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MLB Draft 2021: Teams with Best Overall Results and Grades

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 14, 2021

Louisville's Henry Davis walks across the stage after being selected by Pittsburgh Pirates as the number one overall pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB baseball draft, Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The 2021 MLB draft is over after 30 teams made 612 picks in 20 rounds over three days.

It'll be years before analysts can properly assess how well teams did in the draft, but at first glance, some franchises appeared to make shrewd picks over the past few days.

Here's a look at five teams who received early "A" grades starting with the MLB-worst Arizona Diamondbacks, who may have set themselves up for a far brighter future.

        

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jesuit Prep (Dallas) shortstop Jordan Lawlar was widely pegged as a top-three MLB draft prospect. MLB.com had him third, and the same went for R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports.

But he fell to No. 6, where the Diamondbacks were happy to take the talented middle infielder. He hit .412 during his senior year and went 32-of-32 on steal attempts. He may well end up as the best MLB player from this group, and Arizona is lucky to have him.

Arizona then got another steal in Miami (Florida) catcher Adrian Del Castillo with the No. 67 overall selection.

The talented backstop showcased some serious hitting potential in 2020, amassing a 1.025 OPS in 16 games. He had a bit of a down year in 2021 (three home runs, 37 RBI, .775 OPS in 54 games), but the potential is there for him to enjoy a long MLB career.

        

Boston Red Sox

Marcelo Mayer, who is arguably the No. 1 draft prospect, is now a member of the Boston Red Sox organization. The rich therefore get richer in Boston, where the big league club owns the first-place record in the American League East.

The Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, California) star was widely projected to be the first pick.

"I'd say there is a 50-60 percent probability that Mayer will be the first pick in the draft," ESPN MLB Insider Kiley McDaniel said, per John Maffei of the San Diego Union Tribune. "There is no generational talent in the draft, but there are six (or) eight at the top that stand out, including the four shortstops."

That never happened, but Boston isn't complaining.

The Red Sox also added some pop thanks to Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, who hit 20 home runs. He may have slipped in the draft after hitting just .249 in 2021, but he's a great addition with the No. 40 overall pick.

              

Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox selected Southridge High School third baseman Colson Montgomery (Huntingburg, Indiana) with the No. 22 pick. He's drawn comparisons to Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, per MLB.com:

"Montgomery has a good left-handed swing that should allow him to hit for average and power. He's most effective when he uses the entire field rather than trying to pull pitches out of the park, and his approach got more consistent throughout the summer. His frame resembles Corey Seager's at the same stage of their careers and he has the strength and bat speed to develop similar pop."

That's certainly a promising ceiling for the potential superstar.

Elsewhere, Wes Kath of Desert Mountain High School (Scottsdale, Arizona) was pegged as a top-50 prospect by MLB.com (No. 34), Prospects Live (No. 38) and R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports (No. 46). He fell out of the top 50, though, before the White Sox took him at No. 57.

Per Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic, Kath hit 11 home runs and batted .468 in 24 games for the 5A state champions.

        

Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins first-year general manager Kim Ng and her staff had a tremendous draft that could turn the last-place team into a powerhouse later this decade.

For starters, they selected a potential future star at the leadoff spot in shortstop Khalil Watson out of Wake Forest (North Carolina) High School. He had 61 steals in 66 high school games and batted .513 as a senior.

MLB.com, Prospects Live and CBS Sports all had him as a top-10 prospect, but he somehow fell to No. 16.

The Marlins also landed Williamsville East High School (East Amherst, New York) catcher Joe Mack at No. 31 overall. Analysts love Mack, and Tim Graham of The Athletic relayed some thoughts from one unnamed scout.

"Look," the scout said as he laughed, per Graham. "It doesn't take an expert to see how good this guy is. People always think they've spotted a superstar, but players like this show the layman how misguided they probably were all the prior times."

Mack hit .500 (1.107 OPS) with eight home runs, 22 RBI, 30 walks and 41 runs scored, per Graham. MLB.com pegged him as the No. 19 prospect.

          

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates may have shocked some analysts by taking Louisville catcher Henry Davis No. 1 overall, but they ultimately added a backstop who just smacked 15 home runs and hit .370 (1.145 OPS) for the Cardinals in 2021. He has a tremendous bat that should translate well to the bigs.

The Pirates then grabbed a pair of steals in Bishop Eustace High School left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo (Pennsauken, New Jersey) and right-handed pitcher Bubba Chandler out of North Oconee High School (Bogart, Georgia) with the 37th and 72nd picks, respectively.

Solometo is a 6'5", 218-pound left-hander who can develop into a staff ace. He went 4-0 as a senior, allowing just one earned run and striking out 64 in 32.2 innings.

Chandler is a two-sport star who signed with Clemson to play quarterback, but he's opting for an MLB career instead. Baseball America raved about him in April:

Baseball America @BaseballAmerica

Some scouts believe Bubba Chandler is a first-round talent as a position player *and* as a pitcher. Oh, yeah, and he's committed to Clemson to play ... quarterback. One of the risers in today's Stock Watch: https://t.co/VV6ys5pPav https://t.co/OtZQlEZoFn

He's now a member of a loaded farm system that Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, William Boor and Sam Dykstra of MLB.com ranked eighth before the season. That ranking may certainly go higher after the Pirates' 2021 draft efforts.