Today, Baseball America rolls out its state-by-state rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft. Additionally, you can find our:
Mack’s older brother, Charles, was a sixth-round pick of the Twins in 2018 who signed for $500,000 out of high school and has reached Low-A Fort Myers. A Clemson commit like his older brother was, Joe will get drafted higher than Charles did and should be one of the top two catchers off the board along with Harry Ford from Georgia. He has consistently performed at a high offensive level on the major national showcase circuit the last three years, including one of the strongest summers among the top 2021 players last year despite not having a high school season last spring due to the pandemic. This spring, Mack’s high school baseball season didn’t start until May 14, just days after Mack was playing for the school’s volleyball team in the state finals. Through the early weeks of the season, Mack looked like a hitter who was still getting his rhythm and timing back in the batter’s box, with more swing and miss than he showed last summer. Given Mack’s track record and unusual circumstances, scouts generally haven’t seemed concerned. Those highest on Mack see an advanced hitter with good bat speed and a chance to hit for plus power in his prime, though others see more of a hit-first offensive profile with average power. A below-average runner, Mack isn’t a polished defender, but he made significant progress behind the plate in 2020, increasing his chances to stick behind the plate. He is quick and a solid athlete for a catcher with an explosive lower half, good hands and plus arm strength to dial in pop times in the 1.9-second range in games. With Mack in first-round consideration, there should be a throng of national-level scouts at the rest of his games through mid June to evaluate him now that he’s had more time to get back up to game speed.
Undrafted last year, Mikulski returned to Fordham for his senior year and his stock has climbed considerably after he changed his mechanics, improved his stuff and dominated the Atlantic 10. His 1.45 ERA led the league and ranked sixth in the country, he struck out a league-high 124 batters in 68.1 innings and his 16.3 K/9 ranked first in the nation. Coming into the season, Mikulski shortened his arm action and increased his velocity, as he now sits at 92-95 mph with a peak of 98. He hides the ball behind his chest with his short, abrupt arm path before the ball pops out from behind his ear, so the deception in his delivery helps his already strong fastball play up because it jumps on hitters faster than they expect. It also helps him disguise his offspeed stuff, though scouts are split on determining his best secondary pitch. Some prefer his slider, which flashes as an average pitch, though it’s often more of a fringe-average offering. His 83-86 mph changeup is the pitch with his highest swing-and-miss rate. The action on his changeup doesn’t stand out, but he disguises it well out of his hand and he executes it down in the zone consistently to get empty swings from hitters who have to be ready for his mid-90s fastball. Mikulski also flips in a get-me-over, below-average curveball as an early-count pitch. Mikulski is 22 with more control than tight command and an unorthodox delivery that adds to the concerns of several scouts that his long-term role might be in the bullpen, while others see a potential mid-rotation starter trending up.
Steinmetz was 5-foot-10 when he was 14, but he has since shot up eight inches to 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. His high school team didn’t play this spring in New York, so Steinmetz spent time in Florida pitching for Elev8 Academy, where he raised his profile with a promising mix of size, stuff and upside. Steinmetz lacks polish, but he’s young for the class (he turns 18 shortly after the draft) and has a mix of promising raw components to mold. His fastball operates in the low 90s, with the ability to reach 95 mph and the physical projection to potentially reach the upper 90s when he gets stronger. The big weapon for Steinmetz is his hard curveball, which has tight, sharp bite to it with spin rates often in the 2,800 rpm range and sometimes cracking 3,000. The raw feel for spin is there for Steinmetz to develop it into a plus pitch that could miss a lot of bats, and while he flashes it at times, he doesn’t execute it consistently. He has shown some feel for a changeup too, though his fastball and curveball are his main two pitches. Like a lot of young, long-framed pitchers, Steinmetz has work to do to sync up his delivery to be able to throw more strikes. There’s a high-risk, high-reward element to Steinmetz, a player some team is going to dream on with what their pitching development group can do with him.
Ziehl has a compact, physically-mature build for his age at 6 feet, 213 pounds, and pitches with a fastball that parks in the low 90s and can hit 95 mph, although his body doesn’t suggest much more physical projection that would add velocity. He has innate feel to spin the baseball, which shows up on his fastball that rides up in the zone, and especially on his slider—his best pitch. His slider is inconsistent but flashes above-average, with tight rotation in the low 80s, giving him a potential out pitch at the next level. Ziehl has a curveball and a changeup, though he’s mainly a fastball/slider pitcher right now.
Saucke entered last summer with a lot of attention for his size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), bat speed and raw power. The ball jumps off his bat well in batting practice, and with his long, lean frame, he has the physical projection for more power to come. Saucke’s swing gets long, though, and he struggles with pitch recognition, leading to a heavy dose of swing and miss, and he struggled on the showcase circuit last summer. Saucke has played shortstop, and while he moves well for his size with average speed underway, he doesn’t have the quickness for the position and will likely slow down. He has a strong arm that will fit well at third base, though he could also end up in an outfield corner. Several scouts consider Saucke a strong Virginia commit who likely gets to campus.
Schlesinger doesn’t have knockout stuff and might ultimately project as a reliever, but he creates uncomfortable at-bats for high school hitters as a low-slot lefty. Schlesinger threw sidearm last summer, but he has thrown more from a low three-quarters slot this spring. His fastball settles around 86-91 mph with good arm-side run to get more swing and miss than his velocity would suggest, with the strength projection in his frame to throw harder. Schlesinger needs to refine his breaking ball, a below-average pitch in the 75-80 mph range, and improve his scattered control, which might stem from inconsistency with his release point.
7. Ryan Cardona, RHP, Marist
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 180 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
8. Ian Murphy, RHP, St. John’s
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 225 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
9. Garrett Crowley, LHP, Fordham
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
10. Shane Marshall, OF, Binghamton
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R •
11. TJ Wachter, 1B, P27 Academy
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Fordham
12. Erubiel Candelario, RHP, Marist
Source: 4YR •
13. Tommy Ventimiglia, RHP, Longwood HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Stony Brook
14. Tommy Tavarez, SS, Grand Street Campus, Brooklyn
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Pittsburgh
15. Carson Cotugno, RHP, Amsterdam HS
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Wake Forest
16. Thomas Babalis, LHP, Binghamton
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 215 • B-T: L-L •
17. Sam Franco, OF, Manhattan
Source: 4YR •
18. Jason Coules, INF/OF, Fordham
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
19. Cory Wall, RHP, Fordham
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 225 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
20. Jose Rodriguez, RHP, St. John’s
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Reds 2019 (20)