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We are less than three weeks before the MLB Draft kicks off on July 11 in Colorado. More information is starting to come in on how the draft can fall, but there still is plenty to be determined before we get to draft day.
There are rumors starting to come out about which players' sign-ability may be in question leading into the draft that could turn into a small fall for a couple top players. The thing that is so fun about the MLB Draft is the unpredictability of it. I think often when you look into drafts for the NFL, NBA and NHL you have a much clearer picture of who will go where because signing bonus demands are not part of the conversation.
Overall, I am excited about this draft class. Despite there not being a Bryce Harper-type of generational prospect at the top, there is a lot of talent at both the high school and college levels that I think will be impactful big leaguers down the road.
Here is the latest I am hearing with mock draft 3.0:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates – SS Marcelo Mayer – Eastlake HS (California)
Mock 2.0 Pick: SS Marcelo Mayer – Eastlake HS (California)
Mock 1.0 Pick: SS Jordan Lawlar – Dallas Jesuit HS (Texas)
There is increasing buzz that Mayer is the favorite go to the Pirates at number one. If someone like Jordan Lawlar or Henry Davis is willing to sign for enough under slot, it’s still possible the Pirates go that route. But where we stand today, Mayer is considered to be the most likely selection here. I don’t have Mayer atop my personal big board, but he’s top three and very worthy of the selection as the best pure hitter in the high school class who should have no issue sticking at shortstop long term.
2. Texas Rangers – C Henry Davis – Louisville
Mock 2.0 Pick: RHP Jack Leiter – Vanderbilt
Mock 1.0 Pick: C Henry Davis – Louisville
The Rangers appear to be focused mostly on college players, though they have reportedly been looking at rising prospect Kahlil Watson as well. If they stick to college, barring them wanting to take an extreme discounted player similar to what Baltimore did with Heston Kjerstad last year, the pick should come down to the top college bat in Davis and the top college arm in Jack Leiter. In this mock, I have them going with Davis, who has above average power, albeit with a long swing and is developing behind the plate as a catcher. He needs work on his framing and mobility around the plate, but he’s supported by a true plus-plus arm.
3. Detroit Tigers – SS Brady House – Winder Barrow HS (Georgia)
Mock 2.0 Pick – SS Jordan Lawlar – Dallas Jesuit HS (Texas)
Mock 1.0 Pick – SS Marcelo Mayer – Eastlake HS (California)
I am hearing the Tigers are all over the high school shortstops in this class and maybe even considering someone like Jackson Jobe, but recently Tigers GM Al Avila had a two-day private workout with House, per Kiley McDaniel of ESPN. For a GM to attend a private workout with a prospect means they are quite high on him. It could be a smokescreen, but I’ll bite. House might have the best raw power in the high school class and has cleaned up a hitch in his swing. I would expect he ends up at third base long term defensively, but has the arm for it.
4. Boston Red Sox – RHP Jack Leiter – Vanderbilt
Mock 2.0 Pick – C Henry Davis – Louisville
Mock 1.0 Pick – RHP Jack Leiter – Vanderbilt
I believe the Red Sox want one of Davis or Leiter, and the odds of them both being gone in the top three picks is not particularly high. In this scenario, Davis is gone, so the Red Sox gladly select the northeast kid who to me is the best college arm in the draft. He may be a little undersized by conventional standards, but he is an absolute bulldog who goes after hitters aggressively with premium stuff. Leiter can be in my rotation anytime. He threw eight innings of one-run ball, while striking out 15 against North Carolina State in his most recent start in the College World Series.
5. Baltimore Orioles – OF Colton Cowser – Sam Houston State
Mock 2.0 Pick – RHP Jackson Jobe – Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
Mock 1.0 Pick – RHP Jackson Jobe – Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
The noise is getting louder that the Orioles intend to draft someone they can sign for well below slot at number five and spread their bonus money around to other draft picks. I am a fan of Cowser as a prospect more in the 10-14 range, but the Orioles could get him at a discount, and he can be a quick-to-the-majors type of outfielder. Cowser has a smooth left handed stroke with developing power and good strike zone discipline. Defensively some believe he can play center field at the next level, I feel more comfortable with him as a corner outfielder.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks – SS Jordan Lawlar – Dallas Jesuit HS (Texas)
Mock 2.0 Pick – SS Kahlil Watson – Wake Forest HS (North Carolina)
Mock 1.0 Pick – SS Matt McLain – UCLA
The dip for my personal No. 1 prospect in the draft ends here at six. There is some increasing buzz that Lawlar has a high price tag to sign him away from his commitment to Vanderbilt. When you are a couple weeks out, that information could change and Lawlar can go much higher than this. But Arizona has not been afraid to pursue upside in the past, so I can see them being prepared to go over slot if necessary to get a player of Lawlar’s caliber. To me, Lawlar shows above average tools across the board and has the best odds at the top of this class to be a five-tool type of player.
7. Kansas City Royals – RHP Kumar Rocker – Vanderbilt
Mock 2.0 Pick – RHP Kumar Rocker – Vanderbilt
Mock 1.0 Pick – RHP Kumar Rocker – Vanderbilt
My most consistent pick in my mock drafts has been Rocker to the Royals. The inconsistent velocity this spring, as well as potential higher asking price seems likely to drop Rocker outside of the top five. Whichever team steps up and is willing to make the pick and financial commitment can be a real winner in the 2021 MLB Draft. If a big league team is able to iron out his mechanics and get his velocity more consistent, Rocker has front of the rotation upside.
8. Colorado Rockies – SS Kahlil Watson – Wake Forest HS (North Carolina)
Mock 2.0 Pick – RHP Sam Bachman – Miami of Ohio
Mock 1.0 Pick – SS Brady House – Winder Barrow HS (Georgia)
I was trying to find the right spot to put Watson, as he is possibly the biggest climber in the draft process. A month ago, I had thought he would be just outside of the top 10, and now he's considered a lock top 10 pick and has been mentioned as high as second overall. Despite being a smaller guy at only 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, he has above average raw power with an approach that now is more power than contact oriented. He is a well above average runner and teams believe has the flexibility to play anywhere up the middle on the diamond which gives teams flexibility for him long term.
9. Los Angeles Angels – RHP Jackson Jobe – Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
Mock 2.0 Pick – SS Matt McLain – UCLA
Mock 1.0 Pick – OF Sal Frelick – Boston College
I don’t think Jobe should fall outside of the top five -- he is a clear-cut player at that range in this class and hands down the top high school arm. Some in the scouting community actually think he is the best pitcher in the class, period. He has a very athletic build and delivery on the mound. His slider is probably the best overall pitch in the class, with a true 70-80 grade on it with spin rates that exceed 3000 rpm. His fastball velocity this spring ticked up more in the 95-97 mph range and touching 99. He needs some development on his change-up like most high school pitchers do, but Jobe has a chance to be something special.
10. New York Mets – RHP Ty Madden – Texas
Mock 2.0 Pick – OF Colton Cowser – Sam Houston State
Mock 1.0 Pick – RHP Sam Bachman – Miami of Ohio
The Mets can go a variety of ways with the 10th pick, as you see above, I have given them a couple other options in previous mock drafts. The one constant has been all college players. I think unless one of these premium high school talents falls to number 10, they are more likely to go the college route, whether that is a bat or arm. Madden is an arm that has intrigued me, and I think his stock may have risen a bit with his recent outing against Mississippi State in the first round of the College World Series where he allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out 10 batters. He has a prototypical starter's build at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds and sports a four pitch-mix including a fastball that sits 94-96 mph has reached 98 mph, a plus slider in the mid-80s and developing change-up and curveball. With proper development of his third and fourth pitches, Madden has the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 type of starter. I am not trying to compare their big league futures necessarily, but Madden does remind me a bit of what Matt Harvey was when he was coming out of North Carolina.