Who Should The Tigers Take?

Al Avila has one thing going for him and that is his recent drafts have produced Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Riley Greene, Dillon Dingler and Spencer Torkelson. Four of the six were first round picks in the top 10 though, making them a bit easier than what teams like the Dodgers and Rays do every year. Still there’s plenty of top 5 picks even that flop badly: Mark Appel, Matt Bush, Matt Hobgood, Donavan Tate, Danny Hultzen, Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek, the list goes on. To completely disregard what Avila did as luck or just picking the obvious choice is a bit unfair and I will give him credit in that his player evaluation seems to be solid with drafting, even in the Rule 5 draft with Baddoo and role player Victor Reyes despite his other shortcomings. This years pick will be a true test though as the Tigers need to keep building to a brighter future and need another big contributor and picking at 3 they have a shot for that. With the only player likely to be gone before their pick that we know of being Marcelo Mayer there’s probably 7-8 players Avila will have to choose from. I will break down some of these prospects and how they could fit with Detroit and their skills along with the risks of taking them. First I will dive into the risks.

The Tigers have recently been linked to prep righty Jackson Jobe who is impressive because he has the potential for five plus pitches one day and is the top prep arm as a well-polished 18 year old. There’s no glaring flaws in Jobe other than he will have to develop and will take a while and there’s some questions about what pitches will play really well. His fastball is considered his best pitch but the question will be how many plus pitches will he actually develop and will his fastball really be good enough to justify the risk. Right now it’s not a crazy high spin or velocity pitch so there is some of that risk there. He also doesn’t really line up with the Tigers window to compete. Now the window thing can be unfair because at 3 you should be taking the best player available but it adds another wrinkle in that he will likely have an MLB ETA of 2025/26. I also pulled the numbers on the three areas the Tigers are considering and here is a table of prep arms drafted in the first round (including the supplemental round which was considered this until I believe 2011 on Baseball Reference and now it is just considered part of the first round):

Prep Pitchers in Round 1

Made MLB55.96%
Positive WAR40.41%
Adjusted MLB62.79%

*Removed Kaleb Cowart as he came up as a third baseman

Now this chart needs some context so let’s look at the prep shortstops (which there are plenty) and college arms; of which the Tigers probably are only looking at Jack Leiter despite Sam Bachman and Kumar Rocker being decent options if they picked lower:

Prep SS

MADE MLB58.57%
Positive WAR38.57%
Adjusted MLB70.69%

*Removed Casey Kelly, Sergio Santos and Mat Bush as they converted to pitchers

College Arms

MADE MLB71.37%
Positive WAR51.53%
Adjusted MLB74.50%

So when looking at these charts, adjusted MLB is just taking out all prep players since 2017 since they need a while to develop and not counting the college arms from 2020 (2019 would’ve been a fair cut-off too but they didn’t need that extra help). You can see taking a college arm is the smartest move in terms of getting an MLB player since 2000 but that college arms typically have a lower average WAR per MLB player probably because some are rushed up and end up relievers. A prep shortstop may have to change positions (guys like Justin Upton were drafted as a prep shortstop) but they also provide a better WAR on average. Looking at the table you’ll notice one scary trend though that makes me want the Tigers to stay away from Jobe:

20101s 38FrRnd38Blue JaysY$600,000*Noah Syndergaard RHP16
20111 14FrRnd14MarlinsY$2,000,000Jose Fernandez RHP14.2
20111s 52FrRnd52RaysY$684,000*Blake Snell LHP11.2
20111s 44FrRnd44MetsY$937,500*Michael Fulmer RHP9.4
20101s 34FrRnd34Blue JaysY$775,000*Aaron Sanchez RHP9.4
20101s 43FrRnd43MarinersY$800,000*Taijuan Walker RHP9
20121s 32FrRnd32TwinsY$1,550,000*Jose Berrios RHP8.9
20141 34FrRnd34CardinalsY$2,000,000Jack Flaherty RHP8.7
20101 2FrRnd2PiratesY$6,500,000Jameson Taillon RHP8.6
20121 7FrRnd7PadresY$3,000,000Max Fried LHP8.4
20121s 41FrRnd41AstrosY$2,500,000*Lance McCullers Jr. RHP8.4
20111 4FrRnd4OriolesY$4,000,000Dylan Bundy RHP8.4
20121 16FrRnd16NationalsY$2,925,000Lucas Giolito RHP7.7
20151 28FrRnd28BravesY$1,974,700Mike Soroka RHP6.1
20121s 33FrRnd33PadresY$1,200,000*Zach Eflin RHP6.1
20111s 46FrRnd46Blue JaysY$500,000*Joe Musgrove RHP6
20111s 7FrRnd7DiamondbacksY$5,000,000*Archie Bradley RHP5.5
20101 19FrRnd19Astros via TigersY$1,305,000*Mike Foltynewicz RHP5.3
20111 25FrRnd25PadresY$2,750,000Joe Ross RHP4.5
20161 3FrRnd3BravesY$4,000,000Ian Anderson RHP4
20171 13FrRnd13MarlinsY$3,400,000Trevor Rogers LHP3
20111s 49FrRnd49GiantsY$900,000*Kyle Crick RHP1.9
20101 29FrRnd29Angels via Red SoxY$1,116,000*Cam Bedrosian RHP1.4
20181 7FrRnd7PadresY$5,226,500Ryan Weathers LHP1.3
20141 33FrRnd33Red SoxY$1,500,000Michael Kopech RHP1.3
20101s 45FrRnd45RangersY$1,545,000*Luke Jackson RHP1.3
20151 14FrRnd14BravesY$3,042,400Kolby Allard LHP0.9
20121 21FrRnd21BravesY$1,650,000Lucas Sims RHP0.7
20151 42FrRnd42IndiansY$2,302,500Triston McKenzie RHP0.5
20131 22FrRnd22OriolesY$1,947,600Hunter Harvey RHP0.5
20131 10FrRnd10Blue JaysN Phil Bickford RHP0.2
20111 24FrRnd24Rays via Red SoxY$1,600,000*Taylor Guerrieri RHP0.2
20141 28FrRnd28RoyalsY$1,925,000Foster Griffin LHP0.1
20111s 36FrRnd36Red SoxY$1,550,000*Henry Owens LHP0.1
20131 4FrRnd4TwinsY$4,544,400Kohl Stewart RHP0.1
20141 31FrRnd31IndiansY$1,600,000Justus Sheffield LHP-0.1
20121s 56FrRnd56CubsY$911,700*Paul Blackburn RHP-0.1
20151 22FrRnd22TigersY$2,154,200Beau Burrows RHP-0.1
20131 28FrRnd28Cardinals via BrewersY$1,785,300*Rob Kaminsky LHP-0.1
20161 7FrRnd7MarlinsY$4,069,200Braxton Garrett LHP-0.2
20161 9FrRnd9TigersY$3,963,045Matt Manning RHP-0.2
20151 39FrRnd39CardinalsY$1,800,000Jake Woodford RHP-0.3
20111 21FrRnd21Blue JaysN Tyler Beede RHP-0.3
20101 28FrRnd28DodgersY$5,250,000Zach Lee RHP-0.3
20101s 50FrRnd50CardinalsY$1,300,000*Tyrell Jenkins RHP-0.4
20141 30FrRnd30RangersY$1,750,000Luis Ortiz RHP-0.4
20101 27FrRnd27PhilliesY$1,160,000Jesse Biddle LHP-0.7
20141 16FrRnd16DiamondbacksY$2,700,000Touki Toussaint RHP-1
20111 27FrRnd27RedsY$2,000,000Robert Stephenson RHP-1.1
20101 14FrRnd14BrewersN Dylan Covey RHP-2.7

These are the guys who have made their MLB debut after being a first round prep pitcher since 2010. You can see that since the beginning of the decade the prep pitchers have been harder to saddle down. There’s some talent in there but a lot of it also comes from 2010-12. It seems that lately what teams do doesn’t cater to the high school arm. Also, high school arms have always made it the MLB at  a lower rate due to injury risk and developmental hardships that other players don’t seem to get bit as hard on. To be fair though this isn’t all doom and gloom. Jose Fernandez was on track to be a legend in Miami, Joe Musgrove is having a great season and Lucas Giolito has become an ace for the White Sox but overall you have to have a lot of talent to overcome this stigma and for me it presents just too much of a risk picking third for the Tigers to take Jobe. For Jobe to overcome this, he’d need to be really good to justify the pick and while he is good but I am not sold he is the type of pitcher worth that risk as he has no qualities that stand way out to me.

The one college arm the Tigers could take is Vanderbilt righty Jack Leiter who is a complete package with a really good fastball and solid secondaries his flawless mechanics and big league bloodlines have already stolen the spotlight as he dominated the SEC, which is already very high competition level and by any measure whether scouting or statistical he absolutely held his own and then some. Now it is sounding like the Rangers may be in on Leiter at two but there is really no reason for the Tigers not take him if he’s there. He’s closest to the majors fitting in with their window and could create a Leiter-Mize-Skubal-Manning-Turnbull rotation. He also is just really polished for being a pitching prospect. Most top pitching prospect usually have a few more question marks that come along with them whereas Leiter has a pretty solid floor as a major league starter in the middle of the rotation. To repeat, he should be the Tigers top name on their draft board and if he’s there he’s kind of that slam dunk pick.

HS PWAR STD13.40912056
HS SSWAR STD12.60140462

One last table as we go into prep shortstops. They are also a safer pick in terms of WAR distribution, meaning there’s less variance. Since we know the top of the leaderboard for prep SS actually has guys with similar WAR numbers you can infer that there is less big misses for guys who make it up to the MLB than prep pitchers. Like in most cases a college pitcher is safer (any college player tends to be a safer pick in 95% of cases) but if Leiter is gone there probably isn’t great value there.

Now for the prep shortstops. Personally I like Brady House and Khalil Watson the most but Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawler are also held in high terms and Lawler seems to be the most polished of the bunch while Mayer seems like he may be the best shortstop for now. House’s big concern is that he may eventually need to move off of shortstop and to third with his 6’4″ frame but if the Tigers drafted him they could try to keep him at shortstop and I have heard some scouts say he could stick at shortstop. House generates a ton of power and doesn’t have many holes in swing though he’s much more likely to hit 35 homers than hit .300 every season I see him as an impact bat. Watson is a quick twitch athlete who will be exciting to watch whether it be at shortstop or in center field and has blazing speed to threaten at least 40 steals a year and fast hands and strength at the plate that will keep him alive in counts and help him get on base. I think that Watson and House have a ton of offensive potential and Lawler is the steadier bat that may just be a solid every day shortstop with a good hit tool. Mayer will not likely be there but he has the makings of a star with some development.

I really like House a lot though and have come around on him. He can hit bombs and has a good launch angle/exit velocity combination that will play. He is quiet at the plate but has easy power and a good bat path and a really strong body and good series of movements that allows for him to make the loud contact that he does. I think he will end up at third base but it is a position of need for the Tigers and he could move quickly through the minors. I think that at third he could be a plus defender too if he moves over. He’s also proven he can hit with a wooden bat well already. He also seems to have a good Baseball IQ and has learned to stay within his swing to create power, a swing like mentioned above that can get to about any pitch in any part of the zone when he doesn’t completely sell out for power and get long. A slugger with a good all-around ability to field, run and also hit solidly is always a great option at three. His power will play in any ballpark. He may even be the safest pick as another bat, as they say there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, though Leiter is as close to it as you’re going to see if that is true.

One last thing is that Henry Davis may be there and he is a top talent, but with Dillon Dingler in tow and the fact that the prep shortstops are mainly valued higher by the Tigers, I really don’t see him getting much consideration despite the top tier talent he is.

Overall this is how I would rank the big board if I were in the Tigers draft room:

  1. SP Jack Leiter
  2. SS Brady House
  3. SS Marcelo Mayer
  4. SS Khalil Watson
  5. SS Jordan Lawler
  6. SP Jackson Jobe

The Tigers also pick at 32 and 39. They could go high upside there or draft a prep player with some potential. Safer college bats I like for them are Matheu Nelson, who raked at FSU this year and Chrsitian Franklin who hits the ball harder than most players in this draft as well as Connor Norby who has a good hit tool. Prep players vary due to signability concerns though I do believe Alex Mooney will be an impact player one day and a guy the Tigers should target at one of those two picks as well as Peyton Stovall, a big prep hit tool guy and Daylen Lile who is the same but has a chance to be a really well-rounded outfielder. Canadian Calvin Ziegler could be a high pick if the Tigers are willing to go above slot for a big arm they could develop into a really good pitcher as he has the makings of a solid arm. Another name I’d like as a Tigers fan is Reed Trimble, who had a great year and has solid power and speed. This draft really has a lot of talent from top to bottom and these are just a few of the top names I like for the Tigers.

All Draft Tables from Baseball Reference

2021 MLB Mock Draft, Reports and Board

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Marcelo Mayer: First on these I will go into why the pick makes sense then add some context about each player. Mayer to the Pirates gives them a future franchise cornerstone if all works out. There’s obviously always some risk that the hype is miscalculate and you end up with a role player a la Tim Beckham and Mickey Moniak but the Pirates are in a similar spot to the Astros of the early 10s where if Mayer lives up to the hype they have a Carlos Correa type impact on the team. Now there’s also four really good prep shortstops but what tends to set Mayer apart is that he is a pure shortstop that looks to stick there and has all tools. House has more power, Lawler is considered more advanced when it comes to hitting but Mayer has a sweet swing himself and offers the best of all worlds. He gets comps to all types of players but reminds me in a way of left handed Lindor (who is a switch hitter) with a few extra inches. He has a great arm and motions at shortstop and he has a lot of room to continue to grow with the bat that is already impressive.
  2. Texas Rangers: SS Jordan Lawler: The Rangers could go a lot of ways here but they also need a future potential impact player. I think that Lawler can provide that while also being a local product which means they Rangers have definitely had the chance to see him. He has a ton of tools as well, but he is considered a foul line to foul line hitter with fast bat speed. He does have some extra swing and miss in his game that present some more risk, Outside of that his reports seem to be pretty bright as it looks like he can stick at shortstop and he has some solid speed too. He is also one of the younger guys in the top half here which some teams really value.
  3. Detroit Tigers: SP Jack Leiter: The Tigers are looking at the bats because they need one and also Jackson Jobe because I think that Avila likes him, but I ultimately think they have to take the best available player here as they soon want to start competing and you can never have enough pitching prospects. Leiter has been in the spotlight since high school. He is the son of Al Leiter so he has bloodline and the righty looked impressive going into college. He did great in the pandemic shortened season and had an amazing stretch in the 2021 season but dropped from the number one favorite after not keeping up the impossible, which I think may be prospect fatigue. He has great mechanics that will work and are not only efficient but help him get everything from his body. He has an awesome fastball that has a flat approach angle and he can throw at the top of the zone. His breaking pitches are also solid and he can sequence and work the pitches off each other. This makes him the complete package as a one or two starter in the rotation. I think he is definitely the closest thing to a star player this draft has to offer. He’s drawn a ton of comparisons to guys like Sonny Gray and Walker Buehler but his efficiency mechanically reminds me of a slightly taller version of Marcus Stroman with better stuff.
  4. Boston Red Sox: C Henry Davis: The Sox will likely go Leiter, Davis and House in that order based on every mock I have read and those are all talented players which isn’t surprising from a smart GM like Chaim Bloom. Davis is the big blue chip college catcher in this draft. Davis has more intrigue because his bat is more advanced for a player who will definitely stick behind the plate. He has worked hard to improve his defense and now has a really good arm behind the plate and will need to continue to develop his receiving and handling skills in the minors. He will have a solid bat and will be helped by his plus power in the pros. He could easily be a .270-20/25 homer player at a premium position on defense.
  5. Baltimore Orioles: OF Sal Frelick: The Orioles are always a mystery as they threw a huge curveball last year. They could pick a high school bat or a budget pick to try and pry harder players to sign later in the draft. I think Frelick is the safest pick for Baltimore here. He’s not an imposing athlete that always crushes the baseball but he has continued to hit a high level and has a good swing that could play as an above average left fielder. Being an advanced college lefty hitter is already a huge plus but Frelick is also fast and athletic and provides 20 steal potential with his ability to use his body making him an above average outfielder with smarts out there.
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Khalil Watson: I think the Diamondbacks are headed for an overhaul of trying to grab as much young talent as possible to bring into their system both at the deadline and in the draft. Watson will be the best player left here. The thing that sticks out to me with Watson is his strength and bat speed. I’ve seen video where he can just flick the ball out of the park as a combination of that hand strength and bat speed. He is also athletic and fast and he could move similar to a guy like CJ Abrams did in the 2019 draft. He’s a definite 20-20 potential player. Watson may not stick at shortstop. Obviously at the top of a mock draft and draft board you’ll find a lot of buzzwords like: fast, athletic, advanced, good bat, etc. but Watson checks all of these boxes and I think he could stick at short but with how athletic he is he could fit at second or center too and can make a big impact at one of the up the middle defensive positions.
  7. Kansas City Royals: SP Kumar Rocker: The Royals keep taking talented players in the draft and they seem to favor pitching, though if there’s some good hitting talent in front of them they won’t be scared to take it, so I could see them taking a prep shortstop here too. Rocker was electric in 2019 and was probably the best freshman college player in the nation. This year he still looked solid and there’s no doubt he could be an ace in the majors one day but he lost velocity and the fastball lacked being the put away pitch that it could possibly be. The velo drop could just present a potential for a team to draft him as a steal at 7. He has a pitcher’s body and there’s not a ton to worry about in how he can use it on the mound mechanically, and he could re-tool it to help re-discover his velocity and also get on a throwing program and be handled with care as regards to pro ball this year and if he can get back to that mid-90’s fastball he will be in shape. Another issue is that is changeup will need be developed. The slider is nasty though and the complete package still looks elite in upside if handled correctly.
  8. Colorado Rockies: SS Brady House: The Rockies just need to take the best player here and not overthink this. House is a great player with elite power and the fact he could one day hit at Coors is all the more exciting. He can pulverize baseballs and his swing is optimized for power but he could also use that power to hit for average and hit gaps when he’s not rounding the bags. He’s more likely to need to move positions though as he profiles as a better third baseman in the MLB than shortstop with his high velocity arm and ability to move solidly despite his tall frame. He’s an exit velocity darling, but that’s really what you want is a guy who can hit the ball hard and has done so at a high level and consistently. He’s a tank too so there’s no doubt that he will do that for years to come. He also does not have many holes in that swing, just another promising aspect of his game.
  9. Los Angeles Angels: OF Benny Montgomery: Benny is the guy in the draft that could end up being the all-around beast type of player because he has a good hold of his tools as a prep player and good right handed swing to top it off. I like his hitting ability right now and he has power and speed too. With the bat he doesn’t have a long leg kick and he can also adjust to different pitches by being dynamic on off-speed and being able to pull in his hands to drive the ball when it’s thrown inside. He has a mature game for a high school player which is something I think the Angels value in drafting players with many strong facets of their game like him. He will be good in either center or right field.
  10. New York Mets: SP Sam Bachman: The Mets will want to take the best player available here I think and they have no further to look than Bachman. He has the best set of stuff in this draft with two really good pitches in his high velocity, high spin fastball and gyro slider which presents a good floor as a back end reliever. His changeup seems like it should play though and he was impressive on the mound this year numbers wise, metrics wise and with the eyes and I think he has the best pure stuff in this draft and could end up moving up prospect rankings very quickly. His changeup will need to be worked on and he didn’t go to a Big 5 college but Bachman has a great overall skillset on the mound and I would be surprised if he didn’t have a solid career as a starting pitcher.
  11. Washington Nationals: SP Jackson Jobe: The Nationals could go anywhere here, it’s after the top tier of guys but there’s still a lot of top end talent here. Jobe will be one of the bigger “project” picks in the first round but the end goal that people see is a starting pitcher with four above average pitches which definitely does not grow on trees. He has solid mechanics and sits mid-90s with no huge concerns as the top prep arm but he has the inherent risk of being a prep arm. Also, it is yet to be seen how well all four of his pitches will translate to the pros. The best starters tend to rely on three elite pitches, so drafting him just on the potential of having four plus pitches is silly unless you plan on developing some of them more. He spins the ball well though and is consistent. He does everything you’d ask from a prep arm and deserves to be taken here at the latest.
  12. Seattle Mariners: SS Matt McLain: McLain is a high floor player that’ll almost certainly be a solid contributor. He may even be an All-Star someday. He doesn’t offer the upside of some shortstops and profiles as a rangy second baseman in the MLB but McLain had a solid college career at UCLA. He’s another 20-20 player too. He really was heating up at the end of their season. He has more power than other contact based hitter though and has a good setup at the plate with skills that help him stay on time and deliver hits. He reminds of Ian Kinsler with less power. He doesn’t probably fit as well in analytical teams models because of his launch angle not always being at the ideal level, but if he is making contact and the hits continue to drop, nobody will complain about a solid two hole hitter and also his swing can be tinkered with to create more ideal loft for extra base hits that could unlock another level to his game on a more consistent basis.
  13. Philadelphia Phillies: OF Colton Cowser: After watching Dombrowski draft for years, I am not sure what to expect as he likes power arms even in short spurts and athletic, toolsy players. Cowser is a pure hitter though that has a smaller window of outcomes likely than most guys in this draft. As a solid lefty bat with a good swing and a hit tool more present than anything else there’s some potential to turn into a Bryan Reynolds type player. Cowser started to show more over the wall power from his gap to gap power as well this year. He has a short, compact swing that he can get the most out of. He is definitely a left fielder though.
  14. San Francisco Giants: SP Gunnar Hoglund: The Giants like big arms and Hoglund being here will play into their hand. They will take the best player if they fall into their lap like they did with Patrick Bailey. You’ll constantly hear he has great feel for his pitches and ability to get the most out of them throwing them as strikes. He has solid stuff and likely the best control of any pitcher in the draft limiting walks. He’s another example like so many college arms of guys who have proven themselves against the SEC. He did have Tommy John surgery but the risk is small and he will be able to start throwing some innings next year. His delivery and release point play into his ability to get outs and his secondary pitches I think are a bit underrated as his slider is better than average. He is one of the more talented pitchers in the draft.
  15. Milwaukee Brewers: SP Jordan Wicks: Wicks is the best left handed pitcher in this draft and I’ve seen him go to the Brewers in some mocks. I think it’s a great fit and he is a talented pitcher that gets buried under the bigger names in this class. He is really just a solid pitcher. He has a really good changeup and is already playing it very well off of his fastball that sits 93 and has high spin rates. He also has a decent breaking ball and he has really solid mechanics. It’s hard to find a glaring flaw in Wicks, other than working on his optimizing and honing his breaking pitches. He has an easily repeatable delivery and I think he could easily have a solid big league career. He doesn’t have the killer velocity, but for a lefty it is fine. His changeup is probably the best in the draft and draws high praise. It is exactly what you’d dream a changeup to be. It has the drop of a changeup that you want and its spin is pretty much opposite of the fastball in that it has barely any and will fall out under the hitter and give that bowling ball effect. He’s definitely a treat to watch work on the mound.
  16. Miami Marlins: C Harry Ford: The Marlins are another underrated team with what they’ve been doing in their scouting and development and front office as a hole. Jeter seems to value guys at premium positions as he traded Gallen for Chisholm, I could see him taking a guy that they could develop into a high level catcher one day. Ford can really hit and has big power potential as well and is exactly that. He has been moving up draft boards after impressing all 2021. Ford’s game can be described at the plate as smooth. He has a low effort swing that has generated that power which makes it a whole lot easier to be on time and adjust to off-speed. His swing and approach are really impressive. On defense he profiles more in the athletic category than a guy who will call a good game with a  big arm. Though he does seem to present the ball well and can definitely receive. He is athletic and can move well but his biggest steps in the minors would have to be refining his catching skills, which show promise.
  17. Cincinnati Reds: OF Will Taylor: Taylor could go to college if his bonus demands aren’t met. I’m not sure if the Reds would take that leap but adding this kind of potential to their farm system would be huge. Taylor is the prospect with a ton of tools that scouts dream on in the draft. He is athletic and has a big leg kick in his swing but his power is something that’ll likely come more over time. He has impressed though with his ability to the ball hard and if he focuses on that I am confident some power will follow. He profiles as a true center fielder though and can cover ground in center. He can fly too and with his slim build he reminds you of the type of prospect that will be a leadoff center fielder that gets the most exciting player award in a lot of the leagues he plays in.
  18. St Louis Cardinals: SP Will Bednar: I think the Cardinals are looking into arms to reload the system that is very reliant on Liberatore right now. Bednar probably just did the most advancement from the College World Series as he continuously proved himself against the best college competition in the country. He also has bloodlines in the MLB as his brother David Bednar is on the Pirates. Though Bednar doesn’t have the best pitch in the draft in any way, he has a good fastball and changeup and has shown that it plays against a high level of competition. It’s hard to bet against guys who have shown college success like Bednar did, that is the big thing for him. He is an all-around impressive pitcher who just showed every team that he can handle the best bats college has to offer with his pitchability and skills on the mound and that is attractive for teams to pick on.
  19. Toronto Blue Jays: OF Jud Fabian: The Jays are another team who take players that they can grow and develop into productive players. I think there’s a few options here but I like Fabian for them. Fabian could’ve went top 5 if he had a monster season but instead it had a big slump in the middle. Fabian did make adjustments though and ended up having a good season all in all, which a nice ability to have. The biggest concern will be if he swings and misses too much. If he keeps hitting the ball hard and hitting for power then he’s good but if he’s easily fooled with a game already tailored more to hitting for power then he could be in more trouble. If he can make contact and has quieted concerns about pitch recognition with his rebound then he has a hitting skillset that could be borderline elite in the MLB led by his bat speed. Overall though he showed he could hit good pitching and handle all types of pitches and that he will be an ideal power hitter one day. He also is an elite fielder in center fielder who balances aggression, speed and instincts to make both routine and dazzling plays.
  20. New York Yankees: SS Trey Sweeney: Sweeney is a they’d call a Statcast darling and has very good hitting mechanics that could allow him to hit for decent power and be a lethal hitter at the next level, something the Yankees value, especially at a premium position. Sweeney has hit the ball hard consistently and that is his calling card. His bat can generate power to all fields as he can leverage his arms and legs in his swing. He has the arm to play third base, as a position switch is likely at the next level. It’s easy dreaming about that lefty swing at Yankee Stadium, though he’s not the closest guy to the majors in this draft. His bat and power will take him where he goes in his career but those show major potential.
  21. Chicago Cubs: SP Andrew Painter: The Cubs will likely take a good college bat or a big arm. The Cubs need to start adding to their system with high potential players. Painter adds that. He is a tall, lanky pitcher with room to grow and the ability to sling the ball. He is similar to Jobe in that he has a handle on a lot of pitches, though his fastball stands out the most and he can move a lot with that 6’7″ frame in the future. Painter could probably make some tweaks in his delivery to make him more flexible but when scouts say he has a good face, that is what Painter looks like on the mound, he looks like he was meant to pitch and looks natural out there.
  22. Chicago White Sox: SP Ty Madden: Madden is usually going higher than I have here, but I am not as high on him. Regardless the potential is there and the White Sox have shown their willingness to take guys with a high ceiling but concerns. Madden is the classic big arm out of Texas who quite literally comes out over the top with his motion and has a big fastball and big body to go with it. The concern is that he sometimes pulls his head, something that I am convinced ruined the chances Buck Farmer ever had of starting. He may need some tweaks to his mechanics to prevent this because it takes away from his best pitch and can also lead to some command loss at the pro level which can lead to both walks and meatballs. Despite all of those concerns that led to some inconsistencies, Madden didn’t have a bad season or college career and definitely has swing and miss stuff if he can be developed correctly. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches that he can work off of each other too. He carries some reliever risk like so many arms do, but he has the potential to become a great starter too.
  23. Cleveland Indians: C Joe Mack: The Indians showed us last season that they have no issue taking it slow and being patient developing a player they value highly who could be a star. They’d be really excited to see Mack here and prep catcher who has impressed with his lefty bat and pop times. He has some approach work to do at the [plate but he has undeniable talent with the bat and could be a lefty power catcher and has a good chance of sticking behind the plate and being an above average catcher. Teams will dream on the bat making it to full potential though and him becoming a really great hitting catcher.
  24. Atlanta Braves: SP Ryan Cusick: The Braves are always looking to add big pitchers to the mix, Cusick is a higher upside pick who has a lower floor because he needs to saddle his command in pro ball. He could be a few adjustments from being a serious starting pitching prospect. He comes with what most first round righties do, a huge fastball that can reach triple digits and a good curveball. He needs to work on his third pitch, which is currently a changeup and repeating his delivery. There’s been guys with mechanical questions who have worked out well, he just needs to find consistency and how to stay in a rhythm long enough to be a starter, his natural height and ability to pitch with velocity and mow guys down is what makes him a first round talent.
  25. Oakland Athletics: OF Lonnie White Jr.: The A’s are looking at high potential high schoolers in this slot, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took Mooney here either. White again is a good center fielder who plays on speed and physicality. He has power that he could develop into and the biggest thing he will need to grow into is his bat and how to be valuable at the plate. When he gets on he can be trouble on the basepaths and if he can get a power stroke going then he has multiple plus tools. I really like his setup at the plate though and I think when he swings he gets a lot of rotational velocity going and will lead to him hitting balls hard.
  26. Minnesota Twins: SS Colson Montgomery: Montgomery can leverage power and bat speed with his limbs and he looks smooth at shortstop and he seems like the type of player the Twins would value. He has a nice and smooth swing and get on plane with the ball. I see him a solid hitter first. The questions come in how much power can he add and how will his tall and lanky body work at shortstop? He may be better suited for a third base or left field spot. If you draft him you’re dreaming on his bat with gap power that could potentially grow into in-game power and become an All-Star in the best case.
  27. San Diego Padres: OF Joshua Baez: I think the Padres will like the upside in Baez bat. Baez has an aggressive approach and doesn’t get cheated at the plate swinging hard. He may need to hone in his ability and stop trying to swing out of his shoes every pitch but it is a good trait to have when you can hit as hard as he does. He has a solid swing too and is calling card is being a true right fielder with a cannon in right and great power potential that could lead him into being a middle of the order hitter one day. He will likely take 3-4 years at least to develop as a prep player but he has the makings of great player if he can reach a more level game and tap into his flashy tools when needed. I like Baez a lot though and he could end up being one of the best bats in this draft.
  28. Tampa Bay Rays: SP Gage Jump: Jump screams a Rays pick because he has great mechanics and great stuff that fits into a lot of analytical models. His mechanics are good and he won’t get cheated when throwing. He’s also in the new wave of smaller pitchers that have higher spin rates that see the flatter approach angles. He also would impress those who are more skill/tool based as his fastball is good by any measure and it is said to disappear as he also hides the ball well and has a good IQ on the mound. I think Jump will get the most of everything in his arsenal and his mechanics and motion could make him electric on the mound.
  29. Los Angeles Dodgers: SP Chase Petty: The Dodgers are one of the best development and scouting teams in baseball, so they’ll take their approach back into this draft to take a talented player that they can groom into their next solid contributor. Petty has great mechanics again that optimize his delivery and velocity. He doesn’t get cheated and is already throwing 100. Obviously again, he needs to continue to develop his stuff or there’s risk he’s just a 1-2 inning guy at the back end of a bullpen but Petty also gets really good hip-shoulder separation and he can be downright nasty. He would fit in well with the stable of guys like Bobby Miller that the Dodgers took last season.
  30. Cincinnati Reds: SP Bubba Chandler: Chandler is a big potential, big fastball, hard signability guy. He has a good chance of being a power pitcher if he sticks with that and that brings exciting potential as he also has a good delivery and solid command.
  31. Miami Marlins: C Adrian Del Castillo: He’s fallen down the boards as he has a solid bat and has produced results good hitter with some power, but he likely will not stick behind the plate or be a below average catcher on defense if he does, which knocks his potential ability.
  32. Detroit Tigers: SS Alex Mooney: The Tigers will likely want to get a high upside positional talent at some point and the hometown kid can give them just that. Mooney does everything well, if he doesn’t play shortstop in the MLB he can provide fielding value at any position and he’s also a smart and patient hitter at the plate. You can tell he values his athleticism and take care of his body as he has shown strength to take balls anywhere and profiles as a great pure hitter who can tap into his power when needed, like when he hit 3 homers in one day this year in a doubleheader. I got to see him play and he can really do it all on the field and grades out as the chance to be above average with all of the major tools. His approach at the plate though really sticks out and impresses me and I think he could truly be a hitting machine as he has a solid swing that takes advantage of his levers and is able to generate pop while staying in the zone. He reminds me in a way of a guy like Bo Bichette in that there’s massive hit tool potential but since he’s in high school and there’s some questions being from a cold weather state that he won’t go at the top of the draft.
  33. Milwaukee Brewers: SP Gavin Williams: The Brewers would be excited if Williams falls to them, as he could potentially go higher. He reminds me of the type of prospect Nate Pearson was going into the draft. Someone who coming into the year wasn’t as high but continuously improved and holds the ability to throw 100 MPH fastballs in starts. He is a big arm with exciting potential.
  34. Tampa Bay Rays: SP Spencer Schwellenbach: He has played shortstop mostly in college but his future seems to be on the mound. Obviously he may take a bit longer than other college arms to develop but he looks very promising and with not a ton of miles on his arm that sticks out to a team. Powerful is a good way to describe him on either side of the ball though as he can hit the ball hard and throw close to 100 and has electric stuff and can hit very well with the bat.
  35. Cincinnati Reds: OF Jay Allen
  36. Minnesota Twins: 2B Peyton Stovall: Stovall could also go higher, he has a good swing and can change the angle that he hits at to swing with loft or adjust to high pitches and can square a ball up. He has a really good hit tool and will play a good second base. He’s about as safe as a prep pick as you can make with his profile and he should have good slash lines, he reminds me a bit of Bryson Stott from the 2019 Draft.
  37. Pittsburgh Pirates: SP Chase Burns: Burns is intriguing because he has a pitchers body and good metrics but he is basically a one pitch pitcher as his fastball is one of the better pitches in the draft but his breaking pitches project to be slightly below average and his changeup is not usable right now. He looks the part though and in the hands of solid development he could be made into a solid starter or dominant reliever if all else fails. He throws nice and easy with a longer arm action but his delivery also makes him harder to hit when he is consistent with it as he hides the ball and flings it in a quick firing motion.
  38. Texas Rangers: C Matheu Nelson: A walk heavy catcher with power we have seen prospects like him before in guys like Austin Wells and Kyle Schwarber. Nelson is a righty with a better body though and has really good blocking skills behind the plate, he looks like a cheetah ready to get in the dirt and stop balls for his pitcher. He has statistically had a great year too and impressed at every turn. He’s one of my favorite bats in this draft.
  39. Detroit Tigers: OF Christian Franklin: Franklin is a loud hitter and would fill the Tigers want for even more bats in the system. He hit some balls very long and very hard this past season and has a good swing and major power. He profiles as a corner outfielder that could be a really solid five hitter.
  40. Boston Red Sox: SS Carson Williams
  41. Baltimore Orioles: SP Michael Morales
  42. Arizona Diamondbacks: SP Peter Heubeck
  43. Kansas City Royals: SP Michael McGreevy
  44. Colorado Rockies: OF James Wood
  45. Los Angeles Angels: SP Tommy Mace
  46. New York Mets: 3B Izaac Pacheco
  47. Washington Nationals: SP Maddux Burns
  48. Seattle Mariners: SP McCade Brown: I saw Brown pitch against Michigan this year and he’s a very underrated arm. I could see him as a 3 or 4 in the majors. He kept hitters off balance and his fastball was tough to hit. I’ve seen worries of him not being able to repeat certain parts of his delivery and losing command but I saw him when he was on and it was really good. If he continues to work on those weaknesses in his game he has a good ceiling and he has a lot of projectability in his 6’6′ frame that is intimidating. I think he could get by using his fastball and impressive curve 90% of the time if he can get the changeup working to keep hitters off balance.
  49. Philadelphia Phillies: SP Anthony Solometo: A lot of his success will come in his deception as he will easily remind you of Madison Bumgarner when you see him pitch and he has a good, long arm action with solid stuff. He has good mechanics and solid stuff and could easily go higher.
  50. San Francisco Giants: SP Ky Bush
  51. Milwaukee Brewers: 2B Connor Norby
  52. Miami Marlins: SP Steven Hajjar: Hajjar has a great delivery and looks to be able to be a pitcher who not only eats innings but really good stuff that generates swings and misses if his curveball gets a bit better. He’s a lefty who throws with decent velocity and had a solid season.
  53. Cincinnati Reds: SP Doug Nikhazy
  54. St Louis Cardinals: SP Bryce Miller
  55. New York Yankees: OF Aaron Zavala
  56. Chicago Cubs: 3B Alex Binelas: Binelas has a major strikeout problem and is already looking like an all or nothing hitter. Those guys have some value but when this happens to you in college and you will most likely me a first baseman too that will make your value drop. He has a home run swing and power though and that is always attractive to an extent. He also really has potential to grow with the bat, but that’ll control his destiny as a future corner infielder.
  57. Chicago White Sox: OF Ethan Miller
  58. Cleveland Indians: SP Andrew Abbott: Abbott has good stuff and could be one of the better pitchers to come after the first round. For me his stuff lacks a bit, but he has potential to continue to improve.
  59. Atlanta Braves: OF Daylen Lile: Lile is considered one of the best prep bats in the draft and he also has some good physicality. His swing is powerful but compact and I can see him being able to flat out hit and have top of the order ability with the bat as he’s proven so far.
  60. Oakland Athletics: 3B Wes Kath
  61. Minnesota Twins: IF Cooper Kinney: I like players like Kinney because it’s very realistic that their bat could carry them into hitting immediately into pro ball and with his anility to play over the infield and being a second baseman it helps his floor. His bat has the big potential though and he’s also in the top tier of prep hitters.
  62. San Diego Padres: SS Jackson Merrill
  63. Tampa Bay Rays: 2B Tyler Black
  64. Pittsburgh Pirates: SP Dylan Smith
  65. Baltimore Orioles: OF Tyler Whitaker
  66. Kansas City Royals SP Ben Kudnra
  67. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Maxwell Muncy

Best Available:

  1. SP Jack Leiter
  2. SS Jordan Lawler
  3. SS Khalil Watson
  4. C Henry Davis
  5. SS Marcelo Mayer
  6. SS Brady House
  7. SP Sam Bachman
  8. SP Kumar Rocker
  9. C Harry Ford
  10. SP Jackson Jobe
  11. SS Matt McLain
  12. OF Sal Frelick
  13. SP Jackson Jobe
  14. OF Jud Fabian
  15. SP Chase Petty
  16. SS Trey Sweeney
  17. OF Benny Montgomery
  18. OF Will Taylor
  19. SP Gunnar Hoglund
  20. SP Will Bednar
  21. OF Colton Cowser
  22. SP Ryan Cusick
  23. C Joe Mack
  24. OF Joshua Baez
  25. SP Gage Jump
  26. SS Alex Mooney
  27. SP Jordan Wicks
  28. C Matheu Nelson
  29. 2B Peyton Stovall
  30. SP Gavin Williams

Deep Sleepers I Like:

C/1B Wes Clarke: He’s a power hitter that could go in the first five rounds and he absolutely rakes and has big power potential with the ability to walk, I think he’s ranked far too low.

OF Grant Richardson: He hits well and has a chance to stick in center field. I saw him make a diving catch and hit a homer in a game, he seems like he’s always impacting the game in a positive way and his swing works well.