2021 MLB Draft Results: Grades for Overall Team-by-Team Results

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2021

Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter throws during the first inning against Mississippi State in Game 1 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Rebecca S. Gratz/Associated Press

While the 2021 MLB All-Star Game was at the forefront of the sport this week, the 30 teams in the league also had their eye on future All-Stars during the MLB draft.

The Pittsburgh Pirates started the festivities by taking catcher Henry Davis with the No. 1 overall pick, and teams such as the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox all added potential future cornerstones in the early picks.

With that in mind, here is a grade and the notable early-round picks for each team.

The full list of every draft pick can be found here at MLB.com.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: A- (first-rounder SS Jordan Lawlar, second-rounder SS Ryan Bliss)
  • Atlanta Braves: C+ (first-rounder P Ryan Cusick, second-rounder P Spencer Schwellenbach)
  • Baltimore Orioles: C+ (first-rounder OF Colton Cowser, second-rounder 2B Connor Norby)
  • Boston Red Sox: A (first-rounder SS Marcelo Mayer, second-rounder OF Jud Fabian)
  • Chicago Cubs: B+ (first-rounder P Jordan Wicks, second-rounder 3B James Triantos)
  • Chicago White Sox: A- (first-rounder SS Colson Montgomery, second-rounder 3B Wes Kath)
  • Cincinnati Reds: B (first-rounder SS Matt McLain, first-rounder OF Jay Allen II)
  • Cleveland: B (first-rounder P Gavin Williams, second-rounder P Doug Nikhazy)
  • Colorado Rockies: C+ (first-rounder OF Benny Montgomery, second-rounder P Jaden Hill)
  • Detroit Tigers: B (first-rounder P Jackson Jobe, compensatory pick P Ty Madden, second-rounder SS Izaac Pacheco)
  • Houston Astros: C (third-rounder OF Tyler Whitaker)
  • Kansas City Royals: C (first-rounder P Frank Mozzicato, second-rounder P Ben Kudrna)
  • Los Angeles Angels: B (first-rounder P Sam Bachman, second-rounder P Ky Bush)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: B- (first-rounder P Maddux Bruns)
  • Miami Marlins: A (first-rounder SS Kahlil Watson, second-rounder SS Cody Morissette)
  • Milwaukee Brewers: A (first-rounder OF Sal Frelick, compensatory pick 2B Tyler Black, second-rounder P Russell Smith)
  • Minnesota Twins: B- (first-rounder P Chase Petty, second-rounder P Steven Hajjar)
  • New York Mets: A (first-rounder P Kumar Rocker, second-rounder P Calvin Ziegler)
  • New York Yankees: B- (first-rounder SS Trey Sweeney, second-rounder P Brendan Beck)
  • Oakland Athletics: A- (first-rounder SS Max Muncy, second-rounder 3B Zack Gelof)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: B (first-rounder P Andrew Painter, second-rounder OF Ethan Wilson)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates: A (first-rounder C Henry Davis, second-rounder P Anthony Solometo)
  • San Diego Padres: B- (first-rounder SS Jackson Merrill, second-rounder OF James Wood)
  • San Francisco Giants: B+ (first-rounder P Will Bednar, second-rounder P Matt Mikulski)
  • Seattle Mariners: B (first-rounder C Harry Ford, second-rounder SS Edwin Arroyo)
  • St. Louis Cardinals: B+ (first-rounder P Michael McGreevy, second-rounder OF Joshua Baez)
  • Tampa Bay Rays: C (first-rounder SS Carson Williams, compensatory pick 2B Cooper Kinney, second-rounder 1B Kyle Manzardo)
  • Texas Rangers: A (first-rounder P Jack Leiter, second-rounder OF Aaron Zavala)
  • Toronto Blue Jays: B+ (first-rounder P Gunnar Hoglund)
  • Washington Nationals: A- (first-rounder SS Brady House, second-rounder OF Daylen Lile)


Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates wasted no time providing the first surprise of the draft when they selected Davis, the University of Louisville catcher, with the No. 1 overall pick instead of targeting Marcelo Mayer or Jack Leiter.

Davis' throwing ability stands out, but he is also an impressive hitter as a backstop and slashed .370/.482/.663 with 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases this past season.

Those types of numbers, as well as the ability to control a game from behind the plate, make him someone who could anchor Pittsburgh's roster for years to come.

The Pirates had an impressive draft for far more than Davis, though, as pitcher Anthony Solometo (No. 17), outfielder Lonnie White (No. 72) and pitcher/shortstop Bubba Chandler (No. 21) were all in the top 75 on the MLB.com top prospect list. Landing Chandler in the third round was particularly impressive. 

Stocking the farm system with so many potential impact players is exactly how the Pirates needed to build their foundation in this draft.


Texas Rangers

Pittsburgh's decision to take Davis with the first pick meant the Rangers were given the opportunity to select the top pitcher at No. 2.

Jack Leiter impressed at Vanderbilt with an 11-4 record, 2.13 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 110 innings while helping lead the Commodores to the College World Series championship round.

"If there is going to be a true ace in this draft, it's going to be Jack Leiter," ESPN's Dan Mullen wrote. "Leiter, along with Vanderbilt teammate Kumar Rocker, was the talk of college baseball this year and he has the stuff to match the hype for a franchise in need of high-end talent in its minor league system." 

The Rangers needed the pitching considering just three of their top 15 players on MLB.com's list of prospects in their system are pitchers.

They are lacking the high-end depth in their system they would surely like, and Leiter is someone who can quickly develop into an ace. That alone made this a successful draft for Texas.


Boston Red Sox

It's not often the team selecting at No. 4 gets the chance to land the top player in the draft, but the Red Sox may have done just that.

Shortstop Marcelo Mayer was No. 1 on MLB.com's list of the top prospects coming into the draft thanks to his multi-dimensional game. He is an impressive fielder with a strong arm who can also hit for average and power from the shortstop position. 

"Jack Leiter and Henry Davis were the two players most often connected to the Red Sox going into draft night, but instead they end up with a player many thought would go No. 1 overall," Mullen wrote. "If Mayer grows into his tools, he has the potential to be a Corey Seager-esque performer who has the glove to stick at a premium position."

Seager is quite the comparison, so it is no wonder that Boston jumped at the opportunity to select him at No. 4.

Xander Bogaerts is the All-Star shortstop in Boston now, but Mayer won't be ready for some time considering he is just 18 years old. He has the talent to eventually become a franchise cornerstone, and having multiple impact players even at the same position is a good problem to have for the Red Sox.