Here are the links to the first two editions of our draft rankings:
We are now just four sleeps away from the 2021 MLB Draft. Here’s some quick info about the draft:
- When: Sunday, July 11th, at 6:07 PM (Round 1 and Comp Round A)
- How to watch: MLB Network (ESPN for Day 1)
- Royals first three picks: 7, 43, and 66
- Link to the MLB Draft Tracker
Day two coverage will begin at noon and day three at 11 am. Here is a quick roundup of all of the current mock draft results for the Royals that you can find online:
- ESPN: Kumar Rocker
- FanGraphs: Kumar Rocker
- Baseball America: Kumar Rocker
- CBS: Kumar Rocker
- MLB Pipeline: Kumar Rocker
- Mason McRae: Kumar Rocker
- Jeff Ellis: Kumar Rocker
- Prospects Live: Will Taylor
That feels…too good to be true? Like…how often, in any league or in any draft, has EVERYONE correctly called the 7th overall pick while being so random and mixed up from 2-6? I don’t know…I know that there was some backlash to the folks at Prospects Live having Will Taylor there, but at this point, it feels like the Royals are either going to inevitably wind up with Rocker or someone that no one expected. Like I’m not sure what the in between would be. Unless you think Jordan Lawlar or Henry Davis takes an unexpected tumble…I just do not know.
Anyway, here is an updated board of some top 25’s that we featured in our first draft rankings:
|Rank||FanGraphs||Baseball America||MLB Pipeline||Mason McRae|
|1||Marcelo Mayer||Jordan Lawlar||Marcelo Mayer||Jack Leiter|
|2||Henry Davis||Marcel Mayer||Jack Leiter||Kahlil Watson|
|3||Jack Leiter||Jack Leiter||Jordan Lawlar||Brady House|
|4||Kahlil Watson||Henry Davis||Kahlil Watson||Henry Davis|
|5||Jordan Lawler||Kumar Rocker||Henry Davis||Marcelo Mayer|
|6||Brady House||Khalil Watson||Kumar Rocker||Trey Sweeney|
|7||Colton Cowser||Brady House||Jackson Jobe||Sal Frelick|
|8||Kumar Rocker||Jackson Jobe||Brady House||Harry Ford|
|9||Sal Frelick||Sal Frelick||Ty Madden||Gage Jump|
|10||Jackson Jobe||Matt McLain||Colton Cowser||Matt McLain|
|11||Matt McLain||Colton Cowser||Sal Frelick||Will Bednar|
|12||Ty Madden||Ty Madden||Matt McLain||Jordan Lawlar|
|13||Harry Ford||Jordan Wicks||Harry Ford||Will Taylor|
|14||Gunnar Hoglund||Sam Bachman||Sam Bachman||Cody Schrier|
|15||Benny Montgomery||Andrew Painter||Benny Montgomery||Gavin Williams|
|16||Bubba Chandler||Michael McGreevy||Jordan Wicks||Colton Cowser|
|17||Jordan Wicks||Harry Ford||Anthony Solometo||Kumar Rocker|
|18||Sam Bachman||Will Bednar||Andrew Painter||Jud Fabian|
|19||Gavin Williams||Gunnar Hoglund||Joe Mack||Christian Franklin|
|20||Ryan Cusick||Bubba Chandler||Will Taylor||Gunnar Hoglund|
|21||Andrew Painter||Will Taylor||Bubba Chandler||Lonnie White Jr.|
|22||Joshua Baez||Joe Mack||Gunnar Hoglund||Chase Petty|
|23||Jud Fabian||Benny Montgomery||Jud Fabian||Alex Mooney|
|24||Connor Norby||Jaden Hill||Joshua Baez||Joe Mack|
|25||Joe Mack||Adrian Del Castillo||Colson Montgomery||Jackson Jobe|
I mentioned this last time as well, but I include Mason’s list in with these bigger websites because while his take on the draft is certainly unique, Mason is well connected and he analyzes the game deeply and from an innovative angle that I think can be used to analyze our own biases of the draft. You can see that each list has guys that they are higher on than others and none of them have the same player as the second best prospect on the board. This could make for a fascinating draft night.
Here is a quick reminder of what our board looked like in June:
|Rank||Royals Farm Report|
There is going to be some movement on this list, and before I give you the new list, I want to address why there is movement:
- New information comes in all the time. The more information I get, the more I can make educated decisions about who to put where on our board.
- With the Royals taking their level of suck to new heights in June, I had more time to focus on the amateur side of baseball.
- Time was on our side in June. The more time goes by the more time we had to analyze our rankings and understand why guys were rising and falling on other people’s boards.
So, with that in mind, here is our final and updated draft board:
|Rank||Royals Farm Report|
|25||Lonnie White Jr.|
I should probably start with an explanation for Kumar Rocker’s fall. I understand I was driving the Rocker hype train all spring, and while I still like him as a prospect, I just want to acknowledge that I now understand why others have him falling even further than this on their board. His fastball is electric when it’s right, it just hasn’t been right in a while. He doesn’t control it overly well and when it’s 95-96 it doesn’t matter too much, but it has been more like 91-93 lately which is not what I thought it would be earlier this year. I have said over and over again that the first thing I look for in a pitching prospect is how their fastball plays in the strike zone. Rocker is a step below his teammate in Jack Leiter in that regard and I’m not certain that his fastball at the end of the year was even one of the five best fastballs in college baseball. Should that change, and Rocker find his fastball again, he’s the best player in this draft in my mind. I just can’t guarantee that he will and I can’t promise you the Royals are the right ones to help him find it either. There’s a chance that everyone that passes on him is kicking themselves for years. There’s also a chance his fastball is the reason he’s a reliever long-term. Regardless, I think you’re pretty surely getting a big leaguer here which is always a good enough reason to take someone #7 overall.
- Mason McRae talked me into having Trey Sweeney on our list. His junior season at Eastern Illinois was absolutely incredible. He hit .382/.522/.712/1.234 with 14 HR and 10 doubles while walking nearly twice as much as he struck out. Combine that with an impressive record of batted ball data and I can’t find a reason why you wouldn’t want this kid in your system. Mason has mentioned that this is exactly the type of player you could take in the top 10, try to get him way under slot value, and then have more leverage than any other team in the draft for the rest of your picks in the top 10 rounds. I don’t think it’s realistic for KC but my gosh is he impressive.
- I continue to be a little higher than most on Fordham LHP Matt Mikulski. I really believe that one of his biggest detractors is that he looks funny. If the medicals check out and his biomechanical reports are positive, he has some of the best stuff in the draft. If he was available at #43 for some reason I will be ecstatic if he winds up a Royal.
- I still love Jordan Lawlar, man. He is so smooth. He hovered right below Rocker on our list most of the spring but he’s just too promising of a young SS prospect to pass on for me. He’s a great athlete with a smooth hit tool and all kinds of room to grow into more power.
- The reason for Davis moving above Rocker is pretty simple for me: when we did our Prospects Live mock, I was so excited to actually get Davis that I realized my preference was probably Davis over everyone not named Jordan Lawlar. Davis isn’t just the best college hitter in this draft, he might be the best player in the draft. Having Lawlar above him was really about projection at this point, and the fact I think Lawlar can be like a Gold Glove-caliber SS one day while Davis is just pretty good behind home plate. Otherwise it is really, really close.
- The more I think about the value of college hitters in this draft the more I like Colton Cowser. He’s got such a long track record of hitting that I think I’d actually be okay if he’s KC’s pick at #7. It’s not the sexiest pick in the world but you’re probably getting a guy that you can pencil into your OF and #6 spot in the lineup on Opening Day in 2024. I’d take for a team that needs bats to catch up to the young arms.
- I moved Will Taylor way into our top 25 because I didn’t realize how big he’d gotten the last six months or so. He’s committed to Clemson to play WR and baseball and I really think there’s a special talent there. The power stroke hasn’t come yet but he’s 18. He makes a ton of good contact and he’s a true 80-grade runner in CF. If you squint, you can see a little Trea Turner in his game. Folks will laugh at that but Turner didn’t have that kind of power out of high school either, hence playing three years at NC State before being drafted. Prospects Live had him to KC at #7 in their latest mock, and while some folks wouldn’t love it, if it’s for less than $5M it would be a great gamble while saving money for pick #43.
- I truly believe that this draft is going to be insane. I don’t think anyone actually knows anything and I think the lack of a 2020 season plays a bigger role in that than people realize. Sunday night ought to be a ton of fun.