The 2021 MLB draft is two weeks away. 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 two weeks before the draft starts July 11.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (Calif.) HS
Mayer is the favorite to go first overall in the 2021 MLB draft. The prep shortstop has five-tool potential and all the skills to stick at the position long-term. Texas prep shortstop Jordan Lawlar also is in the mix at this spot. Louisville catcher Henry Davis also might be an option here.
2. Texas Rangers: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Texas)
If Mayer goes first overall, the Rangers will be deciding between Lawlar, Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter and North Carolina prep shortstop Kahlil Watson. Oklahoma prep righty Jackson Jobe also could be a possibility. But Lawlar is arguably the top prospect in this year’s draft class and possesses all the tools to be a five-tool player in pro ball.
Read an in-depth feature story on Lawlar and his skills HERE.
3. Detroit Tigers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Leiter is the top arm in this year’s draft class and someone who will move through a farm system quickly. The Tigers’ top choice is Mayer. They also have a lot of interest in Jobe. But Leiter presents a great combination of ceiling and floor, making him an ideal pick for a team looking to compete sooner than later.
4. Boston Red Sox: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Davis had a tremendous season this spring and presents all the tools to be a well-rounded catcher in pro ball. Davis has a great approach at the plate and consistently makes hard contact. Defensively, he is known for his above-average arm strength.
Read an in-depth feature story on Davis and his skills HERE.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (NC) HS
The Orioles are rumored to be interested in a college bat to sign for below slot value in the 2021 MLB draft. But would they pass on Watson, who has huge potential? It will be interesting to watch, but if Watson is available, don’t be surprised if the Orioles select him.
6. 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. He has big-time potential. Prep shortstop Brady House and Vanderbilt righty Kumar Rocker also would be options if the first five picks transpire as they have in this mock draft.
Read an in-depth feature story on Jobe and his skills HERE.
7. Kansas City Royals: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Rocker was the favorite to go first overall before the start of the season, but some prospect fatigue and a short stretch of decreased fastball velocity hurt his draft stock. Nevertheless, he fits the Royals’ philosophy and has ace potential.
Read an in-depth feature story on Rocker and his skills HERE.
8. Colorado Rockies: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
The Rockies could go in various directions with this pick, but with their lack of success developing pitching, drafting a college arm would make sense. Texas ace Ty Madden has a notable fastball, slider combination and ace potential.
Read an in-depth feature story on Madden and his skills HERE.
9. Los Angeles Angels: 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. Prep catcher Harry Ford also could be an option for the Angels.
10. New York Mets: 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 an in-depth feature story on Frelick and his skills HERE.
11. Washington Nationals: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
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 an in-depth feature story on Bachman and his skills HERE.
12. 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 an in-depth feature story on McLain and his skills HERE.
13. Philadelphia Phillies: 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.
14. San Francisco Giants: 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. As a result, he likely will be the first left-handed pitcher selected in the draft.
Read an in-depth feature story on Wicks and his skills HERE.
15. 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.
Read an in-depth feature story on Cowser and his skills HERE.
16. Miami Marlins: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (Ga.) HS
Ford 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 an in-depth feature story on Ford and his skills HERE.
17. Cincinnati Reds: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian (Fla.) HS
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.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: 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. However, 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 an in-depth feature story on Hoglund and his skills HERE.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: 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 an in-depth feature story on Bednar and his skills HERE.
20. New York Yankees: 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 an in-depth feature story on Chandler and his skills HERE.
21. 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.
22. Chicago White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge (Ind.) HS
Most scouts believe Montgomery is the top target with this pick for the 2021 MLB draft. Montgomery profiles better at third base in pro ball. He also can hit for average and power in the future.
23. Cleveland Indians: Gavin Williams, RHP, ECU
Williams has a high-90s fastball that he locates well and a quality slider he uses as his outpitch. However, his lack of track record is one concern scouts have, as he was a reliever his first three years in college.
Read an in-depth feature story on Williams and his skills HERE.
24. 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 an in-depth feature story on Schwellenbach and his skills HERE.
25. Oakland Athletics: Wes Kath, 3B, Desert Mountain (Ariz.) HS
Kath is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed-hitting infielder whose best traits are his skills at the plate. He currently is more of a contact over power hitter who possesses quick hands and some natural loft in his swing. In addition, he has the size and fundamentals to develop more power at the plate as he matures.
Read an in-depth feature story on Kath and his skills HERE.
26. Minnesota Twins: 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. However, he showed adjustments and more productivity later in the season to rebuild some of his draft stock.
Read an in-depth feature story on Fabian and his skills HERE.
27. 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. However, he has swing-and-miss concerns and will need to show he can consistently square up the ball, especially on breaking pitches.
28. Tampa Bay Rays: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
Sweeney is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-handed hitter who is known for his offensive skill set. Defensively, he might be better suited at third base. Sweeney has a strong arm and reliable hands. But, some scouts wonder if he has the speed and range to handle shortstop long-term.
Read an in-depth feature story on Sweeney and his skills HERE.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland (N.J.) HS
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.
30. Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Supplemental Round A
31. Miami Marlins: Connor Norby, 2B, East Carolina
32. Detroit Tigers: Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton (La.) HS
33. Milwaukee Brewers: Tyler Black, 2B, Wright State
34. Tampa Bay Rays: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace (N.J.) HS
35. Cincinnati Reds: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (N.Y.) HS
36. Minnesota Twins: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
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.