Written by: Jake Tillinghast
Follow him on Twitter: @JTillinghast27
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
The MLB Draft season is picking up steam and that means the 1st Prospects Worldwide 2021 MLB Mock Draft is here. With the summer circuit wrapped up, with the Prep side getting ready and tuned up for their Senior Seasons, and the College Prospects getting back in the swing of things after missing so much game action this past season as well as no Cape Cod league in 2020.
You can expect multiple updates to the 2021 MLB Mock Draft throughout the Draft Process as we get more looks and data/info comes our way that mixes up the board a bit. We have many updates on the way, as well as tons of in depth Scouting Reports on tons of the Top Prospects available in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Expect a whole lot of movement over the next few months in the early rounds, nothing is set in stone at this point. So much to unfold leading into the July Draft.
2021 MLB Mock Draft 1st Round
RHP Jack Leiter
School: Vanderbilt | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’0 | Wt: 190lbs | Age: 21.2
Leiter, a hot commodity out of High school back in 2019 decided heading Vanderbilt was his best option. Smart decision, as Leiter finds himself in firm discussion to be the Top Overall Prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft with his teammate, Kumar Rocker.
Working with outstanding pitchability, stuff, and control, Leiter stands above the rest with an incredibly deep arsenal of 4 pitches that grade out 55 or better with Above-average Command. Led by the Plus Curveball (60) with 11/5 shape that is a strike getter, but also a bat misser and grades easy plus. Mixing in a Slider that flashes Plus, but settles as a 55 giving RHH trouble, and a Changeup (55) with Vertical drop that is equally as effective at keeping hitters off-balanced. Leiter works with plus extension/drive and if he can hold this newfound velocity on his Fastball (60) that now flashes plus potential, up to 97 MPH with Above-average Spin Rates (2300-2450 RPM) he has shown in Fall Ball into the season, I have a hard time seeing the Pirates pass him up at 1.1.
SS Jordan Lawlar
School: Jesuit College Prep HS, TX | Commit: Vanderbilt | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 185lbs | Age: 19
The game comes easy to Lawlar. With the Hit, Defense, and Speed all grading as Plus (60) to go with impressive barrel control and zone awareness, you have a special talent. Line to Line approach with good bat speed able to catch the high Fastball. The Power (50) has spiked this summer and should settle in around 20+ HR a year. Natural athletic actions, consistent game performances, and checks virtually every box you look for in a Prep player at the top of the draft. The only question is the Age as a High School Senior (19).
Lawlar looks comfortable against any level of competition. Whether it be in the box, defensively at a premium position (SS), or on the basepaths, the game comes so easy and naturally to Lawlar. As he shows the rare ability to slow the game down at a young age. Your prototypical 2 hole hitter, doing everything so well while having Plus-Plus bat control and a run producer. A true impact player on both sides of the ball
OF Jud Fabian
School: Florida | B / T: R / L | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 185 | Age: 20.8
A young Collegiate Prospect Fabian has a high floor matched by a high ceiling. The Above Average (55) Power shows up in-game against strong SEC Competition throughout his time at Florida. Has some pull tendencies, but does show the ability to drive the ball the other way with some impressive Pull side pop that can be sprayed around the field. Hunting for the Fastball to do damage and attack the ball out front extremely well, doesn’t look overmatched by off-speed but can get a bit “jumpy” in the box. But a patient approach that will see him post strong OBP numbers.
Shows well in CF as an Above-average (55) Defender with solid jumps and reads off the bat to go with a (55) Arm. One of the few prospects in the 2021 Class with 5 Tool potential if his skillset can max out with most every tool grading as a (55).
RHP Kumar Rocker
School: Vanderbilt | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’4 | Wt: 255 | Age: 21.6
Ever since he stepped foot on Vanderbilt’s campus, Kumar Rocker has been in discussion for the top spot of the 2021 Class. A strong, workhorse type (6’4 255lbs) with a bulldog mentality, capable of working 200+ IP per season. Despite that size, he works with an athletic delivery and pounds the strike zone with 64% strikes throughout his Vanderbilt career.
Rocker has used his Fastball/Slider combo over 90% of the time, and for good reason. Pounding the zone with his mid-90s Plus (60) Fastball with 2300 RPM, although just an 18% SwStr% is underwhelming and something to monitor. The best pitch he brings to the table (and on the shortlist for best pitches in the draft) is a true wipeout, knee-buckling Curveball (70) with vertical depth that has picked up an outstanding 51% SwStr% and a 35% Chase. Kumar has been working on a new Cutter that we should get more looks at this spring, and could advance his arsenal that much more as he starts to work it in, as well as more usage of the Changeup (7%) which flashes Above-average (55) potential.
3B Brady House
School: Winder-Barrow HS, GA | Commit: Tennessee | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’3 | Weight: 217lbs | Age: 18
Brady House shows some of it not the best Power (60) in class from the right side of the plate. Middle of the order bat capable of putting up big run-producing numbers. He will strike out at an Above-average rate with near league Average Walk rates. House needs to improve on recognizing breaking balls and off-speed against better competition and could be put himself in conversation to be the #1 Prep player off the board.
Above-average (55) Defensive 3B with lateral quickness and ability to come in on slow rollers with a 60, near 70 Arm. Capable of handling any throw from 3B and has enough athleticism, bat potential, and more than enough arm strength to move to the RF if necessary. House has all the tools to be a legitimate impact big leaguer with massive offensive upside. The biggest question mark is how consistently that top-end talent and hit tool will translate to the next level. Shades of Troy Glaus here.
C/1B/LF Adrian Del Castillo
School: Miami | B / T: L / R | Ht: 5’11 | Wt: 208lbs | Age: 21.8
When evaluating Adrian Del Castillo you quickly realize you’re very likely looking at the best Pure Hitter in the 2021 Class. You also come to the conclusion he is pretty unlikely to stick behind the plate long-term. But that won’t stop any team who falls in love with the Bat to make Del Castillo a clear Top 10 pick. An easy load mechanism at the plate, gets his front foot down early, and sees the pitch out of the pitcher’s hand early, produces an easy Plus (60) Hit tool. A career slash line of .326/.414/.560/.974 to go with just a 6% SwStr% and a strong 33/38 K/BB Ratio are very impressive. Mostly Pull-RCF Power (55), that will occasionally show up the other way but mostly shows strong hitability and doubles power to that side of the field.
Not a ton of flexibility behind the plate, athleticism is Below-average, Arm is Average (50), maybe slightly better. Blocking/receiving needs work behind the plate, and ultimately will likely push him off the position into a more LF/1B Profile.
OF Ethan Wilson
School: South Alabama | B / T: L / L | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 210lbs | Age: 21.7
Some of the best Power in the class with a clear flyball approach at the plate (40% Flyball rate) Grading out with 70 Raw Power and 60 Game Power, with true tape measure shots to the pull side, and has the ability to use that power the other way as well, just with a bit less authority. The Hit tool grades as Below-Average presently, but does not overly chase out of the zone. However, swings and misses often on breaking balls, 39% on Sliders, and 32% on Curveballs but has still managed a monstrous .330/.425/.632/1.058 in his career at South Alabama. Wilson will need to show some adjustments as he advances into his Draft season and eventually Pro ball to truly reach his sky-high offensive ceiling stemming from that Power potential.
Defensively, Wilson fits in as a clear corner OF. With Above-average (55) Arm strength and Above-average (55) Speed now that should slightly tail off, Wilson should settle in as an Average (50) Defender in RF with the offensive profile to match. A true run producer with a legitimate 30-35 HR Upside.
RHP Jaden Hill
School: LSU | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’4 | Wt: 234lbs | Age: 21.6
Jaden Hill is a strong Right Hander with an explosive arm and a 4 pitch mix, that has as much upside as any Pitcher in the class. Including the 2 Vanderbilt stars slated to go inside the Top 5. The question here is can he put it all together consistently.
Hill may have the best Breaking ball in the class. A devastating Plus (60) mid-80s Slider that generated a video game like 74% SwStr% (23 swings, 17 swing and misses) and 39% chase rate. Needless to say, it has true wipeout potential. Sharp horizontal break that sprinkles in some tilt at times and shows some hard-slurve tendencies and some development left there, but all signs point to a lethal pitch. The Fastball (55) is where some concerns start sprinkling in. Sitting 95-97 T98 in short stints, but falls off as he gets deeper in starts. 69% usage and just a 18% SwStr%, will need to show more ability to miss bat with the Fastball to eventually grade as a Plus pitch but plays off the breaking ball well. Mixes in a Cutter at times. Hills Changeup (55), although seldom used has flashed Plus often and should start seeing him utilize it more frequently. This will be a big year for year, clearly to show he can utilize his breaking balls more often and try and make his Fastball that much more effective and consistently. Hill allowed just a .096 avg against in 71 AB. only 3 extra base hits, and no home runs allowed.
C Henry Davis
School: Louisville | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 195lbs | Age: 21.8
Davis comes in as the Top Catcher in the class (not counting Adrian Del Castillo and his unlikeliness to stick there). Extremely athletic behind the plate and a Plus (60) Defender. A Plus-plus strong, accurate Arm (70), quick out of the squat, receiving is improving, blocking shows well and with reps will continue to show the capability to stick behind the dish long-term.
A Flatish bat path, with an open stance, wide base, and really covers the outside edge very well at the plate. A lifetime .303/.381/.463 hitter at Louisville, not counting the short 15 AB stint on the Cape in 2019. With a (50) Hit tool to go with a strong 22:21 K:BB Ratio. Not a ton of Power (40) in the bat here, potential for 10-13 HR per season on avg. Some loft built into the swing could help tap into a bit more power. There’s a strong floor here with Davis and a chance to become one of the better all around catchers in baseball with a bit of a boost to the offensive game.
SS Marcelo Mayer
School: East Lake HS, CA | Commit: USC | B / T: L / R | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 188lbs | Age: 18.6
An all-around good athlete, with some room to add some good weight/strength to the frame. Pair that with one of the better approaches and a Plus (60) Hit Tool. Showing a smooth, consistent swing with jump off the bat 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, 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 solid defensively at SS as a (55) Defender with a (60) Arm that’s capable of making most any throw on the infield.
OF Christian Franklin
School: Arkansas | B / T: R / R | Ht: 5’11 | Wt: 185lbs | Age: 21.6
Franklin has a ton of athleticism and should have no issues maintaining his Plus (60) Speed moving forward. As well as stick in CF Defensively as a (55) Defender, with Plus (60) Arm strength. Franklin very well may end up Plus out in CF due to his strong jumps and speed that helps run down balls in the gaps and make some highlight reel grabs.
Offensively, there is a pretty high ceiling here but there is a bit of development left. He struggles with breaking balls away, with a concerning 42% Miss and Chase rates that have led to an 80:34; K:BB Ratio at Arkansas. Although improvements in the shortened 2020 season (14:19; K:BB Ratio in 75 AB, gives reason for optimism moving forward. All things considered, Franklin still projects for a (50) Hit tool. But this is very likely going to be a bit of a Power over Hit profile. A very well-rounded athlete that should continue to develop into a strong performer on both sides of the ball, albeit with a bit of a streaky offensive game at times.
2B/SS/CF Matt McLain
School: UCLA | B / T: R / R | Ht: 5’11 | Wt: 170lbs | Age: 21.9
McLain is very athletic with a high baseball IQ. At the plate McLain profiles as a top of the order bat with a (60) Plus Hit tool and an extremely tough out at the plate with good plate discipline that will lead to strong OBP numbers. An extremely flat bat path doesn’t lead to much power potential for McLain, but settling in around 6-10 HR annually is where we should find him.
Defensively, a 2B/SS/CF Profile that should settle as a 55 Defender at SS, and Plus at 2B with the skillset and athleticism necessary to show Above-average to Plus in CF. But in-game reps down the line will be the biggest tell there. Clean footwork on the infield dirt coming in and on DP turns has strong feeds and accurate throws across the diamond to go with Average (50) Arm strength. A strong floor, one of the best in the class, that should move through the system quickly. With tools that can carry McLain to become a consistent starter at the big league level. Similar profile to Nick Madrigal and David Fletcher.
RHP Andrew Painter
School: Calvary Christian Academy HS, FL | Commit: Florida | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’7 | Wt: 230 | Age: 18
Painter shows many starter traits, from the size, clean arm, and control. 4-Pitch Mix: Fastball, Slider, Curveball, Changeup. With a minimum of 3 pitches capable of getting LHH/RHH out consistently, with the ability to locate, and manipulate the Fastball (60), wipeout Slider (60), and a Changeup (55) that baffles LHH hitters. Painter has some tendencies to cut the Fastball when working the outer half to RHH.
Rounding out a 4-Pitch mix is a strike getting Curveball that shows the feel and depth of at least a league average pitch, with room for more. His tall 6’7 frame, plus extension and drive all help make Painter’s plus stuff play up even more getting on hitters quick with those long limbs and extension. With some Deception built-in hiding the ball behind his body and tunneling his pitches well. Painter has the big durable starter’s frame, arsenal, pitchability, and ability to miss bats to see him at the top of a rotation in the future. Similar mold, more filled out as Phillies 2020 1st Round Pick Mick Abel or developed as a Marlins Josh Johnson type from a few years back.
OF Sal Frelick
School: Boston College | B / T: L / R | Ht: 5’9 | Wt: 175lbs | Age: 21.2
A spark plug, top of the order bat with good hitability, pitch recognition, and plate discipline. A very impressive 22:33 K:BB Ratio with just a 14% SwStr% in 208 AB in his Boston College career. Shows an ability to handle the high fastball with ease. Showing off a (55) Hit Tool with very strong hitability to all fields. And a chance to see 9-13 HR per season with some sneaky pop in his bat.
Defensively, Frelick is a Plus (60) Defender at all 3 OF positions, fitting in best in CF to utilize his impressive (70) Speed and run down balls in the gaps others simply cannot. With a league-average (50) Arm. Frelick reminds a bit of a Brett Gardner type OF that should carve out a lengthy big-league career due to his ability to impact the game in a number of ways.
OF James Wood
School: IMG Academy HS, FL | Commit: Mississippi St | B / T: L / R | Ht: 6’6 | Wt: 230 | Age: 18.7
Not often do 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 in-game. The profile doesn’t stop there. Wood shows strong mechanics in the box with an ability to stay short with those long arms and whip the bat through the zone with impressive bat speed. Not something you see from a young hitter this size. With reason to see a (50) Hit tool down the line to go with that impressive power. He does have a tendency to be over the patient at the plate which leads to the high amount of strikeouts in-game, but will likely offset that with Above-average walk rates. The offensive ceiling is as high as any in the class when you have that strong hitability and power combo in such a powerful Left-Handed hitter.
Defensively, showing an ability to play CF at a young age, however likely sliding in as a Plus Defender in RF as he reaches Pro ball. Possibly even working in at 1B down the road. You can’t help but think of a Left-Handed Aaron Judge here.
SS Khalil Watson
School: Wake Forest HS, NC | Commit: North Carolina St | B / T: L / R | Ht: 5’11 | Wt: 168lbs | Age: 18.1
One of the summer’s biggest risers with some of the cleaner actions at the SS position.. Plus athleticism, bat speed, and a bat that has really been showing up loudly this summer. So much that he has put himself in firm 1st round discussions 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 (55 Hit and 45 Power) with a chance to pop into 50 Power. A Plus (60) runner that plays on both sides of the ball and pairs well his aggressive style on the basepaths.
Defensively, a natural fit at SS with his quick twitch actions and range where he grades as Plus (60). Above-average (55) Arm strength that is firm across the diamond with consistent on-target throws.
RHP Mason Black
School: Lehigh | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 210lbs | Age: 21.6
Black has some of the best pure stuff in the entire class. Has been working in the secondaries more frequently and much improved this fall, and shows high potential to fill in as a starter long-term. Keeps the ball on the ground well, 57% Groundball rates. Working with a 4 pitch mix, the Fastball (60) consistently works in the upper 90s T99, used 69% of the time, I would expect that number to creep down as he mixes in those improved secondaries more often.
Speaking about those secondaries, the best of the bunch would be his Changeup (60) that gets swing and misses and be a consistent out pitch. A Slider (50) with 2400 RPM that has some inconsistencies, but flashes Above-average at times. Rounding out the 4 pitch mix is a Curveball (55) that flashes Plus often and has generated a 35% swing and miss in his collegiate career. With the secondaries trending up and showing a strong ability to play off that heavy Fastball, Black has the looks of a sure-fire 1st Round pick with an outside chance at a Top 10 selection.
LHP Steven Hajjar
School: Michigan | B / T: R / L | Ht: 6’5 | Wt: 215lbs | Age: 20.9
Tons of projection here for the stuff to tick up. Working from a high 3/4 arm slot with terrific extension and works through the lower half well with strong hip/shoulder separation. A present 3 pitch mix that features a Fastball, Slider, and a Changeup.
The Fastball (55) currently works in the low 90s but projects for more and should find himself working mid-90s with ease. The height + extension in the profile makes the heater play up even more and may end up Plus when it’s all said and done. The Slider (55) his breaking ball of choice flashes swing and misses potential if he can tighten it up a bit and add a touch of velo to it. His best pitch is in my opinion the Changeup (55) that flashes true plus and swing and miss ability. The only thing holding it back at this stage is just added usage of the pitch, his best weapon. There is reason to think Hajaar could find himself creeping closer into the Top 10 as the draft gets closer and Hajaar can get more innings underneath him and prove his value.
OF Colton Cowser
School: Sam Houston St | B / T: L / R | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 190lbs | Age: 21.3
There is a lot to like with Cowser from the size, hitability, track record, and athleticism. A consistent performer against the good competition with the bat leads to a Future (55) Hit tool and (50) Power. Controlling the strike zone extremely well with Plus plate discipline and contact rates (14% SwStr% and just 9% on Fastballs) a tough out at the plate. Mostly showing Gap Power to this point, but as he fills into his frame, can start seeing balls leave the yard more frequently. Not to mention some tinkering with the bat path. His barrel control and the overall body of work at the plate should have no issues with trying to add a bit of loft for more pop.
Defensively, Cowser shows well in CF and may stick there long-term. Some feel he is a better fit in LF, but I think he has a chance to stick in CF due to his strong jumps and efficient routes in CF. If he can stick there, his overall value takes a big boost and may see himself be the 1st OF off the board.
OF Joshua Baez
School: Dexter Southland HS, MA | Commit: Vanderbilt | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 220lbs | Age: 18
One of the younger players in the Draft, not even turning 18 before he hears his name called. The toolset and age are simply too hard to ignore and pass up here in the 1st Round. The only question is the hit tool. Will he strike out too much? As is your question with most prep bats with the power potential 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.
Working with a strong (70) 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 in the future. There is not a ton of physical projection left with Baez, but a lot of game projection remains. Similar loud skillset as Yoenis Céspedes
C Ian Moller
School: Walhert HS, IA | Commit: LSU | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’1 | Wt: 200lbs | Age: 18.6
It’s not often you see a Catcher who possesses one of the better bats in the class, (50 Hit, 60 Power), a strong Vertical Bat Angle (VBA), and bat path. There are some swing and miss here but generally offset by a good eye at the plate that should see his fair share of walks.
Defensively, Moller shows strong catch and throw ability from a quick release and (60) Arm. An improved overall game behind the plate in terms of receiving and blocking shows a future (55) Defender. Built to last at the position with a strong, durable frame, Moller is an easy fit as a middle of the order bat that can rival almost any in the class. High School Catchers are generally a very risky 1st Round investment… but the toolset is something not many catchers have shown at this level in recent years. And I’m buying it. There are some similarities to Wilson Contreras here, maybe even a bit more offensive upside.
RHP Ryan Cusick
School: Wake Forest | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’6 | Wt: 225lbs | Age: 21.7
Wake Forest has slowly been turning into a Pitchers hotbed with a quick rising developmental program, Jared Shuster to the Braves in Round 1 in 20202, Ryan Cusick is next in line ticketed for the 1st Round. Cusick works from a 3/4 arm slot with a 3 pitch mix. A heavy Fastball approach, (71%) grades as future Plus (60), 95-98 MPH T99 with 2450 RPM, has ride with some arm side run when working gloveside. His best pitch? That would be the Slide, although inconsistent and tendencies to leave some over the plate. It’s 84 MPH tight, with 2 plane break. The potential is there showing true wipeout potential, with a SwStr% of 33%, with a good amount of development left. Rounding out the 3 pitch mix is a rarely used Below-average (45) Changeup in the 86-88 MPH range with some vertical drop to it, mostly used vs LHH.
The control will need to improve, as well as getting those secondaries more involved which will only make his fastball that much better. So there is some reliever risk here you cannot deny. But Cusick has the look, the stuff, and the continued development to see it all coming together in 2021.
OF Tyree Reed
School: American Canyon HS, CA | Commit: Oregon St | B / T: L / L | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 197lbs | Age: 18.3
One of the more interesting cases right now with limited showings this summer due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 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 and possibly even push 30 HR in some peak seasons.
With his ability to stick in CF as a Plus (60) Defender with him Plus (60) 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. The skillset is there for a loud Spring to boost his Draft stock back up and see Reed move back near the top of the Class and inside the Top 15 selections.
RHP Gunnar Hoglund
School: Mississippi | B / T: L / R | Ht: 6’4 | Wt: 215lbs | Age: 21.6
Hoglund has a lot to like on the mound. What your buying into is Plus (60) Control, ability to locate his stuff in and out and high end projection. In his time at Mississippi Hoglund has managed a clean 90:18 K:BB Ratio in 91.1 IP, and in the shortened 2020 season in 23.1 IP with a 37:4 K:BB and a 1.16 ERA. Working with a low effort delivery that should see some added velo down the line. A (55) Fastball sitting 90-93 MPH T96 with a strong Vertical Approach Angle with ride up in the zone. Although he shows more tendencies working arm-side up in the zone with that heater, he shows good arm and glove-side command. His secondaries include a Slider (55) with sharp bite and swing and miss tendencies that flashes plus often. And a Changeup (50). He ditched a Curveball for more usage on that Slider and seems to have been a smart move, Maybe that Curve makes a comeback at a later date.
If he can consistently prove he can miss bats at the next level with the projection left in the body, continued improved secondaries, added tick of velo and command he presently shows, there is a ton of room for Hoglund to grow into a much more complete pitcher capable of sitting at the top of a rotation rather than a mid rotation arm. There’s a solid floor here, with some high upside to match.
LHP Jordan Wicks
School: Kansas St | B / T: L / L | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 220 | Age: 21.9
Jordan Wicks has been nearly untouchable his last 46 innings on the mound. Posting a 0.35 ERA in the shortened season in 2020 at Kansas St, and a 20 Inning stint holding a 0.45 ERA over the summer in the Northwoods League. A combined 53:9 K:BB Ratio in those combined 46 IP. Wicks is a High upside Lefthander with solid (55) Control that may be Plus in the end and pretty good stuff to boot. His best pitch, and possibly one of the better Changeups (60, flashing 70s) in the entire class that has produced a 39% SwStr%, 41% Chase in his Kansas St innings. He consistently works his Fastball (55) around 92 MPH; 2400-2500 RPM with ability to locate in and out. His 3rd pitch is his Slider (55), 84-87 MPH; 2550 RPM which is pretty effective in itself. Extremely tough on lefties with that Slider.
Wicks may project as a bit of a contact over swing and miss pitcher in the end, but should hover around that 1K per inning mark producing a ton of soft contact. He shows everything you look for in LHP in the 1st Round. And the stuff is trending up at the perfect time over the summer and into fall ball. A similar Lefty with a nasty, potential best in the class Changeup went in the back of the 1st Round last year, Jared Shuster.
1B/3B/LF Alex Binelas
School: Louisville | B / T: L / R | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 205lbs | Age: 21.1
Lightning quick hands and keeps them close to the body, although not the prettiest of swings has made it work. Easy Plus (60) Power to all fields and stays compact through the entire swing, no question the power can play at the next level. There is likely always going to be a high amount of swing and miss in Binelas’ game, especially on secondaries (Slider/Curveballs 40% SwStr% and Changeups 44%) but he will offset it wil fairly solid BB rates. Improved contact rates will allow that impressive power to play more consistently.
Defensively, below average (40) at 3B, glove and footwork at the position are pretty choppy and likely pushing him to 1B or LF duties. Shows a strong Arm (55) across the diamond, but struggles on double play feeds, and the accuracy in general could see some improvements. If Binelas can prove himself capable of handling the hot corner with just league average marks, his value takes a big jump and should hear himself be called in the 1st half of the 1st Round. If not, back of the 1st is where I see him coming off the board as a true LH Power threat.
C Harry Ford
School: North Cobb HS, GA | Commit: Georgia Tech | B/T: R/R | Ht: 5’10 | Wt: 200lbs | Age: 18.2
This is not an everyday profile. Harry Ford offers a rare combination of Speed (60/55), Power (55), defensive ability, and overall athleticism at the catcher position just 1 professional catcher possesses. That would be JT Realmuto. There is easy 25 HR Power in his bat with a strong Vertical Bat Angle (VBA), electric bat speed and solid pitch recognition that should allow him to draw walks at a 10-12% rate.
The Above-Average (55) to potential Plus Defense behind the plate comes with the ability to navigate lineups and help his pitchers through starts without their best stuff. Ford has the skillset, athleticism and ability behind the plate to stick long-term at the next level. But shows the athleticism, speed, arm, and overall package to see playing time in the OF and even 3B if needed, similar to a Dalton Varsho or Dillon Dingler. Athletic Catchers who can provide solid Defense with a high offensive ceiling are not common.
3B Zack Gelof
School: Virginia | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’3 | Wt: 205lbs | Age: 21.7
An athletic 6’3 with a strong body and upper half. A solid Hit tool (55) with consistent hard line drive contact, and I think as he develops into his game he will start running into a few more in-game HR as he enters pro ball, and show 20+ HR Potential. Although the offensive game has come with some swing and miss to this point (104:58 K:BB Ratio), he has shown improvements as of late, in his last 58 games including time in the Northwoods League and sophomore season at Virginia. With Above-average (55) Speed, Gelof has stolen 42 bases in just 113 collegiate games. Should settle as a 10-15 SB per season. Smart and aggressive baserunner.
Defensively, Gelof plays an athletic 3B. Shows very well making plays down the line. Shows quick reactions to show off that athleticism. The (55) Arm is capable of making throws on the move going into foul territory and in the hole, on the move and multiple arm angles. Overall a very strong profile that doesn’t have a ton of flaws other than the swing and miss concerns. With athleticism to step out to the OF if needed, similar in style to a Brian Anderson type profile.
RHP Jackson Jobe
School: Heritage Hall HS, OK | Commit: Mississippi | B / T: R / R | Ht: 6’2 | Wt: 190lbs | Age: 19
If you like nasty breaking balls, you get one of the best in the class with Jackson Jobe. A Slider that shows incredibly high Spin Rates (3000-3200 RPM) with legitimate sharp Horizontal bite that shows true Double Plus (70) potential, and will be a true wipeout pitch at the next level. Paired with a Fastball (55) 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 throughout the summer and gives you a reason to think it can turn into a (50) League-Average 3rd offering he can use to attack Lefties. As well as giving him a 3rd pitch he will need to work as a Starting Pitcher with legitimate bat missing abilities at the next level. And if the starter role never pans out, there is legitimate upside as a backend reliever with a dominate out pitch he can rely on in short stints. My money is on Jobe becoming a Starter, which is why he finds himself inside the 1st Round.
**Houston Astros Forfeit their selection