2021 Pennsylvania 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's high school games drew huge crowds of club officials, who left with their scouting cards filled with 60s and 70s on his tool grades. His combination of athleticism, outstanding tools and physical upside is hard to top in this year's draft, though it's a profile that comes with risk due to his hitting ability. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Montgomery has a tall, sleek frame with plenty of room to continue filling out while staying lean and athletic. He's a 70 runner with a plus arm, projecting to stick in center field where he has long, gliding strides and good closing speed on balls hit into the gaps. At the plate, Montgomery's bat speed ranks among the best in the class. He shows plus raw power in batting practice, and as he matures physically, that power might jump another grade. The upside is obvious and exciting, but many clubs have reservations about Montgomery's ability to make it all click against live pitching. Montgomery has cleaned up his swing some since last year, doing a better job of staying back and keeping his front hip closed. He's still a long-armed hitter with a hitch in his swing, with a lack of timing and balance that add risks to his hitting ability and cut into his ability to translate his power in games. But the minute Montgomery signs, he will be one of the toolsiest players in his organization. Teams that value more refined hitting skills will have Montgomery lower than where he's ranked here, while teams that prioritize raw tools and athleticism will have him pushed up their boards. Other premium athlete high school center fielders with a hit risk like Bubba Starling, Donavan Tate, Lewis Brinson and Bubba Thompson were all first-round picks and some of them went top-five overall. Montgomery won't go in the top five, but he should follow their path as a first-rounder, with some expecting him to be the first high school outfielder off the board.
White originally committed to Clemson for baseball, but he switched his commitment in May 2020 to Penn State to play both baseball and wide receiver for the football team. A three-sport athlete who also played high school basketball, White is a physical, explosive player with a well-rounded tool set. He also has a good track record of game performance going back to last summer, including an MVP award from the Perfect Game 17U National Championship in July, a long home run off a 94 mph fastball at the Area Code Games and another productive tournament at the World Wood Bat Championship in October. He has continued to hit well for the most part this spring, albeit with some swing and miss to his game, but he has shown feel for hitting, especially given his multi-sport background. White is physically mature for his age, but he has the strength, bat speed and swing conducive to tapping into what should consistently be plus raw power. White is built like a corner outfielder, but he's a plus runner now with good instincts in center field. Those skills give him a chance to start out in center field, though with his body type, he probably will slow down. If he slides over to right field, he has the tools to be an above-average defender there, including an arm that's improved to a tick above-average. White's two-sport commitment might make him a more difficult sign, but his skill set could also make him one of the top high school outfielders off the board.
Morales draws scouts in with a polished delivery for a high school pitcher. It's smooth, easy and under control with arm action that's loose and fluid. It's a simple, repeatable delivery that he's had for years, with a fastball that reached the low 90s as a sophomore. His stuff has ticked up a little bit since then, but it's mostly still in that range. He operates at 90-93 mph on his best days with the ability to reach 94, though at other times he's been more 88-91 mph. His fastball has good life to it, especially when he pitches up in the zone. Morales also shows natural feel to spin a sharp 77-80 mph curveball, a solid-average pitch that could be plus as he refines its shape and consistency. Some scouts have seen Morales show feel for a changeup, with the arm action and ability to manipulate his stuff that bodes well for the development of it, though others haven't seen much from that pitch yet. Morales has good pitchabilty for his age and his delivery looks conducive to throwing strikes, though some scouts have seen bouts of inconsistent control from him. Morales isn't overpowering and doesn't have quite as much physical projection as some other prominent prep righthanders, but he's a comfortable bet to stick as a starter, so some scouts prefer him to other pitchers who throw harder now but have more reliever risk.
Coming into the year, Black looked like a candidate to go in the top-two rounds of the draft. He shortened his arm action and his stuff flattened out, with his stock falling by the end of the regular season. He finished the season giving up five runs (two earned) in four innings against Navy on May 15, then surrendered eight runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings in a May 26 loss to Army to close the year. Even in those clunkers at the end of the season, Black was running his fastball up to 97 mph, sitting at 91-94 mph. At his best, he threw a low-80s slider that was a solid-average pitch flashing plus with good bite and two-plane depth, showing the ability to get swings and misses against both righties and lefties. His changeup flashed as an average to a tick above-average pitch with good tailing life and separation off his fastball when it was on, though it was inconsistent. More often this spring, though, Black didn’t show the high-end quality of his secondary stuff. Loose command also plagued Black, who walked 3.9 batters per nine innings. Some scouts are down on Black, but a team that saw him at his best and believes it can iron out what went wrong could view him as a buy-low candidate.
Craig Holman was a righthander in the Phillies farm system from 1991-98 who reached Triple-A. His son, Luke, has emerged as one of the top 2021 pitchers in Pennsylvania. Holman's fastball is about the same as it was last fall, sitting at 89-92 mph and up to 93. Holman has a tall, rangy form with more space to fill out and add velocity. He throws from a high slot that allows his fastball and curveball to play well off of each other. Holman throws his 75-78 mph curveball with tight rotation and it flashes as a plus pitch with good depth. Holman has a changeup but it's more of a distant third pitch he hasn't needed to use much yet. Scouts more skeptical of Holman have seen inconsistent strike throwing, with a wrap in the back of his arm action and a short stride out front, but those highest on him have seen more strikes and point to his athleticism (he's a 55 runner on the 20-80 scale) that should help him repeat his mechanics and make adjustments. Holman is an Alabama commit, but several scouts consider him likely to sign, so that signability could help boost him up higher in the draft than where he's ranked here.
Graceffo doesn't throw as hard as other more prominent pitchers in the draft, but his velocity did tick up during the season and he appeals to clubs for his pitchability and performance. Graceffo posted a 1.54 ERA that led the Big East and tied for fifth in the country, striking out 86 with 13 walks in 82 innings. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Graceffo has the stuff and command to project as a starter. He's a prolific strike-thrower with his fastball to both sides of the plate and consistently lands his offspeed stuff in the zone, issuing just 1.4 BB/9. For most of the season, his fastball sat at 87-91 mph and hit 93. By his last few starts, though, Graceffo was operating at 89-93 mph and reached 94. He regularly mixes in two effective secondary pitches with his slider and changeup, with his changeup arguably more advanced. It's a 76-80 mph changeup with good sink, fade and a lot of separation from his fastball to grade out as an average pitch that flashes plus at times. His slider is another average pitch that at times is a tick better. As teams have become better at squeezing velocity gains out of pitchers, Graceffo has an appealing profile if a club believes it can add a little more gas to his fastball. If not, he has the touch and feel to potentially make it as a back-end starter.
There were a ton of eyes on Molsky this spring when he matched up against Red Land High outfielder Benny Montgomery, a projected first-round pick. Molsky helped his stock that day, reaching 96 mph with his fastball. More often he works in the low 90s, with more velocity likely to come due to his quick arm speed and physical projection in a lean frame. Molsky has solid feel to spin a breaking ball, but there's a lot of effort to his arm action and mechanics. That has led to erratic control, so Molsky will need to smooth things out to be able to repeat his delivery and throw more strikes.
Myers anchored Pittsburgh's pitching staff, filling the strike zone to rank eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 3.21 ERA. He's not overpowering, pitching at 89-93 mph and touching 94, but his fastball has good carry to miss bats when he elevates and he's effective at driving his fastball down in the zone as well. Myers leans heavily on his 80-85 mph slider, which tailed off in his later starts but for most of the season was a consistent, solid-average pitch. Myers attacks righties almost exclusively with fastballs and sliders, though he mixes in a below-average changeup against lefties. Myers has a sound delivery and throws frequent strikes with a 2.5 walk rate in 2021. He has the control and mechanics to start, but as a two-pitch guy, he might fit better in a bullpen, where his velocity and slider could play up in short stints.
The Ivy League didn’t play this spring, making Hood an extremely challenging evaluation for scouts with little game action to go on the last two years. As a freshman in 2019, Hood made the All-Ivy first team and was the conference’s unanimous rookie of the year, hitting .331/.411/.580 with 20 walks and 21 strikeouts in 41 games. Some scouts liked what they saw from Hood then and in workouts since, but he’s in a difficult spot as the draft approaches. He's heading to North Carolina State next season, where he could take over for Jose Torres as the team's starting shortstop and raise his stock for the 2022 draft.
Yesavage is still raw, but he has promising size, arm strength and youth. He's 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and one of the younger players in the class, turning 18 in July after the draft. After reaching the low 90s last year, Yesavage this spring has been up to 96 mph, sitting in the 90-94 mph range with a chance there's more velocity to come. The rest of Yesavage's game remains a long-range projection. He throws a breaking ball but lacks feel to spin that pitch, and his track record of throwing strikes has been erratic. A team that believes in his ability to round out the rest of his skill set could take him, though he might end up heading to East Carolina to develop his game there.
11. Fran Oschell, RHP, Malvern (Pa.) Prep
Source: HS • Ht: 6-7 • Wt: 215 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Duke
Oschell is a Duke commit with a body type similar to former Blue Devils righthander Michael Matuella at 6-foot-7, 215 pounds. Oschell doesn't have the velocity that Matuella had in his prime years in college, but there could be more coming to add to a fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and reaches 92. Oschell has an excellent changeup for a high school pitcher, holding it with a split grip between his middle and ring fingers. It comes out of his hand at 76-78 mph and dives near the plate with late tumble, projecting as a potential plus pitch that's effective against both lefties and righties. He throws an 82-85 mph slider that's behind his changeup and will need the most work. Oschell throws with some rigidity to his mechanics and most likely will end up at Duke, where he could be a riser in a few years if he can bump his velocity into the mid 90s.
12. Joe Miller, LHP, Pennsylvania
Source: 4YR •
13. Jonathan Bautista, RHP, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Source: HS • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 210 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Pittsburgh
14. Kevin Eaise, RHP, Pennsylvania
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 195 • B-T: R-R •
15. Billy Corcoran, RHP, Pittsburgh
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-9 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rangers '18 (36)
16. Joe Jaconski, SS, Plymouth Whitemarsh HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
17. Braedon Karpathios, LHP, Lampeter-Strasburg HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 175 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Coastal Carolina
18. Justin Rubin, SS, Friends Central HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Virginia
19. Kyle Hess, OF, Pittsburgh
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 190 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
20. Cole Wagner, 1B/LHP, Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Georgia
21. Tommy Beam, RHP, Pine Richland
Source: HS • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: West Virginia
22. Caleb Gampe, RHP, Hollidaysburg Area
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: South Carolina
23. Chase Renner, RHP, Brandywine Heights
Source: HS • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Penn State
24. Josh Heath, 1B, Lewisburg
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: West Virginia
25. Bobby Marsh, 1B, Bellefonte Area
Source: HS • Commitment/Drafted: Florida Atlantic
26. Matt Svanson, RHP, Lehigh
Source: 4YR •