Giants take RHP Bednar from CWS champs

July 12th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants selected Mississippi State right-hander Will Bednar with the 14th overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday night.

Bednar, the first pitcher to be drafted in the first round by the Giants since Phil Bickford in 2015, led Mississippi State to its first College World Series title this year by logging a 1.47 ERA over three starts and delivering six no-hit innings against Vanderbilt in the championship game to capture Most Outstanding Player honors.

“I think what we really liked about Will was just kind of what he showed at the College World Series,” said Michael Holmes, the Giants’ third-year director of amateur scouting. “He’s a physical, college right-hander with a fastball that misses bats in the zone, and he has the ability to miss bats with his secondary stuff. I think anyone that got a glimpse of him in Omaha saw the type of competitor that he is. He checked a lot of boxes for us as a starting pitcher, and we were really excited to be able to select him.” 

Bednar, the younger brother of Pirates reliever David Bednar, missed the beginning of the 2021 season with a stiff neck, but he overcame the early setback to post a 3.12 ERA with 129 strikeouts across 92 1/3 innings for the Bulldogs. He was Draft-eligible in his second year with Mississippi State because he turned 21 last month.

Bednar, who recorded a 1.76 ERA over four starts during his pandemic-shortened freshman campaign, was ranked the No. 32 prospect in the Draft by MLB Pipeline. The slot value for the 14th pick is $4,036,800.

A native of Valencia, Pa., Bednar sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 97 with his fastball. He also features a mid-80s slider that emerged as a consistent plus pitch this spring, along with a solid upper-70s curveball and a developing changeup. Listed at 6-foot-2, 229 pounds, Bednar is known for his ability to pound the strike zone, a trait that the Giants have come to value under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

“I’m a huge competitor,” Bednar said. “I’m going to compete wherever I go, and I’m going to work my tail off to be the best that I can be wherever I go.”

The Giants took Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey with their first two first-round picks under Zaidi, who was hired as the club’s president of baseball operations in November 2018. While the Giants have a promising group of young position players rising through their system, they’re lighter on premium arms, a need that Bednar should help fill. Left-handers Seth Corry and Kyle Harrison, a 2020 third-round Draft pick, are currently the only pitchers on MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 10 Giants prospects.

“Although need does sometimes creep into your head, you try to kind of focus on what the player can do and what you think the value is,” Holmes said. “We had a nice little string, since I got here, of college position players that we’re really excited about, but it’s nice to put an arm in the system as well.”

Day 2 of the Draft, which will span rounds 2-10, begins at 10 a.m. PT on Monday. The Draft will conclude with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. PT. will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast and provide live coverage on both days.

Bednar described the atmosphere at his home as “electric” when he learned that he was going to the Giants. He didn’t have to wait long to share the news with his brother, who has logged a 3.18 ERA over 38 appearances for the Pirates this season.

“They actually just finished up their series against the Mets today, so he actually just got home like five minutes after the pick,” Bednar said. “It was really cool to meet him in the front yard and have him get home that soon.”

The Giants have a strong track record when it comes to drafting first-rounders named Will out of Mississippi State. Their last one, Will Clark, the No. 2 overall pick of the 1985 Draft, developed into a six-time All-Star first baseman and starred for San Francisco from 1986-1993.

“I’ve gotten to meet him and talk to him a few times,” Bednar said. “He’s been around our clubhouse a little bit this past year. It’s really cool to be going to the Giants, especially with another guy from Mississippi State who’s gone there and been kind of a legend.”