It’s still very early in the 2021 draft season, especially now since the amateur draft has been pushed back to July. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick, so essentially, they are on the clock and have every eligible player to choose from with the first pick. Obviously only a few players will actually be considered for the pick, but the Pirates don’t have to worry about setting their sights on a player, only to see some other team draft him first. MLB Pipeline has made their first attempt at ranking the draft class. A lot will change between now and then throughout the top 100, but the #1 ranked player remains to be Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker.
It’s important to remember that these are rankings. We have seen some early mock drafts for fun and they all had the Pirates going with Rocker. Just recently, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis did a podcast talking about this particular draft class and then they did a mock draft on the spot, switching between picks, Mayo going first and taking the odd numbers, Callis the even numbers. Mayo threw an 80 grade curve and went with Jordan Lawlar, a high school shortstop from Texas, with his first pick. Lawlar is ranked second in the new top 100, while a college shortstop, Matt McLain from UCLA, ranks third overall. Jack Leiter, another starter from Vanderbilt who gets a ton of praise, is ranked sixth overall. The full list can be viewed in the above link.
This new list from Pipeline also came with an article looking at the breakdown of the draft class, highlighting position strengths and weaknesses, and the top tools available. That’s also important when factoring in that the Pirates will have four of the first 75 picks. The draft order isn’t completely set, but right now they have the 36th, 65th and 73rd overall picks. If it does change, it will only be 1-2 spots on those three picks.
Once the college season starts, we will have weekly Draft Prospect Watch articles here, along with any mock drafts and rankings from top sources. We will take deep looks at anyone who is even remotely possible for the first overall pick, while also going over some possibilities for the 36th pick, in the process covering guys who might slip to those two later picks.