2021 Michigan Top MLB Draft Prospects
Today, Baseball America rolls out its state-by-state rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. Additionally, you can find our:
1. Steven Hajjar, LHP, Michigan (BA RANK: 61)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 215 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Brewers '18 (21)
Hajjar has pedigree going back to his high school days, when he was a projectable, 6-foot-5 lefthander with a fastball in the low 90s, good feel to land his breaking ball and solid athleticism. The industry put huge expectations on him last summer after he showed a fastball in the mid 90s, and at the beginning of the draft process he was considered one of the top pitchers in the class. While he’s not quite seen through that lens now, he quietly put together a strong season at Michigan without his best velocity, posting a 3.09 ERA over 14 starts and 81.2 innings, while striking out 110 (12.1 K/9) and walking 29 (3.2 BB/9). Hajjar has worked with a four-pitch mix, led by a fastball that sits in the 89-91 mph range and touches 94. The pitch has shown better in brief outings, but scouts like the vertical movement it has despite a low-spin profile. He shows good feel for a low-80s changeup with solid tumbling action and throws both a curveball and a slider. The curve is a slow bender in the mid 70s with 12-to-6 shape, while his slider sits around 80 mph with 2-to-7 movement and looks like the better swing-and-miss and chase offering. Hajjar has a bit of a funky arm slot but has always shown good feel to throw strikes and seems like a relatively safe starting profile, with more upside if he can tick his velocity up as he moves further away from an ACL injury he had as a freshman.
A 6-foot, 180-pound shortstop committed to Duke, Mooney is a heady, aggressive player who does a lot of things well on the diamond but might not have a true plus tool. Instead, he has a bag of 50s and 55s and also has solid defensive versatility. A shortstop who has a chance to stick at the position, Mooney has also played third base and second base this summer and has the tools to handle all three. He’s an above-average runner with plenty of arm strength for third and the athleticism to handle a middle infield spot. Offensively, Mooney has good pure bat-to-ball skills and looks to make the most of that ability early and often, with an aggressive approach that does lead him to expand the zone at times early in the count. He was an impressive performer last summer on the showcase circuit and seemed to be unfazed in every setting he played in. He has a simple setup at the plate with slight bat waggle and an open stance, but quiet hands and enough bat speed to do damage on a variety of pitches. This spring he tried to catch the ball out front and hit for more power, and that did lead to some swing and miss, but Mooney could grow into solid power despite not being super projectable. Once on base, Mooney is also an aggressive baserunner who looks to steal and put pressure on the defense. He could be a tough sign, but plenty of teams seem to like his all-around tool set and baseball instincts inside the top-three rounds.
Leto was one of the most famous names in the high school class entering the 2021 draft cycle thanks to his exploits as both a hitter and pitcher as an underclassman. However, he looked significantly stiffer and less explosive on the circuit after not being able to play much at all during the spring of his junior year. Leto was also a football player and basketball player at his school and some evaluators thought he got bigger for those sports, which hurt his mobility on the baseball field. He previously had a shortstop profile but now everyone in the industry thinks he’ll be a corner infielder at the next level as a below-average runner, and his bat will be under more pressure. He showed a power-over-hit bat over the summer with a swing that many scouts still like and plenty of juice to the pull side. He’s been up into the mid 90s on the mound and there’s a chance he could pitch and hit if he makes it to campus at Louisiana State—where he could try and rediscover his previous draft status if no team tries to sign him out of that commitment this year.
Ottenbreit has been one of the most heavily scouted pitchers in the state of Michigan this spring and is an exciting projection arm who’s young for the class. Listed at 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, Ottenbreit only turned 18 in May and has shown a solid three-pitch mix. He typically pitches in the 89-92 mph range and has touched 93-94 in the past and has two solid secondaries in a mid-70s spike curveball and a changeup in the low 80s that he’s shown good feel for as well. Scouts might want to see more present stuff, but it’s hard to see Ottenbreit not throwing harder in the future as he adds weight to his frame. The curveball has good traits now with plenty of depth and could be a real weapon when he’s able to add more power to the offering. He is committed to Michigan State and could blow up if he makes it to campus and continues along the development path that many evaluators are expecting.
Weston only became eligible for the 2021 draft when it was moved back to July, thanks to a birthday in August. A short righthander listed at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Weston was lights out as a reliever for Michigan in the shortened 2020 season and made a successful transition to a starting role this spring. He posted a 2.81 ERA over 83.1 innings and 14 starts, with 69 strikeouts (7.5 K/9) and 29 walks (3.1 BB/9). He has a solid, but unspectacular, three-pitch mix, including a fastball that sits in the 90-92 mph range and touches 95, a fringy breaking ball around 80 mph and a changeup in the upper 70s and low 80s that might be his best overall pitch. He goes to it regularly and can land it down in the zone to both sides of the plate. There’s no carrying tool or pitch with Weston, nor is there significant physical projection, but he’s young for the class and shows solid pitching ability.
Hanley is one of the most interesting Division III players in the class and was off to a strong season with Adrian College (Mich.) before Tommy John surgery ended his season after just five starts and 14.2 innings. In that time, Hanley struck out 27 batters (16.6 K/9) and walked nine (5.5 BB/9). He’s consistently shown impressive strikeout stuff and iffy control since 2018, and for his career has 12.6 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 over 108 total innings. Hanley pitches in the low 90s from the left side and has shown the makings of an above-average breaking ball but will likely be an enigma for teams because of his injury, competition level and below-average control.
Erla ranked as the No. 170 prospect in the 2020 class as a redshirt junior who took a step forward with his fastball velocity and posted a 1.04 ERA with impressive strikeout and walk rates over 26 innings. He was passed over in the five-round draft and made it back to campus where he has backed up from that 2020 performance. Erla posted a 3.50 ERA over 79.2 innings and 13 starts, with 80 strikeouts (9.0 K/9) and 30 walks (3.4 BB/9), but he allowed almost a hit per inning. His fastball still gets into the upper 90s, though he sits in the 91-94 mph range, and he has two fringy secondaries in a mid-80s slider and mid-80s changeup. Erla will turn 24 a month after the draft which could hurt him with teams that prioritize age.
Weiss attacks hitters with a two-pitch mix out of a high, three-quarter slot. His fastball sits in the low 90s but gets into the 95 mph range and his low-to-mid-80s slider features solid vertical bite. Weiss missed the 2020 season with an injury, but this spring was effective over 27.1 innings out of the bullpen, posting a 2.63 ERA, with 40 strikeouts (13.2 K/9) and 13 walks (4.3 BB/9).
9. Blake Dunn, OF, Western Michigan
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
10. Saborn Campbell, OF, Detroit Country Day HS, Beverly Hills, Mich.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 185 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Stanford
11. Anthony Migliaccio, C, Detroit Country Day HS, Beverly Hills, Mich.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 200 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Vanderbilt
12. Jimmy Obertop, C, Michigan
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 220 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted