Five guys on the rise in the Draft

April 14th, 2021

Our 2021 Draft coverage is ramping up and we’ll unveil an updated Top 150 Prospects list next week. Leading up to when the Pirates exercise the No. 1 overall pick on July 11, we’ll regularly present five-deep lists on a variety of Draft topics. We’ll start by breaking down five prospects who have significantly boosted their stock since we released our original Draft Top 100 in December.

Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)

A consensus third-round talent coming into 2021, Chandler offered plenty of intrigue as a projectable prep right-hander who was also a legitimate prospect as a shortstop as well as a Clemson quarterback recruit. All of those things are still true, but his projection has become closer to reality since he blossomed into the best two-way prospect in the Draft and a possible first-rounder. What was an 88-93 mph fastball is now ranging from 92-97 mph, he has added more power to a quality curveball and an effective slider, and he also shows trust in his changeup. As a position player, he’s a switch-hitter with plus raw power, solid speed and shortstop defense and obviously well-above-average arm strength.

Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College

Frelick entered the spring as an interesting but smaller (5-foot-9) college performer, one who maybe would go at the back end of the first round. But after posting a .360/.438/.576 line over his first 30 games in 2021 while showing he can play center field, the outfielder’s name has risen in conversations to the top third of the opening round. His advanced approach -- he’s drawn more walks than strikeouts in his college career -- extra-base authority and plus speed, not to mention his plus makeup have made him a scout favorite and his strong performance stands in contrast with a lot of college hitters who have struggled.

Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara

Starting with his work out of the bullpen as a freshman in 2019, McGreevy has shown a good feel for pitching and an ability to fill up the strike zone. His move to the rotation was cut off by the pandemic in 2020, but he’s back now and has been one of the most consistent starters in the country, walking less than one batter while striking out more than 10 per nine innings. Most intriguing has been his uptick in stuff, with a fastball up to 96 mph and sharper secondary stuff. Teams will want to make sure it holds up all season, but he’s gone from outside the Top 100 to being at least a second-rounder.

Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham

A big, strong lefty with power stuff, Mikulski just snuck into the back end of our Draft Top 200 a year ago as a starter at Fordham who most scouts agreed belonged in a bullpen as a pro. He headed back to the Rams in 2021 with a better delivery, which has led to more strikes. He’s reached double-digits in strikeouts in his last four starts (16.2 K/9 for the year vs. 3.1 BB/9) and he’s racked up 28 K’s in 16 shutout innings over his last two starts. The jury is still out over whether he’ll start long-term, but he’s moved his name close to the top of the college lefty crop with his dominance.

Peyton Stovall, SS, Haughton (La.) HS

Stovall’s hitting ability was obvious after a strong summer on the showcase circuit, but his lack of a second standout tool had clubs questioning whether they could draft him high enough to buy him out of an Arkansas commitment. He’s still an offensive-minded player who’s going to wind up at second base or in left field, but he’s establishing himself as one of the best high school bats available and should go in the top two rounds. He has an advanced left-handed stroke with bat speed and strength, homered 12 times in his first 21 games and could wind up as a plus hitter with plus power.