Red Sox's 2021 MLB Draft Guide and Top Prospects to Target

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2021

Red Sox's 2021 MLB Draft Guide and Top Prospects to Target

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The unique nature of a midseason draft means the first-place Boston Red Sox will be on the clock with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 draft, due to their 24-36 record and last-place finish in the AL East a year ago.

    It is just the sixth time in franchise history they have had a top-10 pick, and their highest selection since they chose right-hander Mike Garman with the No. 3 overall pick in 1967.

    Their most recent top-10 pick was outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who went No. 7 overall in 2015 after a stellar junior season at the University of Arkansas that won him the Golden Spikes Award.

    Who will the Red Sox target this time around?

    Ahead we've broken down three prospects who should be on their radar when their pick comes up in the 2021 MLB draft.


    The 2021 MLB draft will kick off on Sunday, July 11, with the event coinciding with All-Star Weekend in Colorado and spanning three days and 20 rounds.

C Henry Davis, Louisville

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Already viewed as a potential first-round pick at the start of the 2021 season, Henry Davis solidified his status as the top collegiate position player with a stellar junior season at Louisville.

    He hit .370/.482/.663 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 50 games, tallying more walks (31) than strikeouts (24) and also swiping 10 bases for good measure.

    With a 60-hit, 55-power offensive profile, he has the tools to be a star at the plate, and he also does a good job controlling the running game with a plus arm. However, his receiving skills are still very much a work-in-progress, and he will likely always be a bat-first catcher.

    If his defensive development ultimately slows him down, he's athletic enough to potentially handle a move out of the crouch.

    "He's quicker than most backstops and conceivably could try third base or an outfield corner if a team wants to maximize his offensive value," wrote

    With Christian Vazquez only signed through 2022, he would line up nicely as the catcher of the future.

RHP Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt

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    Rebecca S. Gratz/Associated Press

    It's nice to be wanted.

    "Several sources have said Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter very much wants to play for the Red Sox," wrote Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe earlier this month.

    Why does that matter?

    While players don't have much say in where they are drafted, Leiter could potentially steer himself to Boston by making a larger bonus demand to the three teams drafting ahead of them. It's rare that a college player drafted in the top 10 returns to school, but not completely unheard of. Mark Appel rebuffed the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 8 overall in 2012 before going No. 1 overall the following year.

    After a few rocky starts at midseason following a brilliant start to the year, Leiter finished the season on a high note with stellar outings against NC State (8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 15 K) and Mississippi State (6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 8 K) in the College World Series.

    With an electric four-pitch arsenal that includes a lively fastball that touches 97 mph and a wicked 12-to-6 curveball, he would immediately become the top pitching prospect in the Boston farm system and perhaps the most hyped since Jonathan Papelbon and Clay Buchholz.

SS Jordan Lawlar, Jesuit Prep (TX)

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    A scenario exists where prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer goes No. 1 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Leiter goes No. 2 overall to the Texas Rangers, and a rebuilding Detroit Tigers team simply can't pass on a potential catcher of the future in Davis at No. 3 overall.

    Where would that leave the Red Sox?

    It could boil down to who they prefer between Texas prep shortstop Jordan Lawlar and North Carolina prep shortstop Kahlil Watson, with Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker as a potential dark horse pick.

    Lawlar is the best prospect of the three and arguably the best all-around prospect in this entire draft class with five-tool potential and long history of success against high-level competition.

    The 6'2", 190-pound infielder draws comparisons to Kansas City Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. for his full toolbox and overall polish at a young age, with the biggest question being his power ceiling.

    "Projecting how his power develops separates those who see him as the best prospect in the draft class from those who see him as just a top-tier draft prospect. If his power catches up to his other tools in his 20s, he could be a regular all-star," wrote Baseball America.

    Red Sox fans have long been focused on Leiter and Davis, but don't rule out one of the top-tier shortstops in this class landing in Boston.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.