Ranking The Top 40 MLB Draft Prospects At The 2021 College World Series
The College World Series begins Saturday in Omaha, providing an opportunity for MLB scouting departments to get one final look at some of the game's most notable MLB Draft prospects.
Below, find the top 40 prospects in the 2021 class, complete with updated season stats and full-length scouting reports.
To see our full ranking of the Top 500 MLB Draft prospects, click here.
You can find all of our 2021 MLB Draft information in our brand new MLB Draft Tracker.
1. Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 3)
Grade: R-Fr. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Yankees '19 (20)
10-3 | 2.16 ERA | 16 G | 1 CG | 0 SV | 96 IP | 41 H | 41 BB | 156 K | .127 AVG
Leiter was a first-round talent out of high school and ranked as the No. 21 prospect in the 2019 class, but a high price tag and strong Vanderbilt commitment meant he got to campus in Nashville. Draft-eligible in his second year with the Commodores, Leiter—the son of long-time big league pitcher Al Leiter—dominated in his first full season of collegiate baseball, posting a 2.12 ERA over 76.1 innings and 13 starts, while striking out 127 batters (15 K/9) and walking 34 (4.0). Known for his polish and pitchability out of high school, scouts continue to praise Leiter’s moxie on the mound, with a deep pitch mix that includes five offerings if you count a two-seam and four-seam fastball. Leiter is a shorter righthander, listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, but he has added strength to his frame since high school, particularly in his lower half. This spring, Leiter has primarily worked with a fastball, curveball, slider combination. His fastball has been up to 98 mph, but averages 93-95 mph, with excellent carry that generates plenty of whiffs in the zone and above it. Teams love the metrics on Leiter’s fastball, and the combination of his size, extension and carry on the pitch allow it to play up, even when he’s sitting in the 90-93 mph range. His curveball is his best secondary offering now, an upper-70s, 12-to-6 downer that he lands consistently in the zone when he wants but can also bury for a put-away pitch. Leiter throws a slider in the low 80s that has less depth but might wind up being a better out-of-the-zone chase offering and he also infrequently throws a mid-80s changeup that scouts loved out of high school and could become an above-average secondary with more reps. Durability was the one concern scouts had with Leiter, and while he did post most weeks throughout the season, he skipped one start to manage fatigue and at times was a bit homer-prone. While Leiter might not project as an ace, scouts see a pitcher who should fit in a No. 2 or No. 3 role and pitch in the big leagues for a long time.
2. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 5)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 245 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rockies '18 (38)
13-3 | 2.46 ERA | 17 G | 1 CG | 0 SV | 106 IP | 59 H | 36 BB | 155 K | .157 AVG
Rocker was one of the top high school pitching prospects in the loaded 2018 prep pitching class that included lefthanders Matthew Liberatore and Ryan Weathers and righthanders Ethan Hankins and Carter Stewart, among others. Despite ranking as the No. 13 player in the class and a consensus first-round talent, Rocker made it to campus at Vanderbilt where he was the highest-ranked player in Baseball America’s college recruiting rankings history. He delivered on the hype and became the 2019 Freshman of the Year after posting a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts and 99.2 innings with 114 strikeouts to just 21 walks. Because of Rocker’s pedigree and collegiate track record, he entered the tumultuous 2021 draft cycle as the de facto No. 1 player in the 2021 class and remains in the top tier of players despite a lack of consensus on any standout 1-1 player in this year’s group. Rocker has a large, 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame befitting a workhorse big league starter that leaves no doubt about his professional bloodlines. Rocker’s father, Tracy, played football at Auburn and briefly in the NFL. He has power stuff out of that powerful frame, headlined by a fastball up to 99 mph at his best and a devastating slider in the low-to-mid 80s that grades out as a double-plus offering at its best and is one of the better breaking balls in the 2021 class. Rocker has dealt with inconsistent velocity this spring, sitting in the 89-93 mph range at times before getting back to his usual mid-90s stuff. He’s still succeeded and overwhelmed SEC hitters even without his best velocity, but scouts question how that pitch will play at the next level, especially due to the fact that his fastball has played down at times dating back to high school. Rocker experimented with a cutter in the 88-91 mph range this season and has also thrown a firm changeup with slight fading action. Both offerings could give him something to keep lefthanders off his fastball at the next level, and his changeup in particular has shown upside in the past, but both need more refinement and usage before teams will feel confident projecting plus grades. While some teams think Rocker has reliever risk thanks to inconsistent fastball command at times, his pure stuff, pedigree and track record give him significant upside and he should be one of the first arms selected.
3. Ty Madden, RHP, Texas (BA Rank: 12)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 215 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Royals '18 (34)
7-4 | 2.41 ERA | 16 G | 1 CG | 0 SV | 100.2 IP | 67 H | 39 BB | 119 K | .189 AVG
In Madden’s senior season at Houston’s Cypress Ranch High, he was the ace of a team that also included junior righthanders J.J. Goss (a 2019 supplemental first-round pick of the Rays) and Matthew Thompson (a 2019 second-round pick of the White Sox). Outfielder Colton Cowser, another likely 2021 first-round pick, roamed the outfield and catcher Jared Alvarez-Lopez was a 2019 17th-round pick. Madden ranked No. 238 on Baseball America’s Top 500 draft prospects coming out of high school. The Royals selected him in the 34th round in 2018, but he headed to Texas instead, where he stepped into the weekend rotation by the end of his freshman season. Madden sat 90-93 mph in his first two seasons at Texas, but this year he’s proven to be one of the hardest throwing starters in college baseball, sitting 94-96 mph and regularly getting to 99. He also proved to be one of the most consistent Friday night starters in the country, combining that top-end velocity with above-average control. Madden’s plus fastball doesn’t have elite movement to go with that velocity, which may limit which teams are most enamored with him. His heater is much more effective down in the zone than up—hitters hit .333/.350/.846 on his fastball when he spotted it in the upper third of the strike zone, but only .179/.179/.282 in the bottom third. His fastball does pair well with his slider (which earns 60 grades as well and will flash plus-plus). His mid-80s slider has solid downward break with adequate power and depth. Madden largely shelved his fringe-average 86-89 mph changeup in 2021, but it’s been promising in the past. Madden works up and down. He largely works in on lefties and down and away from righthanded hitters. Some evaluators fear he’ll end up as a two-pitch power reliever, but his durable frame (6-foot-3, 215 pounds), long track record of success and above-average control give him a solid path to being a durable mid-rotation starter. He should be the first player from Texas selected in the first-round since Taylor Jungman in 2011.
4. Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State (BA Rank: 38)
Grade: R-Fr. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 229 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
7-41| 3.53 ERA | 16 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 74 IP | 67 H | 20 BB | 113 K | .241 AVG
Bednar was trending in the right direction with both his fastball velocity and the efficiency with his delivery during his senior year of high school, but he suffered a shoulder injury and wound up making it to campus at Mississippi State. He impressed in a limited look during the shortened 2020 season, posting a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 innings with a fastball up into the mid 90s and three solid secondaries. His draft-eligible second season was delayed thanks to a neck injury, but since ramping up in late March, he’s been reliable, posting a 3.17 ERA through 12 starts and 71 innings, while striking out 109 batters (13.8 K/9) and walking 18 (2.3 BB/9). Bednar throws a fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range and touches 97, but the pitch plays up and gets an impressive amount of whiffs, especially up in the zone. Both his slider and changeup have been swing-and-miss offerings for him this spring, though he’s relied much more heavily on the breaking ball. His slider is a mid-80s pitch with hard and tight bite that has good vertical action when he’s on top of the pitch and keeping it down, but it has flattened out at times when he leaves it up in the zone. Bednar’s changeup is a similar velocity, with arm-side running action and while it’s been effective in generating whiffs and limiting hard contact, he uses it less than 10% of the time. Bednar is physical with some effort in his delivery, but he’s filled up the strike zone this spring. His brother, David, is a reliever for the Pirates.
5. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Virginia (BA Rank: 67)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Yankees '17 (36)
8-6 | 3.04 ERA | 18 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 100.2 IP | 84 H | 30 BB | 152 K | .228 AVG
Abbott ranked as the No. 132 prospect in the 2020 class and was one of many players who expected to hear his name called but got squeezed out of the shortened five-round draft. He might look back one day and be thankful for that, as Abbott has transitioned into Virginia’s Friday night role after being an excellent reliever for three years and tremendously improved his draft stock. Abbott posted a 2.85 ERA in 15 starts and 94.2 innings, while sitting near the top of the leaderboard in the country with 142 strikeouts (13.5 K/9) compared to just 29 walks (2.8 BB/9). He doesn’t have a classic starter’s frame—listed at 6 feet, 180 pounds—but has a solid three-pitch mix fronted by a fastball/curveball combination that has proven lethal in the ACC. Abbott sits around 90-91 mph with his fastball but has been up in the 95-98 mph range a handful of times. The pitch plays up thanks to some of the best riding life in the class, though, and he has some of the best whiff rates against his fastball of any college arm in the class. His go-to secondary is an upper-70s, 12-to-6 breaking ball that plays well off his fastball and is at least an above-average offering and this spring he’s more than doubled the usage of a mid-80s changeup that has developed well and gives him a solid third pitch. Abbott was coached by big league reliever Billy Wagner in high school and has the mentality to succeed in the bullpen, but there’s no reason a team shouldn’t try him out as a starter given his success this spring. It would be surprising to see him get past the third round.
6. Luca Tresh, C, North Carolina State (BA Rank: 75)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 206 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.240 | .318 | .493 | 217 AB | 40 R | 52 H | 15 HR | 42 RBI | 23 BB | 64 K | 1 SB
Early this spring, Tresh was one of the bigger helium players in the country and was on his way to giving North Carolina State first-round catchers in back-to-back years after Patrick Bailey was selected 13th in 2020. Through his first 10 games, Tresh was hitting .400/.467/.950 and was second in the country with seven home runs. That production fell steeply, however, and Tresh’s line dropped to .236/.314/.472 through 47 games at the end of the regular season, with a 27% strikeout rate. Tresh has crushed fastballs all season and he puts up gaudy exit velocities, especially to left field, where all of his homers have gone this spring. Analytics departments will love how hard he hits the ball, as well as a tendency to elevate consistently, but scouts are skeptical of his swing and his ability to recognize spin and offspeed—both pitch categories he struggled against this spring. Tresh has a spread-out stance with no stride and significant bat wrap, with an aggressive approach and some length to the swing that could lead to high strikeout rates. Defensively, Tresh has average potential behind the plate. He’s not the defender that Bailey was before him (admittedly a tough bar to clear) but has a strong arm and is athletic and strong in his lower half behind the plate, with a wide one-knee setup. His receiving can be inconsistent at times and he’s not always the most fluid mover, but there’s nothing that would prevent him from sticking behind the plate with some refinement.
7. Zack Gelof, 3B, Virginia (BA Rank: 79)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Indians '18 (38)
.298 | .380 | .472 | 248 AB | 47 R | 74 H | 9 HR | 39 RBI | 30 BB | 39 K | 11 SB
Gelof was a talented two-way player at a strong Cape Henlopen program in Lewes, Del., and was the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018. He made it to Virginia after the Indians drafted him in the 38th round and has been a consistent offensive presence for the Cavaliers since stepping on campus. Gelof hit .300/.380/.464 with eight home runs in 57 games this spring and has a solid all-around tool set to go with his solid track record as a hitter in the ACC. Gelof has above-average raw power, though most of his in-game homers have gone to left field this spring. That’s not to say he’s a super pull-oriented hitter, as he has the ability to shoot balls to the opposite field, but for now his power plays mostly to the pull side. Gelof has no issues at all catching up to velocity and hammered fastballs this spring, but has struggled with secondary pitches, particularly recognizing and driving breaking stuff. He does have a knack for the barrel and lowered his strikeout rate this spring, but at times gets off-balance in his swing. Scouts seem split on his defensive ability, with some seeing an above-average defender with average arm strength at the hot corner, and others believing he’ll need to move to a corner outfield position in the long term because he’s struggled to throw from multiple arm slots. Gelof is an average runner but has good instincts on the bases and went 31-for-38 (82%) in stolen base attempts in his career.
8. Brendan Beck, RHP, Stanford (BA Rank: 81)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
9-1 | 2.96 ERA | 15 G | 2 CG | 0 SV | 100.1 IP | 72 H | 23 BB | 128 K | .195 AVG
The younger brother of Giants pitching prospect Tristan Beck, Brendan spent four seasons in Stanford’s rotation and blossomed into one of the top pitchers in the Pac-12 Conference this spring. He went 7-1, 3.03 and finished tied for the conference lead with 106 strikeouts through the end of the regular season. Beck was previously known as a command-oriented righthander with fringy stuff, but his velocity jumped this spring to enhance his future outlook. After sitting 88-92 mph in past years, he began working 91-96 mph and set new career highs in strikeouts per nine (11.1) and opponent average (.188). Beck’s best attribute remains his feel to pitch. He has impressive command of four pitches, stays on the attack and is exceptionally poised on the mound. His mid-80s changeup is an above-average pitch he is comfortable throwing to righties or lefties in any count, his low-80s slider is an average offering that gets swings and misses and his curveball is a usable fourth offering in the upper 70s. He effectively mixes his pitches to keep hitters guessing and ties everything together with above-average control. Beck is rarely fazed on the mound and has a tendency to step up in big moments. He is a good athlete with a strong, durable frame and lasts deep into his starts. Beck’s velocity uptick has pushed him into top-three rounds consideration for some teams. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter who has a chance to be more.
9. Jose Torres, SS, North Carolina State (BA Rank: 92)
Grade: R-Fr. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 168 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Brewers '19 (24)
.291 | .346 | .545 | 189 AB | 31 R | 55 H | 10 HR | 44 RBI | 13 BB | 36 K | 5 SB
Torres was a BA 500 player out of high school thanks to his flashy defensive play at shortstop. Two years later and he’s frequently cited as the best defensive shortstop in the country. The Dominican-born infielder is listed at 6 feet, 171 pounds and is the latest shortstop to come out of a North Carolina State program that has produced first-round picks in Trea Turner (2014) and Will Wilson (2019) in recent years. Torres doesn’t have the offensive upside of either of those players, but scouts believe he’s a plus defender who covers plenty of ground despite fringy speed. His instincts in the field are tremendous, he reads hops well and has advanced footwork around the bag with the ability to throw from multiple angles and arm slots with plus arm strength. That conviction in his defensive tools gives him at least a floor as a utility infielder and defensive specialist, with his overall upside depending on the progression of his hitting ability. He performed well as a freshman in the shortened 2020 season (.333/.369/.533) but that came with a strikeout rate over 30%. He cut the strikeout rate to around 17% this spring, while hitting .294/.352/.514 through 47 games, but scouts are still skeptical of his swing and the swing-and-miss tendencies he’s shown against breaking balls. Torres has some sneaky pull-side pop but doesn’t figure to be a big home run threat, with a thin and lean frame that might never be overly physical.
10. Isaiah Thomas, OF, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 95)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rockies '18 (39)
.330 | .389 | .635 | 200 AB | 43 R | 66 H | 13 HR | 39 RBI | 9 BB | 57 K | 12 SB
Going back to his high school days at Benjamin High in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., scouts have been excited about Thomas’ tool set and upside. There have always been questions about his ability to get to those tools in games, however, but this spring Thomas turned in a productive season with a .337/.396/.648 slash line, including 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 12 tries through his first 51 games. Thomas is a good athlete with above-average running ability, arm strength and raw power out of a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame. The ball jumps off his bat with impressive pop on easy, graceful swings, but Thomas has always been a high-strikeout, low-walk player. This spring he struck out in 26% of his plate appearances and walked in just 4% of his trips to the plate. That puts a lot of pressure on his pure hitting ability, which is fringy at best. Thomas expands the zone and swings and misses at a decent clip, particularly against breaking balls and offspeed offerings. He does have the bat speed to catch up to high-end velocity and posted an OPS over 1.100 against 93 mph or harder pitches this spring, according to Synergy. Defensively, he’s probably a corner outfielder but some scouts want to see how he looks in center field given his running ability and athleticism. He didn’t get a chance to play there this spring given the presence of Enrique Bradfield, but some teams could start him there at the next level.
11. Ryan Holgate, OF, Arizona (BA Rank: 106)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 205 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Twins '18 (32)
.356 | .428 | .576 | 236 AB | 48 R | 84 H | 10 HR | 54 RBI | 23 BB | 51 K | 3 SB
Holgate impressed scouts with a solid bat and plus raw power out of high school, but made it to the Arizona campus after the Twins took him in the 32nd round. A 6-foot-2, 193-pound outfielder, Holgate’s game is centered around his power, which is at least plus and could be a tick better. With Holgate it’s all about the bat, and he finished his third college regular season with a hitting line of .344/.419/.549 and eight home runs. He shows plus power to all fields and the ability to handle offspeed pitches. While his strikeout rate of just under 20% is concerning, he could improve his contact rate by shortening his stroke and staying in his lower half better. Holgate will need to hit because he’s a below-average defender likely limited to left field. He lacks confidence in the field with below-average hands, but has the makeup and work ethic to continue to improve. His fringe-average arm gets good carry, but likely won’t be enough for regular work in right field. A below-average runner, Holgate is athletic enough to run well underway. Teams that are in on him note that Holgate looks like he belongs on the field and he’ll be able to make up for his shortcomings. He could go as high as the second round but fits more comfortably in the third or fourth round.
12. Mike Vasil, RHP, Virginia (BA Rank: 114)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 225 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
7-5 | 4.82 ERA | 16 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 74.2 IP | 97 H | 17 BB | 65 K | .311 AVG
Back in 2018, Vasil looked like he could have been one of the first pitchers selected and had a chance to go among the top-10 picks. However, he got injured during his high school season and emailed teams before the draft that he would honor his commitment to Virginia. Three years later, Vasil isn’t seen as a top-of-the-first talent, as his eye-popping stuff out of high school has never fully come back. He posted a 4.89 ERA in 15 starts and 73.2 innings this spring, while striking out 65 batters (7.9 K/9) and walking 17 (2.1 BB/9). Vasil has touched 96 mph with his fastball this spring, but it sits in the 89-91 mph range and is just an average or fringy pitch that gets very little swing and miss. Vasil also throws a curveball, slider and changeup, with most scouts preferring the change out of all his secondaries and questioning his underlying feel for spin. His curveball is a mid-70s, 12-to-6 breaker that looks like a get-me-over pitch more than a wipeout offering, while his slider ranges from the lower-to-upper 80s. Vasil has to rely on advanced command more than overpowering stuff at this point, and he generally shows good feel to spot his four-pitch mix in and out of the zone. At times he nibbles too much, while trying to avoid contact in the zone, so he could be the rare arm with better command than control—in terms of walk rate. If a team believes it can tick up Vasil’s velocity in pro ball or help him improve his breaking stuff or add a cutter, he’s an interesting sleeper pick thanks to his solid pitching ability and his high school pedigree.
Steals, Surprises And Storylines: Breaking Down Day 1 Of The MLB Draft
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13. Chad Dallas, RHP, Tennessee (BA Rank: 116)
Grade: Jr. • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 206 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
11-1 | 4.10 ERA | 16 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 96.2 IP | 87 H | 19 BB | 118 K | .235 AVG
A transfer from Panola (Texas) JC, Dallas led Tennessee with 21.1 innings in the shortened 2020 season and posted a 2.53 ERA in the process. While he didn’t quite hold opposing teams to that sterling mark this spring, Dallas did impress over 15 starts and 90.2 innings, with a 4.27 ERA and standout strikeout and walk numbers. He struck out 106 batters (10.5 K/9) and walked 19 (1.9 BB/9) and had the fourth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio among SEC pitchers who started 10 or more games. He’s been mostly a three-pitch arm this spring, with an average fastball that sits in the 91-93 mph range but has been up to 97, with both a curveball and a slider—pitches he improved over the offseason. The curve is a hard downer in the 79-81 mph range that is effective against righties and lefties, while the slider sits in the mid 80s with late and hard bite that makes it an effective swing-and-miss offering inside and out of the zone. Dallas has flashed a mid-80s changeup as well, but he rarely uses it and it’s a distinct fourth pitch at the moment. Dallas’ arm action gets a bit lengthy in the back with some plunging action, but he’s been a strong strike-thrower for two years now and scouts have confidence he can start at the next level, with the sort of breaking stuff that should be able to miss pro bats.
14. Tyler McDonough, 2B/OF, North Carolina State (BA Rank: 128)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 180 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.341 | .428 | .641 | 223 AB | 57 R | 76 H | 15 HR | 44 RBI | 33 BB | 46 K | 13 SB
McDonough rated as the No. 283 player in the 2020 class but went undrafted and headed back to North Carolina State for his third season, where for the third time he hit over .300 and continued to add more in-game power to his game. Listed at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, McDonough doesn’t jump out at you with loud tools, but he’s become a player who scouts appreciate the more they watch him. He does everything on the field at a high level and is the sort of skilled gamer who area scouts are drawn to. McDonough controls the zone well, doesn’t swing and miss much and takes his share of walks, and this season he hit a career-high 15 homers. Scouts have said those homers have come with a longer swing and more aggressive hacks, and his 17% strikeout rate was the highest of his career, which shows a slight shift in his approach. McDonough has spread his homers all over the field and his exit velocities are impressive for a player of his size, so perhaps solid power will be part of his game at the next level as well. McDonough has spent most of his time in center field for the Wolfpack, but he has the defensive versatility to play all over the place, including second base, third base and perhaps even shortstop in a pinch. He’s a better runner underway than he is out of the box and went 30-for-36 (83%) over his career in stolen base attempts. McDonough has plenty of promising statistical indicators and he could go off the board in the second-to-fourth-round range.
15. Christian Macleod, LHP, Mississippi State (BA Rank: 129)
Grade: 2R-Fr. • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 227 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
6-5 | 4.24 ERA | 17 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 90.2 IP | 72 H | 29 BB | 113 K | .234 AVG
MacLeod redshirted during the 2019 season, but impressed in 2020, when he led Mississippi State in strikeouts (35) and innings pitched (21) while posting a 0.86 ERA. He wasn’t quite as dominant over a full season this spring, but he still managed to post a 2.81 ERA over 16 starts and 75.2 innings, while striking out 106 batters (12.6 K/9) and walking 27 (3.2 BB/9). The 6-foot-4, 227-pound lefthander works with a three-pitch mix that features a fastball, curveball and changeup. His velocity is mostly in the 88-91 mph range and he touches 92-94 at his best at the moment, but the pitch does have solid riding life and gets more whiffs than the velocity would suggest—especially when he elevates up in the zone. He pairs that fastball nicely with an upper-70s downer curveball that has solid depth and 1-to-7 shape. It was his most consistent swing-and-miss pitch this spring, but MacLeod also showed good feel for a low-80s changeup that he works to his arm side away from righthanded hitters. The pitch has solid separation from his fastball and is effective when he keeps it down in the zone—though when he leaves it middle-up he has been punished. MacLeod has been a bit home run prone this spring, and he likely doesn’t have a single true plus pitch to rely on, instead having to mix, match, change speeds and eye levels to be effective. While there are questions about his overall upside, he is a good bet to start at the next level in some capacity.
16. Jake Rucker, 3B, Tennessee (BA Rank: 137)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 185 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.331 | .400 | .526 | 266 AB | 48 R | 88 H | 9 HR | 55 RBI | 26 BB | 62 K | 7 SB
Rucker has started since his freshman season for Tennessee and in 2019 hit .273/.358/.339 but had a better average (.303) during SEC competition. He tapped into a bit more power in the shortened 2020 season and showed good plate discipline to go along with it. After another strong performance this spring, there should be plenty of teams interested in Rucker on the second day of the draft. He hit .323/.393/.494 with a career-best seven home runs in 63 games, though that additional power also came with the highest strikeout rate of his college career (21%). Rucker has solid-average tools almost across the board, with scouts seeing an average hitter and an average defender who has played all over the infield for Tennessee but is likely best suited for the hot corner at the next level. That defensive profile could be a bit tricky, as some teams don’t think Rucker’s below-average power is enough to profile there. Rucker showed more swing and miss this season and expanded the strike zone on breaking stuff down, but he did post an OPS over 1.000 against 93-plus mph fastballs, per Synergy. Rucker might have the defensive versatility to become a utilityplayer who moves all over the infield and to the outfield corners, but his ultimate upside likely depends on the amount of power production he’s able to tap into without his strikeout and walk rates getting out of hand.
17. Branden Boissiere, OF/1B, Arizona (BA Rank: 144)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 215 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.374 | .456 | .512 | 246 AB | 67 R | 92 H | 5 HR | 61 RBI | 37 BB | 45 K | 2 SB
Boissiere has quietly been an excellent hitter throughout the entirety of his Arizona career, hitting well above .300 each season. This spring he started to tap into a bit more power, and his simple approach at the plate gives him an up-the-middle approach and good zone control, with 36 walks and 42 strikeouts through the regular season. While he increased his home run total in 2021 (five in 218 at-bats), he doesn’t profile as a typical slugging first baseman and is more similar to former Wildcat Alfonso Rivas (drafted in fourth round by Oakland in 2018). Boissiere may go in a similar draft slot as his predecessor, especially to a club that appreciates his plate discipline and ability to pepper the gaps. It’s a flat swing, but with good timing, and he uses all fields. Some scouts have Boissiere as a plus defender at first base, with good hands and feet. While he has some experience in the outfield and enough tools to be adequate, his below-average speed and arm will likely keep him on the dirt at the next level. While his teammate, Holgate, ranks above him on most draft boards, some teams prefer the certainty that comes with Boissiere’s defense at first base and his better contact and pitch selection at the plate.
18. Chase Silseth, RHP, Arizona (BA Rank: 145)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Arizona
8-1 | 5.54 ERA | 17 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 91 IP | 105 H | 28 BB | 99 K | .283 AVG
Hailing from Farmington, N.M., Silseth first headed to Tennessee for his freshman season before transferring to the College of Southern Nevada in 2020, where he drew attention for six very good starts before the season was shut down. Arizona’s Friday night starter in his first year as a Wildcat, Silseth was somewhat inconsistent with a few bad outings —Oklahoma tagged him for 10 runs, Washington State for 12—this spring, but scouts like his stuff. He finished Arizona’s regular season with an 8-1 record but with a 5.29 ERA. Silseth stands out for his outstanding poise and mound presence, traits that will elevate his draft stock and likely get him selected in the first five rounds. His lively fastball has been up to the 96-98 mph range this spring, delivered from a power arm with effort. He also throws a slurvy breaking ball in the 78-82 mph range that at times looks like a 12-to-6 curveball, and a changeup around 80 mph with slight tumbling action that flashes plus and is used to keep hitters off-balance. He gets swings and misses from the breaking ball that also has plus potential. The command suffers when he gets tired, an indicator that he might have more success as a power arm out of the bullpen.
19. Max Ferguson, 2B, Tennessee (BA Rank: 166)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.256 | .382 | .471 | 238 AB | 46 R | 61 H | 12 HR | 46 RBI | 46 BB | 70 K | 15 SB
Ferguson helped lead The Bolles School in Jacksonville to back-to-back state championships in high school and entered this spring as an industry favorite with a chance to go among the first 50 picks in the draft. After a season in which he hit .264/.387/.485 with a 23% strikeout rate that might be on the optimistic end of potential outcomes for him. Scouts really liked Ferguson’s swing entering the year, but thought it backed up a bit this spring as he started to leak out over his front side more frequently. Entering the year, scouts saw a player with an average hit tool and good bat-to-ball traits, but he was clearly trying to hit for more power this spring and that approach led to less contact, albeit with a career-high 12 home runs—though almost all of those homers went to the pull side. Teams will probably want him to get back to a more contact-oriented approach with a wood bat at the next level, control the zone more efficiently and get on base to use his legs. Ferguson is a good athlete and a plus runner who has always stolen bases at a high success rate, and this spring went 15-for-19 (79%) in stolen base attempts. He’s played second base for Tennessee and has more than enough speed and athleticism to handle the position, but some scouts would like to see him in center field thanks to his running ability and the fact that he doesn’t always look natural with his defensive actions on the dirt.
20. Tanner Allen, OF, Mississippi State (BA Rank: 167)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 184 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rockies 2019 (34)
.392 | .463 | .634 | 232 AB | 64 R | 91 H | 10 HR | 62 RBI | 22 BB | 30 K | 9 SB
Allen has been drafted twice before in his career—in the 36th round by the Cubs in 2017 and the 34th round by the Rockies in 2019—and should make it a third time this spring after an impressive season with Mississippi State. Through 57 games, Allen posted a .395/.467/.614 slash line, which was good for the highest batting average of any SEC hitter and among the best for all Division I hitters. That performance alone could get him drafted among the top-five rounds by an analytically-inclined team in a down year for college bats, but Allen has a solid-average toolset behind that performance as well. He’s a bit of a tweener outfield profile who improved his speed and arm strength this season and might warrant a try in center field as an above-average runner, but more than likely fits best in a corner. Coaches have praised his work ethic and the progress he’s made as a defender, and he should have enough arm strength for right field—where he’s logged most of his time with Mississippi State this spring. Allen has a solid approach at the plate with an ability to hit to all fields, and he’s performed well against high-end velocity and offspeed offerings. With a 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame, there’s not a ton of physical projection left for Allen and he’s probably more of a hit-over-power bat who will need to rely more on gap power and a high batting average to profile in a corner instead of big-time over-the-fence juice. Allen just turned 23, but his offensive performance in the SEC should be rewarded on draft day.
21. Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas (BA Rank: 199)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 225 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
.321 | .436 | .610 | 187 AB | 34 R | 60 H | 12 HR | 46 RBI | 30 BB | 60 K | 1 SB
For a stretch in April, Melendez was the hottest hitter in college baseball, hitting a home run in seven consecutive games. Melendez sees himself as a hitter first, and he does have a shot to be a fringe-average hitter. But his calling card is plus power and he posts the exit velocities to prove it. With his long limbs, he has solid plate coverage. He eats up pitchers on the outer third, with the ability to drive balls to the opposite-field power alley. With every college hitter in this year’s class, teams are operating with less information than in past years. Melendez didn’t get to show what he could do with wood last summer and he also wasn’t able to show what he can do defensively. Melendez played third base at Odessa (Texas) JC, and his average arm strength reminds everyone that he was a pitcher in high school before he suffered a labrum injury to his non-throwing arm playing football. But he’s been a near full-time DH for Texas (in deference to senior Zach Zubia). Scouts believe he could be average at first, but that’s based on very limited looks, and they haven’t seen what he can do with a wood bat. Melendez is a below-average runner, but moves well for his size. Melendez has a chance to be a well-rounded hitter with power, which should lead him to be a solid Day Two pick.
22. Eric Cerantola, RHP, Mississippi State (BA Rank: 200)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 222 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rays '18 (30)
0-1 | 5.71 ERA | 10 G | 0 CG | 0 SV | 17.1 IP | 13 H | 11 BB | 24 K | .206 AVG
Cerantola was a super-projectable arm out of high school in Canada and was actually a more advanced hockey player at the time—he was selected in the eighth round of the Ontario Hockey League draft in 2016. Scouts figured that he would grow into his 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame, improve on a fastball that touched 93 mph and further refine a big-time breaking ball that was already getting plus grades. Well, those scouts were right—in part. Cerantola has added strength to his frame and is now listed at 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, and his pure stuff is some of the best in the class. Area scouts this spring thought he had the best pure arm talent of anyone outside of Louisiana State righthander Jaden Hill and prep lefthander Maddux Bruns. Cerantola’s fastball now sits around 95 mph and he has touched 99-100. His curveball has an argument as the best curve in the draft class, a low-80s power hammer with extremely hard and sharp downward biting action. The pitch gets plenty of 70-grade reports and he’s also gotten plus grades on a low-80s changeup, though he has little feel to consistently land the pitch. In terms of pure stuff, Cerantola stacks up with anyone, but his control is well below-average, to the point that Mississippi State quickly moved him from the starting rotation to the bullpen and only had him throw 17.1 innings. He struck out 24 batters (12.5 K/9) but also walked 11 (5.7 BB/9) and allowed 11 earned runs, good for a 5.71 ERA. Cerantola is a solid athlete (as evidenced by his hockey background), but his mechanics are all over the place and his release point wanders significantly.
MORE NAMES TO KNOW
23. Dominic Keegan, C/1B, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 223)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 210 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
24. Kobe Kato, 2B/C, Arizona (BA Rank: 249)
Grade: • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 170 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
25. Zach Messinger, RHP, Virginia (BA Rank: 250)
Grade: • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 225 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
26. Cole Quintanilla, RHP, Texas (BA Rank: 299)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 220 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
27. CJ Rodriguez, C, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 300)
Grade: R-Fr. • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 185 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
28. Austin Murr, 1B, North Carolina State (BA Rank: 316)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 207 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
29. Donta Williams, OF, Arizona (BA Rank: 324)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 172 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
30. Tim Tawa, SS/OF, Stanford (BA Rank: 330)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 191 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
31. Hugh Fisher, LHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 334)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 185 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
32. Pete Hansen, LHP, Texas (BA Rank: 338)
Grade: R-Fr. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
33. Nick Brueser, 1B, Stanford (BA Rank: 351)
Grade: • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 212 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
34. Christian Robinson, OF, Stanford (BA Rank: 375)
Grade: • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 211 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Padres '17 (27)
35. Rowdey Jordan, OF, Mississippi State (BA Rank: 387)
Grade: • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 185 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
36. Kolby Kubichek, RHP, Texas (BA Rank: 404)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 180 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
37. Ethan Smith, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 419)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
38. Jackson Leath, RHP, Tennessee (BA Rank: 442)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 192 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
39. Nic Kent, SS, Virginia (BA Rank: 446)
Grade: R-So. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
40. Griff McGarry, RHP, Virginia (BA Rank: 450)
Grade: R-Jr. • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Rangers '17 (31)