2021 MLB Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Where Top Prospects Will Land
The Pittsburgh Pirates do not have a lack of options available with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft.
A strong case could be made for the Pirates to select any one of six top prospects who are expected to land in the upper echelon of Sunday's first round.
High school shortstops Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar appear to be the most ideal options for the Pirates, who could stay beneath the $8.4 million attached to the No. 1 pick to spend their $14 million in draft bonus money in a few spots across the opening rounds.
Vanderbilt pitchers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker and Louisville catcher Henry Davis are expected to be the first three collegiate names off the board, but the order of the trio is unknown, with teams waiting on word from the Pittsburgh camp.
High school pitcher Jackson Jobe likely will not be considered by the Pirates, but he could land in the top five if one of those teams is excited to develop the right-handed hurler.
2021 1st-Round MLB Mock Draft
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
Lawlar is one of two prep shortstops who could join the illustrious group of No. 1 overall picks.
The Texas high school player is committed to Vanderbilt, but he is not likely to attend the SEC school with a top-five selection in his near future.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel ranked Lawlar as his No. 1 prospect in the draft class.
"Among the four elite prep shortstops, Lawlar doesn't have the highest floor or highest upside, and you could truly put them in any order, but I think he's the best combination of skills, hit tool and track record," McDaniel wrote. "All of his tools rate as a 55 or 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average."
According to The Athletic's Rob Biertempfel, the Pirates "have focused their attention" on Lawlar, Mayer and Rocker in recent weeks.
Mayer appears to be likely top pick, which would leave the Texas Rangers with the opportunity to select the Texan shortstop at No. 2.
Even if Texas passes on Lawlar, he should find himself somewhere in the top five because he possesses one of the best overall skill sets of any hitter in the draft pool.
Davis should be the top collegiate hitter chosen Sunday, and depending on where Leiter and Rocker land, he might be the top overall player from the college ranks to be selected.
He thrived at the plate during his time at Louisville, vaulting himself to the forefront of the draft radar with strong performances over the past two years.
Davis recorded an OPS over 1.100 in each of the past two seasons. He mashed 15 home runs and drove in 48 runs in 50 games in 2021.
In 2020, the Louisville catcher had a 1.178 OPS with three long balls and 13 RBI in 14 appearances before the season was shut down.
Davis could rise to the majors in the mold of the past two No. 1 overall picks. Adley Rutschman is at Double-A and may land in Baltimore by the end of the season, while Spencer Torkelson was recently promoted to Double-A in the Detroit system.
If Davis follows a similar path in the minors, he could end up in the majors sometime in the next two years.
Boston or Arizona could be the best landing spot for Davis depending on which pitchers are available. Regardless of which team selects Davis, he is not expected to go through a long wait to hear his name called Sunday.
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.