The Pirates not only had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 Draft but also the largest bonus pool at $14,394,000. They took full advantage of both.
Pittsburgh spent the top choice on Louisville catcher Henry Davis, hands down the best college position player available. While Davis is undeniably talented, he also had a chance to fall out of the first six selections, so the Pirates will sign him for significantly less than the assigned pick value of $8,415,300. That gave them extra cash to lavish on other players.
When the second day of the Draft began, there was talk that Pittsburgh would use the first choice (No. 37, atop the second round) on one of two football recruits, Georgia high school right-hander/shortstop (and potential Clemson quarterback) Bubba Chandler or Pennsylvania prep outfielder (and potential Penn State wide receiver) Lonnie White. Instead, the Bucs grabbed the Draft's top high school left-hander in New Jersey's Anthony Solometo -- and then nabbed White and Chandler with their next two selections.
It's way, way too early to know exactly how each team fared in the Draft. But it's impossible not to be impressed by what the Pirates accomplished. Here are our initial rankings of the best Draft hauls, with the assumption that any player selected in the first 10 rounds will turn pro:
The Pirates collected the best college position player (Davis), the best high school left-hander (Solometo, second round) and the best two-way prospect (Chandler, third) as well as one of the better athletes (White, supplemental second). That quartet will soak up much of Pittsburgh's bonus pool, but it also took a projectable Vermont prep right-hander who impressed at the inaugural Draft Combine (Owen Kellington, fourth), one of the top fifth-year collegians and the NCAA Division I leader in total bases (Dallas Baptist second baseman Jackson Glenn, fifth) and a pitchability college starter with a high floor (California righty Sean Sullivan, eighth).
The only team to land two of the top nine prospects on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 250, the Tigers spent the No. 3 overall choice on Oklahoma high school right-hander Jackson Jobe, whose combination of stuff and control graded better than any pitcher in the Draft. With their supplemental first-round pick at No. 32, they benefitted from the surprising fall of Texas right-hander Ty Madden, who also has a deep arsenal and knows how to use it. After taking slugging Texas high school third baseman Izaac Pacheco in the second round, Detroit amassed more savvy college arms ranked in the Top 250: Alabama righty Dylan Smith (third round), Notre Dame righty Tanner Kohlhepp (fifth), Georgia Tech left-hander Brant Hurter (seventh) and South Carolina-Upstate righty Jordan Marks (eighth).
The lone club with three picks on the first day, the Reds turned their first-rounder into sweet-swinging UCLA shortstop Matt McLain, a pleasant surprise to find available at No. 17. Then they used their sandwich picks at Nos. 30 and 35 on Florida high school outfielder Jay Allen, a three-sport athlete with the potential for solid power and speed, and Florida State catcher Matheu Nelson, who tied for the NCAA D-I lead with 23 homers. Cincinnati matched the Indians for the most Draft Top 250 selections in the first 10 rounds with nine, adding Virginia left-hander Andrew Abbott (second round), North Carolina State shortstop Jose Torres (third), South Carolina right-hander Thomas Farr (fifth), North Carolina outfielder Justice Thompson (sixth), Oregon State righty Kevin Abel (seventh) and Florence-Darlington Technical JC (S.C.) righty Hunter Parks (eighth).
No team got better value out of its top two choices than the Marlins, who stole a pair of high school all-around talents in North Carolina shortstop Kahlil Watson (No. 4 on the Top 250) at No. 16 and New York catcher Joe Mack (No. 19 on the Top 250) at No. 31. Boston College shortstop Cody Morissette (second round) and Mississippi State outfielder Tanner Allen (fourth) were two of the better hitting prospects in the college ranks. Florida prep shortstop Jordan McCants (third) also stands out with his hitting ability, not to mention his at least plus speed, and South Carolina outfielder Brady Allen (fifth) was a gut-feel guy for several area scouts.
Despite picking sixth, the D-backs got the top player on their board in Texas prep shortstop Jordan Lawlar, who might have the highest ceiling in the entire Draft. Coming into 2021, offensive-minded Miami catcher Adrian Del Castillo had a chance to be gone by No. 6, but after a down spring Arizona was able to buy low on him in the supplemental second round. Auburn shortstop Ryan Bliss (second round) is a proven college performer who can play up the middle, Florida high school third baseman Gavin Conticello (eighth) has enticing power and if the D-backs can sign California high school catcher Davis Diaz (12th), this could be a special position-player class. There also are some interesting arms, starting with New York prep right-hander Jacob Steinmetz (third).
The Rockies kicked their Draft off at No. 8 with Pennsylvania high school outfielder Benny Montgomery, who might have the best all-around tools in the prep class, before loading up on college pitchers: Louisiana State right-hander Jaden Hill (second round), Ohio left-hander Joe Rock (supplemental second) and Indiana righty McCade Brown (third). Hill entered the year as a contender to go No. 1 overall before undergoing Tommy John surgery. They also got good values on a pair of college bats, Memphis catcher Hunter Goodman (fourth) and Florida State outfielder Robby Martin (eighth).
Though taking Connecticut high schooler Frank Mozzicato at No. 7 stunned the industry, some clubs considered him the best southpaw in the Draft and it allowed the Royals to go big on two more prepsters, Kansas right-hander Ben Kudrna (second round) and Missouri catcher Carter Jensen (third). Alabama second baseman Peyton Wilson (supplemental second) is loaded with tools and versatility, New Jersey high school righty Shane Panzini (fourth) has a live arm and Mississippi high school shortstop Brennon McNair (11th) was one of the more interesting third-day sleepers.
All of the teams mentioned above had at least one extra pick in the first two rounds. The club that did the best with just a regular complement of selections was the Red Sox, who managed to get the best player in the Draft (California prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer) at No. 4 and stocked up on college bats with Florida outfielder Jud Fabian (second round), North Carolina State outfielder Tyler McDonough (third), Florida catcher Nathan Hickey (fifth) and Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas (11th).