Written by: Jake Tillinghast
Follow him on Twitter: @JTillinghast27
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
Continuing on with the 2021 MLB Draft coverage here at Prospects Worldwide, I am really excited to get out this 1st initial ranking for the 2021 Class. And boy are we all in for a special class and honestly very likely an extremely unpredictable draft with no Cape Cod league this summer on the college end, and a whole lot fewer scouts on the road in general lately, there is very likely going to be some surprises at the top of the draft, and very likely throughout.
This list is far from a finished product and will be evolving constantly until draft day.
***Mock Draft 1.0 set to release on Tuesday, 11/24/2020***
If you enjoy this write up, and are a fan of reading up on all kinds of 2021 MLB Draft content, check out the bottom of this article for a link to a number of Articles we have available with tons of analysis and data on many more prospects that did not get a write up on the rankings yet.
- Ages during Draft Month (July 2021)
– Last Updated: 11/20/2020
– Last Updated: 11/20/2020
- Jordan Lawlar – SS: Click Here for a Full Scouting Report on Jordan Lawlar
Shows off a rare polished skillset for an HS Shortstop with the ability to stick at a premium position. Showing 4 Above-Average to Plus Tools, with just the Power grading lower as a 50 (League-Average), Lawlar is one of the few players in the entire class that has legitimate 5 Tool potential if he can tap into more consistent power. Even if he can’t, and he settles as a 20 HR guy, his enter package makes him undeniably the #1 Prep talent, and a very likely Top 5 Pick, with 1.1 consideration in the 2021 MLB Draft.
- Brady House – 3B: Click Here for a FULL Scouting Report on Brady House.
House long has been viewed as a Top talent in the class, and for good reason. Young for the class just turning 18 during the draft month, the Right-Handed Plus (60) Power from House is legitimate and some of the best in the class. Expect his defensive home to be at 3B long-term. If the Hit Tool can show the consistency it once did, House will solidify himself as one of the Top Overall Prep talents in the class. He has a Plus arm that profiles well at 3B and has a chance to be an Above-Average (55) Defender there at his best. There is some 2-way potential here, but the future with Brady is in the middle of a lineup driving in runs. Troy Glaus vibes from House.
- Marcelo Mayer – SS: All-around strong athlete with one of the better approaches at the plate to go with an Above-Average (55) Hit Tool. Showing a smooth, consistent swing from the left side. However, the bat path is rather flat but has been showing more loft as of late and projects for League-Average (50) Power at his peak, with the potential for more as he tinkers with his bat path as he enters pro ball to tap into that power more consistently. As good as he is in the box, he shows equally as strong defensively at a premium position as a 55 Defender with a (60) Arm that’s capable of making most any throw on the infield.
- Andrew Painter – RHP: The 1st pitcher on the list. The Right-Hander stands 6’7 with easy and repeatable mechanics, command of a 4 pitch mix all grading Above-Average or better. Led by a future Plus-Plus Fastball that sits 93-95 T97, 2300-2500 RPM, that he can command to both sides of the plate. Features 2 Breaking balls that each show Above-Average spin rates that he can use vs either LHH or RHH that get a high amount of swing and miss and a Change up that flashes Plus at its best and works so well off the Fastball.
- James Wood – OF: Not often you see a player 6’6 230lbs with Plus (60) Speed, Plus-Plus (70) Raw Power with a chance to tap into all of it, Defensively, showing an ability to play CF, however likely sliding in as a Plus defender in RF as he reaches Pro ball. The offensive ceiling is as high as any in the class when you have that strong hitability in such a powerful Left Handed hitter. Shows strong mechanics and the ability to stay short with those long arms. Not something you see often from a young hitter this size. You can’t help but think of a Left-Handed Aaron Judge here.
- Khalil Watson – SS: One of the summers biggest risers with some of the cleaner actions at the SS position where he grades as Plus (60). Plus athleticism, bat speed, and a bat that has really been showing up loudly this summer. So much that he finds himself as a likely 1st round selection with his ability to produce on both sides of the ball, and there is still more to come with the bat. Patient and willing to take walks, to go with (50 Hit and 45+ Power) with a chance to pop into 50 Power.
- Ian Moller – C: It’s not often you see a Catcher who possesses one of the better bats in the class, (50 Hit, 60 Power) with the ability to stick at Catcher long-term. Showing strong catch and throw ability, and improved overall game behind the plate. Built to last at the position, with a middle of the order bat that can rival most in the class and seems more than capable of handling a pitching staff as he moves into the higher levels. High School Catchers are generally a very risky investment as high as Ian is projected to go, but the toolset is something not many catchers if any have shown at this level in recent years.
- Joshua Baez – OF: One of the younger players in the Draft, not even turning 18 before he hears his name called, which I see happening in the 1st Round. The toolset and age are simply too hard to ignore and pass up. The only question is the hit tool, will he strike out too much, as your question with most prep bats with the power he possesses (70 Raw, 60 Game) but he shows it in-game consistently to all fields, as he did at the Area Code Games with a 107 Exit Velocity HR to RCF. A 70 Grade arm, Baez fits naturally as an RF but could see some reps in CF with his strong reads off the bat and speed that should drop from the Plus it currently shows into a 50-55 Runner. Profile similar to Yoenis Cespedes.
- Harry Ford – C: Click Here For a Full Scouting Report on Harry Ford
I’ve been banging the Harry Ford drums for a few months now and here he finds himself inside the Top 10 HS Ranks and firmly discussed as a 1st Rounder come to Draft Day. Ford skillset is unmatched at the position with the exception of a handful of players at any level. From Above Average (55) Power, Defense, and Speed (Shows Plus speed now) to go with a plus arm and showing every chance to stick behind the plate with those tools and athleticism. This catcher class is deep. But very likely we see 2 HS Catchers in the 1st round this year. Similar in the mold of J.T Realmuto.
- Tyree Reed – OF: One of the more interesting cases right now with limited showings this summer. But Tyree still has that same elite potential and projectability. Working Gap-Gap with a short compact swing that will lead to some power as he fills out his frame, I see him being able to tap 25+ HR. With his ability to stick in CF as a Plus Defender with him Plus speed he will maintain moving forward, and a Plus-Plus (70) Grade Arm talent to put fear in any runner that wants to challenge him.
- Jackson Jobe – RHP: If you like nasty breaking balls, you get one of the best in the class with Jobe. With a Slider that shows incredibly high Spin Rates (3000-3200 RPM) with legitimate sharp Horizontal bite that shows true Plus-Plus (70) potential, and will be a true Wipeout pitch at the next level. Paired with a Fastball that sits 92-94 T96 that has some projection with a fresh arm and Plus arm speed. Rounded out by a Changeup that has shown improvements in recent events and gives you a reason to think it can turn into a (50) League-Average 3rd pitch he can use to attack Lefties.
- Gage Jump – LHP: From an older prospect to a younger one, Gage will just be turning 18 during his draft month. A young Left Hander with a blazing Fastball that Grades as Plus (60) flashes (70) with impressive metrics. Sitting 92-93 T95 generating a ton of Swing and Miss up in the zone with one of the better Vertical Approach Angles in the draft. With fantastic extension and drive off his back leg. Although he is a smaller pitcher, just (5’11 180lbs) he uses all of it and more and it really is an advantage. He has a Curveball with a 2/7 shape that flashes Above-Average (55) and a Changeup to round out the repertoire and has starter traits if he can iron out a few command issues that seem to come and go from time to time.
- Josh Hartle – LHP: Hartle has a ton of projection remaining in his 6’5 frame. Shows strong command as a prep with a Future 55 and potential to move into a 60 Grade. Expected velo bump from his 89-92 MPH he works with now to go with a plus Slider and an Average-Above Average (55) Changeup. Coming from a tough lower arm slot for hitters to deal with, similar to Chris Sale’s arm slot. The high-end upside with the pitchability and projected velo boost make him as good as any in the class. 9 months until the July Draft, I expect to see some of that projection start to fruition come to Springtime.
- Benny Montgomery – OF: Lawlar may have the most polished skill set, but Benny has the loudest no doubt. Showing Plus-Plus (70) tools from the Speed, Arm, and Overall Athleticism. Projectable Power with the elite bat speed and an improving Hit Tool as the Summer Circuit has progressed. The hitch in his swing/load is much improved from the start of the Summer and has helped him be more consistent in the box, and showing that high-end potential more consistently. If those developments continue to fruition, Benny will likely see himself as a Top 15 selection and possibly the #1 HS Outfielder off the board. He possesses some of the best bat speed (85! Barrel Speed) in the entire class. The sky is the limit for Benny Montgomery.
- Alex Mooney – SS: A leadoff type with some pop, and base stealing ability to stick at a premium position, Mooney has climbed the ranks pretty heavily the past month (had him around 25-30 range) and a half with recent showings at events and eventually on the big stage at the PG All-American Classic where he took home the games MVP. The bat has consistently shown up this summer against some strong pitching with some pop as well. Will settle in as a Hit (50) over Power (45) guy. When you pair that with a Plus Runner, Defender, and Arm at the SS position, you’re talking about a pretty well-rounded player and consistent player.
- Braden Montgomery – OF/RHP: A Switch hitter, with tons of athleticism and ability on the field. He can do it all. Hit, Pitch, Infield, Outfield. Jack of all trades. To go with a cannon of an (70) Arm that has been registered up to 97 in the OF and 95 on the mound. I really like the toolset here. How can you not? The athleticism doesn’t translate to a ton of speed, likely a corner OF due it (50 Grade), but should show Above-Average (55) Defense at either position. Braden is a pretty impressive pitcher and a legit 2-way prospect, possibly the best in the entire draft. His stuff on the mound has really elevated itself in recent months. Shows some ability on the infield dirt as well, but the future very likely will be in the OF, may get a shot at 2 way early on, but let him hit, if it fails the arm and athleticism has a chance on the mound. Where he touches low-mid 90s with a breaking ball that flashes 55. From the makeup and overall skillset, there is a lot of similarities to a young Dexter Fowler.
- Joe Mack – C: Carrying a bat that has a legitimate middle of the order upside from the power that shows up to all fields, to the ability to consistently find barrels with high Exit Velocities against good pitching. Defensively, he shows Plus-Plus and even Elite Pop time numbers, showing as good as 1.78 sec at the PG All-American Classic, which is pretty unheard of in-game. MLB Average is roughly 2.0 sec to go with a Plus (60) Arm he can use to challenge any base stealer. The blocking, framing and receiving as a whole need to continue to progress if he wants to be looked at as a strong player on both sides of the ball. One of the more consistent bats in the class.
- Izaac Pacheco – 3B: If you like Left-Handed Power look no further then, Izaac Pacheco. Possessing legitimate (70) Grade Raw Power. But the story doesn’t end there for Pacheco. He grades as a potential Plus (60) fielder at 3B. And legitimately has SS tools to stick if he weren’t 6’4 220lbs, likely forcing him off the position. He runs well for an athlete his size and is athletic enough to handle an OF position, likely RF with his strong arm and overall athleticism should be a seamless transition if ever needed. With any improved showing with the hit tool and ability to pick up spin over the next few months, we could see Pacheco climb into 1st Round consideration.
- Daylen Lyle – OF: I’ve said for a few months now I truly believe Lyle has the absolute best Hit Tool (60) in the Prep class. His pure hitability is unmatched consistently against the better pitching in the class. He shows plus bat speed to pair with hands and bat control he shows a knack for barreling up balls more consistently than most in the class. Likely a 15 HR guy at his peak, and profiling as a strong Lead-off talent with his ability to find his way on base at a high rate. A corner OF profile as he ages. I see a similar player, although not a leadoff hitters, David Peralta and Michael Brantley, and he may have a tick more speed than each of them.
- Chase Petty – RHP: The absolute most electric arm in the Prep Class. And quite frankly, it might not be that close. Petty brings a Fastball that reaches Triple Digits, sitting 94-97 MPH with Average Spin Rates, but will show some fantastic movement. From hard 2 seamers in on RHH to some natural cut at times. With improved command, it has every chance of reaching a future 70 Grade and honestly even 80. It is that good. The Slider gets big Horizontal Movement and is a wipeout pitch against RHH. He rounds the arsenal out with a Changeup that again, shows plus movement, just Below-Average, command, but shows true potential to give him a possible 3 Plus-Pitch mix. Command (45) and the high effort delivery will lead some to bullpen risk questions, I think if the command can settle at that 45, he has a chance, but without it, it’s an uphill battle even with his nasty stuff.
- Ryan Spikes – SS: Quick twitch athlete showing clean athletic actions in the box and defensively. Working with Plus bat speed and hip separation, Spikes shows off some Pull Power that grades as (45) with a chance to tap into more with his pure hitability and ability to find barrels and hard contact at a high rate. But the best tool here is easily the Hit tool, which grades as Plus (60). Not to mention the Plus Speed. An Above-average (55) Defender capable of handling all 3 INF positions, but the best fit may be at 2B. Height doesn’t stop this kid from producing consistent hard contact to all fields with some sneaky power he taps into in-game. Middle of the diamond, impact bat. Tennessee had a similar overlooked Commit heading into the draft a couple years back, Mookie Betts, just saying…
- Braylon Bishop – OF: Plus bat speed creates a ton of body torque and hip separation that helps lead to Plus Raw Power that he can tap into. Grading as a 55 future Power hitter. A plus runner that should be able to maintain his speed. Shows well defensively, but likely will get moved off the CF position long-term, but very well could turn into an Above-Average or plus defender in RF or LF with his Above-Average (55) Arm, Plus (60) Speed, and instincts on the field.
- Anthony Solomento – LHP: Working in the mid to upper 90s with his Fastball with arm side run with Above-average spin rates that can miss a whole lot of bats. Similar arm action to Madison Bumgarner/Brian Fuentes, and moving parts, there is a ton of deception built in here, extremely tough on Lefties. Arm action similar to Madison Bumgarner/Brian Fuentes. The secondaries include a Slider that flashes Plus (60) and a Changeup, although seldom used throughout the Summer circuit (due to the Fastball/Slider combo being more than enough to handle High School hitters, has shown some feel and a chance to become an Average (50) grade offering. There is some reliever risk here, but I have every reason to think Solomento can develop as a starter with even a fringe-average Changeup.
- Maxwell Muncy – SS: Muncy has my absolute favorite swing and approach in the entire draft. It’s just so consistent and hardly shows any weaknesses. He has a strong Hit Tool (55) that shows potential of reaching 60’s in the future. Power (45+) that shows up to all fields with consistent high Exit Velocities with an ability to hand breaking balls, and fastballs above the letters with his quick hands. An Average Defender at Shortstop showing the necessary range, arm strength, and quickness to last at the position. Some projection left in the frame, and with his ability to drive the ball to all fields, likely could become a 20+ HR threat.
- Gavin Conticello – 3B: A young, big, athletic prospect with projection remaining in that 6’4 frame. At the plate, Conticello has easy Plus-plus bat speed, a Strong Vertical Bat Angle (VBA), launch angle, great leverage and extension. It’s a strong powerful swing that generates easy Plus (60) Power Potential. Consistently showing in-game Exit Velos North of 100+ MPH with true GAP-GAP Pop, but doesn’t sell out for the power. Conticello does a fantastic job of controlling the barrel and going with where the pitch is thrown with an ability to adjust mid at bat. A SS currently, should see an easy slide over the 3B where he should grade as an Average (50) Defender with Above-average (55) Arm strength. Think of a more athletic Triston Casas with a more realistic 3B potential.
- Malakhi Knight – OF: Another big riser in recent events, Malakhi caught my eye at the PG National when he was showing off easy plus defense in the OF at multiple positions. The Power (55) projection paired with the defensive ability (60) Grade and Athleticism is an exciting toolset he brings to the table. Has some chase tendency, and will need to work on his plate discipline a bit moving forward, which I think he will be able to work into his approach. He has true CF capabilities, and with his potential offensive ceiling, there is room for Knight to climb even higher than he has in recent months.
- Eric Hammond – RHP: Steadily rising the board with a 4 pitch mix with above spin that he is willing to use in virtually any count. I’m completely buying into Hammond as an elite pitching prospect in this year’s draft. He has everything you want. Projectable frame, Projectable velo boost, plus feel for breaking balls and off-speed, repeatable mechanics, electric arm speed, need I go on? The Fastball (60) sits 92-94 T95 with more on the way, I can see him sitting 94-95 and touching the upper 90s as he develops. The secondaries are what sets him apart. Featuring 2 Wipeout breaking balls, a heavy downer 12/6 action Curveball (60) with 2400-2450 RPM that is killer on LHH, and a Slider (60) that’s equally effective at times as lethal vs RHH with plus Horizontal Movement. Rounded out by a Changeup (50) he will throw in any count vs any hitter with extreme confidence.
- Edwin Arroyo – SS: The #1 player out of Puerto Rico. And talk about an athlete… Arroyo has the most unique skillset and overall profile in the entire class. A switch hitter, switch thrower, that plays a premium position (SS) at a high level, I grade him as a Future (60) Plus Defender at the position, a Plus Runner, not to mention the plus Arm(s), he can touch up to 90 with each from the mound… He shows fantastic barrel control from both sides of the plate with Potential Above-Average Power (50+) Oh yeah… Edwin is one of the youngest players in the entire class to top it all off. Just 17.9 years old during the 2021 July Draft Month.
- Irving Carter – RHP: Irving has the perfect mix of projection, pitchability, electric arm, nasty movement, and ability to give so many different looks from hesitations to multiple leg pumps that hardly give his command issues, as it grades as Above-Average (55) With a Plus (60) Fastball with strong-arm side sink that sits 91-94 T95 and a Plus (60) Slider combo and a Splitter/Changeup that flashes a chance to be more than the Above-Average (55) Grade I have it as, shows potential to be his best pitch with more consistency. He misses a ton of bats and has all the fire and competitive edge you want from a Starting Pitcher.
- Cody Schrier – SS: Capable of playing Above-Average Defense all around the infield dirt with leadership qualities that would excite any franchise come Draft Day. Showing off an improved Hit Tool this summer that has seen him make more consistent hard contact with much more balance at the plate as well as increased bat speed and ability to turn on the inside Fastball. Has some troubles with balls on the outer half, but has been showing improvements there as well. Shows some pull side power that grades as a 45 Future grade. Schrier’s talent, leadership, makeup, and ability to play a premium position make him a dream prospect for teams.
- Carter Holton – LHP: Quick riser throughout the summer. Holton is an undersized put powerful Left-Hander. With a Plus (60)Fastball touching 96 regularly but generally sits 93-94. Generating some of the best arm speed of any pitcher in the class with plus extension that helps make his Fastball a true weapon at the next level and shows legitimate Swing and Miss potential. He also has a Curveball that shows some inconsistencies, and a Changeup that shows (55) Above-Average. A bit of a high effort delivery, and improvements needed in the secondaries, so there is some pen risk, and would likely figure into the back end of a Bullpen.
- Davis Diaz – SS: Diaz is a natural athlete and Plus (60) Defender at SS with very clean actions, a quick 1st step, good lateral range in the whole and up the middle behind the bag. Soft hands, with an incredibly quick trigger and transfer to go with an Above-average (55) arm. Plus barrel control and ability to drive the ball to all fields with an inside out approach with an Above-Average (55) Hit tool. There is some sneaky pull side Power here. I can see 15 HR Per season down the line with strong OBP numbers with his patient approach. Profiling as a top of the order bat with ability to stick at SS, Davis has great makeup and has the looks of the future big league infielder.
- Michael Braswell – SS: Braswell is a player who is tough to take your eyes off of when he first steps on the field. From the body projection to the athleticism, to the twitch he shows, the free and easy actions as a Plus defender at SS with a TON of flare, and energy out on the field. It’s a lot of the same characteristics that Javier Baez brings to the table for the Cubs. However that’s where the comp ends because they are pretty different offensive talents, but Braswell has his own strengths with the (50+) Hit tool that he shows such a unique ability at this age to have a CF-RCF line drive approach that he consistently finds hard contact and barrels. And the potential to tap into 20 HR Power, however, I think he settles in as a 15-18 HR guy.
- Chase Burns – RHP: If your someone who likes pure power pitching, look no further than Chase Burns. Who regularly pumps his Fastball in at 95+ and touching 100. With Plus spin rates (2400-2650 RPM) working up in the zone as he should, generating a ton of swing and misses. Has the potential to end up as a Plus-Plus (70) pitch. Mixed in with a Curveball that flashes 2 plane break wipe out potential, a Slider, and Changeup. Tons of starter traits. Some worry of Burns “peaking too early” and maybe it’s the case. But you can’t deny the potential here is still top of the rotation stuff if it can reach its max.
- Carter Jensen – C/1B/3B/OF: Middle of the order Left-handed bat with a (50) Hit Tool and Power that shows up to all fields, athleticism, ability to play multiple positions from C/1B/3B/Corner OF. Shows average pop times behind the plate and a (55) Above-Average Arm. I see Jensen’s draft profile and value being a slightly lesser version of Tyler Soderstrom. Has some C ability, but the bat, athleticism, and defense as a whole probably profile best at 3B or a corner OF spot. But he may have a slightly better chance then Soderstrom did to stick behind the plate, I won’t count it out yet. There is a ton to like here. Extremely young for the class.
- Justin Javier Colon Jamie – SS: Young for class, with a whole lot of projection remaining. Strong athletic with quick twitch actions and plays the game with a ton of passion and energy. Pull approach with some hitability the other way. The majority of his Power (55) will show up to the Pull side, and has a chance to grade Plus. Natural loft built into swing. Consistent hard contact although there is some swing and miss concerns here as he has a tendency to sell out and over swing for Power at times, but it shows up in game. Good actions at SS, slick quick tags, very light on his feet, and quick transfers. Plus (60) Arm Strength with easy carry that is accurate on all types of throws around the infield with multiple arm angles. There are similarities in this profile to Carlos Correa.
- Thaddeus Ector – OF: Ector is a very versatile and athletic switch hitter. Good built well with strength and body projection, will add strength down the line. Capable of playing all 3 OF positions, with solid Arm Strength. Potential to stick in CF long-term, and has also shown some comfort at 3B. Some twitch and plus instincts. An Above-average (55) Hit tool with a smooth stroke with barrel control and similar swings from both sides, although the LH swing is a bit more advanced at this stage. There is some Power here, likely a late bloomer in the HR department. Ector will produce high OBP numbers with his patient approach and will be a threat for double digit SB numbers with his Plus (60) Speed and strong jumps and aggressiveness on the base paths. Similar in fashion to a Ketel Marte from the versatility, hitability and sneaky pop.
- Jay Allen – OF: A high-end football recruit, officially signed to Florida to play baseball. Allen, a quick twitch projectable athlete, that brings Plus (60) Speed and flashing 70 times to the table. A natural fit out in CF. Compact swing that can handle velo. With Plus bat speed, Allen uses his strong lower half well and gets good leverage at the plate. He hasn’t produced the strongest Exit Velos in-game, but is starting to turn a corner and show some power and harder contact this summer. With an Average (50) Hit tool and a patient approach he should be on base more then enough to take advantage of his strong Stolen Base potential and extreme aggressiveness on the basepaths. There’s a chance for double digit HR Power, but should always be a Hit over Power prospect with game changing speed. Increased focus on baseball moving forward, should see Allen’s entire game should start to elevate itself and show that natural talent more consistently.
- Colson Montgomery – 3B/SS: If not for his age, (19.3) on draft day, Colson likely would have found himself much higher in the rankings. But that is a pretty big impact on any prospects profile and it does stand out as an HS draftee. But man… is he an exciting player on the field. From Plus-Plus bat speed, hip separation, and lower half usage that helps him produce (55+) Power while also flashing an Average (50) Hit tool. And it doesn’t stop there. He shows the ability to stick at SS long-term however the size (6’4, 190lbs) likely will push him over to 3B where he grades as a Plus (60) Defender.
- Thatcher Hurd – RHP: Hurd, simply put, has an incredible feel to spin the ball with both the Above-average (55) Curveball and Plus (60) Slider both showing 2800+ RPM consistently. With projection remaining in the 6’4 frame there’s every reason to see him adding velocity to the 90-93 MPH Fastball with Above-average to Plus spin rates, and eventually be a Plus (60) pitch. A 4 pitch mix (with the continued usage of the CH) with the ability to miss bats, if he proves the ability to work deep into starts , there is a sky high ceiling here. Showing his ability to work as a SP this spring and work deep into starts could see Hurd rise the ranks even more. Similar pitching type to Eric Hammond, an earlier 2021 ranked High School RHP, similar profiles and pitch mix, just less established. Transferred to Mira Costa HS this offseason for a bit of a competition boost (a-La Peter Halpin; 2020 draft).
- Drew Gray – LHP: Legit 2-way potential. Gray offers similar high spin rates (2750-2850 RPM) on his Plus (60) Slider, tough on both RHH/LHH. Has a heavy Fastball approach at times 90-93 MPH (2550 RPM) challenges hitters up in the zone until they prove they can handle it, and grades as a Plus (60) pitch. Would like to see more usage of the Slider with how dominant it can be vs both LHH and RHH, and a 3rd pitch which could be developed as he focuses more on pitching moving forward. And remember he’s a 2-way guy, with a ton of athleticism in the outfield, and some pull side power. Teams likely will look at him on the mound with his plus ability to create High-Spin and a high amount of Swing and Miss on top of it. But don’t be shocked if a team gives him a legit chance at becoming a 2-way.
- Tommy White – 3B/1B: Very loose and fun attitude, Tommy is going to be a fan favorite wherever he ends up. A 3B by trade but very likely may see his future at 1B. But is fairly athletic, and decent enough with the glove (45) Defender, to give him a chance to stick at 3B with some improvements. One of the most consistent Hit tools (55) and approaches paired with a patient, Pro style approach that helps him drive the ball to all fields. A knack for finding barrels on balls all over the strike zone. He has some good pop as well with Above-Average (55) Power. Not a ton of speed, but again does show some athleticism on the field. An exciting bat that is a fit in the middle of any lineup.
- James Peyton Smith – RHP: JPS is a very young 18 with an incredibly fast arm that shows ability to miss bats with at least 2 pitches. Led by a clear best pitch, the Fastball that grades as Double-plus (70) sitting 93-96 T98 in game, with a natural tail from his low ¾ arm slot. Touching 100 MPH in a max effort pen recently this winter. There is good reason to think he will continue to refine his secondaries, a Curveball (45), Slider (55), and Changeup (50) and control to become an impact SP. However, there is a very high effort delivery here, and may lead to a bullpen role, albeit a high leverage one if he can improve on some issues with his command. But the stuff is as electric as any in the class. There is as much upside as any in the arm with JPS.
- Tyler Whitaker – OF: Lots of body projection here with Whitaker, who has an incredibly loud toolset. Plus (60) Speed/Power combo with a Plus arm and CF capabilities is the start of a high upside prospect. Whitaker gets great leverage at the plate through the lower half, Plus extension and loft in the swing looking to elevate. Attacks the ball out front well with a strong Vertical Bat Angle (VBA) and Plus bat speed. Finds barrels at a high rate, although there will be some strikeouts in his game.. But it comes with more easy Plus (60) Power that shows up in game. 10-15 SB Upside. Whitaker may ultimately end up in RF long-term and even has some infield in his background, but will get his shot in CF no doubt. Similar profile to George Springer.
- Luke Leto – 3B/OF: Someone most had inside their Top 10 as the 2021 class got rolling, and I was one of them. Has some concerns on the defensive side of the ball, a SS now, won’t stick, 3B or LF is the fit long-term. Early in the summer some concerns of his ability to tap into the Power (50 Game, 60 Raw) But lately, the swing has shown more consistency and ability to turn on balls with some power to the pull side and get a bit away from his mostly CF-LF Approach, which is good, but you want to see some consistent Power with Leto. If he shows that, we will see Leto start creeping back into the Top 15 and a potential 1st Rounder with Middle of the Order upside.
- Charlie Saum – C: Saum is a talented young catcher and good athlete behind the plate with lateral agility and quickness. Plus (60) Defensively, and may end up being the best defensive catcher in the class in time. A firm, accurate Above-average (55) Arm. Some Power (50) to play with that shows up in-game. A bat path built to elevate with a consistent VBA and hip separation. Showing up strong to the pull side and into CF. A Below-average (40) Hit tool should be offset by a fair share of walks with his patient approach. Although there is reason to see the Hit tool improving with his ability to pick up spin and barrel balls up as well as he does at this stage. And if that hit tool creeps up, expect the power to as well, making this an extremely exciting and underrated prospect.
- Alex Ulloa – INF: A twitchy, strong compact body with a thick lower half and strong arms. Good approach at the plate, with an Solid (55) Hit tool working Gap-Gap quick hands that stay inside the ball extremely well with some extra juice in the bat with some of the better exit velos north of 105 in the class, and with consistency into the gaps. You can see a path to 20+ HR Power down the line. Currently a SS, although not having the range for the position I think he slides over to 3B or maybe even 2B long-term as a league Average (50) Defender. The Arm (55) is capable of making most throws from the infield dirt. The bat will play wherever he ends up. Really buying the bat here as one of the better ones in the prep class.
- Mason Albright – LHP: Albright wins with stuff, Command (55), and a fantastic feel for pitching. With a Fastball that plays up, getting a natural sinking action from his low release, and consistently works low in the zone. But does show an ability to elevate and get above the eye level of hitters. Extremely tough on LHH with that low arm slot, and pairs it with great extension. Flashes a Plus (60) Curveball that absolutely kills lefties, and shows an ability to backdoor it vs RHH. A Changeup that shows flashes of 55 Grades, but is a League Average offering at present to round out the 3 pitch mix. A consistent performer that doesn’t back down from any hitter filling up the zone.
- William “Pico” Kohn – LHP: Pico is one of my absolute favorite pitchers in the class. Strong build Left-Hander (6’5, 205) with projection remaining. Featuring one of the better overall Curveballs that an easy Plus (60) in the class, and could end up a 70. Heavy downer action at 78-80 MPH. He shows the ability to command fairly well to both sides of the plate and is a weapon vs either LHH or RHH with knee-buckling effect. Projectable Fastball sitting 87-90 T92 with ride up in the zone. And a changeup to round out the arsenal shows Below Average at present but does have the potential to move into League-Average Grades. Has some Reid Detmers feel to him, but is throwing harder than Detmers had in HS, and has a bit more physical projection in the body and arm where he might have a better FB long-term, although the Command (50) is a tick down from Detmers.
- Brandon Neely – RHP: Very young, advanced for his age. Some projection left, flashes swing/miss stuff with secondaries. Plus arm speed. Fastball sits 90-93 T94 with sub 2,000 RPM giving him natural sink, command needs improvement at times but when he’s working his 2 seamer down, it’s nasty and tough to elevate. Slider shows tight spin, looks just like his FB, great tunneling when working outer half, very tough on RHH, and is his go-to breaking ball. Flashes plus potential at its best but is an Above-Average (55). The curveball shows nice depth and big breaking action. The Changeup rounds out the 4 pitch mix, a (45) Grade Below-Average pitch, but the feel for spin, and arm speed to go with him projection gives me a reason to think it will be a future 50-55 offering.
- Rob Gordon – SS: Range could be better at Shortstop, but shows a fantastic 1st step to make up for some of it. The body has some projection left, and there is potential to see Above-Average (55) Grades moving forward. Although, I do think he fits best at 3B. A fairly balanced hitter with (50) Hit and (50+) Power Potential. Not looking to take many walks, with his aggressive approach, but it works for him. If the plate discipline ticks up the offensive ceiling is pretty impressive.
Again, be sure to check back as this will be updated with more reports, and eventually grow into a much larger overall ranking of the entire class. College and High School Prospects. This class is extremely deep and exciting.
We have a ton of other 2021 MLB Draft related articles with write ups on tons of other Top Prospects for the 2021 class. Here are a few links to those articles: (Some players have multiple writeups throughout the different articles)
- 2020 Perfect Game National Standout Hitters (24 Player Write-ups)
- 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic Preview (54 Player Write-ups; Every Participant)
- 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic Standouts (12 Player Write-ups)
- 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic Pitchers Notebook (26 Player Write-ups)
- Top 10 Returning College Players from the 2020 MLB Draft
- SEC Prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft
- BIG 12 Prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft
- ACC Prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft
- BIG Ten Prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft
Have any draft-related questions? Feel free to contact me on Twitter! @JTillinghast27