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As of this writing we are basically in draft month! The 2021 MLB Draft will take place July 11-13 in Colorado in conjunction with the MLB All Star Break.
The plan going forward is for the MLB Draft to be a part of All Star Week along with the Futures Game, Home Run Derby, and of course the All-Star Game itself. While we have gotten used to the draft happening at MLB Network Studios in Secaucus, NJ, I believe having it a part of All-Star Week has a chance to bring more eyes to the program.
There won’t be big league games on TV during the draft to take attention away, so hopefully this leads to higher ratings for an, in my opinion, awesome event.
Doing the draft in July also allows for college and high school baseball seasons to be complete, and can potentially lead to it feeling a little more like the NFL Draft with more players on site ready to put on the cap and jersey of the team that drafts them.
Without further ado, here is SNY’s 2021 MLB Mock Draft 2.0:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates – SS Marcelo Mayer – Eastlake HS (California)
Mock 1.0 Pick: SS Jordan Lawlar – Jesuit Prep HS (Texas)
As I mentioned in mock 1.0, the belief in the community right now is the No. 1 pick is down to three names: Jordan Lawlar, Henry Davis, and Marcelo Mayer. We are still a month out, but there has been some recent buzz on Mayer potentially being the favorite to go first. Mayer still needs to fill out physically, but he is the best pure hitter in the prep class and he should have no issue sticking at shortstop. MLB Pipeline has compared him to a young Corey Seager.
2. Texas Rangers – RHP Jack Leiter – Vanderbilt
Mock 1.0 Pick: C Henry Davis – Louisville
The Rangers are an interesting spot in this draft. Some believe they would not pass on the hometown kid Lawlar if he were to not go No. 1, but then some think their focus has been on pitching and centered around Jack Leiter, the son of former Met Al Leiter. In his most recent start, he struck out 11 in six innings while allowing only one run against Georgia Tech.
Leiter’s plus fastball will touch 97-98 mph. His curve ball is also a plus offering, and his slider and changeup still need some work, but flash plus at times. To me Leiter is the top college arm in the draft and arguably the most exciting player to watch in college baseball.
3. Detroit Tigers – SS Jordan Lawlar – Jesuit Prep HS (Texas)
Mock 1.0 Pick: SS Marcelo Mayer – Eastlake HS (California)
We flip the shortstops in Mock 2.0. I have Lawlar personally atop my big board, and I think reasonably speaking he shouldn’t be dropping out of the top three picks. Lawlar possesses five-tool potential, and the Tigers could add another big-time prospect to their system who is already ranked second in baseball by MLB Pipeline.
4. Boston Red Sox – C Henry Davis – Louisville
Mock 1.0 Pick: RHP Jack Leiter – Vanderbilt
I think the Red Sox are hoping that Leiter makes it to the fourth pick so they can select him. It is very possible that occurs, but in this mock scenario he is gone and the Red Sox instead land the top offensive college prospect in the draft in Henry Davis. He should stick behind the plate and possesses an elite arm.
At the plate he has good strike zone knowledge and potential 20+ home run power. He does need to work on cutting down his swing, as there are situations where it gets a bit long. Davis hit .370 with a .482 on-base percentage and 15 home runs across 50 games.
5. Baltimore Orioles – RHP Jackson Jobe – Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
Mock 1.0 Pick: RHP Jackson Jobe – Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
We have our first repeat pick from Mock 1.0! It just shows how even the talent is at the top of this draft that if you switch the pick at number one, it could have a trickle effect for a few picks. There are some rumors the Orioles might try to go significantly under slot here, like they did with Heston Kjerstad last year, and leave bonus pool money for other draft picks.
I am going to operate under the idea that they did that last year, and this year they don’t want to pass on a premier talent like Jobe. Jobe’s fastball is up to 99 mph with a slider that shows spin rates that exceed 3000 rpm, which would be elite in the major leagues right now. Jobe is one of my favorites in this class, and to me he is hands down the top high school arm.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks – SS Kahlil Watson – Wake Forest HS (North Carolina)
Mock 1.0 Pick: SS Matt McLain – UCLA
Watson is climbing up draft boards a bit due to a big spring at Wake Forest High School. I personally like Watson just outside of the top 10, but there is buzz that he could go as high as number five overall. Watson is a premium athlete who shows plus speed on the base paths and the ability to stick at shortstop if an organization wants him to. He also has the flexibility to play second as well as some center field.
Despite being a smaller guy at 5-foot-9, 178 pounds, he shows above average raw power. His swing right now is a bit long and he gears more towards power over contact, but with professional coaching if you can calm down this swing you are looking at a potentially dynamic player at the next level.
7. Kansas City Royals – RHP Kumar Rocker – Vanderbilt
Mock 1.0 Pick – Right-Handed Pitcher Kumar Rocker – Vanderbilt
I don’t know if there is a prospect in this draft that it is more divided where he will go than Kumar Rocker. For me, he should go in the top five, and I have heard he can go as high as number four, but potentially as low as outside of the top 10. He has the build of a workhorse ace who has had inconsistencies this year with his delivery and his velocity. He had some starts in the low 90s, and some in the mid-upper 90s and that gives some teams pause.
Rocker no question has ace upside, but the inconsistent velocity and also the likelihood that he may not be so willing to play ball on his signing bonus amount could lead to a bit of a fall for a player who was considered the hands down number one pick coming into the spring. Any team outside of the top five could be getting a steal in Rocker, and in this case, it is the Royals who benefit.
8. Colorado Rockies – RHP Sam Bachman – Miami of Ohio
Mock 1.0 Pick – SS Brady House – Winder-Barrow HS (Georgia)
I gave Bachman to the Mets at number 10 in Mock 1.0, and I believe that still could happen. However, I believe Bachman’s range starts at No. 8 for the Rockies who are always seeking power arms and ends maybe with the Nationals at No. 11.
A college arm who has touched 102 mph with a plus breaking ball and developing changeup is not really the type of asset that lasts very long in drafts. He is a little shorter than you’d like at 6-foot-1, but Bachman has very high upside, unfortunately also paired with a lower floor of potentially ending up a reliever.
9. Los Angeles Angels – SS Matt McLain – UCLA
Mock 1.0 Pick – OF Sal Frelick – Boston College
The Angels are a team drafting with a new general manager in Perry Minasian who was an assistant with the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have pretty consistently gone college in the first round the last few years, so I can see the Angels wanting to get a closer to big league player to maybe help Mike Trout get into the postseason.
I gave them Sal Frelick from Boston College last time, but Matt McLain was gone. I pivot to McLain, who has upside to be either a shortstop or second baseman at the next level. He is a plus runner with above average contact skills and maybe a little sneaky 15-home run type of pop. I think McLain could be a quick to the big leagues type of player, albeit maybe not with that superstar upside.
10. New York Mets – OF Colton Cowser – Sam Houston State
Mock 1.0 Pick – RHP Sam Bachman – Miami of Ohio
With Bachman off the board, the Mets pivot to a different position and go to the outfield with Sam Houston State’s Colton Cowser. If Cowser goes at this slot, he will be the highest drafted player in Sam Houston State history, passing Glenn Wilson, who went 18th overall in 1980. Cowser also is the first Bearkat to play for the U.S. collegiate national team, where he was given MVP honors in the 2019 series against Cuba.
Cowser has your typical pretty left-handed stroke that right now is geared more towards contact than power. He does show the ability to consistently barrel balls, and with some mechanical adjustments should be able to hit for 20+ home run power. He also shows an above average knowledge of the strike zone, as shown by his .490 on-base percentage this season and walking (42) more times than he struck out (32).
He has posted above average run times that have some teams believing he can stick in center. I personally see him more as a corner guy, but his bat should be able to play there. Cowser hit .374 with the aforementioned .490 on-base percentage and hit 16 home runs in 55 games. Interestingly enough, a player comparison dropped on Cowser from MLB Pipeline is current Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, whom the Mets drafted with the 13th pick of the 2011 MLB Draft.