Prep Baseball Report

MLB Draft: New Jersey Potential Picks

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey


The annual Major League Baseball Amateur Draft is starting up later this afternoon with the first round on July 11th. In years past, the draft has been at least 40 rounds, making plenty of room for New Jersey prep and collegiate players alike to get their names called on draft day. With all the disruptions COVID-19 brought to the world in 2020, the MLB Draft was no exception. Last year, the draft was only five rounds, which ultimately resulted in somewhat of a back-log of on college rosters who either chose to stay for an additional year or were high school seniors and decided to venture on to campus.

There are a couple changes to the 2021 version of the draft from last year. This year the draft will be 20 rounds, certainly giving more opportunities for draft eligible prospects, but still not as much compared to other years. Like every year, New Jersey boasts some top flight talent both at the high school and college ranks -- with this year being unique with potentially two New Jersey high school talents hearing their names on day 1. Our staff at Prep Baseball Report led has scoured the scene this spring and in the early part of the summer to refine the Mock Draft. See below to view what the experts are saying:

 CLICK HERE for PBR Draft Board Reports

CLICK HERE for PBR Mock Draft

Top NJ-Native Draft Prospects

2 Jack Leiter* RHP Vanderbilt / Delbarton HS, NJ (2019) VIDEO
Leiter had first-round potential as a high school prospect and pitched well in the shortened 2020 season, but he took the college game by storm this year by tossing 20.2 no-hit innings over three starts. One of those was a no-hitter, Vanderbilt's first regular season one since 1971, and he followed it up with seven no-hit innings in his next start. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has a complete arsenal, but can simply dominate with a virtually unhittable fastball. His combination of velocity, release point, location and riding life make the pitch play extremely well. He sits around 94 mph and can reach back for 96-97 at any point. His secondary stuff fluctuated throughout the season, but his usual go-to pitch is a 78-81 curveball with sharp break and depth. He can also mix in a low-80s slider that is plus at times and hitters have a hard time recognizing it out of his hand.


21 Chase Petty RHP Mainland HS, NJ VIDEO
A Florida recruit, Petty is an excellent athlete with an electric arm. He touched 100 at the Area Code Games last summer and again early this spring, routinely sitting 95-98. He works from a 3/4 slot with heavy arm-side life on his fastball, then rips off hard, wipeout sliders in the mid 80s with late bite. He also mixes in a mid-80s changeup that has at least average potential. His arm action is long and he pitches with some effort that affects his command and may call his ability to start long term into question, but he's a fierce competitor with excellent makeup.


48 Anthony Solometo LHP Bishop Eustace Prep, NJ VIDEO
Solometo, a North Carolina recruit, stands at an imposing and athletic 6-foot-5, 215 pounds with some room to still fill out. He draws comparisons to Madison Bumgarner and MacKenzie Gore due to his arm action and funk in his delivery. His fastball sits in the low-90s with above-average arm-side action and can bump the mid 90s. The arm is long and loose through a 3/4 slot that presents a tough angle for hitters. His slider has swing-and-miss potential with late 1/7 action in the low 80s.


106 Pierce Coppola LHP Verona HS, NJ VIDEO
Coppola, a Florida recruit, stands at a lanky 6-foot-8, 230 pounds with room to still fill out his frame. He has a long, repeatable arm action that comes through a high-3/4 slot and produces a 91-93 fastball that touches 94-95. His breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch with late downer action at 80-83. He is a sneaky athlete and is able to repeat his mechanics well given his size and length.



127 Shane Panzini RHP Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ VIDEO
A Virginia recruit, Panzini stands at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds with broad shoulders. In a two-inning stint at the MLB Draft Combine, he was 91-94, but consistently showed mid-90s gas this spring, sitting 94-97 in the state tournament. His breaking ball is above-average to plus with tight spin and late, wipeout break. He pitches with little effort, commands his arsenal and the ball jumps out of his hands with a shorter arm stroke.


181 Joey Loperfido OF Duke / Haddonfield Memorial HS, NJ (2017)  
Loperfido has stood out for his sweet left-handed stroke and his middle-away approach since his first season at Duke in 2018, when he hit .315/.408/.475 with six homers to capture freshman All-America honors as a first baseman. He moved to second base as a sophomore, when he missed a good chunk of the season with a broken wrist, then helped spark a Duke rally to super regionals when he returned to action. Last season he shifted to center field and was projected as a top-10-rounds draft pick with a shot to go inside the top five, but he got off to a modest start (.264/.418/.358) before the season was canceled by the pandemic, causing him to go undrafted. The left-handed hitting outfielder rebounded this spring and put together his finest season as a fourth-year junior with a loud .374/.473/.612 slash as the catalyst atop the order. His plus speed is a weapon on the basepaths and in center field, and he’s really taken advantage of the opportunity to develop for another year in college by fine-tuning his offensive game. He made tremendous strides at hitting left-handed pitching. With an average arm, he profiles best in left field, but also has experience at the keystone during his college career.

Dark Horses

+ Boston College commit Sean Hard was one of the top overall players in the 2021 New Jersey High School season - with a fastball in the mid 90s and feel for offspeed. He was up to 95 multiple times in the spring and possesses a projectable 6-foot-5 frame. I think eventually ends up on campus.

+ Jack Findlay was a strikeout machine this year. The Notre Dame commit has a fastball that is consistently 88-92 with starter-like polish. Ultimately, I think Findlay ends up on campus, too.