MLB Mock Draft.
The 6-3 195 lb Marcelo Mayer is the closest thing to a five-tool batter along Jordan Lawlar. His bat in terms of pure power is superior to Lawlar. He's not as fast as Lawlar, but his bat makes him one of the top prospects in this class. He's not as complete as Jordan Lawlar on tape, however his .431 batting average, 13 home runs, 39 runs, a 1.059 slugging percentage, and 16 stolen bases in 2021. Marcelo Mayer is also described as the best defensive shorstop by MLB scouts despite his .885 fielding percentage in 2021. Mayer has four regular season games as well as the California State Playoffs to sell himself to the Pirates where as Lawlar's regular season is officially over.
I wasn't impressed with Mayer in his first highlight which is why I cannot fault the Pirates if they choose Lawlar instead. Marcelo wowed me in the second highlight I watched. I saw a player checking off all the boxes. I watched a third highlight of Mayer on Twitter and he hit the ball with more power. Mayer tees a baseball like he's a professional PGA Golfer.
It's worth noting that both Dave Polanski who covers College Baseball games and Bob Pompeini the sports anchor on KDKA both agree with me on Pittsburgh needing to take a pitcher like Leiter or Rocker at 1. Pittsburgh should do that since they can get Max Muncy a shortstop who plays for former Pirates shorstop Jack Wilson at 37. However, that's not what the Pirates will do. Expect Pittsburgh to take a High School shortstop at 1 and a pitcher at 37.
Texas will not pass on Jordan Lawlar if he's not selected first overall. Texas could also take a pitcher, but I've heard Lawlar is first overall on the Rangers and Tigers big boards.
The 6-2 195 lb Jordan Lawlar can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, and bunts. He's quick throws the ball effectively and defends well. Jordan Lawlar had a .412 batting average, 40 hits, a team best 6 home runs, a team best 37 RBI's, a team best 32/32 stolen bases on thirty two stolen base attempts, and a .947 fielding percentage in 2021.
Jordan Lawlar is the most complete batter in the 2021 MLB Draft. I've seen him swing and make contact on more at bats on film than any prospect in this draft. He's the big reason why Jesuit Dallas High School went 31-5 this past season.
One thing that works against Lawlar is that his season is effectively over where as the other top five picks have High School playoffs as well as the Conference Tournaments, Super Regionals, and College World Series as opportunities to boost their stock with strong games. Lawlar can relax or use this time to interview with MLB teams in the top 5.
I posted a film cut of Jesuit Dallas HS shortstop Jordan Lawlar VS Nolan High School. This was the only full game of Jordan Lawlar that I could find.
Detroit has Alex Faedo, Beau Borrows, Matt Manning, and Franklin Perez in their farm system on their AA team the Erie Wolves pushing each other for roster spots. Detroit already has three pitchers in their starting rotation Matthew Boyd, Casey Mize, and Spencer Turnbull as the top three arms so they only need two of these pitchers to do well enough to make the MLB to round out this rotation now that Ron Gardenhire retired. This is a huge reason why Deroit does not take a pitcher at 3.
The Detroit Tigers will get the best batter on the board at three rebuild their team whether that ends up being Jordan Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, Henry Davis, or Brady House. With Lawlar and Mayer, Detroit's top two prospects off the board they have to take Henry Davis or Brady House at 3.
Detroit goes with the College Batter at 3. The 6-2 210 lb Henry Davis gives the Detroit Tigers a batter who can take over games.
Henry Davis has five-tool ability. He can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, or bunts. Henry Davis also has the speed to steal bases, a quick arm, and a strong fielding percentage.
Henry Davis had a .370 batting average, 68 hits, 15 home runs, 48 RBI's 10 stolen bases, 9 doubles, and a .995 fielding percentage in 2021. Henry Davis has a vastly superior fielding percentage compared to either one of the High School shortstops in Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer.
Henry Davis is also versatile enough to play catcher, third baseman, or left fielder with his versatility, plus Detroit already has their second round pick Dillon Dillinger, the team captain from Ohio State's Baseball team in their farm system too giving Detroit two good long-term catcher prospects.
There are five full games of Louisville College Baseball on Youtube where Louisville faces Bellarmine, Western Illinois, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Duke. Henry Davis didn't hit a home run in any of those full games on film despite his impressive season at Louisville.
I posted a film cut of Louisville catcher Henry Davis VS Notre Dame. Notre Dame was the toughest ranked opponent that Davis faced.
The Boston Red Sox should get a pitcher here as a number two starter to compliment Chris Sale. Jack Leiter fits the bill here at 4 since I feel pitcher is the biggest team need for the Boston Red Sox.
Jack Leiter has a 96-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 95-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 82-mile per hour slider, a 74-mile per hour curveball, and a 89-mile per hour changeup that has more velocity than any changeup in this draft class. Jack Leiter has the command and pitching accuracy that you want. His throwing power and velocity also checks out on tape.
The 6-1 205 lb Jack Leiter is 8-2 in 2021 with a 2.12 ERA with 128 strikeouts, 1 complete game shutout and only 36 walks in 13 starts. Leiter has an amazing floor, probably the best floor of any pitcher in this draft, but some scouts believe that Leiter's lack of size will limit his ceiling. Jack Leiter is a guy that can be the ace pitcher that the Boston Red Sox can depend on to compliment Chris Sale because he was both the Friday Night and Saturday Night starter on Vanderbilt in 2021 after leading Vanderbilt to a 2019 College World Series Championship over Michigan.
Jack Leiter rebounded against Ole Miss after getting pulled hours before a Saturday Start. Some feel Leiter should go first overall, but I see a pitcher with the highest floor in this years MLB Draft despite having a lower ceiling than the top three batters in the 2021 MLB Draft.
One of Jack Leiter's worst games was against the Florida Gators. I posted that game in a film cut featuring Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter VS Florida. This was the only full game of Jack Leiter that I could find.
The Orioles got some good bats in their farm system on a team that needed help everywhere. Batters like Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, High School shortstop Gunnar Henderson, Stanford left fielder Kyle Stowers, LSU center fielder Zach Watson, and Arkansas right fielder Henry Kjerstad. They use the fifth pick in the 2021 MLB Draft to get a number two pitcher to compliment their ace John Means in the teams starting rotation.
The 6-5 245 lb Kumar Rocker entered the season as the number one pitcher on the Vanderbilt Commodores. He was also the favorite to go first overall in the 2021 MLB Draft after pitching a no hitter during the 2019 College World Series. Now he ends up falling to five as the Baltimore Orioles get a huge steal at 5 as Rocker is still my top prospect on the board despite MLB teams having questions about how consistent Rocker's velocity is. Rocker only threw 91-miles-per-hour on his fastball in some of his 2021 starts which is why he's dropping on boards.
Kumar Rocker is 11-3 with a 2.89 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 2021. Rocker had a 98-mile per hour 4-seam fastball coming out of North Oconee High School, but the rest of his pitches were a project. Since enrolling at Vanderbilt Rocker developed a 96-mile per hour cutter fastball, a 85-mile per hour slider which has been his secondary pitch since his freshman season, and an 82-mile per hour curveball to compliment his other three pitches. His fifth pitch is his changeup with his sixth pitch being a sinker. He has four MLB pitches compared to the one he had coming out of High School three years ago, but still has two pitches with his changeup and sinker that will need additional development in the minor leagues before he makes the jump to the MLB.
Rocker is still a project, but I'd argue that he's got the highest ceiling of any pitcher in this draft including Leiter because he's a guy who could have up to seven different pitches if he develops a changeup, a 2-seam fastball, plus a sinker to compliment his 4-seam fastball, cutter fastball, slider, and curveball. His pitches have great command and pinpoint accuracy even though the velocity on some of his throws needs to be refined.
Baltimore will be deadly in a few years once their batters make the jump to the major leagues with John Means and Kumar Rocker complimenting each other. If Matt Harvey can ever revert to the promising pitcher he once was early in his career with the New York Mets this could be a playoff team. That probably won't happen, but there's no denying how lethal a John Means and Kumar Rocker duo could be for Baltimore down the road.
Kumar Rocker's best game was a 7 inning scoreless contest against the SEC East Champion Tennessee Volunteers. I posted a film cut of that game on our Youtube Channel. Check it out and subscribe to Draft Utopia.
Arizona drafts for upside by taking the best player available here. The 6-3 210 lb Brady House is raw, but was once considered a top 5 prospect so Arizona is getting great value at 6. He has huge upside, is the youngest shortstop in the 2021 MLB Draft, and has the upside to develop into a guy that will have a .260 batting average, 35 home runs, 16 doubles, and 14 stolen bases. That upside is why the Arizona Diamondbacks pass on a pitcher for Brady House at 6 since the Diamondbacks have Madison Bumgarner as a number one starter for the short-term.
Arizona traded Dansby Swanson to Atlanta after taking him first overall in the 2015 MLB Draft. Hopefully, their smart enough to hold on to Brady House and let him develop without rushing him.
I posted a film cut of Winder-Barrow HS shortstop Brady House VS Nolan High School. This was the only full game of Brady House that I could find.
The Royals are a team that can ignore need and take the best player on the board with all of their recent success through the MLB Draft. Jackson Jobe is my top ranked High School pitcher in the 2021 MLB Draft.
The 6-3 200 lb Jackson Jobe is the ace pitcher on Heritage Hall High School. Heritage Hall High School won the State Championship for High School Baseball in the state of Oklahoma. Jackson Jobe is the best High School pitcher from the state of Oklahoma since Dylan Bundy who went fourth overall to the Baltimore Orioles back in the 2011 MLB Draft.
He has five plus pitches including a 96-mile per hour 4-seam fastball 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a slider with over 3,000 rpm, a changeup, and a curveball with exceptional arch. Jackson Jobe is 7-0 with a 0.20 ERA in 33 2/3 innings pitched. Only downside is that he only has one start where he pitched six or more innings. That's why Jackson Jobe fell to seven in my mock draft.
The 5-9 178 lb Kahlil Watson has the ceiling to develop into a batter that hits 25 home runs and record 25 stolen bases per year in the MLB. Watson's 2021 season started late, but he had 6 RBI's in one game earlier this week so he could move up. He's a project right now, but has the ceiling to be a five-tool player down the road. People said the same thing with Brendan Rodgers the third overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft who was my top prospect that year.
Trevor Story is in a contract year at shortstop with the Colorado Rockies. Colorado will need a contingency plan if Brendan Rodgers does not become the player that many people thought he would be. That contingency plan involves drafting Kahlil Watson at eight.
The Angels grab Bubba Chandler at 9. He's the best pitcher prospect to come out of North Oconee High School since Kumar Rocker graduated three years ago. The 6-3 201 lb High School prospect has the versatility to play both pitcher and shortstop. He also enrolled into Clemson on a Football scholarship with Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney comparing Chandler to Kyler Murray.
Bubba Chandler has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 80-mile per hour slider, and a changeup with more plus pitches than Rocker did coming out of High School. He doesn't have the velocity that Rocker's fastball had coming out of North Oconee High School, but that may not matter if he moves to shortstop. Chandler can either sign with an MLB team or enroll in Clemson on both a football and baseball scholarship.
Jose Iglesias is 31-years-old at shortstop for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They draft Bubba Chandler at nine as a shortstop rather than a pitcher and groom him to be the starting shortstop for the future.
New York drafts a the best player on the board at 10. The 6-3 215 lb Ty Madden is the best pitcher on the board and is draft eligible for the 2021 MLB Draft despite being a sophomore. New York has four good starters when healthy with Jacob DeGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. One back end starter to round out the New York Mets starting rotation is needed and this is where Ty Madden comes into play at 10.
Ty Madden has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 85-mile per hour slider with up to 2,500 rpm, and a 77-mile-per-hour curveball with up to 2,500 rpm. Ty Madden is 6-4 in 14 starts with a 2.66 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 2021. He's the ace pitcher on the Texas Longhorns as well as the only College Pitcher worthy of a top 10 grade after other pitchers in this draft suffered from injuries.
Kansas State pitcher Jordan Wicks faced off with Texas pitcher Ty Madden. Here is film on the Longhorns ace Ty Madden. I posted a film cut of that game on our Youtube Channel. Check it out and subscribe to Draft Utopia.
Washington drafts a center fielder who may have five-tool ability to groom for the future here since the Nationals already have three pitchers in their farm system who may be able to replace their three starting pitchers that are set to be Free Agents at the end of the season.
Victor Robles and Andrew Stevenson are nice quality stop-gap center fielders for the short-term. Robles hasn't shown he can stay healthy and Stevenson had a higher batting average than Alex Bregman when both batters played College Baseball at LSU and was great at stealing bases, but Stevenson wasn't known for being a home run hitter in College.
The 6-3 195 lb Colton Cowser has dominated for Sam Houston State this season to the point where I considered putting him in my top 10. Colton Cowser has a .375 batting average, 72 hits, 15 home runs, 50 RBI's, 16 stolen bases, 9 doubles, and a .971 fielding percentage in 2021. He did struggle against Big 12 schools like Texas Tech, Texas, and TCU when watching his film on Youtube which was why he fell to 11.
Sam Houston State went 1/5 against Stephen F. Austin. Colton Cowser did score a run when he had his only hit of the game. He also made contact with the ball on each at bat, and avoided strikeouts or errors. He's a safe bet to be a top 15 pick and could sneak into the top ten.
Seattle got Logan Stenberg, Will Kirby, and Emerson Hancock in the last three MLB Drafts really loading up with College arms at pitcher. Seattle takes another College Pitcher that can compliment those guys as a back-end starter down the road in Kansas State starting pitcher Jordan Wicks.
The 6-3 220 lb Jordan Wicks is the best left-handed pitcher in the 2021 MLB Draft. He's also the Friday Night Starter and ace pitcher on the Kansas State Wildcats who won Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2019. Had a 0.35 ERA in a shortened 2020 season before Covid-19. He began 2021 with a bang recording 10 strikeouts against an Oregon State team that won the 2018 College World Series. He's 6-3 in 14 starts throwing over 100 pitches in 11 of those starts. Wicks also has 86.2 innings pitched, 109 strikeouts, and a 3.32 ERA in 2021.
Jordan Wicks has a 93-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 90-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 90-mile per hour sinker, a 95-mile per hour cutter fastball, an 86-mile per hour slider, a 77-mile per hour power curveball with a spin rate of 2,500 rpm, a 76-mile per hour 12-6 curveball, a 75-mile per hour curveball, a 81-mile per hour changeup, and an 80-mile per hour circle changeup. Jordan Wicks has 10 different pitches he can throw in his pitch count which is why the Seattle Mariners do not have the luxury of passing on him at 12.
Kansas State pitcher Jordan Wicks faced off with Texas pitcher Ty Madden. Here is film on the Wildcats ace Jordan Wicks. I posted a film cut of that game on our Youtube Channel. Check it out and subscribe to Draft Utopia.
Philadelphia has Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler. More arms to compliment these two pitchers are needed since the Phillies have an abundance of batters both in the MLB and their farm system. However, I don't think Philadelphia will take an arm at 13. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorious is 31-years-old and has missed time due to an injury. UCLA shortstop Matt McLain is not only the best player on the board, but someone you can groom to replace Gregorious at 13.
The 5-11 180 lb Matt McLain had a .397 batting average in a shortened 2020 season that had some thinking he could be a top 5 pick heading into the spring. Matt McLain went 1/5 in UCLA's season opener against San Francisco. He's rebounded since displaying a .329 batting average, 52 hits, 27 RBI's, 9 home runs, 9 stolen bases going 9/9 on stolen base attempts, and a .957 fielding percentage in 2021. UCLA destroyed Arizona State 21-9 in McLain's first game back from his broken thumb injury.
The 5-9 175 lb Sal Frelick was a three sport athlete in High School playing football, hockey, and baseball before enrolling at Boston College on a Baseball Scholarship.
Sal Frelick is versatile enough to play left fielder, center fielder, right fielder, or shortstop. He also has experience at all four positions.
Sal Frelick had a .367 batting average and 4 home runs as a freshman. His worst season came during the shortened Covid-19 season in 2020. Sal Frelick had a .359 batting average and a career high 6 home runs in 2021 as a junior. Sal Frelick is fast which is why he gets on base so frequently. He's also had a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 in all three seasons at Boston College which is why he's a top 15 pick despite having some games on film where he went 0/4 against schools like Northeastern.
His film in full games as a batter felt inconsistent and did not impress me when swinging at the plate, but Frelick just checks off too many boxes even though you want to see Frelick develop more power on his swing while maintaining his speed and fielding percentage. He's also going to have to strikeout less in the minor leagues.
The Brewers no longer have their number one starter Jimmy Nelson. Nelson suffered from injuries with the Brewers the last two years before the Los Angeles Dodgers got Nelson as a pitcher. Milwaukee's strategy should be reloading with pitchers in the draft until you acquire a number one starter who has the same impact as Jimmy Nelson had before injuries affected him. Before the Brewers had Jimmy Nelson, they had Ben Sheets. Andrew Painter is the best ace that Milwaukee can land in the 2021 MLB Draft.
The 6-7 225 lb Andrew Painter is the top pitcher on the board as well as one of the most consistent High School pitchers in the 2021 MLB Draft. Andrew Painter went 5-0 with a 0.30 ERA in 4 starts and 9 appearances as a freshman in 2018. Painter went 7-2 with a 1.43 ERA as a sophomore leading Calvary Christian Academy HS to the State Championship game as a true sophomore. Painter had a 0.58 in the shortened 2020 season due to Covid-19 as a junior before earning an invite as one of two juniors to play in the Under Armor All American Game. Andrew Painter is currently 6-1 with a 0.31 ERA as a senior in 12 games so far this season. Painter also has a career high 91 strikeouts heading into his draft year.
Andrew Painter has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 96-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 95-mile per hour cutter fastball, a 82-mile per hour slider, a 80-mile per hour changeup, a 77-mile per hour power curveball, a 76-mile per hour 12-6 curveball, and a 75-mile per hour curveball. Andrew Painter has a variety of pitches that will allow him to have success once he reaches the MLB. His curveball is not a swing and miss pitch where he can use a signature pitch to get an automatic strike. You have to rely on his fastball which has pinpoint accuracy in all four corners of the strike zone if you want to strike the opposing batter out.
Andrew Painter could be used as a starter or a reliever. Milwaukee is probably better off grooming him to be a starting pitcher in their rotation at some point down the road. He's got enough upside to be a number one or number two starter on a team in their starting rotation.
The Miami Marlins draft the best College catcher on the board at 16. The 5-11 210 lb Adrian Del Castillo may only have a .285 batting average and 3 home runs in 2021. His versatility and upside is incredible though.
Adrian Del Castillo has experience at catcher, third baseman, right fielder, left fielder, and designated hitter. You could argue he's more versatile than Louisville catcher Henry Davis. You are looking at a player who can hit up to 25-30 home runs per season once he develops making him an ideal fit for a Miami Marlins team that needs a catcher.
The 6-1 236 lb Sam Bachman has a chance to be Miami Ohio's highest draft selection since Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was drafted eleventh overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. Let's get back to the baseball star on Miami Ohio who I'm mocking to the Cincinnati Reds at 17.
Sam Bachman has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 97-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 101-mile per hour sinker, an 83-mile per hour slider with a pretty nasty bit, and a changeup to compliment his faster pitches.
Sam Bachman went 7-1 as a freshman. He didn't play much in 2020. He's 4-3 in 2021 with a 2.04 ERA. His ERA was under 2.00 until he gave up 5 runs to West Virginia in Miami Ohio's toughest game of the year. He does come with some risk as a relief pitcher though due to his size and small arm for a pitcher, but the Reds can gamble on Bachman with so many prospects in their farm system.
St. Louis takes a catcher here. The 5-11 200 lb Harry Ford has great speed and athleticism for a catcher. His swing at the plate is similar to Khris Davis. He seems like a good candidate to succeed Yadier Molina.
Toronto grabs the best catcher on the board. The 6-1 205 lb Joe Mack is the best catcher on the board. His season just started on Sunday and he's the only High School catcher outside of Harry Ford who may have five-tool ability.
The Yankees get the top starter on the board. The 6-5 220 lb Anthony Solometo is dominating his senior season at Bishop Eutice High School. Anthony Solometo has 32 innings pitched, 64 strikeouts, and a 0.11 ERA through 6 starts. Three of his six starts were complete games where he pitched 7 innings which is the maximum for a High School Pitcher.
Anthony Solometo has a 94-mile per hour fastball, a 90-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, ad a slider. He does need to develop more pitches in the minor leagues after he gets drafted. His kick reminds MLB scouts of MacKenzie Gore ewith his arm delivery reminding scouts of Madison Bumgarner. His velocity, command, throwing power, and pitching accuracy is excellent.
Anthony Solomento recorded a 15 strikeout game in a High School game where the Trenton Thunder. The Trenton Thunder used to be the New York Yankees AA team. I also heard a rumor that the Yankees absoultely love Anthony Solometo and will not pass on him if he gets to 20.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Baez, third baseman Kris Bryant, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber all have expiring deals in 2022. Nico Hoener, Chicago's 2018 first round pick out of Stanford is going to start at second base even though he was originally a shortstop at Stanford before taking a second baseman in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Chicago could get a pitcher, but they grab a batter hoping to use this draft to find a future star.
The 6-4 200 lb Benny Montgomery is versatile enough to play left fielder, center fielder, or right fielder with his versatility. He's got a great quick arm along with a tremendous work ethic. He also won the Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Derby.
Benny Montgomery has a rigid swing. His swing lacks fluidity. If he can fix that in the minor leagues this kid could be a big time star in the MLB.
The Chicago Cubs have Joc Pederson at left fielder, Ian Happ at center fielder, and Dexter Fowler at right fielder. Chicago also has another outfielder that can play all three spots like Montgomery in their farm system with Brennen Davis their 2018 second round pick.
Joc Pederson's contract runs through 2023 and Dexter Fowler's contract runs through 2024. If Chicago can keep Ian Happ, they could reload at outfielder pretty easily by bringing up Brennen Davis to play left fielder in 2023 before bringing up Benny Montgomery in 2024. Benny Montgomery could go earlier than this and most have him in the top 20 overall so this is a great pick at twenty one and a steal for the Chicago Cubs.
The Chicago White Sox usually go for College players over their High School counterparts. Chicago has Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodon who pitched a no hitter earlier in the season, and Lance Lynn in their starting rotation. Chicago needs a center fielder for the future so they select Florida Gators center fielder Jud Fabian at 22.
The 6-2 180 lb Jud Fabian has a batting average below .300 batting .257 in 2021. He's hit a ridiculous 20 home runs including a 3-run home run off of Jack Leiter in the Leiter film cut I posted earlier. Jud Fabian will not make it past this pick.
The Chief Wahoo logo will be up until the Indians win a World Series regardless of how much it offends Rob Manfred because the Cleveland Indians are my favorite MLB team. The reason I became an Indians fan was because I loved the logo as a young child. Cleveland may be changing their name after this season, but the movie Major League is based off of the Cleveland Indians. Major League Baseball can choose to cater to being woke, but they cannot erase history since two Major League moves about the Cleveland Indians were made.
One player that Cleveland could target at 23 is Chase Petty. The 6-2 190 lb Chase Petty has a 99-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 97-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. His fastball can get up to 102-miles per hour if you warm him up in the bullpen. He also has a deadly slider and an effective curveball which really caught my attention when Petty pitched on film in both of the starts he lost earlier this season.
Chase Petty has 4 complete games in 6 starts for a Mainland Regional High School Baseball team that is 17-3 on the year. Mainlang Regional is 4-0 when Petty pitches a complete game and 0-2 when Petty does not pitch a complete game. Chase Petty needs to get better command and less velocity on his 90-mile per hour changeup. If he can fix that he should be able to contribute as either a starter or a relief pitcher in the MLB once he develops.
Cleveland has Ethan Hankins my top High School pitcher in the 2018 MLB Draft, Daniel Espino my top High School pitcher in the 2019 MLB Draft, and Tanner Burns the ace from the Auburn Tigers in 2019 and 2020 in their farm system.
Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale is a good trio. Cleveland needs a couple of back-end starters and one long reliever to compliment this effective bullpen. If they can hit on three of their four pitching prospects while keeping their core in tact, than that will allow the Cleveland Indians to continue to reload while having one of the MLB's best pitching staffs.
Atlanta gets the best player on the board at 24. Gunnar Hoglund had more strikeouts on tape than Kumar Rocker at one point earlier in the season before having Tommy John's Surgery. Atlanta has a strong starting rotation so they can gamble on Gunnar Hoglund and his massive upside. Atlanta may eventually get to a World Series if they hit on this pick with Hoglund.
The Athletics get the best player on their board at 25. The 6-6 230 lb Tommy Mace defeated Jack Leiter in a heads-up pitchers duel. Mace has a good floor and could develop into a back-end starter for the Oakland Athletics. He also gives Oakland the flexibility to move former Florida Gators pitcher A.J. Puk to the bullpen.
The Twins drafted Royce Lewis first overall out of JSerra High School in the 2017 MLB Draft. The 5-11 180 lb Gage Jump went 8-0 as the ace pitcher for JSerra leading the school to their first league Championship since 2016 when the school three-peated with Royce Lewis. Gage Jump had 13 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings against the best team in the district.
Gage Jump has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball which is his signature pitch. His secondary pitch is a knuckle curveball. Jump has the only knuckle curveball of any first rounder in this draft. He's also got a cutter fastball and a slider to compliment his first two pitches.
The Padres have a ton of quality batters and an abundance of pitchers. San Diego was extremely aggressive in the offseason after having the third best regular season record behind only the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres along with the 2020 World Series finalists can ignore need and take the best player on their board.
The Padres three left fielders have 3 home runs combined between the trio. Let's get the San Diego Padres a left fielder at 27.
The 6-1 210 lb Ethan Wilson leads South Alabama with a .322 batting average. Wilson is the only player on South Alabama batting over .300 and is the best outfielder prospect on South Alabama since Travis Swaggerty went in the top 10 back in the 2018 MLB Draft when the Pittsburgh Pirates took him with a top ten pick. Wilson also has 8 home runs and 9 stolen bases in 2021.
The Tampa Bay Rays get the best player on the board at 28. Dexter Southfield High School is known more for their hockey and NHL Draft prospects than their MLB Draft prospects. The 6-4 230 lb Joshua Baez has an incredible work ethic. He has this angry running style as he runs to bases with lots of intensity. He plays center fielder at Dexter High School, but is open to moving to left fielder or right fielder if he needs to. He ran a 6.7 60-yard dash. His home to first base times were 4.17 and 4.21 which is almost the equivalent of a 4.19 40-time.
Baez still needs to develop more power in his bat. He has the upside to hit up to 30 home runs in the MLB. Tampa Bay needs youth at center fielder so if he makes it 28 he won't get past this pick.
The Dodgers have the luxury to ignore need and take the best player on the board. The 6-6 230 lb James Wood has 30-30 potential with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He's the best player on the board at 29. Like Joshua Baez he can move to a corner outfielder role if you need him to.