MLB Draft 2021: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Breakdown of Top Prospects
The Pittsburgh Pirates are honing in on the player they will select with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 MLB draft.
High school shortstop Marcelo Mayer appears to be the front-runner to be chosen first on Sunday at the event that will take place directly after the MLB Futures Game as part of All-Star weekend.
Mayer is one of two prep shortstops who could be taken in the top five. Jordan Lawlar is also under consideration from a few different teams.
Unlike the last two years where Adley Rutschman and Spencer Torkelson were clear-cut top selections, the decision-making process for Pittsburgh seems a bit more difficult.
While Mayer is the front-runner, there are a few other bats as well as two solid collegiate arms in Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter who the Pirates could choose from.
With a handful of quality prospects at the top of the draft class, Texas, Baltimore, Boston and Detroit should land top-tier prospects as well no matter who they take within the top five selections.
2021 MLB 1st-Round 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
Mayer has been at top of most mock drafts for the last week.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel was one of the experts who placed Mayer at No. 1 with the Pirates in his latest mock draft.
"This is still wide open because the pool of talent is similar and bonus prices aren't known yet. The current belief is Mayer is about 50 percent likely to be the pick, with Kahlil Watson and Henry Davis the next most likely, in that order," McDaniel wrote.
The California native signed with USC, but he likely will not get to the collegiate ranks because of his status in the draft class.
Mayer is a five-tool player with plenty of pop in his bat. In fact, his high school coach at Eastlake High School told Fox 5 in San Diego that Mayer has more power in his swing than Adrian Gonzalez, who attended the same high school.
"Marcelo had more power and pop on the bat," Eastlake coach Dave Gallegos said. "The athleticism goes to Marcelo. Other than that, they're both smart baseball players. The only thing I'd give about Marcelo is in high school, he had a bit more pop than Adrian did, but Adrian was special."
Mayer will be on a long-term path to reach the majors. He will likely need a few years of adapting to professional pitching in the minor leagues before he even sniffs a potential call-up.
That process may suit the Pirates since they are not going to turn into a contender overnight and could be a seller at the trade deadline.
Pittsburgh could go for more major-league ready players, like Leiter and Louisville catcher Henry Davis, but most signs point to Mayer being its pick.
Leiter should be one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft class.
The Vanderbilt product would still need time in the minor leagues to adapt to professional hitting, but his path to the majors should be much shorter than Mayer's.
The son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter formed a fantastic one-two punch with Rocker at Vanderbilt for the last two seasons.
Leiter went 11-4 in 2021 with a 2.13 ERA and 179 strikeouts. He helped Vanderbilt earn a position in the College World Series championship round.
Leiter has a strong arm and big-league pedigree that any team would welcome in its farm system.
McDaniel noted in his July 9 mock draft that he is "leaning" for Texas to take Leiter at No. 2 and Boston is "hoping" that he falls to No. 4.
There is a chance Leiter falls to the Red Sox if the Rangers go after Lawlar, high school shortstop Kahlil Watson or Davis in the hopes of bolstering their list of hitting prospects.
Detroit does not appear to be in the mix for Leiter of his collegiate teammate Rocker. Most mock drafts have the Tigers honed in on a high school product.
At the moment, Leiter's floor looks like the No. 4 pick, and he will likely hear his name called before Rocker, who is expected to land in the top 10.