MLB Mock Draft 2021 Version 4.0

Here it is, the Final Mock! Yes, there will be decisions that organizations made over the next few hours, but this is the mock I’m riding with as we head into draft day.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Henry Davis, C, Louisville

The ultimate choice could be down to which player offers the best deal from among the Davis, Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawler, and Jack Leiter quartet. While everyone is going for Marcelo Mayer (and I think that’s a solid choice), I’ll project that Davis offers the best value with the safety and security of being the best college bat.

2. Texas Rangers

Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt

The Rangers appear to be picking amongst Watson, Leiter, Davis, and Mayer. Timeline be damned, Leiter is the most talented player for many (though Mayer is as well). Here the Rangers get the most advanced college arm and one that could make his big league appearance in 2022.

3. Detroit Tigers

Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (HS)

The Tigers have had tremendous success targeting college talent and their board could skew so that Rocker, Davis, or a college outfielder could interest the organization. I believe the Tigers love Mayer. The young shortstop also offers a future plus hit tool along with a solid average or better defensive grade at a premium position.

4. Boston Red Sox

Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (HS)

With Leiter and Davis off the board, the Red Sox opt for Kahlil Watson who showcases impressive bat paths. His power is emerging and scouts feel he’s a great bet to hit at the next level. Brady House would make sense here too for many of the same reasons.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State

Baltimore rocked many 2020 mocks when they took Heston Kjerstad with the 2nd overall pick in a money-saving gambit. Orioles GM, Mike Elias, spent his time in the Astros front office where Houston consistently employed that strategy (most notably in 2012 when they paired up Carlos Correa and used the savings for Lance McCullers). I expect the Orioles to do the same this season and have heard them connected with Cowser and Harry Ford. Cowser offers average or better tools across the board.

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6. Arizona Diamondbacks

Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS

I have it down to Jobe or Lawler and I personally think it could go either way based on this mock. According to Kiley McDaniel, the Diamondbacks lean Jobe in that scenario and I haven’t heard otherwise. The Diamondbacks land the top prep pitcher in the class.

7. Kansas City Royals

Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (HS)

The Royals have had the most success with high school hitters and college arms. The Royals also have shown success taking talented players that “fall” to them in the draft. Rocker, Lawler, House, Watson, all make sense and so could Jackson Jobe. They drafted and developed Bobby Witt Jr. into a budding star. Lawler has a similar profile and upside.

8. Colorado Rockies

Brady House, 3B, Winder-Barrow (HS)

Colorado has been willing to take a high school talent if the option presented itself, but is generally focused on going the college route in the first round. They have been most often associated with college players so far, but Brady House being available could change things for Colorado. This mock has Brady House who sports some hitting metrics related to bat path and max exit velocity that are very impressive.

9. Los Angeles Angels

Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork (HS)

The Angels are a wild card and could go in any number of ways. And the Angels have been in see Jackson Jobe (RHP; Heritage Hall, HS), Bubba Chandler (RHP/SS; North Oconee HS), and Frank Mozzicato (LHP; East Catholic HS). The point is that the Angels are very willing to take a prep talent here. I forecast the multisport South Carolina prep outfielder, Will Taylor, to be the pick. Taylor combines an athletic profile with excellent hitting data from the showcase circuits. The thought is that Taylor will require a higher price to buy him out his Clemson commitment to play baseball and line up as the slot receiver on the football team, however at this pick, the Angels would be in a good position to sign him.

10. New York Mets

Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge (HS)

New York has leaned prep talent in recent years building out a solid group in the lower levels of the minors. They also don’t factor age heavily into their draft model so Colson Montgomery who is already 19. Still, his above-average hit and power projections offer the upside of an above-average third baseman at the next level.

11. Washington Nationals

Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt

Kumar Rocker entered the year as a consensus top five prospect, but inconsistent results and waxing and waning velocity scared off some teams. The Nationals are very willing to take a risk in the hopes of landing an upside talent.

12. Seattle Mariners

Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (HS)

Seattle has been linked with college bats so far this draft cycle, but Harry Ford appears to be on the Mariners radar as well. Ford offers supreme athleticism, which mitigates the risk of taking a high school catcher early. By all accounts, Ford is a high character individual and would be a boon to any club house.

Ty Madden may be an option here as well. The Mariners had success with Emerson Hancock who entered 2020 in the 1-1 discussion before slipping to 6 with similar complaints about his fastball. Hancock has since soared up prospect rankings with a few pitching development modifications.

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13. Philadelphia Phillies

Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State

Frelick may not have elite upside, but he looks like a fairly sure bet to make it to the majors where could succeed as a high contact centerfielder (or second baseman). His run tool is about a 65. I do wonder if he is moved around at the next level. He has logged time at 2B and SS in the FCBL summer league in 2020. The fact that he is more of a “sure-thing” and the lack of college bats makes it likely he ends up somewhere in the top 10, but sometimes the board falls a certain way.

14. San Francisco Giants

Matt McLain, SS/OF, UCLA

San Francisco has been connected to all of the college hitters (Frelick, Cowser, and McLain) along with Jordan Wicks this draft cycle. I still lean to them taking one of the college bats if they have that option. McLain gets overshadowed, but he really shouldn’t. While he doesn’t have standout tools, McLain is a very successful college hitter form a strong program. He combines on-base skills with some emerging power in a profile that should succeed at 2B (some scouts feel a team should run him out at SS).

15. Milwaukee Brewers

Trey Sweeney, SS, EIU

Sweeney is a big-time pop-up prospect who sports top-of-the-line hitting data. Sweeney both hits the ball hard and also does not whiff often (87% contact rate). Some organizations may shy away from Sweeney due to his program strength or just because they couldn’t get enough evaluators to see him to draft Sweeney high enough. Sweeney has a chance for above-average hit and power despite a swing that has a lot of moving parts. Milwaukee could also snag Jordan Wicks, who many regard as the top lefthander in the draft class.

Where is Benny Montgomery going? Keeping with the same plan from Mock 3.0: “With three picks in the first two rounds, Milwaukee has a lot of money to work with to handle tough signs. The team also had no problem taking a hitter with a challenging swing. Garrett Mitchell (Milwaukee’s first round pick in 2020) was one of the most talented players in last year’s draft, but he slid due to a choppy swing. It’s rumored that Benny Montgomery (OF; Red Land, HS) could be a tough sign and he has a significant hitch in his swing that comes and goes. In this mock, the Brewers are in a position to save a significant amount of pool money with this pick (and take a affordable player in the comp round) before splurging on Montgomery with a later pick. Benny Montgomery has the potential to compete with Mitchell to determine who should man centerfield in a few years with top the charts athleticism.”

16. Miami Marlins

Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State

Will Bednar showcases top of the rotation stuff and Miami has shown the willingness to take premier pitchers who would still benefit from pitch development. Bednar’s fastball and slider both are plus pitches, but he could use some more refinement on his changeup, which is a pitch Miami is known for successfully developing.

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17. Cincinnati Reds

Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss

Cincinnati has three picks in the first 35 selections and a value play here early could allow the Reds to do big things in this draft. While Hoglund likely doesn’t sign for much less than slot, he offers a solid floor once he returns from TJS rehab without breaking the bank. Cincinnati is in a good position to float offers to some of the upside high school talent to see if any slide to 30 and 35. I strongly considered Matt Mikulski here and may be kicking myself on draft day for changing the selection.

18. St. Louis Cardinals

Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami OH

Bachman’s fastball, slider, and bourgeoning changeup combo can be electric. However there are whispers that teams are scared off by his medicals, namely a hip issue. It’s hard to tell how much of that is negotiating leverage or real medical concerns. The Cardinals have been more closely linked with upside prep talent, but it’s hard to argue with Bachmann if a team feels comfortable with his health forecast.

19. Toronto Blue Jays

Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina

Williams only threw three innings in 2020 due to a broken finger and COVID-19, however he was dominant this past season including a dominant 7 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 unearned runs, with a 13/2 K/BB line in the Super Regionals against Vanderbilt. Williams showcases an exceptional fastball with elite velocity (95-99 mph) and movement patterns. His breaking pitches (curveball and slider are both plus and above-average respectively). His fourth pitch is his changeup and that is more inconsistent, but has been coming on of late. It flashes plus as well. Simply, Gavin Williams is coming and should be flying up draft boards. Recent communication suggested teams are wary of his injury history, but that is hard to track when teams were clamoring to draft Garret Crochet in 2020 after he threw 4 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays are also associated with a host of higher-upside players like Anthony Solometo, Jay Allen, Jud Fabian, and Joe Mack.

20. New York Yankees

Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama

Wilson is a solid, if unspectacular college bat offering a very high floor. Don’t let that dissuade any Yankees fans, Wilson’s lefthanded swing would fit in exceptionally well at Yankee Stadium. Greg Huss gives a great breakdown on Wilson.

Andrew Painter has been associated with the Yankees for awhile now as well. Painter trained at Cressey Sports Performance with Eric Cressey (Yankees Director of Player Health and Performance) as well. It’s possible that the Yankees try to find some slot savings here to try to sign Jaden Hill in the second or third round.

21. Chicago Cubs

Mike McGreevy, RHP, UCSB

I featured Michael McGreevy as a potential Cubs target since April. High school hitters are the most common demographic linked to the Cubs and I do think the organization is open to high upside selections, but I don’t think it’s a guarantee that it happens in the first. McGreevy profiles as a “command+” pitcher and he pounds the zone with a sinker that sits 92-95 mph. McGreevy also features a slider, curveball, and changeup as average or better pitches. McGreevy is a projectable guy at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds who carries a high floor with optimism to hit a mid-rotation starter ceiling.

Other players linked to the Cubs include Trey Sweeney (mentioned above), Jud Fabian (OF, Florida), Will Taylor (above), Tyler Whitaker (OF, Bishop Gorman), Sam Bachman (above), Anthony Solometo (LHP, Bishop Eustace HS), and Jackson Linn (OF, Cambridge Ringe HS). James Triantos (SS, Madison HS) has also been linked to the team and is finally getting some national publicity. Triantos sported a 94% contact rate in the showcase circuit last year (tops in the class) with a similar max EV as Will Taylor, Harry Ford, and the aforementioned Colson Montgomery. He hails from Cubs area scout (and 2020 Stan Zielinski Scout of the Year) Billy Swoope’s territory. From Mock Draft 3.0, “If there’s one player who could be this year’s Nick Yorke (who was a surprise mid-first round selection), I’ll say it is James Triantos“.

22. Chicago White Sox

Max Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks (HS)

The White Sox have been all over high school players recently. Most notably the Sox have been heavy on Colson Montgomery and fellow prep SS, Max Muncy (no relation to the big-leaguer). With Montgomery off the board well before this pick, Max Muncy is the selection. Wes Kath (3B, Desert Mountain HS) is another name mentioned in association with the White Sox.

23. Cleveland Baseball Team

Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional (HS)

I do buy the Cleveland-Petty rumors that have been circulating for several weeks now. Once, Cleveland prioritized the “command+” profile pitchers like Plesac, Civale, and Bieber, but in recent years Cleveland focused on hard throwing prep righthanders. Petty may just be the riskiest player in the draft, but his stuff is lethal. Scouts question whether he is a starter long-term. Other options appear to be high school shortstops, Carson Williams and Edwin Arroyo (although possibly for a later pick).

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24. Atlanta Braves

Ty Madden, RHP, Texas

Madden is frequently linked to teams higher in the first round. On the surface that makes sense as he’s been very successful this season, including his recent College World Series performance. But there has been significant questions related to Madden’s fastball shape. His fastball has a movement pattern that some teams view as a ding on his resume. It’s a fairly similar profile to Cade Cavalli, who went 23rd overall, but was frequently linked to teams in the early teens. Cavalli ultimately went to a team who perceives things through more of a traditional scouting lens in Washington (which is one of the reasons they’ve been linked to Madden at 11). But that is all to put into context that Madden is a very good pitcher. He could provide great value to Atlanta here.

25. Oakland Athletics

Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

Jordan Wicks has been firmly listed as the top college lefty in the class during the draft cycle largely on the success of an above-average fastball (plays up due to deception) and a supremely impressive changeup. While his pitching metrics won’t blow you away, they’re solid and he’s polished. A team in contention, like Oakland, should expect him up relatively soon. The A’s could look at McGreevy as a similar profile. Additionally, Oakland has been tied to a number of prep bats like Whitaker and Kath.

26. Minnesota Twins

Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

Jud Fabian has otherworldly talent, but the Ks just kept piling up this season. Even after he made a mid-season adjustment, the Ks crept back. He settled in around 29% K% for the year, which is way too high for most teams. But Fabian is still a premier athlete and defender in centerfield with above-average to plus power. Minnesota has shown a willingness to deal with strikeouts at the expense of power before.

27. San Diego Padres

Lonnie White Jr., OF, Malvern Prep (HS)

Look for the Padres to take a player with impressive metrics (pitching or hitting). Lonnie White gets the nod here after he demonstrated some of the best batted ball data in the showcases last year. He reigned supreme in max exit velocity with a solid contact rate. His chase rate was 23% (a tad high, but not outrageous), which was similar to Jordan Lawler. Peyton Stovall out of Haughton HS in Louisiana could be another name to watch here.

28. Tampa Bay Rays

Conner Norby, 2B, East Carolina

Middle infielders with plus hit tools are right up Tampa Bay’s alley and Norby fits that to a tee. The Rays’ first two picks are in close proximity to one another so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them flip profiles at 28/34. If Trey Sweeney made it down to 28, I believe he’d be the pick.

29. Los Angeles Dodgers

Wes Kath, 3B, Desert Mountain (HS)

For years the Dodgers snagged talents that fell to them in the draft and let their player development infrastructure build them up into elite prospects and MLB contributors. The Dodgers love to take “hit over power” infielders and work their PD magic. Kath is an amazing example of this (along with Peyton Stovall) and could be a dynamo in the LA system. Gage Jump, Conner Norby, Alex Mooney, Tommy Mace, Ryan Cusick, and Ky Bush could all be names to watch here.

30. Cincinnati Reds

Jay Allen, OF, John Carroll Catholic (HS)

Jay Allen could go way higher than this and is in play starting in the middle of the first round, but Cincinnati is in a great position to move money around to offer him significantly more than he could get with a higher pick. The Reds have been rumored to be all over the high school outfielder group for weeks now.

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31. Miami Marlins

Spencer Schwellenbach, SS/RHP, Nebraska

Schwellenbach is one of the dynamic two-way players in this class. Unlike the majority of the big names (Montgomery, Jobe, Chandler), Schwellenbach is already in college where he served as SS and closer for Nebraska. Miami has been linked to higher upside players in this class and their pitching infrastructure puts the Marlins in a great position to build out Schwellenbach’s repertoire.

32. Detroit Tigers

Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian (HS)

Detroit should still have considerable funds to take another big swing after picking third overall. They’ve been tied to prep SS Alex Mooney, who could be available here as well. Here the Tigers pick up Painter to add to their future pitching options.

33. Milwaukee Brewers

Aaron Zavala, OF, Oregon

Brewer scouts were all over Aaron Zavala at the NCAA regionals in Eugene and he showed off a solid swing at the dish. His name has been creeping up boards in recent weeks. He dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the season, but looked impressive in his return. His swing is geared towards teams that place a heavy emphasis on hitting models.

34. Tampa Bay Rays

Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace (HS)

I’ve had Tampa Bay linked to Solometo since the first mock draft so there’s no sense in deviating now. Solometo is a LHP with a funky arm action from the Northeast. The Rays haven’t shied away from any component of that profile before. Tampa Bay places added value on incorporating different looks from their pitching staff. Solometo is primarily a two-pitch guy and could stand to improve his changeup, but that’s hardly an unusual statement about cold-weather arms. The Rays brass has been spotted at several games for fellow northeast prep, Joshua Baez, and he could be in play for TB.

35. Cincinnati Reds

Malakhi Knight, OF, Marysville-Getchell (HS)

The Reds have been all over prep high school outfielders and there are rumors that James Wood may not be reasonably signable. Cincinnati had a surprisingly big scouting presence in to see Knight recently so this is a shot in the dark. He could certainly be a second or third round target.

36. Minnesota Twins

Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (HS)

Mack could easily be an earlier selection in the first round, but if he makes it down to here, Minnesota should consider themselves lucky. The Twins are often associated with college bats, but having taken one earlier they can take the prep catcher with the best likelihood of staying at the position in the class.

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