MLB Draft 2021: Scouting Reports for Top Major League Baseball Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2021

MLB Draft 2021: Scouting Reports for Top Major League Baseball Prospects

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    For the first time, the Major League Baseball draft will be held on All-Star Weekend.

    Typically, the top high school and collegiate prospects in the country are chosen in June and some are at their first minor league destinations by now. 

    The adjusted date gives the stars of the future a chance to be involved in baseball's showcase week, and it puts more attention on the newest professional players. 

    The Pittsburgh Pirates will make someone's dream come true as the No. 1 overall pick, but their decision was still unknown going into Sunday afternoon.

    Most mock drafts have high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer landing with the Pirates, but they could also look at Louisville catcher Henry Davis or prep shortstop Jordan Lawlar. 

    The top pitchers in the draft pool come from Vanderbilt. Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter are expected to be top-10 picks, but their actual landing spots are dependent on what Pittsburgh does at the top. 

Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)

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    Mayer has been the player on top of most mock drafts for the last week. 

    The Athletic's Keith Law and MLB.com's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo both have Mayer going first off the board to the Pirates. 

    Mayer is the No. 1 prospect on MLB.com's Top 250 list. ESPN's Kiley McDaniel listed the shortstop as his No, 2 prospect. McDaniel described Mayer as "a scout's dream." 

    "Mayer is a scout's dream, as a projectable 6'3" shortstop with a sweet lefty cut and a track record of hitting. The only real concern is that you have to project him growing into big plus tools because they are around average right nowbut every marker is there for improvement," McDaniel wrote. 

    Mayer will enter the professional ranks on a slow path to the major leagues. For example, 2016 No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak, who was chosen out of high school, made his MLB debut at the back end of the 2020 season. 

    If he goes to Pittsburgh, Mayer will be the first high school player to go at No. 1 since Royce Lewis went to the Minnesota Twins in 2017. Lewis reached Double-A in 2019, but he suffered a torn ACL at the start of the 2021 season. 

    Mayer needs to grow into his frame and adapt his skills to the professional level, but he has all the talent to make those improvements to eventually become a top player. 

Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt

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    Kumar Rocker has been hyped up as a top prospect in the 2021 draft since he stepped foot on a collegiate mound at Vanderbilt in 2019.

    The right-handed hurler went 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA and 321 strikeouts over his three seasons in the SEC.

    Rocker won the Most Valuable Player at the College World Series when Vanderbilt won the title in 2019. He helped the Commodores reach the championship series in 2021 as well. 

    Rocker is projected to be a solid starter in the majors. The advantage he has is every scout who has watched him knows him in and out after three years at the highest level of college baseball.

    Rocker has the most fluctuation across mock drafts than any top-10 prospect. Law projected Rocker to land at No. 2 with the Texas Rangers, while Callis dropped him down to the Los Angeles Angels at No. 9. 

    The Vanderbilt junior likely will not drop out of the top 10. If he falls outside the top five, a team should view him as a steal at that part of the draft and select him. 

    Rocker's most likely landing spots appear to be the Boston Red Sox at No. 4 or at No. 6 to the Arizona Diamondbacks based off the preferences of the teams at the top of the draft. 

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