This is the third MLB Mock Draft as we lead up to July 11th. Big, big surprises. Big, big changes. View our last Mock Draft here.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Jordan Lawler, RHP/SS, Jesuit Prep HS (TX)
The closer we get to the draft, the better Lawler looks. A big-hitting shortstop in the mold of a Carlos Correa is hard to pass up. There’s a lot to like about Lawler. He does just about everything right, but isn’t elite in one skill. Sources are telling me the Pirates are leaning more towards an infield bat with the number one. If so, the pick will be Lawler or Marcelo Mayer’s to lose.
- Texas Rangers: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
The top of the draft is becoming much different than originally predicted. Mayer’s profile is increasingly becoming clearer by the week. He could even make a run for the first pick. He’s another prospect who doesn’t have any one skill better than the other as he 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.
- Detroit Tigers: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
If Rocker falls to Detroit at three, they’ll be celebrating for days. While Jack Leiter is tempting, he compares too much to the other prospects in their system, and a hitter here would make too much sense. And that’s not Detroit. So, I can see GM Al Avila trying to go a different direction completely. He’s on thin ice and needs to mix it up. 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 over the course of his 19 years in baseball. The two are an easy comparison. It might be the key to Rocker’s longevity. Even if he flames out as a starter, he’ll be a success in the bullpen. Low-risk, high reward here for Detroit. Take him.
- Boston Red Sox: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Catcher Henry Davis is probably a better pick here, but you can’t fault Boston for improving their rotation’s future. Leiter seems like a Boston guy. 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.
- Baltimore Orioles: Brady House, 3B, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
No way Baltimore passes on House. It’s hard not to like him. 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.
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
This isn’t changing for me. The Diamondbacks don’t have a catcher in their top-25 prospect list. The New York native wasn’t on anyone’s radar 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. Simple as that.
- Kansas City Royals: Matt McClain, SS, UCLA
Can you picture it? Can you picture McClain being KC’s next Whit Merrifield? I can. He’s Ian Kinsler and Merrifield 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.
- Colorado Rockies: Khalil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC): Look at this! Watson has snuck into the top-10! While I believe he truly is a top-10 talent, the run on shortstops at the top here will force teams to go with their guts. And their guts are yelling “Khalil Watson, damnit!”. He’s 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. This pick is also an insurance in case they lose Trevor Story in the not-so-distant future.
- Los Angeles Angels: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
Every year there’s a high school pitcher that hops into the top-10 that came out of nowhere. Here we go again. And here is another pitcher/shortstop out of Oklahoma, who could be selected 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.
- New York Mets: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
I might never change this pick. Frelick is good enough to compete for a top-five selection. He’s one of my favorite picks. At first glance, it’s hard to predict what Frelick’s career will turn into. 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. Drafting Frelick will inject some advanced hitting into their system again, before the bottom drops out.
- Washington Nationals: Ty Madden, Texas, RHP
And just like that, Washington steals the Mariners’ top pick. In his prep years, Madden’s fastball stuck around 95. Since then, it can often touch 99 MPH. With the uncertainty of Stephen Strasburg health and Max Scherzer‘s longevity, Madden is a must pick.
- Seattle Mariners: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
Now after Seattle is done cursing out the Nats, they’ll go with their second sought-after pick. There’s not many great lefties in this year’s class. Wicks is among the best of them. His strikeouts might appear more gaudy than legit, sure, but he’s got some real stuff that seems to be developing each time he steps on the bump.
- Philadelphia Phillies: 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 Phillies need more college bats in their system and Cowser is a good addition. Plus, Mickey Moniak isn’t panning out all that great at the moment. Cowser is insurance.
- San Fransisco Giants: 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. Hoglund is hanging on in the top-15 still. Come the end of the season, we’ll see if he continues to slide or stays.
- Milwaukee Brewers: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (NY)
Mack has proven he’s a quality catcher offensively and defensively. While he is committed to Clemson, many believe if selected in the first-round that he’ll sign. The Brew Crew haven’t had a good catcher in a while. Mack could be their version of Joe Mauer.
- Miami Marlins: 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 Hunter Pence and Jayson Werth.
- Cincinnati Reds: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
What a drop! Fabian is officially out of the top-15. 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. Strikeouts have become a problem for him, though. 2021 hasn’t been the year he had hoped for performance-wise.
- St. Louis Cardinals: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
A one-time Clemson football recruit as a quarterback, Chandler is considered this year’s best two-way prospect. It’s undetermined right now if he’ll be better fit as a pitcher or shortstop. However, with Shohei Ohtani‘s season to remember, maybe Chandler is groomed for both?
- Toronto Blue Jays: Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama
When everything is clicking, Wilson 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. He’s one of the more polished college hitters in this draft as well.
- New York Yankees: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (GA)
Ford’s 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. Right now his name is gaining traction, so don’t be surprised if he enters the top-15 as hitting catchers are becoming a need. His season is done, too, so expect him to improve his stock at the MLB’s first combine. If the Yankees draft Ford, the end of the Gary Sanchez era in New York is well in sight.
- Chicago Cubs: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
Bachman’s stuff is really good. He should fly through the minors. Much like Rocker, if he doesn’t pan out as a starter there is a lot of upside as a hell of a reliever.
- Chicago White Sox: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christina HS (FL)
Either you love Painter or you don’t. So many mocks have him in the 10-20 selection range, which is probably where he’ll be selected. He’s a hard prospect to pinpoint right now. 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.
- Cleveland Indians: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
McGreevy wasn’t even considered in the first few rounds to begin his season. His projection climb is the best out of all NCAA D-1 prospects. Expect his climb to keep going. Even though Cleveland will love this guy, there’s potential he might not even be there at 23.
- Atlanta Braves: Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (Brookline, Mass.)
Welcome to the first round, Baez. Baez isn’t quite a five-tool guy, but his outfield arm and power at the plate can’t be denied. His season in Brookline put him on the map. Much like Benny Montgomery, expect him to float in the back half of the draft.
- Oakland A’s: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
102 mph. Yup. That’s what Cusick hit this spring. If pitch velocity in MLB is compared to the NFL’s 40-time, then expect Cusick to rise, rise and rise! Especially if he enters the combine. If he shows he can’t touch that speed on a regular basis, expect a fall. High-risk pick here. That shouldn’t deter the A’s from taking a chance on him, though.
- Minnesota Twins: Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami
It’s tough to see Castillo drop this far from the top-10. He’s not having a bad season, but his ceiling is becoming clearer. He compares well to Victor Martinez, as his bat is more valuable than his position. We’ll see how he does in postseason play coming up. If he has a big postseason, expect him to regain some selection spots he’s lost.
- San Diego Padres: Braylon Bishop, OF/LHP, Texarkana HS (AR)
Close to a five-tool player, but needs to work on a few things. Fast, athletic player whose arm strength has improved and has thrown some frozen ropes this season. Could potentially decide not to sign, because he might pull a Matt McClain and try to improve his first-round stock. If he chooses not to sign, he has huge potential to become a top-five prospect in the next couple of years. He’s also an Arkansas commit, and the future of their program with recruits like this guy looks bright.
- Tampa Bay Rays: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (NJ)
Of the many big-bodies pitchers in this year’s class, Petty isn’t one of them, but he has pure stuff, no doubt. The dude is fearless. The Rays need more pitchers. Perfect fit.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: James Wood, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
There’s so many players I wanted to put in this slot. Alex Mooney, Jonathon Cannon, etc. But Wood just feels right. The Dodgers won’t pass him up if he’s still there. 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.
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