2021 MLB Draft Results: Full Listings of Grades for 1st-Round PicksJuly 12, 2021
2021 MLB Draft Results: Full Listings of Grades for 1st-Round Picks
The differing strategies of MLB front offices led to some unexpected picks in the first round of the 2021 MLB draft.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets were the biggest beneficiaries of the draft projections blowing up from the start of the selectin process.
Pittsburgh's choice to take Louisville catcher Henry Davis at No. 1 and the picks that followed allowed Boston to swoop up high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer, who was the projected top selection in the majority of mock drafts before Sunday.
Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker experienced the most surprising drop to No. 10, but it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the right-handed hurler.
Rocker has the potential to be one of the cornerstones of the New York Mets rotation, and he could be one of the first 2021 selections to reach the majors.
The Red Sox and Mets appear to be clearest winners of the top 10, but the true winners and losers will not be determined for a few years until some of the high school products develop in the minor leagues.
1st-Round Draft Grades
Chicago Cubs: B-
Chicago White Sox: B+
Kansas City: C
Los Angeles Angels: C
Los Angeles Dodgers: C+
New York Mets: A
New York Yankees: B
San Diego: C
San Francisco: B+
St. Louis: A-
Tampa Bay: B-
Any time you can get the No. 1 prospect in the eyes of most experts at No. 4 it has to be viewed as a first-round victory.
The Red Sox were fortunate to have Mayer drop to No. 4 after the Pirates surprised some experts by landing Davis at No. 1.
There is nothing particularly wrong with Davis, who was the top collegiate bat in the draft class, but his selection did surprise some those who believed Mayer was the surefire No. 1 overall pick.
Instead, Boston won the right to develop the California shortstop over the next few years while Xander Bogaerts occupies the shortstop position.
The Athletic's Keith Law noted that the Red Sox will use patience with Mayer's development in his analysis of the pick.
"The Red Sox are certainly in position to wait on Mayer's upside; he's a true shortstop with a beautiful left-handed swing that looks like it'll lead to power as he fills out, "Law wrote.
Mayer will need time to fill out his body and adjust to professional pitching, but he has the skill set that comes with a ton of promise.
Boston did the right thing by taking the best player available at No. 4, and the call could pay dividends in the future.
New York Mets: A
The New York Mets were the only team that could have been more excited about their first-round draft steal than the Red Sox.
Kumar Rocker was one of the best collegiate pitchers over the last three years, and he was projected to land somewhere in the top eight.
Like Mayer, Rocker dropped past his expected spot and likely ended up in a better situation with a franchise that has developed plenty of young arms in the last decade.
Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey are among the pitching selections the Mets have developed in the last decade.
The National League East side has also had a good eye for talent at the plate with Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith among the recent selections that have come through the Mets system.
The Mets know what they are getting in Rocker, who starred for three seasons in the SEC and appeared in two College World Series championship series.
Since Rocker has so much experience, he could be on one of the shortest paths to the majors of any 2021 first-round pick.
If Rocker turns in some solid appearances in the minors in 2021, he could make a push to be on the Mets' 40-man roster in 2022 in the best-case scenario.
Even though the Mets may have to pay above the allotted slot value for the No. 10 pick, they should be more than happy with doing so after landing one of the draft's premier pitching prospects.