2021 Indiana Top MLB Draft Prospects
Today, Baseball America rolls out its state-by-state rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. Additionally, you can find our:
Montgomery drew praise from scouts last summer thanks to a strong lefthanded swing that was regularly cited as one of the most pure and smooth swings in the class. A 6-foot-4, 190-pound shortstop, Montgomery is also a standout high school basketball player who uses his left hand on the court but throws righthanded on the baseball field. Scouts have lauded his athleticism even though he’s not a great runner, but his impressive reactions and average arm strength should give him a shot to handle third base at the next level. He has the frame, bat speed and swing to grow into more than enough power to profile at a corner position, with some scouts thinking he has plus raw power now and could grow into more at his physical peak. He has strength in his swing now and looks like the sort of hitter who will be a consistent home run threat, but there’s some length in the swing and his longer levers could create swing-and-miss issues as well. Those swing-and-miss issues surfaced at last summer’s East Coast Pro, leading many scouts to think he’ll be a power-over-hit sort of bat. Montgomery is older for the class and turned 19 in February, so he’ll be draft-eligible in his second year at Indiana if he makes it to campus. While teams who prioritize age might be more skeptical, there are some clubs who are fully in on Montgomery’s bat, and he has a chance to come off the board late in the first round or soon after.
Brown was close to the definition of an effectively wild pitcher this spring, as he walked three or more batters in nine of his 12 starts, but also allowed two or fewer earned runs in nine of those starts. In total, he posted a 3.39 ERA over 61 innings while striking out 97 batters (14.3 K/9) and walking 43 (6.3 BB/9). Unsurprisingly, Brown has extremely impressive pure stuff, but very little feel to put it over the plate. His fastball sits in the 90-94 mph range and has been up to 97 this spring. He throws two breaking balls, one a spike-grip curveball with good depth in the upper 70s and low 80s, and a firmer slider in the lower 80s that has more horizontal life. The curve looks like a good chase pitch that he can bury below the zone, while the slider might be better to keep hitters off of his fastball. Brown has also thrown a firm, upper-80s changeup but hardly ever uses the pitch—instead opting for his fastball and breaking stuff. Brown throws from a three-quarter slot with some hooking action in the back of his arm action and has an early hand-glove separation/glove pat in his leg pump. He’s on the younger side for a college player in the class, but given his below-average control, comes with massive reliever risk.
Kavadas was draft-eligible in 2020, when he ranked as the No. 169 player in the class thanks to his massive power potential from the left side. After homering seven times in his first 13 games during the shortened 2020 season, Kavadas has been among the home run leaders this spring, popping 21 through 44 games, while slashing .309/.476/.785. On top of that, Kavadas has put together the best plate discipline numbers of his career with a 22% walk rate and 24% strikeout rate. Kavadas was near the top of the Division I leaderboard in walks per game, with 1.07. It was important that Kavadas had a strong year with the bat, as the entirety of his profile is reliant on that. A first baseman for Notre Dame, Kavadas is a well below-average runner with limited range who will be limited to first base or DH at the next level. He has the raw power to profile there and he can send the ball out of the park in any direction, and he did a nice job getting into hitter’s counts and then hammering fastballs this spring. He did struggle more against breaking and offspeed stuff and was also less successful than scouts would have liked to see against 93-plus mph velocity, which are valid concerns for his pure hit tool at the next level. Some teams might be out on Kavadas given his age and defensive profile, but there’s real power for a team that thinks he’ll be able to regularly get to it at the next level with a wood bat.
Litwicki is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound righthander who overpowered hitters this spring with a fastball that was routinely in the 96-98 mph range, but he threw just 12 innings and made 10 relief appearances. He posted a 4.50 ERA and allowed almost a hit per inning, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio was excellent, with 17 strikeouts (12.8 K/9) and just two walks (1.5 BB/9). Litwicki has a sharp slider in the low 80s that he pairs with his heater and seems to have the stuff—and the delivery—of a bullpen arm at the next level, though his track record with Indiana is extremely limited, with just 31.1 total innings under his belt over the last three seasons.
A 6-foot-1, 205-pound righthander out of Division II Purdue Northwest (Ind.), Patrick has steadily improved year after year with both his strike-throwing and bat-missing ability. This spring, Patrick posted a 1.97 ERA over nine starts and 64 innings, with 97 strikeouts (13.6 K/9) and just eight walks (1.1 BB/9)—which was good for the fourth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio among Division II arms. Patrick has a three-pitch mix featuring a fastball in the 90-95 mph range, a downer curveball and a solid-average changeup. He’s shown an ability to sink and cut his fastball and spot it to both sides of the plate, and scouts are impressed with his simple delivery that he repeats every time. His stuff isn’t overpowering but he has loud starter traits.
Beck spent two seasons at Olney (Ill.) Central JC, where he hit over .300 with a .400-plus OBP in two seasons. This spring he played 42 games for Indiana State, where he was one of the best hitters on the team, slashing .319/.367/.474 with three home runs and 10 doubles. Listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Beck has the frame that would suggest solid power potential, but he’s still growing into his body and currently has a flat swing that’s geared more for contact than home runs. He’s a below-average defender in an outfield corner, so that power production will need to come for him to profile at the next level, though scouts think he has enough hitting ability for that to be a real possibility with a swing change.
Bierman pitched to a 2.68 ERA over 12 starts and 74 innings of work for Indiana this spring, with 80 strikeouts (9.7 K/9) and 30 walks (3.6 BB/9). He’s been a solid performer in his collegiate career as a reliever and a starter, but has just average stuff with a fastball that sits in the 89-91 mph range and touches 94, and fringy breaking stuff. He has good feel for a changeup that plays nicely off his fastball.
8. Luke Hayden, RHP, Edgewood HS, Ellettsville, Ind.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Indiana
9. Austin Bode, C, Columbus (Ind.) North HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 195 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Louisville
10. Grant Richardson, OF, Indiana
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 186 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
11. Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP, Notre Dame
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
12. Tommy Sheehan, LHP, Notre Dame
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted