Mock Draft 2.0 by Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein July 6, 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 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. 3. Detroit Tigers Pick: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (GA) We had Detroit taking Brady House in our first mock, and sources indicate that he continued to impress the team in a recent private workout that reinforced the Tigers’ belief in both a plus hit and plus power tool. His large frame (6-foot-3 and 215 pounds) has many believing that he’ll need to slide to third base down the road, but his athleticism grades out very well for his size, and his believers see him staying at shortstop provided he doesn’t add too much bulk. The Tigers are also big fans of Mayer, but there are few scenarios that have him dropping to them. This is the ceiling for Oklahoma high school right-hander Jackson Jobe, as well. To reiterate from our last mock, the Tigers once had five people at a Jobe start this year. We don’t know if they’d take Leiter ahead of House/Jobe were he still on the board. 4. Boston Red Sox Pick: Henry Davis, C, Louisville Few teams have more wild rumors running around them than the Red Sox. There continues to be talk of the team trying to price Leiter down to them, but most sources believe that a team ahead of them will take him and dare his camp to turn down a $7 million payday. There are rumors Boston touched base with Mayer’s camp, but that the motivation there may be to inflate Mayer’s price above whatever threshold Pittsburgh deems acceptable so that they look elsewhere and Mayer goes second, making it possible for Leiter to fall to Boston at four. We’re giving them the best player available here, as they recently conducted a private workout with Henry Davis, House and Jud Fabian. Some hypothesize that if the Leiter/Mayer gambits don’t work, they’ll look to cut an under-slot deal, with prep catcher Harry Ford mentioned, in an attempt to spread out their $11 million-plus draft pool. This is also where Kumar Rocker’s market seems to begin. 5. Baltimore Orioles Pick: Colton Cowser, CF, Sam Houston State The Orioles would love to see something strange happen ahead of them in order to access one of Leiter or Davis, and they’ll jump on the opportunity if it presents itself. Barring that, they’ll likely cut a deal on one of the college outfielders, with Colton Cowser and Sal Frelick being the most frequently mentioned names. Cowser feels like the pick here, as some models (and the Orioles lean heavily on models) have him behind only Davis in terms of offensive potential among the college bats. If House is on the board here then he might be the value pick Baltimore is hoping for. Watson’s name was mentioned with this club earlier in the process, too. 6. Arizona Diamondbacks Pick: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep HS (TX) The Diamondbacks get to take their pick of two of the high school shortstops (Watson, Lawlar) in this scenario, which felt like a pipe dream about a month ago. They’d likely discuss Rocker here, but our sources believe they’d prioritize the prep shortstops and would choose between Lawlar and Watson. Once seen as a potential No. 1 pick, Lawlar’s age and some minor swing-and-miss tendencies have him slipping a bit, but this is still great value at six. Cowser also feels like a player this team would be on. Remember to stash away Noah Miller’s name for a later round here. 7. Kansas City Royals Pick: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt At some point a team will see Rocker, who still pitched pretty well with suppressed stuff in 2021, as too good a value to pass on. They’ll see the player he was more recently (low-90s, living off of pitch execution, fourth starter look) as his floor, with the upside that he returns to (and sustains) peak form as better than their other options. If Rocker goes ahead of this, then House, Jobe and Watson are the names attached to this pick. We’re not sure how the club views Lawlar since he hasn’t been expected to fall to them at all, but in this scenario he’s just a different D-backs pick (either Rocker or Watson) from being available here. 8. Colorado Rockies Pick: Khalil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC) Last mock, we said Colorado would be hoping for one of the high school hitters to fall here and in this scenario, Watson does. It sounds like Cowser would also be in the mix here if he lasts this long. This is supposedly where Pennsylvania prepster Benny Montgomery’s market begins, but he’s more consistently mentioned in the middle of the round. 9. Los Angeles Angels Pick: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK) The Angels rumors have been all over the board but they’re in a spot where one of the nine players mocked so far will fall to them and be considered good value. This is probably the ceiling for Texas right-hander Ty Madden, and there is a late rumor of them starting to kick the tires on two-way prep star Bubba Chandler, who is seen by most as more of second-half of the first round talent. Jobe, who might go as high as three, has some of the best raw stuff in the draft and has impressed this spring with his ability to harness it within the zone. 10. New York Mets Pick: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA The Mets continue to be attached to McLain after having extra heat in to see him late. Some teams feel McLain is a bit of a reach in the top 10, seeing him as more of a tweener (between shortstop and second base) with a questionable power ceiling. Frelick might tempt the Mets here, and there was a late rumor that they are considering Indiana high school shortstop Colson Montgomery, which feels like even a greater reach at this pick. 11. Washington Nationals Pick: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio) Teams think this would be Rocker’s floor considering Washington’s needs and the club’s track record with Rocker’s advisor. They’ve also taken pitchers coming off Tommy John, which would fit Gunnar Hoglund from this class, and falling power arms with injury issues in the past, like their 2019 first-rounder Jackson Rutledge. Bachman (hip) fits this exactly and could fly to the big leagues fast enough to help the current Nationals core. Kansas State left-hander Jordan Wicks’ range starts here. 12. Seattle Mariners Pick: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College We have the Mariners attached to college hitters if one falls and in this scenario Frelick has. Frelick has plus speed and fantastic bat-to-ball ability, while proving to scouts this spring that he can play center field. Folks in baseball also think this is where Santa Barbara righty Michael McGreevy’s market starts since Seattle seems a little less likely to care about fastball shape (McGreevy throws two-seamers) and more likely to care about age, athleticism, and strike-throwing pitchers they can get to throw harder à la George Kirby and Emerson Hancock. 13. Philadelphia Phillies Pick: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss Hoglund is so polished that even though his career begins in the middle of a TJ rehab, he’s still likely to be one of the first players from this draft class to reach the big leagues. Benny Montgomery’s name keeps getting mentioned here by scouts with other clubs but we can’t tell if it’s something they’ve heard via industry discussion or if it’s bunk made seemingly real by early mocks putting Benny here because he’s a local kid. 14. San Francisco Giants Pick: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas Most Giants chatter seems to revolve around the mid-range college arms expected to go in this area, but there’s been some late buzz on them being enamored with Benny Montgomery’s combination of size and athleticism. Teams further down the first round have asked us if we think they should be prepared for Madden to fall to them, which we take as an indication that he might slip. The Giants recent history includes them taking good value guys who’ve fallen unexpectedly (Hunter Bishop, Patrick Bailey) and if you’d have told us three months ago Madden would be available in the middle of the round we’d have said you were crazy. 15. Milwaukee Brewers Pick: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State Like San Francisco, Milwaukee is believed to be lining up the second tier of college arms. This could be the floor for Hoglund. If their board gets blown up by a run on college pitching, then they might cut a deep deal with a college bat like ECU’s Connor Norby or Trey Sweeney of Eastern Illinois. Sweeney’s name is getting peppered throughout the rest of the first round starting here. 16. Miami Marlins Pick: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS (FL) We think Frelick is in the mix if he falls this far, but other than that we don’t have great dope here. The Marlins comp pick gives them flexibility, which makes them hard to pin down. This is an upside-y dart throw on our part. 17. Cincinnati Reds Pick: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA) The Reds have lots of picks and lots of money. Some of the Montgomery rumors ahead of this keep his price tag nice and high. The Reds have done Northeast high schoolers in the past and Montgomery checks a lot of the frame/athleticism boxes they have had a penchant for in the recent past. We also have them on Florida high schoolers James Wood (they’d have to alter their entire draft to accommodate his early money ask), Jay Allen, and Painter, though they’d have to cut a deal with a college guy (maybe even an older one like Florida State catcher Matheu Nelson or Fordham lefty Matt Mikulski) in the comp round to make some of those work. 18. St. Louis Cardinals Pick: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA) The recent Masyn Winn pick has teams pointing at two-way players Bubba Chandler (Georgia) and Carson Williams (SoCal) here. Ford made a late-season switch to Scott Boras for representation, so this situation mirrors the recent Tre Fletcher draft pick in that way. Teams are split as to whether to send him out as a catcher or allow his athleticism to hold down center field. Wicks would be a good value pick here, as well, in line with the Zack Thompson selection of a couple years ago. 19. Toronto Blue Jays Pick: Jay Allen, CF, John Carroll Catholic HS (FL) Sources told us Allen was in for a private workout and he starts getting mentioned consistently in this range of the first round. 20. New York Yankees Pick: Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State Will Bednar was creeping up draft boards throughout the spring and his postseason showing has his name being mentioned with several teams drafting in the 20s. The fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and while scouts see his slider as plus, the computerized pitch graders based on spin and shape like it even more than that. The Yankees lean heavily on pitch data when it comes to their selections, and while this feels like Bednar’s ceiling, it also feels like a distinct possibility. Several other college arms like McGreevy, Gavin Williams, and Ryan Cusick could also be in their mix. New York had a national crosschecker at McGreevy’s last start but he didn’t throw well. 21. Chicago Cubs Pick: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace (NJ) Solometo was in for a private workout. South Alabama outfielder Ethan Wilson also needs to come off the board somewhere in this range but we haven’t been able to attach his name to any club. 22. Chicago White Sox Pick: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS (IN) Montgomery’s name gained steam late in the year when he actually started playing and he went from in the mix with Anaheim in round two, to the comp round, to here, and now is mentioned as high as the Mets pick at 10. We also have the ChiSox on Arizona high school infielder Wes Kath. 23. Cleveland Pick: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (NJ) Chase Petty is one of the most polarizing figures in the draft. While he can touch 100 mph, his low-angle slinging delivery is the polar opposite of smooth, and when combined with his smallish frame the whole operation generates considerable reliever risk. That said, Cleveland loves throwing big stuff prep arms to their player dev group, with recent examples including Daniel Espino, Ethan Hankins and Lenny Torres. We were told to mock Petty to teams who care a lot about pitch data and this is one. Cleveland might also take a super model-driven approach this year as their area scouts were not at college games until the postseason, relying entirely on data and video for that demographic of player until that point. 24. Atlanta Braves Pick: Trey Sweeney, SS Eastern Illinois The Braves have been attached to plenty of high school outfielders and a few college arms (especially Cusick), but also have a history of taking college middle infielders who check the statistical boxes per their model. Trey Sweeney does just that, with power, walks, and plenty of contact, although evaluators are mixed on his swing mechanics. 25. Oakland Athletics Pick: Will Taylor, SS, Dutch Fork HS (SC) The A’s have been attached to high school bats throughout the spring, and all indications are that they will go in that direction. Taylor isn’t especially physical, but he’s tooled out with plus-plus wheels and gap power, and he was one of the better performers against top competition on the showcase circuit. He could be a tough sign due to a commitment to play football at Clemson, but as we saw with Kyler Murray, attraction to the gridiron hasn’t scared away the club in the past. They are also on Vegas-area outfielder Tyler Whitaker (power, big frame, whiffs) and Wes Kath (lefty contact). 26. Minnesota Twins Pick: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (NY) This is an up-the-middle player with good measurable power, and those traits in concert appeal to the Twins, who also employ Joe’s brother Charlie. 27. San Diego Padres Pick: Frank Mozzicato, LHP, East Catholic HS (CT) Here are the high schoolers who sources have told us worked out for the Padres: Jackson Merrill, Carson Williams, Tyler Whitaker, Jackson Baumeister, Jay Allen, James Wood, and Mozzicato (twice). 28. Tampa Bay Rays Pick: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest California high school infielder Max Muncy and Wes Kath are possibilities here, but our general takeaway from that is that the Rays like the hitterish prep bats in this range. There are enough of those still around that we think their first pick will be at a more scarce position, like college pitching. The Rays like stuff as defined by analytics, and will likely weigh several college arms, including Cusick, Gavin Williams, McGreevey, and the late-rising Ky Bush from St. Mary’s, although there is a late rumor that Bush may go back to school. They also could be attracted to a performing college middle infielder like Tyler Black or Connor Norby, which fits their taste for contact-oriented, short-levered infielders. 29. Los Angeles Dodgers Pick: Max Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks HS (CA) This last pick of the first-round might be a good value spot for Jud Fabian, but the Dodgers still feel burned after taking a high-whiff, toolsy college outfielder in Jeren Kendall with their first-round pick in 2017. Rumors say the club has been busy lining up the bevy of high school infielders who could go between 20 and 40, including Wes Kath, Isaac Pacheco, Peyton Stovall and Carson Williams. Let’s face it, by the time you get to end of first round, we are playing an educated guessing game, and it’s just too much damn fun to give them another dude named Max Muncy, who will likely go in this range. 30. Cincinnati Reds Pick: Connor Norby, 2B, East Carolina Again, we expect the Reds will mix stable college players with an overslot prep or two. Norby is likely a model darling because he’s barely 21 and he might already be gone at this point. 31. Miami Marlins Pick: Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama Just good value here. There are a number of high school outfielders who should be off the board before pick 50, including Joshua Baez, Tyler Whitaker and James Wood. Wood is a 6-foot-7, 240 pound beast with massive raw power, but he’s also reportedly thrown out an equally massive price tag a week before the draft. Wilson provides a safer commodity as a college bat with big contact skills, and while he hit just eight home runs this spring, his exit velocities suggest there’s more power to come. 32. Detroit Tigers Pick: Jud Fabian, CF, Florida The Tigers have displayed a recent trend of taking SEC bats early in the draft, and this feels like a perfect value-pick spot for Fabian, who has plus power, plus speed, true center field ability and strikes out at an alarming rate. Detroit was also heavy at Gavin Williams’ fantastic postseason start against Vanderbilt. 33. Milwaukee Brewers Pick: Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina Williams has been mentioned vaguely in the late teens and early-20s after nearly out-dueling Kumar Rocker in Super-Regional play, but not with any specific team. He’s a big-bodied kid with equally large velocity and a plus slider, but a questionable changeup and inconsistent command leaves some teams with lingering worries about his ability to start long-term. 34. Tampa Bay Rays Pick: Wes Kath, SS, Desert Mountain HS (AZ) The Rays had three scouts at Kath’s final game. 35. Cincinnati Reds Pick: Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham Mikulski is a small-conference senior whose stuff exploded this year. He shortened his arm action, began throwing much harder, and has multiple bat-missing secondaries. Landon Knack, an example of a senior who had a stuff spike last year, got $715,000 in the second round, and Mikulski has a better chance of starting (or pitching multiple innings). He’s a high-priority player with whom to cut an under-slot deal, and in this scenario with Benny Montgomery, James Wood, or some other high-upside high schooler in play for the Reds, he’s a great fit. 36. Minnesota Twins Pick: Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State Minnesota has done older guys with huge power before (Rooker). Nelson was eligible last year but didn’t play well, then had a huge 2021.