Welcome to the 2021 MLB Draft.
While this year does not feature a once-in-a-lifetime talent to headline the event, there is still a lot of intrigue surrounding the draft. There are a trio of exciting high school shortstops, a couple of popular Vanderbilt pitchers, and some powerful college hitters with lots of advantages. This draft is also the first since its debut in 1965 that takes place outside of June.
We will provide live updates throughout the night as teams (minus the Houston Astros, in their second and final year of lost first- and second-round picks as punishment for signal theft) make first-round picks. Names and analysis will be updated as selections are made.
Pittsburgh Pirates No. 1: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Davis is the best college bat in the draft, cutting .370 / .482 / .663 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in his most recent season with Louisville. Davis, a cool and powerful hitter, has a keen eye for pitches and can make strong contact or pitch to attract walks (he had six more walks than strikeouts throughout his college career). Davis’ offensive strengths make up for some of his inconsistencies behind the plate, where he has occasionally struggled to handle quality pitches. He improved in 2021 and should be able to stay behind the plate within the Pirates’ farm system.
Many drills anticipated that Pittsburgh would lean toward one of the high school shortstop (Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar received a lot of attention), but the Pirates chose for Davis’ experience, a player who was not selected in high school despite be the player of Perfect Game. New York State’s top receiver in 2018.
No. 2 Texas Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Leiter is considered by many to be the best collegiate pitcher in the draft. He rose to star status in his senior year at Vanderbilt, finishing 11-4 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.845 WHIP, 179 strikeouts (tied with his Vandy Kumar Rocker teammate for most in the NCAA) and one appearance. in the finals of the University World Series. Leiter’s fastball is elite at 90-95 mph with a vertical break that constantly fools hitters. His 6-foot-1 height might be considered small for a starter, but he’s developing strength that should help him climb the lower ranks. He also has major league pitchers in his blood: his father, Al Leiter, his uncle and his cousin all pitched in the majors.
Leiter had been linked to the Boston Red Sox before the draft, but was drafted by the Rangers. The selection continues with the last three first-round picks from Texas, all seasoned college players.
No. 3 Detroit Tigers: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma)
Jobe is ahead of the curve for a high school pitcher. The 18-year-old Gatorade Oklahoma high school player of the year has, perhaps, the best slider in the draft, a quick arm, and marked improvement in his secondary pitches, improving his low 80 swing and refining his 70 upper curve Jobe’s athleticism and maturity on the mound laid a solid foundation for him to further develop in the Tigers’ minor league system.
No. 4 Boston Red Sox: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (California)
Mayer, 18, leads the high school elite shortstop group expected to start this year. As a senior at Eastlake High School in California, Mayer emerged as one of the best hitters in the draft (hitting .392 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs as a senior) and defenders. Mayer’s size and power (6’3 “) have compared him to the Dodgers’ Corey Seager, though Mayer likely spent a few years acclimating to high-level pitchers in the Red Sox minor league system before be ready to debut in the majors.
No. 5 Baltimore Orioles: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
Cowser’s left-handed bat is one of the strongest in the varsity group this year. He cut .374 / .490 / .680 with 75 hits, 16 homers and 54 RBIs in 2021, growing on a three-year improving trend at Sam Houston. The Southland Conference player of the year demonstrated his success during his tenure as a member of the United States’ collegiate team, when he hit .438 in six games against Cuba in 2019 and won the MVP title. Uncertainty lingers around his power potential, as well as his ability to play center field, but honing his instincts and continuing to polish his bat should help him climb with the Orioles.
No. 6 Arizona Diamondbacks: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit College Prep (Tx.)
Lawlar is one of the most powerful hitters in the draft. Lawlar, one of the year’s top shortstop in high school, brings a mature approach to the plate, hitting more walks than strikeouts. Lawlar is fast and smooth on the bat (and cut .425 / .552 / .713 this season) and fast on the bases, stealing 44 on 44 attempts throughout his high school career. The 6’2 “Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year has the potential to become an impact player for the Diamondbacks once he adds strength and defensive consistency. Lawlar’s .893 fielding percentage at school High school can be reduced to youth, but it already showed improvement with errors (13 in its sophomore season to just three in its senior year).
No. 7 Kansas City Royals: Frank Mozzicato, LHP, East Catholic HS (Connecticut)
Mozzicato, one of the youngest players in the draft (he turned 18 last month), has a lot of potential to grow within the Royals organization. His fastball hovered around the upper 80s last summer and soared to 91 mph this spring, but he impresses with his high-spin curveball. Kansas City will likely sign Mozzicato, who was the 39th best prospect in the MLB.com rankings, below slot value and will be able to distribute more money in the later rounds of the draft.
No. 8 Colorado Rockies: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Pennsylvania)
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Montgomery will bring raw power and lots of speed to the Rockies. As a hitter, he is relatively consistent with contact and performed on the summer exhibition circuit against quality pitchers. Montgomery is also a fast outfielder with defensive ability and plenty of tools to bring to Colorado.
No. 9 Los Angeles Angels:
No. 10 New York Mets:
No. 11 Washington Nationals:
No. 12 Seattle Mariners:
No. 13 Philadelphia Phillies:
No. 14 San Francisco Giants:
Milwaukee Brewers No. 15:
No. 16 Miami Marlins:
No. 17 Cincinnati Reds:
No. 18 St. Louis Cardinals:
No. 19 Toronto Blue Jays:
No. 20 New York Yankees:
No. 21 Chicago Cubs:
No. 22 Chicago White Sox:
No. 23 Cleveland Indians:
No. 24 Atlanta Braves:
No. 25 Oakland Athletics:
No. 26 Minnesota Twins:
No. 27 San Diego Padres:
Tampa Bay Rays No. 28:
No. 29 Los Angeles Dodgers:
No. 30 Cincinnati Reds – Compensation pick:
Competitive Balance Round A:
No. 31 Miami Marlins:
No. 32 Detroit Tigers:
Milwaukee Brewers No. 33:
No. 34 Tampa Bay Rays:
No. 35 Cincinnati Reds:
No. 36 Minnesota Twins:
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.