With the 2021 MLB Draft less than a month away, we're beginning to get a sense of which young prospects will be the first to hear their names called.
Of course, plenty can change between now and the draft on July 11. The College World Series is set to get underway on Saturday, so we'll likely see the draft stocks of a number of players rise and fall throughout the tournament.
The Boston Red Sox own the fourth overall pick, their highest selection since 1967 when they drafted right-handed pitcher Mike Garman with pick No. 3. They'll have some intriguing options on the table, from promising high school shortstops to right-handed college aces to a literal Louisville slugger.
So, which will they choose?
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
It's looking like one of the two top shortstops, Mayer or Jordan Lawlar, will be the pick here for Pittsburgh. Henry Davis is another possibility if the Pirates opt to go in a different direction.
Mayer is a left-handed hitter who has often been compared to Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. The 6-foot-3, 188-pounder is a well-balanced prospect with no glaring weaknesses in his game. That makes him a slam-dunk pick for Pittsburgh at No. 1 overall.
2. Texas Rangers: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Preparatory School (TX)
If Mayer goes first, it's hard to imagine Lawlar won't be right behind him. The two high school shortstops are widely expected to go 1-2 in this year's draft, in either order.
Lawlar arguably is the most talented player in the draft and is a five-tool prospect. The Dallas native draws comparisons to Kansas City Royals 2019 second overall pick Bobby Witt Jr.
3. Detroit Tigers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
The most popular name in this year's draft, Leiter is expected to be the first pitcher off the board. The son of two-time All-Star and World Series champion Al Leiter has been lights out for the Commodores this season. In 16 starts, the 21-year-old is 10-3 with a 2.53 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 156 strikeouts in 96 innings. Detroit reportedly is prioritizing major league-ready talent, and Leiter appears to fit that description.
4. Boston Red Sox: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Rocker, like his Vanderbilt teammate Leiter, is one of the most famous names in this year's class. It isn't difficult to see why. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound right-hander dominates hitters with a high-90s fastball and wipeout slider. He's 13-3 with a 2.46 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 155 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched this season, and he's coming off an electric Super Regionals outing vs. East Carolina.
Rumor has it the Red Sox are considering Leiter, Rocker, or Louisville catcher Henry Davis in this spot. All three are solid options, but it's hard to imagine they'll pass on one of the coveted Vanderbilt arms if available.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
Henry Davis definitely could go here as he'd be the best player available, but the Orioles already have the top catching prospect in baseball with Adley Rutschman. So we'll go in a different direction.
O's general manager Mike Elias is expected to use the same draft strategy as when he took Heston Kjerstad last year with the No. 2 pick for $2.6 million less than pick value. Frelick, an athletic outfielder with elite contact hitting ability, projects as a player that would be up Baltimore's alley in this spot.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The D'Backs would have no choice but to take Davis if he falls all the way to No. 6. The Louisville backstop was outstanding in 2021, hitting .371 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 50 games. We wouldn't be shocked to see Davis go No. 1 overall to Pittsburgh, but in this scenario Arizona strikes gold.
7. Kansas City Royals: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Watson is coming off a terrific spring and is right there with Mayer and Lawlar as a top shortstop in this year's class. The speedster has surprising pop for a 5-foot-9, 178-pound infielder and already boasts wildly impressive plate discipline for an 18-year-old.
8. Colorado Rockies: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
House has serious raw power to go with a plus arm. The 6-foot-3, 210 pounder likely will have to move over to the hot corner at some point down the line, but he's a nice value pick for Colorado if he slides down to No. 8.
9. Los Angeles Angels: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
Some consider Jobe -- not Leiter or Rocker -- to be the top pitcher in this year's draft class. The right-hander has a full arsenal of above-average pitches including a slider that already would make some major leaguers look silly. It's no secret the Angels need to stock up on pitching, so this would be a no-brainer of a pick if Jobe falls here.
10. New York Mets: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
Madden is one of the hardest throwers in the draft with a fastball that can hit 99 mph on the radar gun. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander posted a 2.59 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 94 innings this year for the Longhorns. He projects as a potential front-end starter.
11. Washington Nationals: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
Another one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the draft, Bachman has hit 102 mph on the gun and adds a filthy slider to the mix. He'd immediately step in to help an MLB bullpen, but could pan out as a rock-solid starter if he continues to develop his changeup.
12. Seattle Mariners: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA)
Montgomery is a speedy outfielder with some pop and while his 45-grade hit tool raises some concerns, his upside is huge. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has drawn comparisons to former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth.
13. Philadelphia Phillies: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
McLain, who was selected No. 25 overall by Arizona in 2018 but committed to UCLA, is the consensus top college infielder in this year's class. In 47 games with the Bruins this season, McLain is hitting .333 with nine homers and 36 RBI.
14. San Francisco Giants: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
Cowser is considered one of the top hitters in the draft despite some concerns about his power potential. The left-handed hitter slashed .374/.490/.680 with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 55 games this spring.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
Wicks stands out as the top southpaw in the 2021 draft with an impressive arsenal that includes a lethal changeup. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has a 3.70 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 92.1 innings this spring.
16. Miami Marlins: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA)
Ford is an outstanding athlete with incredible two-way potential behind the plate. The 18-year-old has speed you won't find in most catchers and can flat-out hit. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Ford seamlessly move to the outfield if catching doesn't work out.
17. Cincinnati Reds: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS (FL)
At 6-foot-7, Painter is one of the premier physical specimens in the draft this year. He also boasts advanced stuff for a high school pitcher, making him one of the most intriguing arms in the class.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Hoglund was a lock to be a top 10 pick before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. The Cardinals take a chance here on the right-hander, who could pay huge dividends if he returns to form.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (NJ)
Toronto almost certainly will go pitcher here, so left-hander Solometo would make a ton of sense. At 6-foot-5, 218 pounds he's another hard thrower a funky delivery to boot. He could be a steal at this spot for the Blue Jays.
20. New York Yankees: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (GA)
Chandler is an impressive athlete with serious potential as both a right-handed pitcher and switch-hitting shortstop. The Clemson commit was offered him a football scholarship as a quarterback, so that will be an interesting situation to monitor. Regardless, Chandler's future appears to be in pro baseball.
21. Chicago Cubs: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
McGreevy isn't going to light any radar guns on fire with his 93-96 mph fastball, but he boasts exceptional command. His stuff is only getting better with time, making McGreevy a nice fit for the Cubs here at No. 21 overall.
22. Chicago White Sox: Colson Montgomery, 3B, Southridge High School (IN)
The White Sox have been linked to Montgomery, an impressive athlete who happens to be the leading scorer in Southridge HS basketball history. As for what he brings to the table in baseball, Montgomery projects a solid left-handed hitter with room to improve in the field.
23. Cleveland Indians: Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton HS (LA)
Stovall is among the top hitting infielders in the draft class with a 60-grade hit tool and a sweet left-handed swing. The Arkansas commit played shortstop in high school, but he projects as a second baseman at the next level.
24. Atlanta Braves: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Cusick, a Sudbury, Mass. native, has a fastball that hovers around 96 mph consistently and can reach up to 102 mph. The rest of his repertoire needs to develop before he can succeed at the next level, but he's proven to be one of the best college arms in the draft.
25. Oakland Athletics: Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood HS (TX)
Pacheco has often been mentioned as the potential pick here for the A's, who reportedly have their eyes on the top high school position players in this year's class. Pacheco is exactly that, with raw power and an athletic build to go with his sweet left-handed swing.
26. Minnesota Twins: Jud Fabian, CF, Florida
Fabian has average to above-average tools across the board, including a 60-grade power tool. That makes him a nice fit for a Twins organization that has a thing for players with raw power. Fabian hit 20 homers in 69 games this season for the Gators.
27. San Diego Padres: OF Will Taylor, Dutch Fork HS (SC)
Taylor, like Bubba Chandler, is committed to Clemson and expected to play football for the Tigers as a slot receiver. He's also a He state wrestling champion, so in other words he's a pretty solid athlete. Taylor has a 70-grade run tool and while the other facets of his game have to improve, there's plenty of untapped potential there.
28. Tampa Bay Rays: Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (MA)
Baez has big power at the plate and an even bigger arm (70-grade) in the outfield. The Boston native is committed to Vanderbilt where he could turn into a more well-rounded hitter, and that would be a scary sight.
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami
There are questions about whether Del Castillo can stick around as a backstop, but the left-handed hitter has plenty of pop and is one of the more disciplined prospects at the plate. At one point, Del Castillo was considered a potential top-15 pick but an up-and-down performance this spring likely impacted his draft stock.