The 2021 MLB draft is one month away. The draft is starting to take shape, with teams sending high-ranking officials to games to scouts players they prefer in the first round.
The draft is a fluid process, with teams prepping their draft boards right now. The top seven players in this year’s draft appear likely to remain in those spots, while the rest of the draft features plenty of uncertainties.
Here is a look at how the first round of the 2021 MLB draft is shaping out one month until the draft starts July 11.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (Calif.) HS
The Pirates have the largest signing bonus pool in this year’s draft. No player will command the entire $8.5 million slot value, so that will let the Pirates save some money regardless of who they pick at No. 1. Mayer has the highest upside. Prep shortstops Kahlil Watson and Jordan Lawlar and Louisville catcher Henry Davis also are in the mix for this pick.
- Texas Rangers: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (NC) HS
The Rangers have preferred college players in the first round the last two years. While Davis or Vanderbilt right Hack Leiter are options, the Rangers are highly interested in Watson, who has an exciting toolset and upside.
- Detroit Tigers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Leiter is the top arm in this year’s draft. Although the Tigers could go various ways with this pick, including prep righty Jackson Jobe, the high school pitching demographic is always risky. Leiter has all the tools to move through a system quickly and be a quality No. 2 starting pitcher in pro ball.
- Boston Red Sox: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Davis was the top player in college baseball this year. He is in the mix to go to the Pirates first overall and likely won’t fall past the Red Sox. He is a well-rounded player with great makeup and the skills to move through the minor leagues quickly.
Read a detailed feature story on Davis and his skills HERE.
- Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Texas)
Lawlar entered the spring as the top prep player in this year’s draft class. Some scouts still believe Lawlar is the top prep prospect, as he possesses five-tool potential.
Read a detailed feature story on Lawlar and his skills HERE.
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall (Okla.) HS
Jobe is the top prep arm in this year’s class with an exciting fastball-slider combination. His slider draws great reviews from scouts and appeals to teams who are analytically savvy. He has big-time potential.
Read a detailed feature story on Jobe and his skills HERE.
- Kansas City Royals: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Rocker was the top player in this year’s draft entering the spring. While his status is still high, he may not be a top-five pick. Scouts are concerned about his fastball potential and command. Despite the questions, he has more upside than his teammate Leiter.
Read a detailed feature story on Rocker and his skills HERE.
- Colorado Rockies: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow (Ga.) HS
House hits for average and power. He also has all the traits to stick at shortstop long-term. The Rockies are considering college pitching in addition to the prep shortstops.
- Los Angeles Angels: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (Ga.) HS
Multiple teams in the top five picks are considering Ford, who has the athleticism and skill set to play catcher or the outfield in pro ball. He also is a talented offensive player with a high upside.
Read a detailed feature story on Ford and his skills HERE.
- New York Mets: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
Right now, pitching seems like a likely option for the Mets at No. 10. Jobe is a possibility if he’s on the board. Madden boasts a high-90s fastball and frontline starter potential.
Read a detailed feature story on Madden and his skills HERE.
- Washington Nationals: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
The Nationals prefer quality college pitchers with big-time stuff and potential. Bachman fits that exactly. He throws a triple-digit fastball and has a huge ceiling. He also comes with some reliever risk, however.
Read a detailed feature story on Bachman and his skills HERE.
- Seattle Mariners: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
McLain seems like a legitimate option for the Mariners. McLain was a first-round pick out of high school but wanted to attend college instead. He has developed his skills and likely will be a top-15 pick in July. He has the skills to play the middle infield and outfield.
Read a detailed feature story on McLain and his skills HERE.
- Philadelphia Phillies: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
Frelick profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter due to his strong plate disciple and ability to hit for average and power. He also is athletic and possesses above-average speed, which he uses to impact the game on the base pads and defensively in the outfield.
Read a detailed feature story on Frelick and his skills HERE.
- San Francisco Giants: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land (Pa.) HS
Montgomery has elite speed, a strong arm from the outfield, and raw power at the plate. He needs to refine his offensive skills and clean up his swing to get to his power consistently. Montgomery has a high ceiling but comes with some risk.
- Milwaukee Brewers: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State
Cowser, a left-handed hitter, offers an intriguing combination of average and power offensively and hits the ball to all parts of the field. He also displays a notable strike zone discipline. He is an above-average runner who uses his speed on the base pads and in the outfield. Cowser has the intangibles to play center field in pro ball.
Right now, the Brewers are considering the college players who went from picks 10-15 and a few other college arms who are top-20 prospects.
Read a detailed feature story on Cowser and his skills HERE.
- Miami Marlins: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina
Williams is rising up draft boards. He has a high-90s fastball that he locates well and a quality slider that he uses as his outpitch. His lack of track record is one concern scouts have, as he was a reliever his first three years in college.
Read a detailed feature story on Williams and his skills HERE.
- Cincinnati Reds: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian (Fla.) Academy
Painter has a notable 6-foot-6, 210-pound frame and repeats his low-effort delivery well. He has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and shows a solid feel for his changeup, curveball, and slider.
- St. Louis Cardinals: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee (Ga.) HS
Chandler is a football and baseball commit to Clemson, but he likely won’t make it to campus. He is a two-way player who most scouts believe is better suited on the mound long-term. He has a mid-90s fastball.
Read a detailed feature story on Chandler and his skills HERE.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
Wicks doesn’t have premium velocity, as his fastball sits low-90s, but he has the best changeup in the class. He likely will be the first left-handed pitcher selected in the draft.
Read a detailed feature story on Wicks and his skills HERE.
- New York Yankees: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss
Hoglund moved his way into top-10 pick consideration this spring until suffering an elbow injury and having to undergo Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Hoglund is one of the best strike throwers in college baseball. He has exceptional control and command of his pitches and isn’t afraid to attack the strike zone.
Read a detailed feature story on Hoglund and his skills HERE.
- Chicago Cubs: Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork (S.C.) HS
Taylor is committed to Clemson for football and baseball. His top trait is his elite speed. He is more of a contact-oriented hitter who will be a top-of-the-order hitter in the pro ranks.
- Chicago White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge (Ind.) HS
The White Sox tend to prefer college players in the first round, but it appears they might go the prep route this year. Montgomery likely profiles better at third base in pro ball. He also can hit for average and power in the future.
- Cleveland Indians: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional (NJ) HS
The Indians aren’t afraid to take hard-throwing prep right-handers. Petty has power stuff and a good feel for pitching. His fastball hits triple digits. Petty is a high-risk, high-reward prospect who might profile better in the bullpen.
- Atlanta Braves: Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP/SS, Nebraska
Schwellenbach has shot up draft boards this spring due to his ability at shortstop and as a closer. Most teams believe his future is on the mound, which is an adjustment from what scouts believed earlier this spring.
Read a detailed feature story on Schwellenbach and his skills HERE.
- Oakland Athletics: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
Fabian entered the year as a potential top-five pick. But the Florida outfielder struggled with strikeouts early in the season, causing his draft stock to falter. He showed adjustments and more productivity as the season went on to rebuild some of his draft stock.
Read a detailed feature story on Fabian and his skills HERE.
- Minnesota Twins: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
Bednar is in his first full season at Mississippi State after last season ended prematurely due to the pandemic. He has an above-average fastball-slider combination with a solid curveball and at least an average changeup.
Read a detailed feature story on Bednar and his skills HERE.
- San Diego Padres: Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield (Mass.) HS
Baez has an intriguing toolset. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed hitter has major raw power. He has swing-and-miss concerns and will need to show he can consistently square up the ball, especially on breaking pitches.
- Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Cusick is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander who has improved his craft in his time at Wake Forest. His best pitch is his high-90s fastball that has reached triple digits. He fits the Rays’ analytical philosophy.
Read a detailed feature story on Cusick and his skills HERE.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Peyton Stovall, SS, Haughton (La.) HS
Stovall has been one of the biggest 2021 MLB draft risers this spring. He is a talented hitter who has notable power from the left side of the plate. He has a shot to stick at shortstop long-term, but some scouts believe he might be better suited for second base.
The Reds receive a comp pick for the Dodgers signing right-hander Trevor Bauer. The signing causes the Dodgers to lose their second-round pick.
- Cincinnati Reds: Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU
The Reds can add a quality player for an overslot deal at No. 30 or No. 35. Hill had the potential to be a top-five pick before the season started, but inconsistencies and a torn UCL have caused his stock to fall.
Read a detailed feature story on Hill and his skills HERE.
Supplemental Round A
- Miami Marlins: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (NJ)
- Detroit Tigers: Izaac Pacheco, SS/3B, Friendswood (TX) HS
- Milwaukee Brewers: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
- Tampa Bay Rays: Gage Jump, LHP, JSerra (Calif.) HS
- Cincinnati Reds: Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
- Minnesota Twins: Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.