Mayer, Leiter headline latest mock Draft
If the Draft hadn't moved to July 11-13, it would have concluded Wednesday with rounds 11 through 20. Instead of the certainty of knowing which teams selected which players, there's still a lot of uncertainty about what will transpire a month from now.
Teams haven't held meetings to set their Draft boards yet and there are at most 15-20 consensus first-round talents for 29 first-round picks. Signability has yet to impact where players will land, though it will in the coming weeks. Clubs behind the Pirates believe Pittsburgh could go in multiple directions with the No. 1 overall choice, which means the ensuing selections could play out in many different ways.
Below is our latest prognostication for the first round, which includes every team but the Astros, who lost their top two picks in both 2020 and 2021 as a punishment for sign stealing. Detailed scouting reports and grades are available for all players mentioned on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200 list. Nevada prep outfielder Tyler Whitaker, Eastern Illinois shortstop Trey Sweeney, Boston College shortstop Cody Morissette, Florida State catcher Matheu Nelson and Saint Mary's left-hander Ky Bush weren't included in the 29 selections below, but they are getting increased first-round buzz as of late.
1. Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Other clubs believe the Pirates have narrowed their field to four position players (high school shortstops Mayer, Jordan Lawlar and Kahlil Watson plus Louisville catcher Henry Davis) but don't have much separation between them and ultimately will take whoever allows them to shave the most off the assigned pick value of $8,415,300. Of course, Pittsburgh also could have a clear preference but letting everyone believe they're unsettled could help from a negotiating standpoint.
2. Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Rangers have opted for college performers from power conferences with their last two first-round picks and Leiter would fit that mold. They've been hot on the trail of Watson for weeks, and it's possible they could go the high school shortstop route and take him over Mayer and local product Lawlar.
3. Tigers: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
It's no secret that the Tigers love Mayer and he may be less receptive to a discount at No. 1 because he won't go lower than No. 3. This is the ceiling for Jobe, whom some clubs have rated as the best pitcher in the Draft over the more famous Vanderbilt duo of Leiter and Kumar Rocker. If Detroit wants a position player, prep shortstops Lawlar and Brady House would be alternatives to Mayer.
4. Red Sox: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The best case for the Red Sox is that they get a chance to choose either Leiter or Davis, and the latter gets to No. 4 if the Pirates pass on him. Boston is the first club that appears to be considering Rocker, though it's unclear if they'd take him over the high school shortstops.
5. Orioles: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
A year ago, the Orioles saved $2.6 million versus pick value by taking Heston Kjerstad at No. 2, and most clubs expect them to pursue a similar strategy with another college bat. We'll buy into that scenario here with Frelick, though Baltimore hasn't made any final decisions and could follow several other paths. They're believed to covet Leiter, have scouted the prep shortstops heavily and could target Georgia high school catcher Harry Ford as another discount option.
6. D-backs: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Diamondbacks could have their choice of most of the talented high school shortstops, but most clubs expect them to go with a collegian instead. There's a slim chance Davis could slide to No. 6, but more likely they'll decide between paying full freight for Rocker or discounting a college bat such as Frelick, UCLA shortstop Matt McLain (whom they took in 2018's first round) or Sam Houston outfielder Colton Cowser.
7. Royals: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
The Royals very well could land the top college prospect entering the year (Rocker) or the top prep prospect at the outset of 2021 (Lawlar) at No. 7, though they'd likely have to pay well over slot ($5,432,400) to do so. They also have shown a lot of interest in Watson.
8. Rockies: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
There's probably a better chance that Watson goes No. 1 or 2 rather than he falls to the Rockies at 8. They could take the best high school shortstop available, and if one of the top four doesn't make it here, they have interest in Jobe and Texas right-hander Ty Madden. Jobe might be a tough call considering that the prep right-hander Riley Pint, whom Colorado took fourth overall in 2016, just retired.
9. Angels: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
One or more of the prep shortstops is going to last longer than he deserves, and House could get all the way to No. 9 if he gets squeezed out at Nos. 3 through 6. If at least one team among the top eight cuts a discount deal, the Angels are guaranteed that a top-tier talent will fall in their lap, most likely Rocker, Jobe or House. If that doesn't happen, they could ponder college right-handers (Madden, Miami of Ohio righty Sam Bachman) and Georgia high school bats (two-way talent Bubba Chandler, catcher Harry Ford).
10. Mets: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
Barring a top-tier player dropping to 10 -- the dream is Leiter, but the most realistic possibility is Jobe -- the Mets likely will be looking at Madden and Frelick ahead of Bachman and Cowser. There's a lot of chatter that fast-rising Indiana high school third baseman Colson Montgomery could be in this mix.
11. Nationals: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
The Nationals appear to be focusing on arms, hoping that Jobe gets to them and having other clubs wondering if Rocker might. If that doesn't happen, they'll go for another pitcher with a high-octane fastball and slider in Bachman.
12. Mariners: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
The Mariners could take a college right-hander in the first round for the fourth straight Draft if they get a shot at Madden or Bachman. If they're off the board, Seattle could turn to the second-tier college bats (Frelick, McLain, Cowser) or Kansas State left-hander Jordan Wicks.
13. Phillies: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
This could be the ceiling for Montgomery and Wake Forest right-hander Ryan Cusick, with Montgomery having more suitors all around this area and Cusick more apt to last until the 20s. Cowser and Wicks are other possibilities, as are Madden, McLain and Frelick if they're still around.
14. Giants: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
The Giants have interest in Benny Montgomery as well as the second tier of college hitters (Frelick, McLain, Cowser) and college pitchers (Bachman, Madden, Wicks), so it's a matter of deciding between the two to three options that will still be available.
15. Brewers: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
That exact same paragraph about the Giants also applies to the Brewers, with Ford a back-burner option.
16. Marlins: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Several of the best high school athletes (Benny Montgomery, Ford, Chandler, outfielder Will Taylor) are considerations for the Marlins, as are the collegians mentioned directly ahead of them.
17. Reds: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
Like many teams in the teens, the Reds are looking at the second tier of college bats and arms. If they get picked clean, Chandler (whom Cincinnati may prefer as a shortstop), high school right-hander Andrew Painter and Fordham left-hander Matt Mikulski could enter the fray.
18. Cardinals: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Hoglund had a chance to be the second college pitcher drafted until he blew out his elbow in May, but he won't slide too far because his profile and situation resemble that of Walker Buehler, who went 24th overall with a bum elbow in 2015 and proved to be a steal. The Cardinals grabbed the best two-way prospect who turned pro in the 2020 Draft (Masyn Winn) and could be tempted by right-hander/shortstops Chandler or Spencer Schwellenbach (Nebraska).
19. Blue Jays: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken Township, N.J.)
The Blue Jays would be Benny Montgomery's floor and otherwise seem to be headed for a pitcher, either a prepster (Chandler, Solometo) or a collegian (UC Santa Barbara right-hander Michael McGreevy, Cusick).
20. Yankees: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
If the first 19 picks unfold like this, the Yankees could opt for one of the better high school right-handers remaining (Painter, Chase Petty) or a college righty (McGreevy, Cusick). They also might be the ceiling for bats such as Sweeney or prep outfielder James Wood.
21. Cubs: Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork HS (Irmo, S.C.)
The Cubs are considering every demographic -- high school bats (Taylor, Colson Montgomery) and arms (Solometo), college hitters (Florida outfielder Jud Fabian) and pitchers (McGreevy).
22. White Sox: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge HS (Huntingburg, Ind.)
The White Sox are associated with several prep position players. It's no secret that they're on Montgomery, and they also like catcher Joe Mack and second baseman Peyton Stovall.
23. Indians: Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton (La.) HS
The Indians may be targeting some of the best high school hitters (Ford, Stovall, Mack) but also could opt for a pitcher such as Petty or McGreevy.
24. Braves: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
It's mostly pitchers who are linked with the Braves -- Chandler, McGreevy, Mississippi State right-hander Will Bednar, Schwellenbach, Bush -- though Chandler and Schwellenbach are two-way guys whom Atlanta might deploy at shortstop.
25. Athletics: Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood (Texas) HS
Like the White Sox, it's mostly high school position players mentioned with the A's: Colson Montgomery, Pacheco, outfielder Tyler Whitaker, third baseman Wes Kath, shortstop Alex Mooney. Hoglund, Fabian and Boston College shortstop Cody Morissette are possible college fits.
26. Twins: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
The Twins are exploring every demographic (Bednar among college arms, South Alabama outfielder Ethan Wilson among college bats, Solometo among high school pitchers, Taylor and Mooney among high school hitters) and several catchers (Miami's Adrian del Castillo and prepsters Ford and Mack).
27. Padres: Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (Brookline, Mass.)
There's a lot of guesswork involved at this point of the Draft, but the Padres may be leaning more toward hitters than pitchers with options such as Taylor, Baez, Mack, Stovall and Schwellenbach. Solometo might be the best bet for a pitcher if he's available, and Cusick could fit here as well.
28. Rays: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
The hard-throwing Cusick might be the best college arm at this point, and the Rays development staff excels at bringing out the best in pitchers. Tampa Bay has shown an affinity for athletic prep outfielders and while Taylor likely will be gone, Baez, James Wood, Jay Allen and Lonnie White all could be available.
29. Dodgers: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (East Amherst, N.Y.)
Stovall or Mack could be nice high school values at No. 29. The Dodgers also might be a landing spot for other catchers such as del Castillo and Nelson, as well as two more college bats in Morissette and Sweeney.