Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

2021 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects

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This is a review of the marquee names that have been in discussion for the top-end of the 1st round for the 2021 draft.  Since (especially high schoolers) guys constantly are moving up or down draft boards, each section is divided into two areas: those 4-5 names really in talks to go 1-1 overall (“1-1” means 1st round, 1st overall) and then those who have fallen to “just” being 1st or 2nd rounders.

First draft of this post was in July of 2018, when several 1st rounders didn’t sign and thus became 2021 eligible.

College Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

  • Jack Leiter, RHP Vanderbilt.  Was a top 2019 prep draftee but could not be bought out of Vandy commitment (for a reported $4.5M !).  His age puts him in the 2021 draft class.  Son of Al Leiter.  Top of the 1st round pedigree.   A little undersized, but very polished, will be a fast mover to majors.  Opened 2021 college season on fire; his stuff is MLB ready right now.  20 nohit innings, clearly the Ace of Vandy’s staff over Rocker.  By mid april consensus 1-1.
  • Kumar Rocker, RHP Vanderbilt.  Lost draft stock after being projected upper 1st rounder in 2018, but quickly gained it back.  Vanderbilt weekend starter in 2019, threw 19-K no-hitter in 2019 CWS super regionals.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.   Consensus 1-1 pick for much of the draft analysis season ahead of 2021 draft.  2021 season has been dominant, but Leiter’s better.  Still one of the best 1-2 pitching punches seen in the college game since Cole-Bauer at UCLA.
  • Henry Davis, C, Louisville.  Fast riser with his 2021 season and the demand for top-end college catchers.
  • College Candidates who have fallen out of  1-1 contention
  • Matt McLean: 2B/SS UCLA.  Failed to sign as 25th overall pick in 2018, all-star at Cape in 2019, was exploding out of the gate in 2020 before season cancelled.  2021 struggling, costing him draft stock badly.  Likely moving to 2B in pros, hurting his value.
  • Gunnar Hoglund, RHP Ole Miss.  Failed to sign as supp-1st rounder in 2018.  Started 2020 strong, 3-plus pitches.  2021 now might be 3rd best college starter in draft and upper 1st round pedigree.  TJ surgery, out of top 5 consideration.
  • Jud Fabian, OF Florida.  Was Prep class of 2019, enrolled early and started for Florida in his age 18 season.  Crushed in 2019 Cape despite youth.  True CF with power, could be a big time prospect.  Some slight issues with swing and results in 2021, dropping him slightly.
  • Adrian del Castillo, C Miami. Fantastic pure  hitter with power and more walks than Ks in college Was not projecting to stay at C because of defensive concerns, but significant off-season work with Salvador Perez has improved the perception of his long-term viability behind the plate and vaulted him into the top-5 consideration.
  • Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest.  Huge velocity 100mph, fast riser with 2021 performance.
  • Nander de Sedas, SS, Florida State.  Lost 2018 draft stock, went to school.  Two-way player for FSU, starter at 2B/SS and also closer on the mound.  2021 struggling, not in 1st round conversation.
  • Max Ferguson, 2B Tennessee.  rapid riser after great fall season.
  • Colton Cowser, OF Sam Houston State.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Alex Binelas, 3B, Louisville.  14  homers as a freshman.
  • Jadan Hill, RHP LSU.  Big hard thrower, was in LSU’s bullpen early 2020.  Best stuff of class, upper 90s, four plus pitches.  Lots will be driven by 2021 season.  April 2021 blew out elbow against Vandy, TJ surgery, dropping him in the 1st round likely.
  • Rodney Boone, RHP UCSB.  3rd team NCWBA AA as freshman after going 8-0.
  • Doug Nikhazy, LHP/OF Ole Miss.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Mason Pelio, RHP Boston College.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Steven Hajjar, LHP Michigan.  Missed 2019 with ACL injury, significant upside.
  • Kier Meredith, OF Clemson.
  • Adam Hackenberg, C Clemson by way of VA HS.  Best ranked VA player in 2018 prep class, went to school.  Awful 2021, likely not a draft candidate.

High School Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

  • Jordan Lawlar, SS Jesuit Prep College (TX).  Polished complete player.  Vanderbilt commit.  Jan 2021 has jumped to the head of the line of prep prospects, nearly to 1-1 potential.  Might not go 1-1, but may end up being best prospect in draft.  Older HS kid, turns 19 before draft.
  • Marcelo Mayer, SS Eastlake, Chula Vista (CA); USC commit.  Lefty at the plate, will stay at SS.  Always solid defensively, has really improved his stock and jumped the two presumed top-end SS in the class (House and Watson) and is now considered top 5 potential as of Jan 2021.
  • Kahlil Watson, SS Wake Forest HS (NC).  helium guy late 2020, great bat speed,  high ceiling.  NC State commit.
  • Brady House 3B/SS Winder-Barrow HS (GA).   Big guy, OBP machine.  #1 ranked player in prep class mid 2020.  Tennessee commit.  Only 2nd team preseason AA.  Falling?  2021 rising up again.

High School guys whose stock has fallen:

  • Braylon Bishop, OF Arkansas (AR) HS.  5-tool player, long-known prospect.  Arkansas commit.
  • Jackson Jobe, RHP, Oklahoma City OK: Law calls him best prep pitcher in draft.
  • Christian Little, RHP Christian Brothers HS (St. Louis MO).  Vanderbilt commit.
  • Luke Leto, SS/RHP Portage (MI) Central.  2-way player, LSU commit.
  • Tyree Reed, OF (corner) American Canyon (CA) HS.   Oregon State commit.
  • Maddux Bruns, LHP UMS-Wright Prep, Mobile (AL).  Helium guy summer 2020, Mississippi State commit.
  • Noah Smith, SS Marist HS (IL).  Louisville commit
  • Benny Montgomery, OF Red Land HS (PA).  UVA commit
  • Cody Schrier, OF JSierra, San Clemente (CA).  UCLA commit
  • Izaac Pacheco SS/3B Friendswood (TX).  Texas A&M commit

Sources used to create this list

Written by Todd Boss

July 12th, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Draft

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