MLB Draft 2021: Schedule, Daily Start Times, TV Info, Mock Draft and OrderJuly 9, 2021
With just two days remaining until the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball draft, final preparations for all 30 teams are being made as they hope to land at least one potential franchise cornerstone.
Anticipation for this draft class is more than two years in the making. Kumar Rocker put himself on the map to most fans in the 2019 College World Series when he tossed a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts in a 3-0 Vanderbilt win over Duke during the Super Regionals.
Rocker and fellow Vanderbilt star Jack Leiter are among the top players in this class, but there's a strong chance neither winds up being picked first.
We will dive into that with our mock draft, but first up, here's the schedule for the 2021 MLB draft.
2021 MLB Draft Schedule
Dates: July 11-13
Watch: ESPN and MLB Network (Day 1); MLB.com (Days 2-3)
Day 1 Start Time (Round 1): 7 p.m. ET
Day 2 Start Time (Rounds 2-10): 1 p.m. ET
Day 3 Start Time (Rounds 11-20): Noon ET
2021 MLB Mock Draft
1. Pittsburgh: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
2. Texas: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas, TX)
3. Detroit: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
4. Boston: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
5. Baltimore: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State
6. Arizona: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
7. Kansas City: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
8. Colorado: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
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: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
13. Philadelphia: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
14. San Francisco: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
15. Milwaukee: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
16. Miami: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City, OK)
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: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
28. Tampa Bay: Ky Bush, LHP, St. Mary's
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Wes Kath, 3B, Desert Mountain HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Is Marcelo Mayer the No. 1 Overall Pick?
The race for the top pick in this draft seems to be between high school shortstops Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar. They have been frequently linked to the Pittsburgh Pirates throughout the predraft process.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel noted that Mayer and Lawlar are close to equal on talent, but the former could command a little less in a signing bonus than Lawlar.
Even though Pirates fans may roll their eyes about ownership and the front office going cheap with the top pick, this would not be close to the same thing as it was in 2002 when Bryan Bullington was taken No. 1 overall ahead of B.J. Upton, Zack Greinke and Prince Fielder, among others.
Per Keith Law of The Athletic, Mayer "has a great swing with good balance and the potential for plus power, and he's a potential 60 defender at short as well."
That type of package at shortstop is a potential All-Star.
Mayer doesn't have the same marquee recognition as college players like Rocker and Leiter, but his ability to play a premium position at a high level with at least above-average upside as a hitter should be too tantalizing for any team to pass up.
The Pirates rebuild should make it easy for them to bet on Mayer's potential with the No. 1 overall pick.
Will Boston Steal Jack Leiter?
One of the ongoing stories leading up to the draft is the apparent push from Leiter's camp to get the Vanderbilt star to the Boston Red Sox at No. 4 overall.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reported last weekend that Leiter "very much wants to play for the Red Sox."
In FanGraphs' first mock draft posted on June 14, Kevin Goldstein wrote that Leiter "is trying to price himself down to Boston and wants to land there."
Leiter could have more leverage than a typical draft prospect because of his background. He's the son of a former All-Star pitcher (Al Leiter) and likely doesn't need an immediate influx of cash to sustain himself on his journey to the big leagues.
The majority of mock drafts right now have the two high school shortstops going with the top two picks. The Detroit Tigers could potentially spoil things for Leiter and the Red Sox. Their scouting department has a long history of prioritizing tall right-handed college pitchers with big fastballs in the first round.
Detroit selected three consecutive right-handed pitchers in the first round from 2016-18 (Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Casey Mize). Manning was the only one from that group who was a high schooler.
Leiter finished his sophomore season with an 11-4 record, 179 strikeouts and a 2.13 ERA in 110 innings over 18 starts.
Unless Leiter is so determined to get to Boston that his camp tells the Tigers he won't sign with them, the smart money right now should be on the right-hander being selected with the No. 3 overall pick.
Where is Kumar Rocker's Draft Stock?
Despite being arguably the most famous prospect in this class, Rocker's stock leading up to the draft appears to be all over the place.
In his second mock draft for The Athletic, Law reported Rocker's market is "weirdly specific" with the Rangers, Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals and "possibly" the New York Mets linked.
On the one hand, that's good news for Rocker since all of those teams Law mentioned pick in the top 11.
Per MLB.com's Jim Callis, the slot bonus for Washington with the 11th pick is $4,547,500. That would be a very nice payday for virtually any prospect in the class.
But for a player like Rocker, who may have hoped to be in the mix for the top pick at one point, draft day could be a somewhat disappointing moment for him.
Complicating matters is trying to figure out what Rocker is going to be at the next level. The 21-year-old has the raw stuff to overpower hitters. He did it frequently this season at Vanderbilt, as evidenced by his 2.73 ERA and 179 strikeouts over 122 innings.
Goldstein wrote in May about the lack of consistent velocity from start to start by Rocker in 2021:
"Rocker came out with the best velocity of his career in his first start of the season, averaging 96 mph with his fastball and touching 99. He averaged 94–96 over his next two starts and touched 98, but the first big drop occurred following a 116-pitch outing on March 19 against South Carolina. Seven days after that, I got a text message from a scout: 'Are you watching Rocker?' I switched his start on and saw him sitting at 90–91 all of a sudden. And these were not the 87–91 cutters he's added to his repertoire; these were four-seam fastballs."
Rocker did finish the season without missing any time due to injuries, nor were there any notable concerns with his velocity during Vanderbilt's run to the College World Series championship series against North Carolina State.
In his final start of the season against the Wolfpack in the decisive Game 3, Rocker got rocked with five runs allowed (four earned) on six hits in 4.1 innings. It wasn't a great audition for MLB teams on the biggest stage in college baseball.
That's not to suggest Rocker is going to fall far in the draft or turn into a bust in professional baseball, but all of these things add up to a lot of questions that are being asked in draft rooms right now.
Given Rocker's track record and high ceiling, a team is going to select him early in the first round.