This is the second MLB Mock Draft as we lead up the the draft. Here is the 2021 first mock draft.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Immediately after 2020’s draft, Kumar Rocker’s name was atop everyone’s list for the 2021 draft. The hulking build is impressive, yes, and he knows how to use it to maximize his throws, but to me what’s most impressive is that his command has improved since he was first drafted a couple years back. He’s not a magician or even a technical pitcher. He’s a work horse. The one concern is if he will only rely on his velocity to get batters out. Because, if so, he’ll be on a fast track to the bullpen rather than a starting role. If I were him, I’d study what CC Sabathia did in his 19 years in baseball. The two are an easy comparison. It might be the key to Rocker’s longevity.
2. Texas Rangers: Jordan Lawler, RHP/SS, Jesuit Prep HS (TX)
There’s a lot to like about Lawler. Big shortstop that does just about everything right, but isn’t elite in one skill. Texas needs to inject some star power into their system, and Lawler is a good start. He’s a shortstop in the mold of a Carlos Correa type.
3. Detroit Tigers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
From the moment his name was called for the Yankees’ 20th round selection in the 2019 draft, there was something always special about this kid. His 12-6 curve is devastating and the rest of his arsenal is scary good. If he goes before Rocker I wouldn’t be surprised. I was hesitant to mock a pitcher for Detroit because they need more bats, but Leiter is too good to pass up, and if you’re playing draft odds of the Tigers’ recent pitcher draft picks in the past seven years, might as well roll the dice with another big arm.
4. Boston Red Sox: Matt McClain, SS, UCLA
He’s Ian Kinsler with more pop. McClain’s collegiate career has been impressive and put UCLA back to prospect gold status. The Red Sox need infield bats who can actually hit and if they snag McClain here, they’ll be getting an advanced hitter with great work ethic and leadership. On top of that, he draws similarities to Boston great Dustin Pedroia.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
Another prospect who doesn’t have any one skill better than the other, Marcelo Mayer does just about everything right. Much like many shortstops we’ve seen lately in the first round over the past five years, Mayer is a tall and lean player who isn’t a burner but has raw power. Baltimore hasn’t had a good shortstop since Manny Machado. Mayer might be a good start.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The New York native wasn’t on anyone’s list in the first round to start the season. Which is sort of odd because he’s been better each year of colligate play. Davis isn’t just a defensive catcher, he can hit too, and that seems to be where the trend is coming now the last few drafts for catchers. If you can hit, you’re going to be selected in the first round.
7. Kansas City Royals: Brady House, 3B, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
It’s hard not to like Brady House. There are some Nolan Arenado/Josh Donaldson comparisons that scream potential superstar in the making. He’s a fringy runner but a solid glove at the hot corner. If he can calm down his strikeouts and show a little more consistency he might return to top five status as well.
8. Colorado Rockies: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
As is the case with many prospects this year, Fabian is having a hard time finding consistent footing at the beginning of the season. A natural hitter with more hit ability than power, Fabian wowed scouts with his ability to hit to all fields and his maturity at the plate. In the wood bat leagues, he never laid off the gas. If he can find his groove and get back to where he was, he’ll return to the top-five.
9. Los Angeles Angels: Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami
Castillo picked up where he left off last season. His defense has always been in question, but that’s okay, he’s more of a Victor Martinez prospect, where his bat is more valuable than his position. The Angels could go in a lot of different directions here, but ultimately they’ll settle for a bat.
10. New York Mets: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
Frelick’s season just keeps getting better and better. Could he be a top-five pick? Hard to say. I believe he’s worthy of it. At first glance, it’s hard to predict what Frelick’s career will become. He’s a smaller player with a lot of pop. Will this pop translate well in the Bigs? Hard to say. Will he find a niche as a fielder/runner instead? Still, hard to say. If we’re talking hitting, the further the season moves along, the more legit Frelick appears. The Mets traded away Jared Kelenic, something I think they’ll regret in the long run, I believe. Drafting Frelick will inject some advanced hitting into their system again, before the bottom drops out.
11. Washington Nationals: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
Cowser has one of the prettiest left-handed swings you’ll see. There’s debate whether he’ll play centerfield in the pros or one of the corners. His arm is okay, nothing great, but he does have good angles to the ball. The Nats need more college bats in their system and Cowser is a good addition.
12. Seattle Mariners: Ty Madden, Texas, RHP
In his prep years, Madden’s fastball stuck around 95. Since then, it can often touch 99 MPH. Seattle is looking good on the farm, and Madden could rise through their ranks and provide some serious starter strength.
13. Philadelphia Phillies: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Scouts are torn if Hoglund will become a mid-rotation starter or an end-rotation starter. There are even those who think he’s destined for a reliever role. Most of his pitches are still maturing, and his velocity doesn’t seem to hit the upper 90s. At 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA this season, he’s making it hard for scouts to pigeon hole him.
14. San Francisco Giants: Khalil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Watson is a speedy shortstop, who plays bigger than his 5’9″ frame. He knows how to pick pitches to hit and never chases outside stuff, especially when behind on counts.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU
Hill is big, strong and profiles very close to Kumar Rocker. There is a possibility he might drop, however, if he can’t perform better. He’s a raw prospect with a very high ceiling. This could be a steal for the Brew Crew. Last week, he was shut down for the season with an arm injury. This might drop him in future drafts, as his ground was already shaky.
16. Miami Marlins: Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood HS (TX)
While this year’s crop might not be deep, there are names that we’ll be talking about years from now. Izaac Pacheco is one of those names. The state of Texas has been producing some very good hot corner prospects. Pacheco fits the mold. He compares to Brady House more than any third baseman in this draft. Miami would drool over this guy.
17. Cincinnati Reds: Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama
Much like many 2020 studs who find themselves in first round consideration at the moment, Wilson is having a so-so start to his season. When everything is clicking, he devastates pitchers that leave the ball over the plate, specifically speaking, southpaws. His defense isn’t as comparable, so what will get him drafted in the top-20 is his offense.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christina HS (FL)
So many mocks have Painter in the 10-20 selection range, which is probably where he’ll be selected, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he rises to the top-10. Painter is 6’6″ and is one of the most athletic pitchers in this year’s crop. It also can be said it’s a weaker pitching class after Rocker and Leiter, so Painter could slide just about anywhere in the front half of the first round.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: James Wood, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
Tall and athletic, Wood has similarities to last year’s first rounder Zac Veen. When he hits the ball, it just sounds different. His power is raw and with the right coaching could really become a complete hitter. He’s fast on the base paths and good in the field. There’s room for him to jump higher in this draft.
20. New York Yankees: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA)
A tremendously raw contact hitter with good size and strength. Montgomery has been compared to the likes of a Hunter Pence and Jayson Werth.
21. Chicago Cubs: Alex Binelas, 3B, Louisville
Binelas started the year slow but is starting to find his game again. He’s hitting around .231 with 58 total bases. While this season has done him no favors, his makeup still is intriguing. I predict a drop out of the first round eventually. If he can keep hitting and make little mistakes in the field, he might be able to salvage his first round bid.
22. Chicago White Sox: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (NY)
Mack has proven he can be a quality catcher offensively and defensively. While he is committed to Clemson, many believe if selected in the first round that he’ll sign. A tough catcher with big league guff. Him and Henry Davis might be back-to-back if the cards fall right.
23. Cleveland Indians: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
And here is another pitcher/shortstop out of Oklahoma that could be picked in the first two rounds. What’s in the water down there? Jackson Jobe is more valuable as a pitcher, and he has attributes that are hard to ignore. His slider might be the best slider in this entire draft.
24. Atlanta Braves: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
There’s not many great lefties in this year’s class. Wicks is among the best of them. His stats are gaudy, sure, but he’s got some real stuff that seems to be developing each time he steps on the bump.
25. Oakland Athletics: Alex Mooney, SS, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS (MI)
Funny enough, I remember covering Alex Mooney as a 10-12 year-old when he played travel ball and I had the travel ball beat in the country. Even then, Mooney was talked highly about among all baseball circles. This kid eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. He is a top prep player in the state of Michigan this year, and his approach to the game is very steady. There is no glitz or glam. He is mature beyond his years, and does just about everything the right way.
26. Minnesota Twins: Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
While taking a backseat to Georgia’s hailed ace Emerson Hancock, Cannon quietly put together a nice collegiate career. He’s built up his velocity to match his 6’6″ frame, and he’s still getting a feel for his breaking stuff. If he can clear COVID requirements, Cannon should pick up where he left off.
27. San Diego Padres: Mason Pelio, RHP, Boston College
Mason Pelio is a name that wasn’t even on this list a few months ago. Now I’ve seen him in the top-20 in more mocks than I can’ count and I can see why. Boston College has some special talent this year, and Pelio leads the staff. Fastball can hit 97 MPH, but his changeup could very well be his plus pitch. His breaking pitches aren’t too hot though.
28. Tampa Bay Rays: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (GA)
His bat speed is among the best in the class. He has a smooth stroke and is as athletic as they come at the backstop. Hard to say if he’ll sign if he falls out of the first round. Whenever he does make the pros, he’ll stick to catcher. He can also play some outfield, too.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (NJ)
Of the many big-bodies pitchers in this years class, Petty isn’t one of them but he has pure stuff, no doubt. The dude is fearless.