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2021 Maryland Top MLB Draft Prospects

Today, Baseball America rolls out its state-by-state rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. Additionally, you can find our:

500 Draft Rankings | 2021 MLB Mock Draft | MLB Draft Tracker

1. Sean Burke, RHP, Maryland (BA RANK: 53)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 230 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

Burke was a talented basketball player in high school and a projection pitching prospect thanks to a lean 6-foot-5 frame and an exciting fastball/curveball combination. He’s filled out that frame over three years with Maryland and is now listed at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, though he did miss the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. Burke worked an excellent 22.2 innings in the shortened 2020 season, striking out 35 batters and walking 11 while posting a 1.99 ERA. Burke is an impressive athlete for his size and this spring continued to show off the fastball/curveball combination that had scouts excited back in high school. Early this spring, Burke was sitting around 92-93 mph but that dipped over the course of the season. At his best, he’s run his fastball up to 97-98. The pitch reportedly has impressive spin characteristics up in the zone, which makes pairing it with a mid-70s downer curveball a good combination. The curveball has been Burke’s best swing-and-miss pitch this season and works best as a chase pitch as well. Burke also throws a slider in the low 80s, which scouts have said has improved this spring to the point where it’s his most frequently thrown offspeed pitch. Burke also throws a low-80s changeup that’s mostly straight, but the usage is minimal. Despite a low-effort delivery and athleticism, Burke’s strikes have been scattered and inconsistent, with a career walk rate close to 5.0 per nine innings.

2. Jackson Merrill, SS, Severna Park (Md.) HS (BA RANK: 102)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Kentucky

Merrill is one of the bigger draft risers late in the process and in June was getting buzz from around the industry that he wouldn’t get out of the second round. Now listed at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Merrill has gone through a huge growth spurt over the last six months or so, adding a significant amount of strength that has changed his profile. He’s now showing plus raw power and the teams high on him really like his lefthanded swing and feel for hitting. He has solid bat speed and a swing that’s conducive to hitting the other way, and the defensive tools that should give him a chance to stick at shortstop. He’s an average runner with solid hands and moves well enough to at least stick on the infield, with above-average arm strength. Like many players in the 2021 class, Merrill is a polarizing prospect with a wide range of opinions from the industry. More skeptical evaluators like him as a later Day Two pick and think he should go to school and prove his hitting ability, because he wasn’t at many of the big summer showcase events last summer and his Maryland competition this spring wasn’t great. Previously an Army commit, Merrill is now committed to Kentucky, but there’s been enough heat on him that there’s a real chance he doesn’t make it to campus.

3. Peter Heubeck, RHP, Gilman HS, Baltimore (BA RANK: 105)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Wake Forest

A slender, 6-foot-3, 170-pound righthander, Heubeck has flashed a loud three-pitch mix and has only improved his game since flashing stuff with inconsistent control last summer. Heubeck has a loose and fast arm and has been up into the mid 90s at his best, though he more typically sits in the 90-93 mph range. His best secondary pitch is a hard, downer curveball in the mid 70s with 12-to-6 shape and impressive depth. He also throws a low-80s changeup that was seen as a distant third pitch last summer but scouts this spring have said Heubeck will flash plus grades with all three of his pitches. What could separate Heubeck from many of the other prep pitchers in the 2021 class is his outstanding natural ability to spin the baseball. He reportedly grades out well in every spin metric, and he has the current pitch-mix to excel with a north-south attack pattern by getting his fastball above barrels at the top of the zone and then burying a hard breaking ball at the bottom. While Heubeck has a fairly easy delivery that doesn’t come with much effort, he has struggled to throw consistent strikes at times. He pitches out of an up-tempo windup, but he’ll need to refine his command to make the most out of his impressive pure stuff. Some scouts think his lean frame offers some physical projection in the future, while others question how much weight he’ll be able to put on even at physical maturity. Heubeck is committed to Wake Forest.

4. Benjamin Cowles, SS, Maryland
Source: 4YR •

5. Maxwell Costes, 1B, Maryland
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 215 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

6. Sam Bello, RHP, Maryland
Source: 4YR •

7. Travis Garnett, LHP, Indian Creek HS, Crownsville, Md.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 225 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Maryland

8. David Jefferson, OF, St. Johns College
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Notre Dame

9. Andrew Johnson, LHP, Glenelg HS
Source: HS •

10. Alex Khan, 3B, Calvert Hall College HS
Source: HS •

11. Zach Martin, OF, Middletown HS
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Maryland

12. Noah Mrotek, RHP, Archbishop Spalding HS
Source: HS •

13. Ehi Okojie, OF, Home school
Source: HS •

14. Jacob Orr, SS, Governor Thomas Johnson HS
Source: HS •

15. Josh Seils, RHP, Towson
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R •

16. Ryan Shieh, C, Bishop McNamara HS
Source: HS •

Enrique Bradfieldjr Courtesyvandy3

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