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2021 BA 400 Draft Rankings

Baseball America’s MLB Draft Prospects rankings are compiled in consultation with scouts and evaluators from major league clubs. 

By Carlos Collazo

We’re excited to roll out an updated and expanded draft ranking, pushing our list to the top 400 players in the class for the first time.

This means the BA 500 is right around the corner. In a typical year, that would mean the draft is right around the corner as well. However, 2021 is far from typical, and a July 13 draft date means players and teams will have to navigate uncharted territory in the weeks leading up to the draft—especially for those players whose seasons conclude early enough to provide a large dead period.

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Will players opt to participate in recently developed summer leagues? And if so, what caliber of talent will teams expect to see in places like the MLB Draft League or the Appalachian League? The former kicks off on May 24 and the latter gets going on June 3. Additionally, the first ever MLB Draft Combine is scheduled to be held from June 20-28. How valuable will that be for players and teams alike?

Will teams be aggressive in bringing in priority targets for workouts, batting practices or bullpen sessions at their home stadiums? How will perceived day one talents or first round talents weigh the benefits and risks of those additional evaluation opportunities?

How will teams manage their staffs to handle these new events while also getting started on the 2022 draft class? That process typically starts in June, but a later draft date means a compressed schedule and teams will be forced to either split their attention or miss out on one group or another without adding more staff.

“The truth is we don’t know,” said one upper-level scout when asked about how the new draft schedule impacts clubs’ processes. “We really don’t know.”

That also seems like a reasonable summation of how the industry is stacking up the talent in the class. Beyond the top tier of players, consensus of the talent falls apart rapidly—a result of the shortened 2020 season and handicapped summer months that have thrown a wrench into the typical scouting process.

“We ripped out the middle chapter of a book,” the scout said. “You know the ending, but you don’t have the full story on anyone.”

Baseball America subscribers can see the full list below, with reports on every player listed. 

*Note that players currently have preseason, March or May reports. Each player will receive a fully updated report as we get closer to the draft date and the release of the BA 500.

1 Match
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 5/3/2021
  1. 313
    Last: 284

    Cullen Kafka

    Oregon RHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 217 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 22.3

    March 24 Report: Kafka ranked No. 282 in the 2020 class and has shown better stuff back with Oregon this spring. His fastball has been up 96 at best, but is sitting in the 92 mph range with heavy sink and some scouts believe he has improved a slider that was previously more of a fringy offering. While sinker/slider arms are out of style in the 2021 game, Kafka has pitched well through four starts, allowing just one run against UC Santa Barbara, with 32 strikeouts and six walks.
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