Welcome to the second edition of our MLB Draft rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. You can check out the first edition of the rankings here. We’ll be running with a top 25 for this year. We’ll also include coverage periodically on some guys that could fall to the Royals with later picks (#43, #66, #78, and #108) that we like but just don’t crack our top 50. If you’ve been reading the site, you’ll notice that I’ve already begun posting updates on some guys that I think KC could be in on at #7 and #43.
Due to the nature of the pandemic, missing the 2020 season, and a draft that has a consensus top 7-8 prospects with no clear #1, this could be a wild draft. I had said previously that I thought it was conceivable that KC could go under slot at #7 to save money for their second pick at #43. Think Dozier at #8 and Manaea at #34 back in 2013. I do not think this is much of a possibility anymore. For one, it appears that Baltimore is going to take the best under slot type prospect at #5. Secondly, it looks like there’s a better-than-good chance that one of Kumar Rocker, Jordan Lawlar, Kahlil Watson, or Brady House will fall to KC at #7. The Royals have been pretty involved in all four of these guys and I cannot see a situation in which they would pass on any of the four at this point (in favor of an under slot).
Last time we posted some big boards from across the national media, this time we’ll post some results from some of the most recent mock drafts that I’ve seen:
- Baseball America: Kumar Rocker
- FanGraphs: Kumar Rocker
- MLB Pipeline: Jordan Lawlar
- CBS: Kumar Rocker
- ESPN: Brady House
- Prospects Live: Jordan Lawlar
- Jeff Ellis: Kumar Rocker
- Mason McRae: Kumar Rocker
- Dan Zielinski III: Kumar Rocker
Kiley McDaniel’s mock is back from May 11th, so we’ll see if he updates that soon, but I have heard the Royals like House so I do think there’s a real possibility of that happening at #7. The rest of these are pretty damming in terms of the possibility that the Royals actually get Kumar Rocker at #7. The biggest alternative that you can see, and that I’ve heard is well, is the chance that other teams balk at Jordan Lawlar’s asking price and the Royals are willing to put up the money. He is still the only guy I’d be okay with them passing up on Rocker for. I think I’d still rather have Rocker, but I REALLY like Lawlar. He reminds me a ton of Bobby Witt Jr. There are some differences, and I think BWJ is a bit better as a prospect, but I don’t think it’s far off. Here’s a quick reminder of where our board was at on May 18th:
And here is our updated top 25:
- If Connor Norby is still available when the Royals pick at #43 overall, they ought to thank their lucky stars. The ECU second baseman is hitting .415/.484/.659/1.143 with 15 HR and 15 2B this year. He’s legitimately one of the best hitters in college baseball and has flown under radars all year. Included by yours truly.
- I’ll add his teammate to that category as well. RHP Gavin Williams is a monster. I knew he could throw. His fastball has reached triple digits and his breaking ball is superb. I did not know he could pitch like that. His outing against Vanderbilt in the Super Regional may have made him a ton of money.
- I am now firmly in the camp that the top 7 players are worthy of slot value for KC and that Jackson Jobe is pretty close. I actually think Jobe is like a top 2-3 talent in this draft but I cannot get over the whole “prep RHP” thing. The track record for those kids is horrible and while that doesn’t dictate any of Jackson Jobe’s future, I can’t help but balk at the poor track record of most prep RHPs. In any case, with the rest of the top 7 in Rocker, Lawlar, Watson, Leiter, House, Mayer, and Davis, I don’t see a reason for the Royals to be under slotting at #7. I’d strongly prefer any of the aforementioned seven guys over the under slot strategy.
- We had Jeff Ellis on the podcast recently and he echoed some feelings I have about Izaac Pacheco. Pacheco is a stud that I’ve seen out of first round mocks entirely. There aren’t 20 players I’d rather have in this draft.
- IF the Royals decide to under slot at #7 for some reason….it better be because they think Colton Cowser can be their big league CF by the end of 2023…..
Photo Credits: George Walker IV, Tennessean.com