2021 MLB Mock Draft: Breaking Down Top Prospects and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 7, 2021

2021 MLB Mock Draft: Breaking Down Top Prospects and Predictions

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    Ben McKeown/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have less than a week to figure out who they will select first overall in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft. 

    Even though the decision-making process is winding down, the Pirates do not have a clear-cut selection to make at the top of Sunday's draft yet. 

    With no clear No. 1 overall prospect, the Pirates have to decide which high school or college player suits their organization best. 

    High school shortstops Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar, Vanderbilt pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, Louisville catcher Henry Davis and high-school arm Jackson Jobe are among the top prospects in the draft class. 

    Since there is an abundance of strong players at the top of the draft, the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles should come away with solid picks out of the top five. 

    How the top five shakes out will not be known until Sunday, when the draft takes place on All-Star weekend for the first time. 

MLB Mock Draft

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    Rebecca S. Gratz/Associated Press

    1. Pittsburgh: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)

    2. Texas: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas, TX)

    3. Detroit: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City, OK)

    4. Boston: Henry Davis, C, Louisville

    5. Baltimore: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt

    6. Arizona: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt

    7. Kansas City: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)

    8. Colorado: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS

    9. Los Angeles Angels: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas

    10. New York Mets: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College

    11. Washington: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State

    12. Seattle: Colton Howser, OF, Sam Houston State

    13. Philadelphia: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)

    14. San Francisco: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA

    15. Milwaukee: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

    16. Miami: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)

    17. Cincinnati: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss

    18. St. Louis: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)

    19. Toronto: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken, NJ)

    20. New York Yankees: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

    21. Chicago Cubs: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

    22. Chicago White Sox: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge HS (Huntingburg, Ind.)

    23. Cleveland: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (East Amherst, NY)

    24. Atlanta: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina

    25. Oakland: Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State

    26. Minnesota: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)

    27. San Diego: Wes Kath, 3B, Desert Mountain HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

    28. Tampa Bay: Ky Bush, LHP, St. Mary's

    29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara

Marcelo Mayer

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo listed Mayer as the No. 1 overall pick in his recent mock draft. 

    The prep shortstop is one of a few players the Pirates will consider in the coming days before narrowing in on their final call.

    No matter which player is chosen at the top, the Pirates are expected to offer a contract beneath the allotted slot value for the selection. MLB.com's Jim Callis reported that information during a mock draft in June.

    If the Pirates are not willing to pay the full $8.4 million attached to the No. 1 spot, they could be more inclined to land a high school player and let him develop over the next few years in their system. 

    A move like that would also allow the Pirates to pay above the allotted value for their first few picks after No. 1. 

    Mayer is a five-tool player who bats left-handed and throws right-handed. He committed to play at USC, but it does not appear that he will land there next season. 

    Mayer would need to hone his skills throughout the minors before reaching the majors, but that is a wait Pittsburgh should be willing to endure since it is not expected to improve right away in 2022. 

    If the Pirates were on the cusp of contending, they might be inclined to land Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter to accelerate the rebuild, but they are still a few years away from having the right pieces on the roster to make a push for first place in the National League Central. 

Jack Leiter

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    Rebecca S. Gratz/Associated Press

    Leiter and Rocker will be the first two collegiate arms off the board. 

    It is just a matter of when the first of the two Vanderbilt players is selected and how deep into the top 10 he will have to wait. 

    Leiter carried the edge over Rocker in Mayo's latest mock draft. He was the No. 2 selection, and Rocker was listed at No. 7. 

    The right-handed hurler went 11-4 with 179 strikeouts in his second season at Vanderbilt, and he helped the Commodores get one win away from the College World Series crown. 

    Leiter, who is the son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter, could be an intriguing pick for any side in the top five. If he falls to Baltimore at No. 5, it would have a young battery of Leiter and catcher Adley Rutschman to develop together at some point in the minors. 

    Leiter could certainly go higher than No. 5, but it all comes down to the preferences of the four teams in front of Baltimore. 

    Detroit may hone in on Jackson Jobe because it already has a ton of major-league ready arms who have worked their way up through the minors. 

    Others may see the potential in Lawlar and Mayer and want to cash in on their potential in a few years, while Davis' bat could be intriguing to a team like Boston that could use him in a year or two. 

    No matter which way the draft falls, Leiter should be a top-10 selection, and if he adapts well at the next level, he could make an impact in the majors in two years or so. 

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