2021 PBR Draft Board
January 28, 2021
The junior college season opened last weekend. Florida high schools will be playing games in less than two weeks. Opening weekend for Division I is in three weeks. Baseball is back. How this spring plays out amid the pandemic is anybody’s guess, but games are happening and there are prospects to be seen as we head toward the 2021 MLB Draft, which will be held in July for the first time ever. We have been covering the players in this class for years, but really started to hone in on their draft potential as soon as the 2020 Draft ended. Gearing up for another spring season, we present the 2021 PBR Draft Board, ranking the top draft-eligible prospects.
Any list comes with the disclaimer that it will be ever evolving, but this one has a little extra twist in that we’re working off less information than usual--at least on the college side. Everybody was shorted in the spring, but most high school players got a full summer and fall. However, we didn’t have many summer college leagues or the Collegiate National Team. That should make for some surprises the next six months. Think about this--as brought up by Shooter Hunt--as a freshman in 2017, Adley Rutschman hit .234 with two home runs in 61 games for Oregon State and then .164 in 20 games for Falmouth in the Cape Cod League. Obviously, we all know he had a huge sophomore campaign that put him on the map, but what if that season got canceled and he didn’t play in the summer? Would he crack a January list with virtually no track record? No, we’re not saying a No. 1 overall pick no one knows about is out there lurking, but surely somebody will have us all asking, where did this guy come from?
If anything is certain right now, it’s who holds that top spot. RHP Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt) finished his high school career as the No. 4 prep in the country and was the highest-ranked prospect to get to campus. He dazzled as a freshman, twirling a no-hitter and striking out 19 in the super regional against Duke, and was off to a strong start before the shutdown in 2020. It’s his spot to lose.
There are contenders though, starting with SS Jordan Lawlar (Dallas Jesuit Prep, TX), an athletic shortstop with a mature approach, the ability to stick at short and burgeoning power. RHP Jack Leiter (Vanderbilt) doesn’t have the physical profile of a No. 1 pick, but it’s hard to argue against his stuff and competitive edge. Rocker and Leiter are sure to give us the highest drafted teammates since Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer went first and third overall out of UCLA in 2011. SS/OF Matt McLain (UCLA) was a first-round pick out of high school, but made it to Westwood and has continued to show his dynamic tools. RHPs Jaden Hill (Louisiana State) and Ty Madden (Texas) lack track record (who doesn’t?), but have the stuff to be considered. And SS Marcelo Mayer (Eastlake HS, CA) and OF Tyree Reed (American Canyon HS, CA) are sweet-swinging lefties with up-the-middle defensive profiles.
The college pitching crop is deep and with 10 months to dedicate to training, the Heat Sheet is sure to be a long list. College catchers are also a strength of the class with all-around packages like Henry Davis (Louisville), Connor Pavolony (Tennessee), Hayden Jones (Illinois State) and offense first like Adrian del Castillo (Miami) and Hunter Goodman (Memphis) and defense first like Noah Cardenas (UCLA), to name a few.
With an unpredictable spring around the corner and four to six extra weeks than usual before the draft, this will be fun to follow. Let’s play ball.
*Draft-eligible sophomore (second-year freshman)
The top 30 is free for all to see. Subscribers can see the top 200.
|1||Kumar Rocker||RHP||Vanderbilt||Rockies, 38th round, 2018|
|2||Jordan Lawlar||SS||Dallas Jesuit Prep, TX||Vanderbilt|
|3||Jack Leiter*||RHP||Vanderbilt||Yankees, 20th round, 2019|
|4||Matt McLain||SS||UCLA||Diamondbacks, 1st round, 2018|
|5||Adrian Del Castillo||C||Miami||White Sox, 38th round, 2018|
|6||Tyree Reed||OF||American Canyon HS, CA||Oregon State|
|7||Marcelo Mayer||SS||Eastlake HS, CA||Southern California|
|8||Ty Madden||RHP||Texas||Royals, 34th round, 2018|
|9||Jaden Hill||RHP||Louisiana State||Cardinals, 38th round, 2018|
|10||Josh Hartle||LHP||Reagan HS, NC||Wake Forest|
|14||Andy Painter||RHP||Calvary Christian Academy||Florida|
|15||Joe Mack||C||Williamsville East HS, NY||Clemson|
|16||Brady House||SS||Winder-Barrow HS, GA||Tennessee|
|17||Jordan Wicks||LHP||Kansas State||Undrafted|
|18||Alex Binelas||3B||Louisville||Nationals, 35th round, 2018|
|20||Braylon Bishop||OF||Texarkana Arkansas HS, AR||Arkansas|
|21||Izaac Pacheco||3B||Friendswood HS, TX||Texas A&M|
|22||Kahlil Watson||SS||Wake Forest HS, NC||North Carolina State|
|23||Jose Torres*||SS||North Carolina State||Brewers, 24th round, 2019|
|24||Colton Cowser||OF||Sam Houston State||Undrafted|
|25||Tommy Mace||RHP||Florida||Reds, 12th round, 2017|
|26||Daylen Lile||OF||Trinity Prep, KY||Louisville|
|27||Ryan Johnson||RHP||Home School, TX||Dallas Baptist|
|28||Drew Gray||OF||IMG Academy, FL||Arkansas|
|29||Steven Hajjar||LHP||Michigan||Brewers, 21st round, 2018|
|30||Ethan Wilson||OF||South Alabama||Undrafted|