2021 Kansas Top MLB Draft Prospects
Today, Baseball America rolls out its state-by-state rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. Additionally, you can find our:
With arguably the best changeup in the draft class, intriguing fastball metrics and a track record of performance, Wicks could easily become Kansas State’s first-ever first-rounder, and the first lefthander off the board in July. The solidly-built, 6-foot-3, 220-pound southpaw has been up to 95 mph in all of his outings this year for the Wildcats, regularly sitting 92-93 with run, cut, and ride to his fastball that allows for incredible deception and disappearing action. His low-80s changeup is his most lethal weapon, and the Arkansas native relies on the plus-plus offering as much as any guy with a 70-grade secondary would. Wicks has improved his slider from being fringe-average at best to flashing plus throughout the 2021 season, and he has a curveball in the upper 70s to round out his repertoire. The lefty has great feel to pitch and extreme competitiveness that have helped him find success in the Big 12 Conference, despite pitching in a hitter-friendly home park in front of a defense that he hasn’t always been able to rely on. Wicks has earned multiple honors in each of his three years at Kansas State, consistently performing and improving. Following up his summer in the Northwoods League, where the 21-year-old posted a 0.45 ERA over four starts and 20 innings with a 29-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, this season for the Wildcats, Wicks made 15 starts and threw 92.1 innings. He posted a 3.70 ERA, allowing 90 hits and an opponent average of .249, walking 28 and striking out 118. In 203 career innings in the Big 12, he walked 58 and struck out 230. Wicks is a high-floor lefthanded strike-thrower with a history of college performance, and there just aren’t many like him in the draft class. Though he’s not a flamethrower, he can’t be labeled a ‘vanilla stuff’ pitcher with his standout changeup and the fact that his fastball plays like an invisiball.
Arguably the top prep arm in the upper Midwest in this year’s draft class, Kudrna has the projectable body, clean delivery, athleticism and strike-throwing ability that teams want to work with. He had a loud performance at the Area Code Games last year that helped solidify his position on the map, and he has continued to perform and rise up the board since. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthander has run his fastball up to 97, and he will sit 92-95 mph. The metrics are not great on the pitch right now, but with his size and the projection of future physicality, the belief is that he is going to end up throwing very hard. Kudrna has the ideal high school body when it comes to that projection, being narrow and high-waisted, tall with broad shoulders, and lean with plenty of room in the frame for physical growth and development. He has a fluid and pretty delivery, is very athletic, and offers a three-pitch mix with high upside. The 18-year-old’s secondaries still need work, but he has shown progress this year. Kudrna has also shown feel to spin his breaking ball and has flashed a plus slider with good tilt in the mid 80s at times, but he needs to continue to find more consistency with the pitch. The Louisiana State commit has a decent changeup in the low 80s right now, and he throws strikes.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound righty has impressive stuff, but hasn’t spent a lot of time on the mound in his collegiate career between stops at Dartmouth, the Cape Cod League, the Northwoods League and Kansas State. Seymour has a fastball that has been up to 99 mph, he’s flashed a plus slider at 90, and he has a good changeup but he hasn’t often been able to get to his secondaries. The fastball has generic life and doesn’t play to the velocity and he doesn’t have a ton of control so he’s always behind in counts without an opportunity to spin his breaking ball or use his changeup. Some believe he might be better off throwing sinkers rather than his four-seamer, but he’s a big guy with good stuff who should get a chance. There are questions about his ability to start but there aren’t many pitchers who throw as hard with the slider he has. Seymour is inexperienced and hasn’t had success getting outs, but the stuff is worth a look.
Cook is a 6-foot-1, 225-pound righty at Colby (Kan.) CC who sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball but can run it up to 97 mph. His secondary pitches are below-average and he has a thick lower half, but he has arm strength and the ability to rack up a lot of strikeouts. In 14 games and 12 starts this year over 80.2 innings, the 20-year-old posted a 2.68 ERA, walking 52 and striking out 118.
5. Garrett Kocis, 1B, Wichita State
Source: 4YR •
6. Kendall Diggs, 3B, Saint Thomas Aquinas
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Arkansas
7. J’Briell Easley, RHP, Cowley JC
Source: JC •
8. Carson Liggett, RHP, Blue Valley HS
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Louisville
9. Miguel Obeso, RHP, Cowley JC
Source: JC •
10. Zach Kokoska, OF, Kansas State
Source: 4YR •
11. Dylan Phillips, OF/LHP, Kansas State
Source: 4YR •
12. Paxton Wallace, 3B, Wichita State
Source: 4YR •
13. Chase Jans, OF, Blue Valley HS, Stilwell, Kan.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 187 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Kansas