Draft Day 1: Pick-by-pick rundown, analysis

July 12th, 2021

Day 1 of the 2021 MLB Draft is in the books, with analysis of all 36 selections below. Day 2 of the Draft kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET with the start of the second round and will continue through the completion of Round 10, exclusively on MLB.com, with MLB Network providing live look-ins and coverage during All-Star Monday. There will be one minute between picks on Day 2. The Draft concludes with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at noon ET, with no delay between selections, all heard on MLB.com.

Round 1

1. Pirates: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
We knew the Pirates were going to take a position player, but we didn't know which one. Instead of opting for one of the elite high school shortstops they were rumored to be targeting, such as Marcelo Mayer, they went with the best college position player available in Davis. He's got a chance to hit for power and average and has a rocket arm. His receiving needs work, and it will be interesting to see if the Pirates develop him as a catcher or move him to third base or the outfield to maximize the value of his bat. -- Callis. More >

2. Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Rangers continue their recent trend of taking polished college performers in the first round with Leiter, the best pitcher in this year's Draft. The son of two-time All-Star left-hander Al Leiter, Jack was spectacular in his only full season of college. He tied for the NCAA Division I lead in strikeouts due to a special fastball that plays well above its 92-97 mph velocity thanks to its outstanding life and induced vertical break. He also has a plus curveball and tremendous mound presence and should get to Texas very quickly. -- Callis. More >

3. Tigers: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
Though teams are often skittish about taking high school right-handers early in the Draft, Jobe is too good for the Tigers to pass up. If you're just grading out pure tools, stuff and command, he grades out better than any arm in this Draft. His wipeout slider is the best secondary pitch available, his fastball and changeup can both be well above-average pitches at times and he has an athletic delivery that translates into strikes. -- Callis. More >

4. Red Sox: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
We had Mayer at the top of our rankings for a reason, as we gave him the best grades for his hit tool and his defense in the entire Draft class. The comp I like using the most for him is Corey Seager offensively and Brandon Crawford on defense. Combined, that's a really good player for the Red Sox. -- Mayo. More >

5. Orioles: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
We weren't sure exactly which direction the Orioles would go at No. 5, and they chose to get a talented player while also taking one who will likely command a lower signing bonus than some other available players, giving Baltimore some flexibility to spend big later in the Draft. In my mind, Cowser was the second-best college position player available (behind Henry Davis). He was one of the best pure hitters in the college crop, and he showed improved power and speed this year, answering any questions about whether he could play center field. -- Callis. More >

6. D-backs: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
Lawlar entered the season as the top-rated high school prospect in the country, and the D-backs couldn't have figured they'd get him at No. 6. He's an explosive athlete and has the highest ceiling of the four elite prep shortstops (Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, Kahlil Watson and Brady House). Lawlar could have solid-to-plus tools across the board when all is said and done, and he's a definite shortstop. -- Callis. More >

7. Royals: Frank Mozzicato, LHP, East Catholic HS (Conn.)
Call this the first big surprise of the 2021 Draft. Mozzicato was a huge pop-up prospect in Connecticut, one whom scouts were pouring in to see as news of his four consecutive no-hitters and improved stuff spread. He's projectable, and the Royals will likely be able to sign him for below the allotted value for this slot ($5,432,400), giving Kansas City some signing bonus money to save for later in the Draft. -- Mayo. More >

8. Rockies: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
In terms of complete toolsets, there aren't many better position players in this class than Montgomery. He has tremendous speed and raw power and has the chance to be a plus defender. Some scouts were concerned about his unorthodox mechanics at the plate, but I like the upside pick here. -- Mayo. More >

9. Angels: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
I'll be interested to see how the Angels deploy Bachman initially. If you want a Garrett Crochet type in this Draft who can get to the big leagues quickly as a reliever, it could be Bachman. Some scouts have seen both a top-of-the-scale fastball and slider from him, which could make him a bullpen weapon soon. He also can flash a plus changeup and threw a lot more strikes this year, so he could be an interesting starter long-term. -- Callis. More >

10. Mets: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Another team that can't believe its luck with a player who got to its selection. Rocker was our top-rated prospect entering the season, and while he didn't finish that way, he still tied for the NCAA Division I lead in strikeouts, and nearly led Vanderbilt to another national title. His breaking stuff is nasty, he can sit in the mid-90s with his fastball, and he's built to be a long-term starter. -- Callis. More >

11. Nationals: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
Well, I'll say it again: another team that has to be surprised (and thrilled) with the guy that fell to it. We kept hearing the Nationals were eyeing power arms, but when one of the elite shortstops is still on the table, you can't pass him up. House is the best power hitter in this Draft and has a chance to stick at shortstop. Even if he probably winds up moving to third base, the bat will easily profile there, and he's got the arm and enough quickness to be a quality defender there. -- Callis. More >

12. Mariners: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Ford has a super-intriguing profile for a catcher. He's an easy plus runner, and athletically, he's like a young Craig Biggio in that he can play behind the plate and almost anywhere else on the diamond. He has a strong arm, too, as well as the power to do damage at the plate. -- Callis. More >

13. Phillies: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Painter entered the Draft season as the best high school arm in the country and didn't do much to hurt his stock; it’s more that Jackson Jobe just surpassed him. Painter has an intriguing combination of size, stuff and feel for pitching. Perhaps it's a good fit for the Phillies because Painter reminds me a little bit of Mick Abel, the big high school right-hander the Phillies took in the first round of last year's Draft. -- Mayo. More >

14. Giants: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
The younger brother of Pirates reliever David Bednar, Will was already pitching himself into the first round, and his Most Outstanding Player performance at the College World Series put him over the top. He has two plus pitches as well as a mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider. Few college pitchers in this Draft can match his combination of stuff and strike-throwing ability. -- Callis. More >

15. Brewers: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
A lot of us thought Frelick would go a little higher as a college hitter who performed well in 2021, so this could be a good get for the Brewers. He runs well, finds the barrel of the bat frequently, gets on base and proved he can play center field. -- Mayo. More >

16. Marlins: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (N.C.)
I've been talking about steals all day, and this is the biggest of them all. Watson is one of the four elite shortstops in this Draft -- we had him ranked as the No. 4 overall player in the class -- and was in the mix to potentially go No. 1 overall. The Marlins have an extra pick at No. 31, and that additional financial power in their signing bonus pool will help them get Watson signed. He takes an aggressive swing but makes a lot of contact. He's also a well-above-average runner and otherwise has solid tools across the board. -- Callis. More >

17. Reds: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
This is actually the second time that McLain has been a first-round pick. He went No. 25 overall to the D-backs in 2018 out of high school but decided to go to UCLA instead of signing with Arizona. McLain is one of the best college bats in this class, and it was rumored he could have gone as high as No. 5. He can really hit, he's got more pop than you'd think for a guy his size and the biggest thing he showed this year is that he has a very good chance to stick at shortstop. -- Mayo. More >

18. Cardinals: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
McGreevy offers an intriguing combination of feel for pitching and upside you don't often see from a college starting pitcher. His stuff has already ticked upward, and there could be more in the tank. For him to go to an organization like the Cardinals, who are very good at developing pitching, makes a lot of sense. -- Mayo. More >

19. Blue Jays: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Nice upside play for the Blue Jays here. Hoglund would've been a top-10 pick if he hadn't blown out his elbow in May and required Tommy John surgery. He has a quality fastball and slider and some of the best command in the college ranks. His situation reminds me a little of what Walker Buehler went through. Buehler had his elbow reconstructed shortly after the Dodgers made him a first-round pick in 2015, and then saw his stuff dramatically improve after he went through the rehab process. If that happens with Hoglund, this could be one of the best picks of the Draft. -- Callis. More >

20. Yankees: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
The Yankees were zeroing in on hitters and came away with a college bat who was moving up Draft boards faster than any other in the last week. Sweeney has an unorthodox style at the plate, but it doesn't prevent him from barreling the ball to all fields. His exit velocities made him attractive to data-driven clubs. A shortstop now, he projects as a third baseman at the pro level. -- Callis. More >

21. Cubs: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
For a team that needed pitching, the Cubs have to be thankful the best college lefty fell into their laps at No. 21. Wicks has the best changeup in the Draft, a low-80s weapon with tumble and fade, and he sets it up with a solid fastball and slider. He shouldn't need much time in the Minors before making his MLB debut. -- Callis. More >

22. White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS (Huntingburg, Ind.)
It was no secret that the White Sox coveted Montgomery at No. 22. He has a Corey Seager look at the plate -- a big shortstop who is productive from the left side. A basketball star in high school, he may be athletic enough to stay at shortstop, though most scouts project him as a third baseman at the big league level. -- Callis. More >

23. Indians: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina
Credit Williams with improving significantly this season. He hit 100 mph as a freshman at East Carolina but never seemed to be able to stay healthy enough to nail down a spot in the Pirates' rotation. Then, all of a sudden this year, he dramatically improved his breaking ball and strike throwing while maintaining his velocity. He capped his career by holding his own against Kumar Rocker and Vanderbilt in the NCAA Super Regionals. -- Callis. More >

24. Braves: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Cusick is one of the hardest-throwing starters in this Draft, with a fastball that reaches 102 mph at times. He's improved his feel for spin and has aptitude for throwing a changeup. His key to remaining a starter going forward will be throwing strikes on a more consistent basis. -- Callis. More >

25. A's: Max Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks HS (Calif.)
Nine years after drafting the Max Muncy who now plays for the Dodgers in the fifth round, the A’s took another player named Max Muncy in the first round. Like the “original,” this Muncy's carrying tool is his bat, and he has a chance to hit for average and power. I think the A's try him out as a shortstop, but even if he has to move, that bat will profile either at third or second. The A’s were once known for focusing on college players in the wake of Moneyball being published, so it's been interesting to see them willing to take high school hitters more frequently up top of late. -- Mayo. More >

26. Twins: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (N.J.)
Petty has as much arm strength as any high school pitcher in this class, often topping 100 mph with his fastball. Not all scouts were in love with his delivery, but he throws his fastball and plus slider, as well as a changeup, for strikes. There is a chance he ends up as a reliever, but I think he has every chance to start. -- Mayo. More >

27. Padres: Jackson Merrill, SS, Severna Park HS (Md.)
Merrill was a huge pop-up prospect in Maryland whom scouts were pouring in to see as the spring wore on, though few projected him as a first-round pick. It sounds like the Yankees almost took him at No. 20, so the Padres were probably thrilled to get him here. I wonder if this is a situation like when the Pirates took Cole Tucker in the first round in 2014 because they knew he wouldn't be around for their second pick. -- Mayo. More >

28. Rays: Carson Williams, SS, Torrey Pines HS (Calif.)
Forgive me if this sounds like a broken record, but here's another high school shortstop who had some late helium that carried him into the first round. Williams can really, really defend, boasting one of the best arms in the class, and he can definitely stay at shortstop. There is offensive upside with some bat speed and loft in his swing, and he should grow into some more power. The Rays are among the best at developing young hitters, so Williams may have found the perfect home. -- Mayo. More >

29. Dodgers: Maddux Bruns, LHP, UMS-Wright HS (Ala.)
Bruns has huge upside, and he's going to an organization that excels at getting the best out of its players. You don’t see a lot of high school lefties hitting 98 mph with their fastball, but he also has a mid-80s slider and can flash a plus curveball. Strike throwing has been a concern, but he looked better this spring. -- Callis. More >

Compensation Pick

30. Reds: Jay Allen, OF, John Carroll Catholic HS (Fla.)
Allen is an athletic and toolsy outfielder from Florida who can do a lot of things well; he played three sports in high school and could have even played football in college had he wanted to. Allen has a chance to hit and add power as he adds to his 6-foot-3 frame. The righty hitter did a better job this spring at staying balanced at the plate, which allowed him to make more consistent contact. His athleticism should give him the chance to at least start his career in center field. -- Mayo. More >

Competitive Balance Round A

31. Marlins: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (N.Y.)
Scouts were streaming into upstate New York late because Mack's high school season didn’t start until mid-May and he was playing for a state title in volleyball. To me, he's the best all-around catcher in the Draft, given that he can definitely stay behind the plate and has good offensive tools. I love what the Marlins have done on Day 1, getting Kahlil Watson and now Joe Mack up the middle. -- Mayo. More >

32. Tigers: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
The Tigers’ system got a huge pitching boost on Sunday, first nabbing high school righty Jackson Jobe at No. 3, and now Madden. We had Madden rated as the third-best college pitcher in the Draft, and No. 9 overall, and it was a surprise to see him drop this far. With a mid-90s fastball, a power slider and an effective changeup, he has a quality three-pitch mix. Add in his history of strike throwing, and he's a no-doubt starter for me. -- Callis. More >

33. Brewers: Tyler Black, 2B, Wright State
Black had some late helium as one of the better pure hitters in the college ranks. An offensive second baseman, he could have 15- to 20-homer power as well, and he doubled off Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker (No. 10 overall to the Mets) on Opening Day of the college season. He's the son of Canadian sportscaster Rod Black. -- Callis. More >

34. Rays: Cooper Kinney, 2B, Baylor HS (Tenn.)
Kinney is sort of similar to Black, the pick that preceded him. He's an offensive second baseman with a simple swing and plenty of bat speed -- and he barrels balls all over the field. There is some question about his defensive home. In the best-case scenario, he becomes an adequate second baseman and turns into Daniel Murphy. -- Callis. More >

35. Reds: Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State
The Reds bookended their three-pick night with two college bats, getting Matt McLain in the first round and Nelson here. (In between, they got Jay Allen, a Florida prep outfielder, with the No. 30 overall pick.) The Reds believe Nelson can remain behind the plate with a strong arm, but it is his power bat that allowed him to be among the collegiate leaders in home runs, and that's the aspect Cincinnati looked at most with this pick. -- Mayo. More >

36. Twins: Noah Miller, SS, Ozaukee HS (Wis.)
He's the latest in a recent strong line of hitters to come out of Wisconsin (including Jarred Kelenic, Gavin Lux and Noah's older brother Owen, who plays for Cleveland). Miller is a switch-hitter with an extremely advanced approach and a high baseball IQ that allows him to get the most out of his tools. With his instincts and solid arm strength, he may be able to stay at shortstop. -- Callis. More >