Day 1 Draft Recap by Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein July 12, 2021 MLB Draft Week 2021 Mock Draft 2.0What Goes on in Draft Rooms2021 Draft PreviewPre-Draft Farm System RankingsStatistical Diamonds in the RoughMock Draft 3.0: The Morning OfDay 1 Draft Mega ChatDay 1 Draft RecapDraft Odds & Ends 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. EL: It may compromise Arizona’s bonus flexibility throughout the rest of the draft, but Lawlar was a great pickup at six. His age and degree of advancement could mean they send him right to Low-A, which means they avoid taking at-bats away from Juan Corniel (a raw, super twitchy teenage shortstop) in the complex league. Arizona is likely to stay with mostly college players and may even have to cut a deal at some point to fit Lawlar into their bonus pool. They tend to prioritize lefty-hitting, contact-oriented bats and pitchers with backspinning fastballs. Atlanta Braves Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 24 20 45 Ryan Cusick RHP 21.7 Wake Forest Upper-90s heat, + curve KG: The Braves were attached to all sorts of players over the last few weeks, but Cusick had been associated with them for months. In the end, the power stuff was just too much to resist, command troubles and reliever risk be damned. EL: Teams had Cusick placed in wildly variable spots on their boards, with some having him deep in the second round due to issues with his command. His stuff is inarguably nasty, among the best in the draft, especially his fastball. He’s a huge, athletic power arm with bullpen risk. Atlanta has been able to get young arms in their system to throw harder but haven’t been quite as successful at getting guys with big stuff to hone command. But the Braves are competitive and could push Cusick in a way that mimics the White Sox handling of Garrett Crochet, which means they may soon have an elite, homegrown relief piece here. Baltimore Orioles Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 5 6 50 Colton Cowser CF 21.3 Sam Houston State Hit tool, sneaky pop, CF KG: Baltimore was seen as a team that would look to cut a deal, but late rumors had them willing to dance with the high school shortstop class should the right player present himself. That is exactly what happened — the Orioles spent much of Sunday internally debating Watson — but at the end of the day, they decided to cut the deal most anticipated. Cowser makes the most sense if that’s the decided upon strategy, as many teams saw him as a legitimate top-10 talent and arguably the second-best pure college bat in the draft. EL: We like Cowser enough that he’ll immediately enter our top 100 pro prospects at about 90 overall. He has the best hit tool in this draft. Scouts and analysts alike admire Cowser. Scouts dig his frame and aptitude in center field as well as his well-rounded offensive skills, while analysts think he has sneaky power (max exit velos close to 110 mph) and consider his feel for contact to be superlative. This is absolutely the bat with whom to cut a deal, and Baltimore did it for a second straight year. Boston Red Sox Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 4 1 50 Marcelo Mayer SS 18.6 Eastlake HS (CA) Hit/power combo at SS KG: My goodness. To wake up in the morning still trying to direct Leiter their way, have that fail, and still end up with the top talent in the draft has to have been quite the roller coaster. There is no world where this could have gone better for Boston. EL: The rich get richer as Boston, currently leading the Al East, nabbed the best player in the draft. Mayer doesn’t run well and he’s a waist-bender, but his hands and actions are smooth and quick, and even if he fills out and ends up built like Corey Seager, he has a shot to stay at shortstop while also presenting among the best hit/power combinations in the high school class. He’s a potential perennial All-Star and he’s been universally acclaimed as a prospect since his sophomore year of high school. Chicago Cubs Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 21 17 45 Jordan Wicks LHP 21.9 Kansas State Plus changeup & command KG: It’s a safe pick, but I can’t say it’s not a good one. Most expected Wicks to go in the mid-to-late teens, and despite the Cubs mostly being attached to prep players for much of the day, in the end Wicks was too good to pass up. He’s not the most exciting of selections, but it’s a slam dunk starter package with a high floor. EL: Lefties with good changeups and command tend to find some way into big league rotations and Wicks is exactly that kind of prospect. The Cubs have recently been able to coax more velo out of their prospect arms, even many of the older ones, so Wicks may be fed some magic Italian beef sandwich that makes him sit in the mid-90s. Chicago White Sox Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 22 36 40+ Colson Montgomery SS 19.4 Southridge HS (IN) Frame/power projection KG: The White Sox were associated with high school bats all spring, including Montgomery, but their pick felt up in the air following a rumor that that Montgomery could go as high at 10 to the Mets. In the end, Montgomery went right about where his talent merited. EL: Chicago’s lower levels are filled with big-framed athletes with spotty feel to hit and Montgomery adds to the mix. This kid is built like a Division-I wide receiver, he has the athleticism to play shortstop, and he’s likely going to grow into impact power as he matures. If Montgomery can stay at short and end up with plus or better power, he doesn’t need to have deft feel to hit to be an everyday player. Cincinnati Reds Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 17 11 45 Matt McLain SS 21.9 UCLA Plus hit, run, viable SS 30 41 40+ Jay Allen OF 18.6 John Carroll HS (FL) Plus athlete, well-rounded 35 37 40+ Matheu Nelson C 22.5 Florida State Huge power KG: Many thought the Reds would make a big splash with their first pick, but few projected all of the weirdness ahead of them that would lead to McLain being available to them at 17. He’s a fringy shortstop, but can likely stay there, and many have plus grades on the hit tool. They’ll likely spend some of their extra money originally assigned to pick 17 on Allen, who doesn’t have a monster tool as much as he is solid across the board. Nelson is a safety pick as a 22-year-old without much in the way of leverage. He’s not a great defender, and had little hype prior to this spring, but put up a 1.210 OPS this year for Florida State while showing plus power and a good approach, with some concerning swing-and-miss tendencies. EL: The Reds had a heck of a first day of the draft, mixing upside and floor with two up-the-middle college bats and a toolsy high school outfielder. I don’t know what kind of bonus Matt McLain will command, but it feels like he and Allen might both be for close to slot while Nelson will be under, so the Reds may still end up with another high-upside player in the middle of round two or beyond. They’re set up to restock their farm system in a big way. Cleveland Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 23 19 45 Gavin Williams RHP 22.0 East Carolina Upper-90s velo, curveball KG: Most of the industry thought Cleveland would take a high school bat, but in the end they reversed course on took Williams. One can argue that no player in the draft made more money with a single-game performance than Williams, who went from second- to first-round consideration when he shut down Vanderbilt in super-regional play. He has a starter frame with power stuff, but will need to develop a changeup as a pro. EL: After his postseason start against Vandebrilt, there was buzz that Williams might come off the board in the late teens. This is good value for Cleveland. Williams is a power arm with two solid breaking balls and Cleveland’s dev machine might be able to improve his secondary stuff at least a little. Colorado Rockies Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 8 15 45 Benny Montgomery CF 18.8 Red Land HS (PA) Plus athlete, CF, power KG: The Rockies love tools and Montgomery provides just that, with arguably the best power/speed combination in the class and a big league frame. Whether or not he can hit is still to be determined. EL: This was thought to be the ceiling for Montgomery and I was skeptical entering the draft that the Rockies would actually do this, in part because I assumed at least one of the top handful of players would fall here and be a pleasant surprise for Colorado. You could argue for Montgomery over Brady House because Montgomery is much more likely to stay at an up-the-middle position, he just doesn’t have as much power as House does. I think Montgomery needs a swing adjustment to actualize all of his thump and I’m not sure this is the org that’s going to get him there. Detroit Tigers Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 3 8 45+ Jackson Jobe RHP 18.9 Heritage Hall School (OK) Elite curveball, mid-90s gas 32 12 45 Ty Madden RHP 21.4 Texas Above-avg fastball/slider KG: Detroit used to be easy to project in the draft: just take the kid who throws hard. They returned to their old ways on Sunday by taking a pair of arms who can consistently get into the upper 90s. Jobe has the best raw stuff in the draft, but it was still a bit of a surprise to see them stick with him when Marcelo Mayer was still on the board. I’m the first to admit that I’m a bigger fan of Madden than much of the industry, but he was still seen as likely to go in the teens, and to grab him in the comp round is absolute highway robbery. After using all six of their 2020 draft picks on position players, the Tigers quickly found a way to balance that on Sunday. EL: It might feel rough for Tigers fans that Marcelo Mayer was sitting there and Detroit took a high school righty third overall instead, but the Tigers honored a verbal agreement here and the cosmic reward for that decision appears to be Ty Madden, who they may not have been able to pay if not for likely cutting a deal at three. I think Tigers pitching dev is actually pretty good, but the track record of high schoolers who are already throwing this hard at the time of draft is really scary. Kansas City Royals Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 7 29 40+ Frank Mozzicato LHP 18.1 East Catholic HS (CT) FB carry, + curve, silky delivery KG: This was certainly the biggest surprise on Sunday. Mozzicato can really spin the baseball and teams that met with him prior to the draft had universal praise for his makeup, but this was a late-first round talent at best. It’s hard to judge what the Royals did here other than save some money, so we won’t be able to fully assess their strategy until we know what they do with picks 43, 66 and 78. EL: Mozzicato is a great prospect and likely coming at an under-slot price, which means the Royals can scoop up a high-upside player on an overpay later on. Velocity development is now very common. Mozzicato doesn’t throw especially hard presently but he’s super loose, athletic, his fastball has big carry, and he has a snapdragon curveball that plays well off the heater. He’s a great developmental prospect. Los Angeles Angels Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 9 18 45 Sam Bachman RHP 21.8 Miami (OH) Elite velo, plus slider KG: This was a bit of a head scratcher for the first draft under new GM Perry Minasian. In terms of raw talent, Bachman was seen as more of a mid-first round type, and concerns over his hip and shoulder issues had some teams taking him out of contention for their pick. Yes, he can throw 100 mph, but the reliever risk here is considerable, and it all adds up to a questionable selection. EL: Bachman fits recent Angels selection patterns in that he’s a college pitcher who will likely race to the big leagues, assuming he’s healthy. Industry buzz about his medical made him at risk of falling the way Madden did, and so this may be for under-slot. Under-slot here makes all the Will Taylor rumors make more sense, just in round two now instead of one. Los Angeles Dodgers Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 29 53 40+ Maddux Bruns LHP 19.1 UMS Wright Prep School (AL) Fastball carry, curveball KG: If anyone can take a chance on a player, it’s the Dodgers, and they did just that with Bruns. The stuff is pure electricity with plus-plus velocity and a viscous slider, but there are days where he can’t hit the broadside of a barn with it. The upside is here, the risk is considerable, but this is a great piece of clay to throw at one of the better development systems in baseball. It would be a questionable selection for several teams, but makes sense for the Dodgers, who have the financial power to make up for draft failures. EL: The Dodgers like power pitchers with vertically-oriented stuff, and Bruns is exactly that. Like Clayton Beeter last year, Bruns has a big fastball/curveball combo that will play in relief if they can’t find a third pitch and starter-level command. Based on his ability to spin a curveball, it’s likely there will be a good slider here eventually. The command piece is less certain. Miami Marlins Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 16 4 50 Kahlil Watson SS 18.2 Wake Forest HS (NC) Bat speed, MIF fit 31 26 40+ Joe Mack C 18.5 Williamsville East HS (NY) Power at premium position KG: It’s hard to imagine the Marlins being any happier than they ended up Sunday night. Watson generated late rumors during the afternoon of being among the first two picks, but it was also tough to find a home for him after five, mostly due to a bonus demand that is believed to be in the $5 million dollar range. In an impressive high school shortstop class, Watson arguably has the best pure tools, and to grab this kind of upside at 16 is a real coup. Mack doesn’t rate as the same level of larceny, but he was expected to go in the 18-25 range based off his hit tool and arm strength. The Marlins did a fantastic job capitalizing on a couple of unexpected falls here. EL: Wow! Watson’s fall was the most shocking storyline of the night after he began the day as a sleeper option for first overall, and with potential homes at 2, 5 and beyond. He’s supremely talented and fits Miami’s prospect palette perfectly. Was part of his fall because, at some point, his ask was more than most teams were willing to accommodate? The Joe Mack pick in the comp round is an indication that that’s not the case, otherwise Miami would have cut a deal with an older college guy to try to fit a big over-slot Watson bonus in their pool. Milwaukee Brewers Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 15 10 45+ Sal Frelick CF 21.2 Boston College Contact, speed 33 35 40+ Tyler Black 2B 21.0 Wright State Feel to hit, MIF fit KG: Milwaukee was generally expected to be in on the college arms, but it’s fair to say that they didn’t expect Frelick to be there at 15, either. This is a great value pick that also fits well with the way they draft. Black is another big college performer who was rumored to be in their mix in the first-round, so taking him in the comp round was a no-brainer. EL: Milwaukee is doing exactly what they did last year: taking good value college bats. We had Black with the Brewers at this pick in an iteration of our final mock but were told he’d likely go before that, so this was a steal of sorts. Frelick should at least become a viable piece but may not have everyday player power. Minnesota Twins Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 26 55 40+ Chase Petty RHP 18.3 Mainland Regional HS (NJ) Up to 103, 70-grade slider 36 N/A TBD Noah Miller SS 18.7 Ozaukee HS (WI) Feel to hit, MIF fit KG: Yes, there are concerns about the size. Yes, there are concerns about the delivery. Yes, there are concerns about the command. But at some point, it’s hard to ignore velocity that exceeds 100 at times to go with one of the nastier sliders in the draft. This is about where Petty belongs, but the ceiling is a frightening closer. Noah Miller is the far safer pick, but with far less upside. He’s not loaded with tools, but he’s a polished, fundamentally sound player both at the plate and in the field. EL: Chase Petty is like Colten Cowser in that traditional scouts and analysts both revere him for different reasons. His stuff grades out near the top of the scale analytically, and he’s also a well-built, super athletic, competitive kid with big velo, which older scout types love. The teams that combine the two think his delivery can be tweaked to create more ride on his fastball rather than tail, and the Twins blend of eyeball/data scouting seems to indicate that they’re in this camp. Every year, “MIF fit, hit tool” is the most common thing I write in the “Strengths” column, and that’s Noah Miller. New York Mets Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 10 7 50 Kumar Rocker RHP 21.6 Vanderbilt Elite with peak stuff, solid without it KG: Kumar Rocker was in the mix beginning with the first pick in the draft, but felt like a backup plan for teams until the six to nine range. The Mets did not expect him to be there for them, and they were absolutely thrilled when he was. It’s hard to find this kind of upside at 10, and while it shouldn’t matter, this pick has already made a splash in a city that often feeds on media frenzy. EL: It’s hard to explain Rocker’s fall to casual baseball fans. On the one hand, his stuff has been up and down since high school, and it’s trended down in two of the last three full seasons in which he’s played. On the other, he had elite stuff late in the year and threw the no-hitter that made him known to most sports fans. His realistic outcome is probably more like the pitcher he’s been lately, while his upside is the pitcher he was at peak, which makes him a great pick at 10 where a fourth stater is a fine outcome. New York Yankees Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 20 63 40 Trey Sweeney SS 21.2 Eastern Illinois Hit/power combo, shift-enabled MIF shot KG: This feels like a bit of a yawner, but the Yankees are data-driven drafters, and Sweeney’s combination of power, patience and contact ability checked a lot of boxes. He’s not especially twitchy, and likely will slide to either second or third base in the end, but he was generating plenty of interest in the early 20s, so this might not be the reach it seemed like at first glance. EL: We may be underrating Sweeney a little bit. He does have a major-league frame and power. The Yankees tend to be a little more optimistic about moving players up the defensive spectrum that most orgs; Sweeney is probably not a pro shortstop for most clubs. He also has a pretty limited area of the strike zone in which he makes contact, mostly the inner third. Oakland Athletics Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 25 40 40+ Max Muncy SS 18.9 Thousand Oaks HS (CA) Hit tool, MIF fit KG: Oakland had been projected to take one of many high school bats expected to go in the 20-40 range, but rumors started to spread Saturday night that they were beginning to focus on Muncy. Further rumors on Sunday had Muncy throwing out an above-slot demand this low, but clearly Oakland was willing to do what was necessary to sign the player at the top of their board. EL: Muncy was in the mix for clubs in the back of the first round and the comp. Like a lot of the players drafted yesterday, he’s a middle infielder with advanced feel for contact. There’s a chance he may come in a little over slot, which Oakland had success with last year, as Tyler Soderstrom looks incredible. Philadelphia Phillies Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 13 22 45 Andrew Painter RHP 18.3 Calvary Christian Academy (FL) Frame, curveball, velo KG: Two years ago, many in the industry thought Painter had a chance to be a top five pick by 2021. He didn’t develop as expected, but he’s still plenty good. His four pitch mix is unusually deep for a prep arm, and it’s easy to dream on the stuff ticking up as he fills into his 6-foot-7 frame. EL: This makes two consecutive years of high school pitchers in the first round for the Phillies. Painter is a little less athletic than Mick Abel but has similar velo and breaking ball quality. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 1 2 50 Henry Davis C 21.8 Louisville 70 power w/feel to hit KG: Most people still thought the Pirates would take Marcelo Mayer with the first pick in the draft, but it never felt like a slam dunk, and late word had Mayer demanding an at-slot deal with any pick. That led the Pirates to check in with other players, ultimately finding the combination of valuation and evaluation they desired in Davis. He’ll certainly be sent out as a catcher, but even if the receiving remains rough, he has more than enough bat to project as a plus offensive producer anywhere on the defensive spectrum. EL: We spent all day trying to figure out who the Pirates were going to take and it wasn’t until Jim Callis tweeted it that we knew it was Davis. Pittsburgh’s strategy hasn’t yet had time to truly play out since part of the motivation to do Davis first is to collect more very talented and expensive players later on. He may not have Mayer’s ceiling but Davis is a good player. San Diego Padres Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 27 72 40 Jackson Merrill SS 18.2 Severna Park HS (MD) Gorgeous swing, MIF fit KG: Merill made a slow and steady rise up boards throughout the spring, but even on Sunday, few saw him landing in the first round. He has a good frame and a downright pretty swing, but scouts question the athleticism and his ability to stay at shortstop long-term. EL: It sounds like Jackson Merrill had homes early in the second round, so if he’s under-slot here it may only be for a moderate cut. He’s a sweet-swinging infielder with enough arm for the left side. San Francisco Giants Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 14 32 40+ Will Bednar RHP 21.1 Mississippi State Two-seamer/slider combo KG: For much of the brief interval between the Phillies taking Andrew Painter and the Giants selection, much of the industry was sure that San Francisco would take Kahlil Watson. Some hypothesize that a deal fell through at the last minute and they downshifted to Bednar, who had a reported bonus demand in the $3 million range. No player in the game took better advantage of the later draft date than Bednar, who saw his stock skyrocket with his outstanding performance in the college postseason. EL: With Kyle Harrison and Bednar heading to San Francisco in consecutive years, I think it’s safe to say that the Giants are fine with guys whose stuff has lateral action. Seattle Mariners Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 12 13 45 Harry Ford C 18.4 North Cobb HS (GA) Rare tools for C KG: This was a minor surprise, as the Mariners were expected to focus on college talent, while Ford was seen by most as having a ceiling in the later teens. The most interesting thing to watch here is where Seattle ends up playing Ford defensively, as he’s almost too good of an athlete to catch for many evaluators. EL: This is a stylistic departure for Seattle, though Ford’s impressive physique does fit in with the rocked up, high-profile prospects in their system. St. Louis Cardinals Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 18 48 40+ Michael McGreevy RHP 21.0 UC Santa Barbara Age, command, athleticism KG: The Cardinals were one of the tougher teams to get a handle on during the draft, and McGreevey is a bit of a head-scratcher this high, as some teams soured on him a bit following some rough late-season outings. His sinker/slider combination is a bit old school, but he’s a big-bodied kid who works the zone effectively. Overall, the Cardinals sacrificed upside for safety. EL: The Cardinals, who also traded for Matthew Liberatore and drafted Zack Thompson, are also officially in the Sinker-lovers Club after adding McGreevy, who works with a two-seamer. McGreevy is young, athletic, and throws strikes, but his stuff is just okay and he alters his arm slot on his curveball. Tampa Bay Rays Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 28 31 40+ Carson Williams SS/RHP 18.0 Torrey Pines HS (CA) Velo, power 34 47 40+ Cooper Kinney 2B 18.5 The Baylor Schools (TN) Hit tool, body projection KG: It wasn’t shocking to see the Rays take a high school bat, but it was a bit surprising to see them pop two. Williams was rumored to have a price tag above this slot, but Kinney was also expected to go in the second round, so maybe that balances out in terms of pool distribution. While Williams was a two-way player, and the Rays like developing two-way players, he told teams going into the draft that he wanted to be a position player as a pro, so it will be interesting to see how and if the Rays try to also see if his mid-90s heat (and little else) is worth working on. EL: Williams is yet another two-way player for the Rays who also drafted Brendan McKay and Tanner Dodson recently. Williams is a viable prospect both ways. Kinney was announced as a second baseman but he’s a pretty big kid and projected to third for most clubs. He might hit enough that it doesn’t matter where he plays. Texas Rangers Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 2 3 50 Jack Leiter RHP 21.2 Vanderbilt Velo, carry, legit four-pitch mix KG: Most of the industry thought the Rangers would take Jack Leiter, regardless of any politicking going on to get him to Boston, and by late-afternoon, it sounded like they would stick with Leiter even if Marcelo Mayer was available (which he was). In the end, the Rangers selected the best pitching prospect in the draft, and it’s hard to argue with such a strategy. EL: All the talk about Boston felt dumb as soon as Leiter and his family reacted to hearing his name called by Texas. He had a Rangers jersey on by 8 pm. He’ll move quickly and be very good. Toronto Blue Jays Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 19 14 45 Gunnar Hoglund RHP 21.6 Ole Miss Elite slider command KG: Hoglund’s recent Tommy John surgery dropped him out of the first 10 picks, but in the end, he didn’t fall all that far, and by draft day was expected to go in the 15-20 range. The Jays were one of the toughest teams to get a read on once the draft began, but in the end, they couldn’t pass on this kind of upside at 19. EL: I love this for Toronto. I think Hoglund’s TJ rehab presents his parent club the opportunity to rework his body and maybe coax more velo out of him, the same way the Dodgers did with Walker Buehler. Hoglund’s slider command is incredible. He was carving up the SEC sitting 80-92 — imagine him parked in the mid-90s. Washington Nationals Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths 11 9 45+ Brady House 3B 18.1 Winder Barrow HS (GA) Raw power, frame, track record KG: It felt like House had a ceiling of three and a floor of eight going into the draft, so the Nationals must have been thrilled to see him still on the board when they were put on the clock. Of the big name high school shortstops, he’s the least likely to stay at the position due to his size, but he offers as much offensive upside as any of them. Washington is assuredly quite happy with how things played out. EL: House provides the injection of upside that the Nationals farm system needs. He was in the mix as high as three at some points and is a steal outside the top 10. He instantly becomes the best hitting prospect in Washington’s system.