Author Archive

2021 Draft Odds & Ends

The 2021 MLB Draft is now in the books and here are our thoughts on each teams’ draft. We will have another draft-related podcast up soon and begin to migrate newly-selected players to the pro side of The Board next week. Thanks to the scouts and executives who help make our draft coverage so thorough, and good luck to the players who were selected this week.

American League East (Kevin)

Baltimore Orioles

Many think that the Orioles were looking to make a splash with some money following what is believed to be a cost-cutting deal with Colton Cowser at number five, but that splash never really presented itself, as Baltimore went with an old school, Moneyball-style draft by using their first five picks and nine of their first 11 on college bats. Third-rounder John Rhodes, an outfielder from Kentucky, is an interesting player who had a disappointing spring but rebounded a bit in the pre-draft summer leagues. The Orioles finished Day Two with a pair of big performing third baseman from California, as both ninth-rounder Ryan Higgins (Fresno State) and 10th-rounder Billy Cook (Pepperdine) had an OPS over 1.100 this spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Day 1 Draft Recap

With the first day of the draft wrapped, below are our thoughts on last night’s picks, which included quite a few surprises. As always, you can view full reports and draft rankings over on The Board, which has also been updated to reflect team picks.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
6 5 50 Jordan Lawlar SS 19.0 Jesuit Prep HS (TX) No-doubt SS, well-rounded bat

KG: The Diamondbacks likely slept with smiles on their faces last night after watching the player some saw as the top player in the draft as recently as six weeks ago fall to them at six. Lawlar’s age worked against him in draft models, but if he went to Vanderbilt, crushed it for two years and re-entered the draft in 2023, would anyone care about his date of birth? Some teams at the top soured on him a bit as June turned into July, and the D-backs are the lucky benefactors. Read the rest of this entry »

FanGraphs 2021 Draft Day 1 Mega Chat

Eric A Longenhagen: Hello from Denver. I am in a hotel, not at the draft itself. Hope everyone’s doing well.

Eric A Longenhagen: KG and I are still trying to ascertain who is going 1. Pittsburgh hasn’t tipped their hand and nothing concrete coming thru the agents right now.

Jason: Odds on a surprise with Watson at #1?

Eric A Longenhagen: Very remote at this point. He might slip deep into the top 10 based on latest buzz

Robert: Are the Angels the garbage disposal of the top 10 picks or are they being more proactive? Seem all over the place.

Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’ll snap up a good value guy who falls and if not do Taylor.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mock Draft 3.0: The Morning Of

Today is Day One of the draft, so here’s another mock. We may have another mock just before the first round kicks off that is just names with teams. The spice was really flowing yesterday afternoon, as teams have been in meetings for at least a few days and have moved on to gathering intel themselves after lining up their boards. Full scouting reports and draft rankings can be found over on The Board.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)

The overwhelming majority of our sources believe the Pirates are taking Mayer, but it’s quite possible that not even the Pirates themselves are going to be sure until minutes before the draft. We’re not hearing Jordan Lawlar here anymore and haven’t heard either of the Vandy arms for a while, so this is likely going to come down to how negotiations go between the Pirates and the camps of Mayer and, probably, Henry Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

2021 Draft Preview

The 2021 draft is this Sunday, July 11 and our broad strokes preview of the event is below. You can use the navigation widget above to brush up on our other draft-related content and view our draft rankings and scouting reports on The Board.

A General Overview

Like most drafts, the 2021 draft lacks a truly elite, generational talent at the top, but the tier of talent that fits among the top 100 prospects in baseball has average depth. High school shortstops Jordan Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, and Khalil Watson, Louisville catcher Henry Davis, Vanderbilt pitchers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, and Sam Houston State center fielder Colten Cowser are all 50 FV players. You can see approximately where they’ll rank on the overall pro prospect list once they’re drafted here. Read the rest of this entry »

Mock Draft 2.0

With the first round set to kick off on Sunday, we present our second mock draft. Full scouting reports can be found over on The Board.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)

This pick is still not a lock, though there are people in the industry who feel like it should be based on their opinion of Mayer’s talent. The Pirates themselves have been tight-lipped about their intentions and haven’t begun engaging advisors in an illuminating way, at least not such that we’ve been able to ascertain either by engaging with those reps ourselves or by triangulating information by talking to the teams behind Pittsburgh. Right now Mayer is here in our mock because we think he’s the best player, and teams tend to think Pittsburgh will take a hitter and that Mayer is in that mix. Ben Cherington’s modus operandi in previous positions of power has been to take a college player, but he’s never picked first before. Whoever Pittsburgh takes up here (even Mayer) will sign for less than the slot value ($8.4 million). In Pittsburgh’s mind, is there a gap between Mayer and the rest of the pack? How big is that gap, and is there a player in the second tier of talent willing to take a deal far enough under slot to tempt the Pirates into moving off Mayer? That may only become evident as things crystallize behind Pittsburgh in the next several days.

2. Texas Rangers
Pick: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt

If Mayer doesn’t go first, then he’s the favorite to go here and the general sense around baseball is that the other high school shortstops — Jordan Lawlar and Khalil Watson — are likely in the mix, too. Watson doesn’t fit with the org’s recent patterns of acquisition, so we’re skeptical of that one. Scouts with other teams speculated to us that Leiter better fits Texas’ self-perceived competitive timeline, and that they have the bonus pool flex to get a deal done even if Leiter’s camp sees this market as sub-optimal. Read the rest of this entry »

2021 MLB Mock Draft: One Month To Go

We’re a month away from the 2021 Draft and it’s time for our first mock draft of the season. We have also posted an updated ranking of the prospects, which is available over on The Board. In a typical year, the Draft, which usually leads into the first or second weekend of June, would be wrapping up and teams would be beginning to prep for next year’s affair by heading to PG National in St. Petersburg to watch many of the top 2022 high schoolers. With the pandemic once again shifting the schedule, the draft is instead still a month out, and only now is substantive information circulating that makes a mock based on more than speculation and educated guessing viable.

Below we have names with teams down to pick 17, where the Reds (who also pick 30th and 35th) select. After that we have a smattering of dope and rumors to pass along, but otherwise still think it’s an exercise in futility to connect specific names with clubs toward the back half of the first round. This mock was compiled with info sourced from team personnel (a couple of general managers, scouts, cross checkers, directors, etc.), agents, and our own experiences at games (scouting the scouts and execs), as well as our own logical conclusions. As we receive feedback from more of our sources, and as teams cease scouting and huddle in the draft room for the next month, the rankings will grow and change, and we will update and lengthen our mock. Read the rest of this entry »

A Thursday Scouting Notebook: 5/20/2021

Prospect writers Kevin Goldstein and Eric Longenhagen will sometimes have enough player notes to compile a scouting post. This is one of those dispatches, a collection of thoughts after another week of college baseball and minor league play. Remember: prospect rankings can be found on The Board.

Eric’s Notes

Wes Kath, SS, Desert Mountain High School

High schoolers with profiles driven by their hit tool are becoming more sought-after in the draft room, and every year there are guys who don’t light up the showcase circuit workouts with big tools and instead need some combination of time and impressive swing-and-miss data to be appreciated. Kath is one of those players. On Tuesday, his high school won the Arizona 5A State Championship as Kath homered and reached base several times. He has a sweet lefty swing and advanced bat control, as well as a good baseball frame. He’s currently a shortstop and is capable of making routine plays there, with a sufficient arm for short and good body control, but his size and slow-twitch movements might push him to third base, and some scouts think he’ll eventually end up at first. Kath does not have big bat speed, and his swing tends to look long when he offers at lower pitches, but that’s what has to happen for him to get the barrel there with lift. West Coast hit tool guys like this tend to sign for close to $1 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Thursday Scouting Notebook – 5/6/2021

Prospect writers Kevin Goldstein and Eric Longenhagen will sometimes have enough player notes to compile a scouting post. This is one of those dispatches, a collection of thoughts after another week of college baseball and the return of minor league play. Remember, prospect rankings can be found on The Board.

Kevin’s Notes

After nearly 600 days without them, it was sure nice to have minor league boxscores. It was also overwhelming in terms of thinking about who to highlight for today’s notebook. During a lunchtime call with Eric Longenhagen, we probably discussed 40 or 50 guys. To celebrate the long-awaited return of minor league baseball, I’ll push the draft aside for a week and talk about some prospects with real numbers next to their names for the first time in over a year. Instead of just finding five players, I decided to focus on a quintet of catchers who had big starts to the season. Catching prospects fascinate me as it’s the toughest position to find. There’s aren’t 30 legitimate starting catchers in baseball, but there are 30 teams, so while the bar is ridiculous on a defensive level, the necessary production in terms of offense is nowhere near that of other positions. Here are five real prospects — some big names, some sleepers — who have a shot at becoming that everyday guy.

Francisco Álvarez, C, New York Mets (Low-A St. Lucie)

Álvarez put up a .916 OPS in his 2019 stateside debut as a 17-year-old, and his 2021 is off to an impressive start. Eric ranked Álvarez as the best prospect in the Mets system this spring, and I support that ranking whole heartedly. Famous in the international community since his early teens, Álvarez commanded a $2.7 million bonus, and it’s easy to see why as there is the potential for the Venezuelan product to be an plus contributor both at the plate and behind it. He’s tightened up his meaty frame over the past year, which gives him good mobility in terms of block and receiving to go with a plus arm. With a bat in his hands, he has showcased an impressive approach for a teenager to go with real power that projects for 20-plus home runs annually when all is said and done. He’s not only the Mets’ best prospect, he’s on of the best catching prospects in all of baseball, a player who has the potential to be ready somewhere around the end of James McCann’s four-year deal. Read the rest of this entry »

A Thursday Scouting Notebook – 4/29/2021

Prospect writers Kevin Goldstein and Eric Longenhagen will sometimes have enough player notes to compile a scouting post. This is one of those dispatches, a collection of thoughts after another week of college baseball, minor league spring training, and big league action. Remember, prospect rankings can be found on The Board.

Kevin’s Notes

John Baker, RHP, Ball State: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8K

When I saw John Baker’s line from Friday’s game against North Illinois, my first reaction was, “Wait a second, that John Baker?” It feels like he’s been part of the Redbirds’ weekend rotation since the Clinton administration, but in reality he’s a fifth-year senior with 60 games and over 300 innings on his college resume. He’s always been good, earning All-Conference awards and a couple of pre-season All-American mentions while compiling a 3.17 career ERA and more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2019, he was a 29th round pick of the Marlins; he was overshadowed on that year’s Ball State team by eventual Arizona first-round pick Drey Jameson, who was taken 34th overall. Read the rest of this entry »