The 2021 MLB Draft will be held later than normal this season, from July 11-13, as baseball times up its premier amateur event with the College World Series and new minor league landscape.
As for the draft itself, each of the last three No. 1 overall draft picks has come from college (Spencer Torkelson, Adley Rutschmann, and Casey Mize), but the previous two top picks (Royce Lewis and Mickey Moniak) both came straight from the prep ranks. The streak of top pick coming from the college ranks could end this year, as plenty of prep shortstops are rumored to be going early.
Here's a look at the top 50 high school prospects (as of March 2021), courtesy of Baseball America's JJ Cooper:
1. Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS, Winder, Ga.
House has pro size (6'3", 210 pounds), and he's performed against the best pitchers on the showcase circuit. He has plus-plus power potential and an advanced approach at the plate.
2. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Dallas Jesuit HS, Dallas
A Vanderbilt commit, Lawlar has the athleticism, range, and hands to stick at shortstop. He's a plus-plus runner with above-average arm strength. He's also a potentially above-average hitter with above-average power.
3. Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Painter, a Florida signee, gets to his 90-95 mph velo range easily, and he spins two different breaking balls that both show plenty of promise.
4. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif.
He is among the best defenders of the prep shortstops, with pro actions, soft hands, and good feet. He has further to go at the plate, but the left-handed hitter has shown solid plate discipline.
5. James Wood, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
He's a massive (6'6", 230 pounds) center fielder whose prodigious power would make him a fit in the corner outfield spots as well. He's also a plus runner who is surprisingly good in center.
6. Tyree Reed, OF, American Canyon (Calif.) HS
Reed can run, he can throw and he can flag down balls in the outfield with the best of them. If the Oregon State commit can show in 2021 that he can make consistent contact to go with his promising power and bat speed, he could be the first outfielder to come off the board.
7. Izaac Pacheco, SS, Friendswood (Texas) HS
Pacheco is one of the better-hitting shortstops in the class, even if his size (6'4", 220) makes it likely he will eventually slide to third base. The left-handed hitter should have plenty of future power, although it comes with strikeout concerns.
8. Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
Walston is a quick-twitch, speedy shortstop with better-than-expected power for someone who is 5'9", 178 pounds. He has above-average bat speed and a solid approach at the plate to go with middle-of-the-diamond defensive tools.
9. Maddux Bruns, LHP, UMS-Wright Prep, Mobile, Ala.
Bruns is a lefty who has a chance to have three plus pitches one day. He already runs his fastball to the mid-90s and throws a 12-to-6 curve and a hard power slider.
10. Josh Hartle, LHP, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C.
A lower slot lefty who throws lots of strikes, Hartle has a clean delivery and fills the zone with an 88-94 mph fastball, a sweepy low-80s slider, and a mid-80s changeup. The Wake Forest signee may have room to get stronger as he matures.
11. Chase Burns, RHP, Beech HS, Hendersonville, Tenn.
Burns throws as hard as almost anyone in the college draft class. He has gotten to 100 mph on a regular basis, and his fastball has the kind of riding life analysts love. His control will need to tighten up.
12. Irving Carter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Carter has three present quality pitches and a solid track record of performing against quality competition. He attacks hitters with a low-90s fastball, a hard slider, and a solid changeup.
13. Brock Selvidge, LHP, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.
Selvidge doesn't wow with exceptional stuff, but there should be a lot more to come from the 6'3", 205-pound lefty. His frame suggests he can add further velocity and arm speed.
14. Jay Allen, OF, John Carroll Catholic HS, Fort Pierce, Fla.
Allen is one of the better two-sport prospects in the class. He's signed with Florida to play baseball full-time, which was notable because he was a Division I quarterback recruit as well.
15. Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional HS, Linwood, N.J.
Petty can ramp up to top-end velocities but normally pitches in the low-to-mid-90s. His power and youth should help the Florida commit sway scouts.
16. Ian Moller, C, Wahlert HS, Dubuque, Iowa
Moller is viewed as arguably the best defensive catcher in the prep class, but he's proven over the past summer that he also is a good enough hitter to be more than just a glove. He has strong, soft hands and moves well behind the plate.
17. Braylon Bishop, OF, Arkansas HS, Texarkana, Ark.
Bishop has a handsy swing with plenty of bat speed and is a plus runner. The Arkansas commit does face questions about the consistency of contact he makes, and he has struggled to let his speed and bat speed play in games at times.
18. Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS, East Amherst, N.Y.
Mack's strong arm, plus power potential, and better-than-expected flexibility give him a strong foundation to continue to develop behind the plate.
19. Alonzo Tredwell, RHP, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.
There are few taller pitchers in this year's draft class than the 6'7" Tredwell. The UCLA commit currently sits 89-92 mph with a potentially average slider and changeup.
20. Jackson Jobe, SS/RHP, Heritage Hall HS, Oklahoma City
Teams will have to decide whether they like Jobe better at shortstop or on the mound. It's not an easy decision, as Jobe has one of the highest spin rates in the class on his slider as well as a low-to-mid-90s fastball.
21. Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Madison (Miss.) Central HS
The Stanford commit could continue to be both an outfielder and pitcher if he heads to school, but if he opts for pro ball, he could go out either way. Montgomery may be a little better outfielder than pitcher right now.
22. Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS, Brookline, Mass.
Baez has plus-plus raw power that is intriguing even if it comes with a less-than-ideal setup and swing. He's also been clocked at 97 mph off the mound.
23. Phillip Abner, LHP, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian School
Scouts don't have to do a lot of projecting with Abner, as he already stands 6'1", 220 pounds. He can bump his low 90s fastball to 94-95 when he needs to and has shown that he can dot the corners with it.
24. Camden Hayslip, OF, Friendship Christian HS, Lebanon, Tenn.
Hayslip has plenty of power potential thanks to some of the best bat speed in the class, but the Alabama commit has to show he can hit against lefties and do more than just pull the ball to put together more consistent at-bats. He may be able to stick in center but more likely ends up in left or right field.
25. Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS, Kennesaw, Ga.
Ford is a weird anomaly — a catcher who is also one of the faster players in his draft class. Center field is an option if he doesn't stick at catcher.
26. Lonnie White Jr., OF, Malvern (Pa.) Prep
As a wide receiver, he is one of the top recruits in Penn State's football signing class. So he has plenty of options. For a multi-sport star, White is relatively polished as a center fielder with plus power potential, plus speed and bat speed.
27. Ben Kudrna, RHP, Blue Valley Southwest HS, Overland Park, Kan.
Teams will have to decide if they want to pay Kudrna now based on his projection or potentially pay more in a few years if the LSU commit takes his 92-95 mph fastball, slider, and changeup to Baton Rouge.
28. Daylen Lile, OF, Trinity HS, Louisville, Ky.
There are stronger players and there are faster players, but Lile has one of the simplest and most efficient line-drive swings around, and he's hit against most everyone he's faced.
29. Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork HS, Irmo, S.C.
He's signed with Clemson to play football (where he's expected to play wide receiver) and baseball. He's a plus-plus runner who is above-average defensively in center field. He's less advanced at the plate, but he does have good barrel control and gap power.
30. Edwin Arroyo, SS, Arecibo Baseball Academy, Bajadero, P.R.
Arroyo has a plus arm, fluid actions, and consistent hands. The switch-hitter faces more concerns about his swing and approach at the plate. There's potential there, but teams are going to want to see Arroyo make consistent hard contact this spring.
31. Brandon Neely, RHP, Spruce Creek HS, Port Orange, Fla.
Neely can touch the mid-90s right now, but only by humping up and overthrowing. He has shown he can spot his fastball when he's not trying to throw to the gun, and he'll spin an occasionally above-average breaking ball.
32. Bubba Chandler, RHP, North Oconee HS, Bogart, Ga.
A Clemson signee in football as a quarterback, Chandler is also a two-way talent in baseball. He spins an excellent breaking ball and is a switch-hitting shortstop who may be able to stay at the position in pro ball.
33. Eric Hammond, RHP, Keller (Texas) HS
A tall, skinny righthander with enough present fastball (90-95 mph); his calling card is he can really spin the ball, throwing a promising slider and curve.
34. Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa.
Few prospects in this year's draft class can match Montgomery's power/speed combination. He has shown some of the best raw power in the class, and he's one of the fastest runners as well. He has the tools to be a standout in center field, but right now his swing is not consistent.
35. Ty Evans, OF, Lakeland (Fla.) Christian HS
This is a good class for center fielders, and Evans is one of the reasons why. A strong, powerful, above-average runner, Evans also has power potential at the plate to go with a quick, handsy swing. He's committed to Florida.
36. Mason Albright, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Albright is a smallish (6'0") lefty with excellent feel of average stuff. He has some of the best control and command among the high school class and throws four pitches. If his velocity can tick up as a senior, he could vault up draft boards.
37. Gage Jump, LHP, JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Scouts can settle in at JSerra Catholic for a while, as the team has three top-50 prep draft prospects. Jump's present stuff is pretty good (low-90s fastball and a slower low-70s curve with downer shape). He's a UCLA signee.
38. Eric Silva, RHP, JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Silva, who is also set to go to UCLA, has more projection remaining. He'll touch 94 mph right now. Neither his curve or slider has flashed plus yet, but both have potential.
39. Anthony Susac, RHP, Jesuit HS, Carmichael, Calif.
Anthony is the younger brother of Andrew, a big-league catcher, and Daniel, a catcher at the University of Arizona. Anthony, unlike his brothers, is a pitcher with a promising low-90s fastball, a curveball with plenty of depth, and a useful changeup.
40. Tommy White, 3B, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
One of the bigger sluggers in the 2021 class, White likely will end up at first base eventually as he's already 6'1", 220 pounds, but his power profile gives the NC State signee and current third baseman a shot to be productive enough at the plate to make such a move work.
41. Michael Braswell, SS/RHP, Campbell HS, Smyrna, Ga.
Braswell is the type of well-rounded player who often goes to college and then sometimes turns into a first- or second-round pick because of consistent production. As a polished hitter with average power and the athleticism to play somewhere in the infield, the South Carolina commit is a name to watch. He also has potential on the mound.
42. Malakhi Knight, OF, Marysville-Getchell HS, Marysville, Wash.
An athletic baseball/basketball player in high school, Knight flashes plus speed, solid center field defense and above-average raw power. Now he has to convince evaluators that his hitting ability is up to the task of helping him get to that power potential. He's committed to Oregon State.
43. Justin Colon, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Francisco Lindor's alma mater also produced current Florida State shortstop Nander De Sedas. Colon is following in their footsteps. A plus-plus arm and good hands help him make up for modest footspeed. Offensively he has further to go.
44. Carter Jensen, C, Park Hill HS, Kansas City, Mo.
Jensen's left-handed swing has long impressed scouts as he shows an advanced understanding of how pitchers are trying to attack him. As a catcher, Jensen has more work to do, but the LSU signee has shown the willingness to work on his craft.45. Lorenzo Carrier, OF/RHP, Appoquinimink HS, Middletown, Del.
An outfielder and righthander, Carrier has a projectable 88-92 mph fastball and feel to spin a breaking ball. He has also shown range in the outfield, a plus arm and power potential.
46. Max Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS
Muncy is yet another middle infielder without any clear plus tool, but with a well-rounded collection of average tools that give him a lot of ways to help a team. He may not stick at shortstop long-term, but the Arkansas commit should stay in the dirt.
47. Michael Morales, RHP, East Pennsboro HS, Enola, Pa.
Morales' fastball, curveball, and changeup are all pretty polished for a Pennsylvania prep arm. The Vanderbilt signee does not have particularly flashy stuff, but his ability to throw three pitches for strikes and his feel for pitching are noteworthy.
48. Pico Kohn, LHP, Chilton County HS, Clanton, Ala.
A tall and slender 6'5", 205-pound lefty, Kohn rarely exceeds 90 mph right now, but there's reason to think he could add significant velocity thanks to his frame and athleticism, and he flashes a plus breaking ball. He's a Mississippi State signee.
49. Luke Leto, SS/RHP, Portage (Mich.) Central HS
Leto has long been known on the showcase circuit, but he's going to have to try to bounce back after a worse-than-expected series of performances over the summer. His power gives him some potential at the plate, and his arm gives him a fallback option on the mound. He's an LSU signee.
50. Michael Robertson, OF, Venice (Fla.) HS
Robertson may be the fastest player in the draft class. A left-handed hitter whose offensive game is based on making contact and letting his speed play, Robertson will need to get stronger to better battle pro pitchers. He's a center fielder with a better arm than most speedsters.
— Compiled by JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) for the Athlon Sports 2020 Baseball Annual. At 224 pages, it's the largest on the newsstand and the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy.