The 2021 MLB Draft is just two days away, the Boston Red Sox appear to have a top target in mind.
Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter has been linked to the Red Sox in several mock drafts, and given their lack of pitching depth in its farm system, Leiter seems like a natural fit for Boston at No. 4 overall.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo believes the Red Sox feel the same way.
"I think they would be ecstatic if Jack Leiter got to them," MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo said Thursday night on WEEI's "Mut at Night" radio show. "It's one of those situations where they don't know for sure. No one knows for sure what's going to happen. They're kind of in a good spot because they can react to whatever happens right above them.
"I think in a perfect world Leiter would get to them and I don't think he would get past them if he was there."
As Mayo suggested, the biggest question is whether Leiter falls to Boston at No. 4. The 21-year-old son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter had a terrific season for the Commodores, posting an 11-4 record with a 2.13 ERA and 179 strikeouts over 110 innings.
Our latest MLB Mock Draft has Leiter going No. 2 overall to the Texas Rangers, who also have an organizational need for pitching. High school shortstops Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawler are viewed as top-five picks as well, while Louisville catcher Henry Davis landed with Boston at No. 4 in our most recent mock.
The general consensus seems to be that Mayer will go No. 1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates while Leiter will land with the Rangers at No. 2. But there's at least some chance Leiter slides a couple spots -- especially considering the added risk of taking a pitcher early in the draft.
"Even if a pitcher doesn’t have any current medical issues to our knowledge, the truth is that in a vacuum, there’s an attrition rate with pitchers that isn’t necessarily consistent with that of position players," Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni recently told The Athletic's Chad Jennings. "We do our best to understand this and account for it in our final valuation of the player."
We'll find out Sunday whether those calculations leave the Sox with a pitcher or a position player with their highest draft pick since 1967.