The 2021 MLB Draft is just a few days away with the Boston Red Sox set to pick fourth overall, their highest pick since 1967.
Vanderbilt aces Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, plus Louisville catcher Henry Davis, remain the names commonly associated with Boston heading into the draft. Of course, it’ll all depend on how the dominoes fall in front of them on July 11.
Leiter and Rocker are coming off a College World Series final loss to Mississippi State. We’ll almost certainly see Leiter taken within the top five, but Rocker’s rough performance may have hurt his draft stock.
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The top five could go in a number of different directions, starting with the No. 1 pick. Experts are all over the map predicting what the Pittsburgh Pirates will do with their selection. In other words, we’re pretty much just taking some educated guesses on how Sunday’s first round will unfold.
Let’s get into our final mock.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
We’re torn between Davis and Mayer here, but we’ll stick with our gut and go with the high school shortstop. He’s connected to Pittsburgh in most mocks, and he’d be a safe pick for a Pirates team that desperately needs some promising bats added to the pipeline.
2. Texas Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Leiter helped his already-high draft stock during the College World Series. The son of former MLB All-Star Al Leiter dominated the tournament and finished his final collegiate season 11-4 with 2.13 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 110 innings. Red Sox fans would love to see Leiter fall to them at No. 4, but he may be too tough for Texas to pass on.
3. Detroit Tigers: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Preparatory School (TX)
Most experts expect the Tigers to go with one of the top high school shortstops or an arm like Leiter or Jackson Jobe. With Mayer and Leiter both off the board, we’ll go with the next best shortstop on the board in Lawlar.
4. Boston Red Sox: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
It seems most Sox fans want to see Leiter taken here, and it’s hard to blame them. He doesn’t fall to Boston in this scenario, however, which means it’ll go with the safe college bat in Davis. The Louisville backstop hit. 371 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 50 games this year.
History tells us not taking a pitcher in this spot could be a blessing in disguise. In the last 20 drafts, 14 pitchers have been taken No. 4 overall and the results have not been encouraging.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
We’re sticking with the O’s taking a talented outfielder in this spot for less than pick value, which is what they did with No. 2 pick Heston Kjerstad last year. Frelick fits that description well.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Rocker fall a bit further after his CWS showing, but the Diamondbacks would be hard-pressed to pass on a player with such high upside. While there’s plenty for Rocker to work on before he makes an impact at the big-league level, this pick could end up paying major dividends for Arizona.
7. Kansas City Royals: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
Choosing between House and Watson here is difficult, but we’ll roll with the 6-foot-3 slugger who likely will move over to the hot corner one day. In that scenario, he’d pair nicely with Royals top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. on the left side of the infield.
8. Colorado Rockies: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Watson might have even played himself into the top five this past spring, so Colorado is getting excellent value here with the speedy shortstop. With the Rockies recently parting ways with superstar Nolan Arenado, and star shortstop Trevor Story likely to follow, perhaps it’s time to invest in the left side of the infield again.
9. Los Angeles Angels: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
If Jobe is taken ahead of Rocker, don’t be surprised. The right-hander may be the safer pick at this point, though Rocker might have the higher ceiling. It’d be silly for the Angels, who constantly lack pitching, to pass on Jobe here.
10. New York Mets: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
The Mets are focusing on collegiate players here, according to reports. In that case, there may not be a better option than one of the top college infielders in this year’s class.
11. Washington Nationals: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
The Nationals unsurprisingly seem to be set on taking a pitcher here, and Madden seems right up their alley. The Texas right-hander boasts a high-90s fastball and has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation arm at the big-league level.
12. Seattle Mariners: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
Cowser is one of the most advanced hitters in the draft and the Mariners seem to be set on taking a college outfielder in this spot. A perfect match.
13. Philadelphia Phillies: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA)
A Pennsylvania native who draws comparisons to former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth? Sounds like a nice fit to us.
14. San Francisco Giants: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
Bachman consistently hits 100-plus mph on the radar gun to go with a nasty slider and could immediately help out a big-league bullpen. Sure sounds like someone the first-place Giants wouldn’t mind adding to the mix.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
Rumor has it the Brewers are looking at college arms, so in this spot they should look no further than Wicks. The southpaw’s repertoire includes a nasty changeup that keeps hitters off balance, as evidenced by his 118 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings this past spring.
16. Miami Marlins: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA)
Miami can go in many difrections here but we’re not budging from Ford being the pick. His skillset is eerily similar to former Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Ford is speedy compared to your average catcher and has great two-way potential behind the plate.
17. Cincinnati Reds: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (GA)
Two-way players are all the rage right now thanks to Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani. Chandler has potential as both a right-handed pitcher and a switch-hitting shortstop. The Reds bet on his impressive athleticism here.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Hoglund is a ricky pick following his Tommy John surgery in May, but one that could pay off in the long run. He was expected to be a top-10 pick prior to the injury.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (NJ)
It’s time for the Blue Jays to stack their farm system with pitching talent. Solemeto, one of the top southpaws in the class, is a nice place to start.
20. New York Yankees: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS (FL)
Painter is a hard thrower who stands 6-foot-7 and has advanced stuff for a high school pitcher. That potential is too much for the Yankees to pass up here.
21. Chicago Cubs: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
Most experts expect the Cubs to snag a pitcher with their first-round pick and McGreevy seems like a reasonable fit. He sits 93-96 with his fastball and will make a living on his outstanding command. Another Kyle Hendricks certainly wouldn’t hurt.
22. Chicago White Sox: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge High School (IN)
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Montgomery is linked to the White Sox in approximately 90 percent of recent mocks. It’s no surprise, as the Indiana native is an athletic infielder with one of the best bats among high schoolers in this year’s class.
23. Cleveland Indians: OF Will Taylor, Dutch Fork HS (SC)
We’re in guessing mode now, but Taylor is a promising outfielder with impressive athleticism. So impressive, in fact, that he’s committed to play football at Clemson as a slot receiver.
24. Atlanta Braves: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Atlanta has been linked to pitching for the last month or two, making Cusick a natural fit as one of the top collegiate arms on the board.
25. Oakland Athletics: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
The A’s are eyeing college bats and have been linked specifically to infielders lately. That being the case, we like the left-handed hitting Sweeney to land in Oakland after a big year with Eastern Illinois.
26. Minnesota Twins: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (NY)
Mack’s brother, Charlie, is in the Twins’ minor league system. That’s not why we’re putting him here — he’s one of the better catchers in the class — but it’s a funny coincidence.
27. San Diego Padres: Frank Mozzicato, LHP, East Catholic HS (CT)
Mozzicato worked out for the Padres twice, according to FanGraphs. The left-hander has established himself as one of the top prep arms in the class.
28. Tampa Bay Rays: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina
Williams went toe-to-toe with Rocker in Super Regionals and nearly came out on top. His postseason performance may have pushed him into the first round, making him a possible value pick for Tampa.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Wes Kath, 3B, Desert Mountain HS (AZ)
Plenty of options here to wrap up the first round. Kath is among the best high school bats available, and the Dodgers appear to be interested in high school infielders.