Prep Baseball Report

2021 PBR Draft Board - June Update

Nathan Rode / Shooter Hunt / David Seifert

Normally at this point in the calendar, rankings would be finalized and we would be reacting as the MLB Draft unfolds, but we still have a month to go. The PBR Draft Board was due for an update and it is here. This isn’t final, as we’ll surely make some tweaks as July 10 creeps closer, and the extra month gives even more time to evaluate, but this is a reflection of how things have played out the last few months.

Surely you’ll recognize the names at the top, especially Nos. 1 through 5, as we refrained from listing them as 1A-1E. Vanderbilt RHPs Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter lead the list, with SS Jordan Lawlar (Dallas Jesuit Prep, TX), SS Marcelo Mayer (Eastlake HS, CA) and C Henry Davis (Louisville) nipping at their heels. Each one of these players has the potential to be a franchise star, worthy of the first overall selection. But somebody has to be No. 1 and this is a ranking, not a mock draft. The MLB Draft already favors accounting manipulation and with so many players so closely grouped together, that will be a major factor in who gets popped first.

Jumping into the top 10 are two electric prep stars in SS Kahlil Watson (Wake Forest HS, NC) and RHP Jackson Jobe (Heritage Hall HS, OK). Watson was a helium guy last summer, performing all over the country and solidifying himself as a first-round pick. His stock has continued to climb and he’s now widely viewed as a slam-dunk top-10 pick, warranted by his elite bat speed from the left side, foot speed and chance to stay at shortstop.

Jobe has long shown exceptional athleticism as a two-way player with electric yet stuff on the mound, but he embraced his upside as an arm and turned into an elite strike thrower this spring. His only detractor is being the lead man in the riskiest draft demographic--high school right-handers. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, flirting with triple digits and he has the best breaking ball in the country, a wipeout slider that elicits plus-plus grades.

Rounding out the top 10 are OFs Colton Cowser (Sam Houston State) and Sal Frelick (Boston College), as well as LHP Josh Hartle (Reagan HS, NC).

Early in the year, we discussed how the season would reveal more new names or risers than usual, considering the truncated 2020 season and a virtually lost summer for college players. That has proven true with eight players sliding into the top 50 after being unranked on the January edition of this list. RHP Gavin Williams (East Carolina) and C Matheu Nelson (Florida State). Williams has shown a better mound presence this spring and a more complete arsenal, turning into the Pirates’ Friday night starter and helping them to a super regional appearance. As a starter, he holds a mid-90s fastball, still has his quality changeup and now features a reliable breaking ball in a mid-80s slider that flashes late bite.

Nelson’s raw power has translated to games this spring and he is tied for the national lead with 23 home runs. He can leave the yard to all fields and provides defense and leadership behind the plate, showing the ability to move and block well to go with a strong, accurate arm.

OF Tanner Allen (Mississippi State), the SEC Player of the Year, also made his way into the top 50, as well as two prep infielders in SS Peyton Stovall (Haughton HS, LA) and SS/RHP Carson Williams (Torrey Pines HS, CA). Stovall simply hasn’t stopped hitting and Williams continues to show off his athleticism on the field and at the plate, but also has been pumping mid-90s heat in short stints this spring.

*Draft-eligible sophomore (second-year freshman)

1 Kumar Rocker RHP Vanderbilt Rockies, 38th round, 2018
2 Jack Leiter* RHP Vanderbilt Yankees, 20th round, 2019
3 Jordan Lawlar SS Dallas Jesuit Prep, TX Vanderbilt
4 Marcelo Mayer SS Eastlake HS, CA Southern California
5 Henry Davis C Louisville Undrafted
6 Kahlil Watson SS Wake Forest HS, NC North Carolina State
7 Jackson Jobe RHP Heritage Hall School, OK Mississippi
8 Colton Cowser OF Sam Houston State Undrafted
9 Sal Frelick OF Boston College Undrafted
10 Josh Hartle LHP Reagan HS, NC Wake Forest

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