Major League Baseball has completed the first day of the 2021 Draft, which aired live on MLB Network and ESPN this evening from the Bellco Theatre in Denver, Colorado. In total, 36 players were selected during Round 1, Round 1 Compensation and Competitive Balance Round A. The 2021 Draft will resume on Monday, beginning with the second round at 1:00 p.m. (ET)/11:00 a.m. (MT) on MLB Network, and will continue through Round 10 exclusively on MLB.com. Day three of the Draft on Tuesday, July 13th will begin at 12:00 p.m. (ET)/10:00 p.m. (MT), featuring picks in rounds 11-20.
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected catcher Henry Davis out of the University of Louisville with the first overall pick in the Draft. Davis was the first backstop taken with the first overall selection since Baltimore selected Adley Rutschman in 2019, and he joined Jeff King (1986), Kris Benson (1996), Bryan Bullington (2002) and Gerrit Cole (2011) as the only number one overall picks in Pirates history. Davis became the first player from the University of Louisville to be selected first overall. In addition, he became just the eighth collegiate player to be chosen first overall after not having previously been drafted out of high school, joining Spencer Torkelson (2020), Casey Mize (2018), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Matt Anderson (1997), Benson (1996), Andy Benes (1988) and Dave Roberts (1972). Following the selections of Torkelson, Rutschman and Mize, a college player has been taken first overall in each of the last four drafts.
Seven players who were in attendance at the Bellco Theatre were selected tonight, including six in Round 1 and one in Competitive Balance Round A. The players in attendance included Davis; Eastern Illinois University infielder Trey Sweeney, who was selected 20th overall by the New York Yankees; Kansas State University left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks, who was taken 21st overall by the Chicago Cubs; Southridge High School (IN) infielder Colson Montgomery, who was picked 22nd overall by the Chicago White Sox; Wake Forest right-handed pitcher Ryan Cusick, who was selected 24th overall by the Atlanta Braves; Mainland Regional High School (NJ) right-handed pitcher Chase Petty, who was selected 26th overall by the Minnesota Twins; and Williamsville East High School (NY) catcher Joe Mack, who was drafted 31st overall by the Miami Marlins.
Overall, 15 of the 29 first round selections came from high school, while 14 college players were selected. The state of California produced five players in the first round, followed by Georgia (3), Florida (2), Indiana (2), Kentucky (2), Massachusetts (2), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (2), Arkansas (1), Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Maryland (1) and Oklahoma (1). For the 19th time in the last 20 years, at least one pair of teammates (college or high school) were selected in the first round when right-handed pitchers Jack Leiter (2nd overall, TEX) and Kumar Rocker (10th overall, NYM) were drafted out of Vanderbilt University. The selections of Leiter and Rocker marked the first time since 2011 that collegiate pitchers from the same school were taken in the top-10. Leiter is the son of two-time All-Star and MLB Network analyst Al Leiter, who was drafted in the second round of the 1984 Draft.
Three of the top-10 selections tonight attended the inaugural MLB Draft Combine Presented by Gatorade in June, including Sam Bachman (9th overall, LAA), Benny Montgomery (8th overall, COL) and the first overall selection Henry Davis (PIT). Fellow MLB Draft Combine attendees Jordan Wicks (21st overall, CHI), Colson Montgomery (22nd overall, CWS), Ryan Cusick (24th overall, ATL) and Matheu Nelson (35th overall, CIN) were also selected on opening night.
Five of the first 16 selections (31.3%) tonight come from diverse backgrounds, including four African-Americans. Those selected in the first 16 included Marcelo Mayer (4th overall, BOS); Jordan Lawlar (6th overall, ARI); Kumar Rocker (10th overall, NYM); Harry Ford (12th overall, SEA); and Kahlil Watson (16th overall, MIA). Rocker and Ford are also alumni of the DREAM Series, a diversity-focused development programming offered in part by MLB & USA Baseball.
Eleven right-handed pitchers were selected in the opening round, the most among all positions. It ended a streak of three consecutive years in which fewer than 10 right-handers were chosen in the first round. Other players taken in the first round tonight included an MLB Draft-record 10 shortstops, three outfielders, three left-handed pitchers and two catchers. No second baseman nor third basemen were selected in the first round. Tonight marked the first time since 2002 that a third baseman was not selected in the opening round, and the first time since 2018 that a second baseman was not selected in the first round.
MLB.com will continue to provide Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. On Twitter, the official Draft Twitter account, @MLBDraft, will provide up-to-the-moment updates and commentary using the official Draft hashtag, #MLBDraft, while @MLBDraftTracker will tweet all picks as they are made.