B/R's 2021 MLB Mock Draft 2.0 for Every 1st-Round Pick
Welcome to Bleacher Report's 2021 MLB mock draft 2.0!
The event is still one month away, and a lot will likely change before then. While the high school and college seasons are winding to a close, scouts will still get a chance to evaluate talent in the newly founded six-team MLB Draft League, which will essentially serve as a showcase circuit.
We published our first mock draft of the year May 12, and plenty has changed since, with players rising and falling based on the latest industry speculation and on-field results.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be on the clock with the first pick when the draft gets underway July 11, with the event scheduled to span three days and 20 rounds.
We'll update this a few more times before the big day, but for now here's version 2.0 of Bleacher Report's 2021 MLB mock draft.
Note: The Houston Astros will once again be without a first-round pick as part of their punishment for the sign-stealing scandal. Otherwise, they would have had the No. 16 selection.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Jordan Lawlar, Jesuit Prep (TX)
The Pirates have narrowed their scope to the top-tier high school shortstops, per MLB.com's Jim Callis, with Louisville catcher Henry Davis also in the mix if they shift gears. With a profile similar to Bobby Witt Jr.'s at the same point in his career, Lawlar offers a polished, well-rounded box of tools and the upside to be a star.
2. Texas Rangers: SS Kahlil Watson, Wake Forest High School (NC)
The Rangers have been "hot on the trail" of Watson in recent weeks, per Callis, and he has been moving up draft boards with a red-hot start to his spring season in North Carolina. With plus speed and some sneaky raw power packed into his 5'9", 178-pound frame, he could be a dynamic offensive player, and he played well against high-level competition on the showcase circuit last summer.
3. Detroit Tigers: SS Marcelo Mayer, Eastlake High School (CA)
This is likely the floor for Mayer, who remains a serious candidate to go No. 1 with his smooth left-handed stroke, 60-hit, 55-power offensive profile and polished defensive game. If he's off the board, Vanderbilt ace Jack Leiter and prep right-hander Jackson Jobe could also be in play for a Tigers team on the rise.
4. Boston Red Sox: RHP Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt
After a rocky midseason stretch when he allowed 12 earned runs in three starts, Leiter has settled down with four straight quality starts. The 6'1" right-hander has the stuff to be an ace, and his four-pitch repertoire and plus command give him an extremely high floor. Even if one of the prep shortstops slips, this decision could be between Leiter and Louisville catcher Henry Davis.
5. Baltimore Orioles: SS Brady House, Winder-Barrow High School (GA)
Don't rule out another early reach by the O's to save money later in the draft. They signed Heston Kjerstad for $2.6 million below slot at No. 2 overall last year and then went way above slot to sign Coby Mayo in the fourth round. If they stick to a slot-level player, House has some of the best raw power in the class and has a chance to be a archetypal run-producing third baseman when he inevitably outgrows shortstop.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: C Henry Davis, Louisville
Arguably the best college player in the country this year, Davis is hitting .370/.482/.663 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI and 10 steals in 50 games with more walks (31) than strikeouts (24). With a 55-hit, 55-power offensive profile and an absolute cannon for an arm, he has the tools to be an impact two-way catcher with some further refinement to his receiving skills. This is probably his floor, and he's still a candidate to go No. 1 overall.
7. Kansas City Royals: RHP Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
With a burly 6'4", 255-pound frame and power stuff, Rocker has front-line starter potential, but he has not dominated on a consistent basis this spring. His last two starts were a microcosm of his season. He allowed five earned runs in 3.1 innings against Arkansas on May 27 but then tossed seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball against Presbyterian on June 4. Still, his upside will keep him from slipping much farther.
8. Colorado Rockies: OF Colton Cowser, Sam Houston State
Arguably the best pure hitter among this year's college bats, Cowser is hitting .374/.490/.680 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI. He's also stolen 17 bases in 20 attempts. Cowser played well for Team USA in 2019, and his polished offensive game gives him a high enough floor that he can still be an impact player even if he doesn't stick in center field. Texas right-hander Ty Madden probably makes the most sense for a pitching-starved Rockies organization, but that hasn't stopped the team from going with bats in the past.
9. Los Angeles Angels: RHP Jackson Jobe, Heritage Hall High School (OK)
Given the inconsistency that Leiter and Rocker have shown this spring, there's a case to be made that Jobe is the best pitching prospect in the class. The 6'2", 190-pound right-hander has four above-average pitches, highlighted by a lethal wipeout slider that might be the best breaking ball in the draft. The high school right-hander profile always carries risk, but the Angels are the perfect team to roll the dice on a potential future ace.
10. New York Mets: RHP Ty Madden, Texas
Madden became the clear-cut No. 3 college pitcher in this draft class when Gunnar Hoglund underwent Tommy John surgery last month, and unless one of the top-tier players slides, he's well-positioned to fall into the Mets' lap. The 6'3" right-hander has used a polished four-pitch arsenal, which includes a fastball that touches 99 mph, to post a 2.59 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 94 innings this year.
11. Washington Nationals: RHP Sam Bachman, Miami (Ohio)
The Nationals will probably jump all over Jobe if he's still on the board. But in this scenario they take a pitcher who could be this year's version of Garrett Crochet, who debuted for the White Sox not long after they selected him. Bachman could thrive in an MLB bullpen right now, with a 70-grade fastball that touches 101 mph and a plus slider, but his changeup has developed to the point he could stick as a starter. He has a 1.81 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 59.2 innings this spring.
12. Seattle Mariners: OF Sal Frelick, Boston College
The Mariners have a long history of focusing on the college ranks, and Frelick is the best college player available here. The undersized 5'9" outfielder has one of the best hit tools in the draft, and with his speed and athleticism, he could be a future leadoff hitter who sticks in center field. The 21-year-old is hitting .359/.443/.559 with 25 extra-base hits and 13 steals this spring.
13. Philadelphia Phillies: OF Benny Montgomery, Red Land High School (PA)
The Phillies are among the toughest teams in this draft to nail down, and a lot will depend on who is still on the board. With 55-grade power and 70-grade speed, Montgomery is one of the better all-around athletes in the class. There are some concerns about his 45-grade hit tool, but his upside is huge. Otherwise, this is probably the floor for Frelick and Cowser.
14. San Francisco Giants: LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State
With a 65-grade changeup that is among the best individual pitches in the draft, Wicks is the consensus top left-hander in the class. The 6'3", 220-pounder has a 3.70 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 92.1 innings, and he should move quickly through the minors. The Giants system is loaded with position-player talent, but it's thin on potential future rotation pieces.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: SS Matt McLain, UCLA
The No. 25 pick in the 2018 draft, McLain instead honored his commitment to UCLA, where he has developed into the top collegiate middle infielder in the class. After raking in 13 games last year before the season was cancelled, he's hitting .333/.434/.579 with 25 extra-base hits and a 15 percent walk rate this spring. He has the tools to stick at shortstop, but he's played all over the place in college, and this is a "best available player" pick more than anything for the Brew Crew.
16. Miami Marlins: C/IF Harry Ford, North Cobb High School (GA)
Ford carries less risk than the average high school catching prospect thanks to his elite athleticism, which would allow him to play second base, third base or the outfield if he doesn't stick in the crouch. His tools grade out as average or better across the board, and he has a solid history of production against quality pitching on the showcase circuit. The Marlins are believed to be targeting athleticism in the high school ranks, per Callis.
17. Cincinnati Reds: RHP Andrew Painter, Calvary Christian High School (FL)
Once viewed as the top prep pitcher in this class, Painter still has tantalizing upside with a projectable 6'7", 215-pound frame and a quality four-pitch mix highlighted by a 60-grade fastball and an advanced changeup. He has better command than the average high school pitcher, and he does a good job of repeating his mechanics despite his large frame. The Reds are never afraid to gamble on upside, but Painter's polish also gives him a high floor.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Ryan Cusick, Wake Forest
Cusick allowed 16 earned runs in 16.1 innings during a three-start stretch in late April and early May, but he stopped that skid on May 20 by allowing just six hits and one earned run while striking out 10 in 7.1 innings against Pitt. His 70-grade fastball touches 102 mph, and he has shown enough feel for his secondary stuff to instill belief that he can start. He's more of a project than most first-round college pitchers, but the upside could be something resembling Tyler Glasnow's game.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: LHP Anthony Solometo, Bishop Eustace High School (NJ)
Solometo shares some similarities with Madison Bumgarner mechanically, throwing from a three-quarters arm slot with a long arm action. He has been steadily climbing draft boards this spring by running his fastball up to 96 mph and locating it well. He also has a plus slider and good feel for a changeup, all from a 6'5", 218-pound frame. The Blue Jays system skews position-player heavy, and Solometo could quickly become one of its top young arms.
20. New York Yankees: RHP Gunnar Hoglund, Ole Miss
The Yankees selected Clarke Schmidt at No. 16 overall in the 2017 draft despite the fact that he had undergone Tommy John surgery roughly a month earlier, so there is some precedent for rolling the dice on a sidelined college pitcher. Hoglund was on his way to being a top-10 pick before undergoing his own Tommy John procedure, and he won't be as hurt by missed developmental time as most thanks to his polish.
21. Chicago Cubs: RHP Michael McGreevy, UC Santa Barbara
With a brilliant 115-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 101.2 innings this spring, McGreevy has pitched his way into first-round consideration. The 6'4", 215-pound right-hander has seen an uptick in his stuff since stepping onto campus at UC Santa Barbara. His fastball now touches 96 mph and is backed by two quality breaking pitches and an average changeup, giving him middle-of-the-rotation upside and a high floor.
22. Chicago White Sox: 3B Colson Montgomery, Southridge High School (IN)
A high school shortstop who will almost certainly shift to third base as a pro, Montgomery has been rising up draft boards with a 50-hit, 55-power offensive outlook and the plus athleticism that made him his high school's all-time leading scorer in basketball. The White Sox have been all over him, per Callis, and this connection will be made throughout the predraft process.
23. Cleveland: C Joe Mack, Williamsville East High School (NY)
High school hitters appear to be the focus for Cleveland, per Callis, and Mack has one of the better bats in the prep ranks with a 55-hit, 50-power profile and an advanced approach. He throws well but still needs to work on his receiving skills to be an above-average defender. Hard-throwing right-hander Chase Petty is also one to keep an eye on here.
24. Atlanta Braves: RHP/SS Bubba Chandler, North Oconee High School (GA)
A 247Sports composite 3-star quarterback recruit who is committed to Clemson, Chandler is also arguably the best two-way player in this draft class. He has first-round potential as a hard-throwing right-hander and a switch-hitting shortstop. The Braves have never shied from plucking players from their own backyard in Georgia, and Chandler might be too dynamic of a talent to let get away. Will there be signability issues?
25. Oakland Athletics: 3B Izaac Pacheco, Friendswood High School (TX)
There's a dearth of power bats in this class, and that seems to be helping Pacheco climb draft boards. A shortstop for now, he'll likely shift to third base, where his 6'4", 225-pound frame and strong arm will fit well. He has as much raw power as any left-handed hitter in this class, and Oakland has been focused on high school bats in its scouting efforts, per Callis.
26. Minnesota Twins: OF Will Taylor, Dutch Fork High School (SC)
The Twins are all over the board in their scouting, so this pick could come down to who they view as the best player available. With 70-grade speed and a more polished game than one might expect from a three-sport athlete, Taylor is the type of player who could take off once he turns his full attention to baseball, and that gives him significant upside. A commitment to play slot receiver for Clemson will make him a tough sign, though.
27. San Diego Padres: OF Joshua Baez, Dexter Southfield School (MA)
The Padres have not drafted a college player in the first round since Cal Quantrill and Eric Lauer in 2016, and a number of high-ceiling preps are on the board here. The big fastball of Chase Petty and the 60-grade power of Joshua Baez will both be appealing for an organization that seems to love loud tools. There's some belief the Padres are leaning toward a bat, per Callis, so Baez is the pick for now.
28. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Will Bednar, Mississippi State
Bednar might have been an early pick in the 2019 draft if not for a shoulder injury, and he made it to Mississippi State as a result. The draft-eligible sophomore has been steadily climbing draft boards this spring, posting a 3.17 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a 109-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 71 innings. With a 60-grade fastball and 60-grade slider, he has a high floor as a late-inning reliever, but an improved changeup and his strike-throwing ability has improved his starter outlook. The Rays seem to love a pop-up arm.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton High School (LA)
Stovall lacks the first-step quickness and range to play pro shortstop, otherwise he might be a top-10 pick. Offensively, he has a 60-grade hit tool that stacks up to any in this class and enough raw power to be a 20-homer threat in the big leagues. The Dodgers have shown a willingness to draft bats and figure out where they fit defensively when the time comes, with Willie Calhoun and Michael Busch among notable recent examples.