Mock Draft: MLB Pipeline's final predictions
It’s dueling mock time.
With the start of the 2021 Draft just hours away, we present you with the last time both of us will project the first round, with Mr. Callis set to do one last names-only mock late on Sunday afternoon.
As we both worked on this edition, the only thing that seemed clear was that there was little to no clarity. It starts at the top, with the Pirates still weighing their options, and it continues throughout the first round. There was hope among scouting directors that some more concrete information would surface on Sunday as teams had more sincere conversations with players they are considering in this opening round.
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For the first time since the Draft began in 1965, it will take place outside of June. The first 36 picks will occur on the opening night of the Draft tonight at 7 ET on both MLB Network and ESPN, with MLB Network preceding the first pick with an hour-long Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.
A reminder, there are 29 picks here because the Astros do not have a selection in the first (or second) round as a penalty for illegal sign-stealing.
Callis: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
We probably won't know for sure what the Pirates will do until Sunday afternoon, though they figure to take a bat. The No. 1 prospect on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 250, Mayer remains the favorite, with fellow high school shortstop Jordan Lawlar and Louisville catcher Henry Davis also candidates. Another prep shortstop, Kahlil Watson, is more of a dark horse.
Mayo: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Still the same names, with Mayer, Jordan Lawlar and Henry Davis mentioned the most, Jack Leiter not completely crossed off the list and Kahlil Watson in the conversation.
Callis: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
This likely will come down to one of the Vanderbilt right-handers (Leiter, Kumar Rocker) over the high school shortstops. Leiter's camp is trying to drive him to the Red Sox, and it's unclear whether he can get past the Rangers.
Mayo: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
It’s Leiter or the two high school shortstops mentioned above (Lawlar or Watson).
His College World Series performances certainly haven’t hurt and the Rangers are thought to have him, Kahlil Watson and Jordan Lawlar potentially on their list.
Callis: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
The Tigers' ardor for Jobe is well-known and they might take him even if Mayer or Leiter is available. This would be the peak for another prep shortstop, Brady House, but he's probably fourth in line for pick No. 3.
Mayo: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
A change from what I’ve had in numerous mocks. While the Tigers haven’t ruled out Jackson Jobe, the previous choice, it’s sounding more like they’re leaning toward the high school bat here (Watson might still figure in and if they want a college arm, there is Vandy’s Kumar Rocker to consider).
4. Red Sox
Callis: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The Red Sox covet Leiter and will take him if given the opportunity. Davis appears to be Plan B with the high school shortstops also in the mix.
Mayo: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The two high school shortstops and Rocker might still be in the mix along with Davis, the top college bat in the country.
Callis: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
Assuming preferred targets Leiter and Davis are gone, the Orioles could go in different directions. They could opt for one of the prep shortstops; take one of the second-tier college bats (UCLA shortstop Matt McLain, Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick, Sam Houston outfielder Colton Cowser) at a discount; or cut a below-slot deal with a high schooler such as catcher Harry Ford.
Mayo: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
One of the next tier of college bats, like Colton Cowser or Sal Frelick, could still be the guy here in a deal, but I’m sticking with the North Carolina prepster.
Callis: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
The D-backs could have a shot at MLB Pipeline's preseason top two prospects, Rocker and Lawlar. They could pass on both if Davis or Watson were available. There's a non-zero chance that Lawlar could wind up at Vanderbilt and re-enter the Draft in 2023 as a 21-year-old sophomore if he slips past the first few picks.
Mayo: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
The D-backs would likely have a good debate about Jobe and Lawlar, the two high schoolers here, but they could very well opt for the more advanced college arm in Rocker.
Callis: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
Though Rocker could be in play for the Royals, they're believed to prefer a hitter, which likely would mean one of the high school shortstops over the group of college bats behind Davis.
Mayo: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
They might love to have one of the Vandy arms get here, but with both gone, they could opt for the best bat on the board in Lawlar, whose name is still being discussed at the very top.
Callis: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
The Rockies are guaranteed a shot at one of the eight players in the consensus top tier of the draft (the four prep shortstops, the two Vanderbilt right-handers, Jobe and Davis). They'd take one of the shortstops but steer away from Rocker, so it probably comes down to House, Madden and high school outfielder Benny Montgomery.
Mayo: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
It might come down to a high school bat like Montgomery and a college arm, perhaps someone like Texas right-hander Ty Madden. The guess is the prep bat with tools wins out.
Callis: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Angels hope one of the eight top-tier guys makes it to No. 9, and in this scenario it's Rocker. If he doesn't go No. 3, Jobe very well could get here. Otherwise, they'd probably go for one of the second group of college arms that includes right-handers Madden, Sam Bachman (Miami, Ohio), Will Bednar (Mississippi State) and Gunnar Hoglund (Mississippi). They're also linked to two Clemson football recruits and could do a discount deal with right-hander Bubba Chandler, but the persistent Will Taylor rumors are just smoke.
Mayo: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
In this scenario, it feels like the Angels are more likely to go with an arm and could look at college ones like Madden. But it might be hard to pass up Jobe, who the Angels probably didn’t think would be here.
Callis: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
If they can't get a shot at Jobe or Rocker, the Mets likely will choose between Frelick, Madden and high school third baseman Colson Montgomery.
Mayo: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
The college bats still seem to fit, with McLain perhaps taking the lead over Sal Frelick, who I’ve had in this spot often. They could turn to a college arm like Madden if they change course.
Callis: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
The Nationals also want a crack at Jobe or Rocker and if that doesn't happen, they'll apparently stick with righties: Bednar (who helped himself as much as anyone at the College World Series while earning Most Outstanding Player honors and beating Rocker in the finale), Madden and Bachman.
Mayo: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
College arms get most of the buzz here, with Madden the best of the lot, though College World Series hero Will Bednar could be in the mix, as could Sam Bachman. There’s been a little buzz about high school catcher Joe Mack here.
Callis: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Though the Mariners have been tied to college bats for much of the spring, Ford may have passed the Frelick/McLain/Cowser group.
Mayo: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
It might end up being the Mariners take the college bat the Mets don’t, which in this case is Frelick getting the nod ahead of Cowser.
Callis: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
Believed to be the floor for Montgomery, the Phillies could turn to another super-athletic outfielder (Taylor) if the Rockies take the former. Chandler is another high-ceiling prep option, the college bats are also possibilities and this is the ceiling for Wake Forest right-hander Ryan Cusick.
Mayo: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
If they want to go high school arm, Painter’s the top choice. If they want to go college bat, they could look at Cowser. And if they decide to go the college arm route, Ryan Cusick could be in the mix.
Callis: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
Unless Benny Montgomery sneaks past the Phillies, the Giants will sort through the remaining second-tier college bats (McLain, Cowser) and arms (Bachman, Wicks).
Mayo: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
There’s the top college bat still on the board very much in play, and they could look at Colson Montgomery on the high school hitter front. College arms like Jordan Wicks or Sam Bachman could be in the mix, too.
Callis: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
The Brewers are looking at many of the same players as the Giants, along with Hoglund and Ford.
Mayo: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
This is a spot where injured Ole Miss starter Gunnar Hoglund could come into play, but the nod goes to Wicks, the top college lefty in the class.
Callis: Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork HS (Irmo, S.C.)
The Marlins may prefer a hitter, and if the second tier of college bats are gone that leaves them with athletic high school types such as Ford, Taylor and Chandler.
Mayo: Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork HS (Irmo, S.C.)
It’s likely going to take someone with extra picks to sign Taylor away from playing football (and baseball) at Clemson and the Marlins have them, with a comp pick at 31. Taking a bat here makes some sense after the Marlins went all pitching in 2020.
Callis: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
Because the Reds own two supplemental first-round picks, they own the fourth-largest bonus pool ($11,905,700) and could try to drop a top talent here. Barring that, they're associated with several college pitchers such as Bachman, Wicks, Cusick and Fordham left-hander Matt Mikulski. There's talk Madden could slide further than expected, but that probably won't happen and this would be the floor. High school possibilities include Chandler and catcher Joe Mack. Cincinnati could try to push some of these guys down to Nos. 30 and 35.
Mayo: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
There are other college arms, like Michael McGreevy or Gavin Williams, who could come into play. And the Reds don’t shy away from prep bats, with catchers Harry Ford and Joe Mack, and outfielder Colson Montgomery, potentially in the mix here.
Callis: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
Most of the names tied to the Cardinals are college arms: Bednar, Wicks, Hoglund and Nebraska right-hander/shortstop Spencer Schwellenbach. Chandler could be the top prep choice.
Mayo: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
A college arm like Bednar could come into play and the Cards could be a team that’s not afraid to roll the dice on Hoglund, but Chandler’s athleticism and legitimate two-way talents could be very intriguing.
19. Blue Jays
Callis: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
The Blue Jays figure to take a college player. Unless someone falls, it could come down to Hoglund, a top-10 choice before he blew out his elbow in May and had Tommy John surgery, and Eastern Illinois shortstop Trey Sweeney, who's becoming the consensus No. 5 college bat available. Left-hander Anthony Solometo is one high schooler who could factor here.
Mayo: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Prep lefty Anthony Solometo could still figure into the conversation here, or they could go the high school hitter route with Joe Mack or Jay Allen, who gets mentioned quite a bit. But Cusick’s power stuff is tough to ignore.
Callis: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
After the Yankees seemed to be focused on pitchers earlier in the spring, they now appear to want a bat. Sweeney, Colson Montgomery, Mack and Boston College shortstop Cody Morissette would be their best options on the board.
Mayo: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
The Yankees took Clarke Schmidt in 2017 in a similar scenario. They could also be in on Colson Montgomery on the prep bat front, Trey Sweeney among college hitters and Anthony Solometo should they want to go the high school lefty route.
Callis: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge HS (Huntingburg, Ind.)
This is where the first-round projection starts to get a lot more murky. The Cubs could deal a blow to their crosstown rivals by taking Montgomery, the favorite to go one pick later to the White Sox if he's there. They're on several bats, including Taylor and Sweeney, and could be the ceiling for Florida outfielder Jud Fabian.
Mayo: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
Another college arm could include Michael McGreevy and they could have interest, like a lot of teams in this area, in Colson Montgomery.
22. White Sox
Callis: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (East Amherst, N.Y.)
Besides Colson Montgomery, the White Sox are tied to a slew of high school bats: Mack, shortstop Max Muncy, third baseman Wes Kath and second baseman Peyton Stovall. But they may want a college arm (East Carolina right-hander Gavin Williams, Saint Mary's left-hander Ky Bush, McGreevy, Cusick) and also could take Fabian.
Mayo: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge HS (Huntingburg, Ind.)
It’s quite possible Montgomery will be gone, in which case the White Sox could go the college bat route with Jud Fabian.
Callis: Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton (La.) HS
The Indians have an affinity for high school hitters and could be tempted by Ford, Mack or Stovall. But a need for pitching could lead them to McGreevy, who like Cleveland ace Shane Bieber is an extreme strike-thrower from UC Santa Barbara.
Mayo: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
There are high school hitters in play here, like prep catcher Harry Ford, but the Indians did have success in drafting a Santa Barbara ace in the past (see Bieber, Shane).
Callis: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
Chandler probably doesn't get this far but could be an easy call for the homestate Braves if he does. Otherwise, bank on a college pitcher, with Bednar the best-case scenario but Bush, McGreevy, Schwellenbach, Mikulski and Williams more realistic possibilities.
Mayo: Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham
Arms have come up a lot here, and with McGreevy gone they might go college lefty. St Mary’s lefty Ky Bush comes up, but Mikulski gets the nod.
Callis: Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood (Texas) HS
The A's have been pursuing prep hitters all spring and likely will take one of Colson Montgomery, Pacheco, outfielder Tyler Whitaker, Kath or Muncy.
Mayo: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
There are plenty of high school bats in the mix here, including Izaac Pacheco and Wes Kath. But Sweeney’s name has risen into the first round (and could even be gone by this point).
Callis: Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama
Sweeney would be an obvious fit for the Twins but may have too much helium to get to No. 26. Other bats in play may include Taylor, Mack, Wilson, Morissette and Kinney.
Mayo: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina
This remains a possible landing spot for Williams, who excelled in postseason play. College hitters come up here, like Sweeney or Ethan Wilson and prep right-hander Chase Petty could find a home here.
Callis: Carson Williams, SS, Torrey Pines HS (San Diego)
The Padres may want a position player, and if the first round unfolds like this, their best candidates would include Williams, Kinney, Muncy and Whitaker. In a draft thin on sure-fire bats, I foresee teams rushing to grab ones they like with their top picks and pushing several talented high school arms such as right-handers Andrew Painter, Ben Kudrna and Chase Petty and left-handers Andrew Solometo and Frank Mozzicato out of the first round. They all could find homes in the top 29 picks, however.
Mayo: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken Township, N.J.)
This is always a popular landing spot for high-risk/high-reward choices and Solometo is considered the best prep lefty in the class. If he’s gone, perhaps Connecticut high school southpaw Frank Mozzicato comes into play.
Callis: Tyler Black, 2B, Wright State
Teams want college bats, Black has helium and he gets mentioned with the Rays as much as any club. Florida State catcher Matheu Nelson is another possibility as are college power pitchers (Williams, Schwellenbach) and athletic prep outfielders (Allen, Baez, James Wood, Lonnie White). Several of these guys will be available when Tampa Bay picks again at No. 34.
Mayo: Tyler Black, 2B, Wright State
College arms like Ky Bush could be in the conversation here, but the Rays do like Black and his offensive abilities.
Callis: Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State
If it's a position player, the Dodgers could take Nelson, Morissette, Florida outfielder Jud Fabian or Miami catcher Adrian del Castillo. If it's a pitcher, they could pop Cusick, Mikulski or one of the high schoolers.
Mayo: Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State
Still think it’s a bat here, with the high school hitters (Kath, Tyler Whitaker, Carson Williams) as possibilities. Nelson’s power from behind the plate might be too tough to ignore.