2021 MLB Draft Watch Report: Prospect Rankings Shift, Gunnar Hoglund, and Players to Follow

When I started tracking this year’s upcoming MLB Draft Louisville’s Henry Davis was a personal favorite of mine. I thought a catcher with a 70-grade arm and posting big exit velocity numbers would be an excellent get for the Chicago White Sox at Pick 22 back in February. 

Three months later, and Davis is now in consideration going number one overall to Pittsburgh. So much for that idea. 

Keith Law updated his Top 100 list for The Athletic, and he’s on the Davis bandwagon, too. Law is listing him as the number one prospect passing the Vandy Boys (Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker) and the top prep shortstops (Jordan Lawler and Marcelo Mayer). Some that have been following along will think that’s quite a bold proclamation and ponder why any team would pass up on both Leiter and Rocker. 

But Law is not alone. While watching Kevin Goldstein and Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs begin preparing to update their Top 100 list on Twitch, they also think Davis is a consideration going number one overall.

We are still a couple of months away from the MLB Draft, which starts on Sunday, July 11. Teams are beginning to build their boards, and as they do, we could see dramatic shifts in publications, Top 100 boards as they continue to gather intelligence from scouting directors. When FanGraphs does post their updated Draft Board, they’ll have a different number one overall prospect than any other publication.  

The MLB Draft Average Rankings Database Top 100 list is below. For those that are new, these rankings are compiled from Baseball America, The Athletic, and MLBPipeline. This Top 100 list will update again once FanGraphs posts their updated Draft Board. 

RankPlayer NamePositionSchool
1Jordan LawlerSSJesuit Prep (TX)
2Jack LeiterRHPVanderbilt
3Kumar RockerRHPVanderbilt
4Marcelo MayerSSEastlake (CA)
5Henry DavisCLouisville
6Sal FrelickOFBoston College
7Brady HouseSSWinder-Barrow (GA)
8Kahlil WatsonSSWake Forest (NC)
9Jackson JobeRHPHeritage Hall (OK)
10Matt McLain2BUCLA
11Colton CowserOFSam Houston State
12Ty MaddenRHPTexas
13Sam BachmanRHPMiami (OH)
14Jordan WicksLHPKansas State
15Harry FordCNorth Cobb (GA)
16Gunnar HoglundRHPOle Miss
17Adrian Del CastilloCMiami
18Bubba ChandlerRHPNorth Oconee (GA)
19Andrew PainterRHPCalvary Christian (FL)
20Ryan CusickRHPWake Forest
21Joshua BaezOFDexter Southfield (MA)
22Benny MontgomeryOFRed Land (PA)
23Will TaylorOFDutch Fork (SC)
24Joe MackCWilliamsville East (NY)
25Chase PettyRHPMainland (NJ)
26Jaden HillRHPLSU
27Izaac Pacheco3BFriendswood (TX)
28Ethan WilsonOFSouth Alabama
29Josh HartleLHPReagan (NC)
30Michael McGreevyRHPUC Santa Barbara
31Jay AllenOFJohn Carroll Catholic (FL)
32Tommy MaceRHPFlorida
33Braden MontgomeryRHPMadison Central (MS)
34Will BednarRHPMississippi State
35Chase BurnsRHPBeech (TN)
36Luca TreshCNC State
37Matt MikulskiLHPFordham
38Jud FabianOFFlorida
39Peyton Stovall2BHaughton (LA)
40Anthony SolometoLHPBishop Eustace (NJ)
41Lonnie WhiteOFMalvern Prep (PA)
42Maddux BrunsLHPUMS-Wright (AL)
43Spencer SchwellenbachRHPNebraska
44James WoodOFIMG Academy (FL)
45Thatcher HurdRHPMira Costa (CA)
46Ben KudrnaRHPBlue Valley Southwest (KS)
47Joe RockLHPOhio
48Christian FranklinOFArkansas
49Gavin WilliamsRHPEast Carolina
50Jonathan CannonRHPGeorgia
51Alex Binelas1BLouisville
52Robert GasserLHPHouston
53Dylan SmithRHPAlabama
54Michael MoralesRHPEast Pennsboro (PA)
55Gage JumpLHPJSerra (CA)
56Max MuncySSThousand Oaks (CA)
57Malakhi KnightOFMarysville-Getchell (WA)
58Ryan BlissSSAuburn
59Noah MillerSSOzaukee (WI)
60Peyton Wilson2BAlabama
61Sean BurkeRHPMaryland
62Edwin ArroyoSSCentral Pointe Christian (FL)
63Hunter GoodmanCMemphis
64Carter JensenCPark Hill (MO)
65Alex MooneySSSt. Mary’s Prep (MI)
66Jackson BaumeisterRHPBolles (FL)
67Steven HajjarLHPMichigan
68Daylen LileOFTrinity (KY)
69Zack Gelof3BVirginia
70Isaiah ThomasOFVanderbilt
71Christian MacLeodLHPMississippi State
72Jac CaglianoneLHPPlant (FL)
73Jose TorresSSNC State
74Matheu NelsonCFlorida State
75Braylon BishopOFArkansas (AR)
76McCade BrownRHPIndiana
77Colson Montgomery3BSouthridge (IN)
78Eric HammondRHPKeller (TX)
79Justice ThompsonOFNorth Carolina
80Ricky TiedemannLHPGolden West JC
81Peter HeubeckRHPGilman (MD)
82Cody SchrierSSJSerra (CA)
83Trey SweeneySSEastern Illinois
84Grant HolmanRHPCalifornia
85Eric SilvaRHPJSerra (CA)
86Philip AbnerLHPCharlotte Christian (NC)
87Andrew AbbottLHPVirginia
88Wes Kath3BDesert Mountain (AZ)
89Ryan WebbLHPGeorgia
90Mason BlackRHPLehigh
91Davis DiazSSAcalanes (CA)
92Ian MollerCWahlert (IA)
93Tyler Black2BWright State
94Mike VasilRHPVirginia
95Irving CarterRHPCalvary Christian (FL)
96Michael RobertsonOFVenice HS (FL)
97Cameron CauleySSBarbers Hill (TX)
98Bryce MillerRHPTexas A&M
99Russell SmithLHPTCU
100Troy MeltonRHPSan Diego State

Gunnar Hoglund needs Tommy John. Option for Pick 22?

The bad news was delivered this past week as Ole Miss RHP Gunnar Hoglund needs Tommy John surgery. Hoglund left his last start in the first inning on May 7 at Texas A&M after giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. In his previous start against South Carolina on April 30, Hoglund threw six scoreless innings on 73 pitches with nine strikeouts and just one hit. The draft stock arrow was pointing up big time for Hoglund, who had a 2.87 ERA in 62.2 innings and 96 strikeouts to just 17 walks. He was for sure a Top-15 pick. 

Hoglund’s injury and rehab timeline would have him pitching again in the second half of 2022. Even then, just like we have seen with the White Sox and Michael Kopech, that workload would have to be a gradual build-up. It probably wouldn’t be until 2023 before Hoglund was attempting to carry a starter’s load down in the minors. 

Knowing the situation, which team in the first round will consider still drafting Hoglund? 

Maybe the White Sox could be a fit. We still don’t know what the 2021 MLB Draft bonus slots are, but if they remain the same as 2019 and 2020, the White Sox will have approximately $3,027,000 at Pick 22. There might be an opportunity to draft a pitcher like Ball State’s Sam Bachman or Wake Forest’s Ryan Cusick, who could follow Garret Crochet’s path of helping immediately out of the bullpen. Early rumors suggest that outcome is murky for the White Sox at Pick 22 as both Bachman and Cusick would already have been selected. 

If that’s the case, and Rick Hahn still wanted Mike Shirley to go college pitcher in the first round, maybe the White Sox could offer Hoglund $2.5 million and take him 22nd overall. That amount is more than the 28th draft slot using 2020 numbers, so it’s still first-round money. The White Sox can take their recent learning experience from Michael Kopech’s rehab and help rebuild Hoglund’s body to be in better condition while increasing velocity (fastball mostly sits between 92-94 mph). Sure, Hoglund wouldn’t realistically help the White Sox until 2024 at the earliest, but that’s when Lucas Giolito enters free agency. It could be a move to help add internal depth if White Sox ownership is unwilling to meet Giolito’s contract request. 

What makes Hoglund unique is his command. It’s the best in this draft class. That’s why he’s still worth the risk of taking in the first round. If $2.5 million is enough to bring Hoglund into the fold, the White Sox can take that $527,000 and add it to their second-round bonus slot (Pick 57) and go over slot trying to pulling a late first-round or compensation round prep talent to them. 

Players To Follow

Luca Tresh, Catcher, NC State

After backing up 2020 first-rounder Patrick Bailey, Luca Tresh is handling catching duties for NC State. Defensively, Tresh has good receiving and framing skills as there’s little movement in his glove. He moves well enough behind the plate blocking pitches and has good pop times on throws to second base. 

Offensively, I was told there is some promise in his bat regarding power. Tresh, in 38 games, has nine home runs and is slugging .500. The problem for me is the strikeouts. It’s a 2-to-1 ratio with his walks (40 strikeouts to 20 walks), and I’m pretty concerned about his ability to cut that rate playing professionally. It’s a big reason why Tresh is carrying a .266 batting average, and that’s pretty low for any college hitter to be considered in the first round. 

Tresh is ranked #36 in the MLB Draft Average Rankings, and I think of him more as a second-round option for the White Sox than in the first round. I’ve been told Mike Shirley has seen Tresh a couple of times already this season, and that’s why he’s worth following. 

Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS (IN)

Committed to Indiana University, Colson Montgomery could be a second-round target for the Chicago White Sox. Montgomery has a smooth left-handed swing that’s balanced and finishes high. He should be able to get a consistent lift, and as he physically gets stronger, more power should follow. Montgomery’s speed times are a bit underwhelming, coming in at 7.0 second in the 60-yard dash (45-grade), and there are concerns if he can stick at shortstop long-term. Fielding-wise, Montgomery has good hands and throwing strength, so with better development could stick at the position. 

Montgomery is also a good basketball player, and I’ve been told there’s the possibility he could play both sports at Indiana. Something to weigh when teams make their bonus offerings. 

Next Round of Players I’m Following

Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield (MA)

Will Taylor, OF, Dutch Fork (SC)

Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton HS (LA)

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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I would be in on Hoglund but it would be more in the $1.5M range if he was interested…..I say go high ceiling with Benny Montgomery or Maddux Bruns, you might even get Bruns a little underslot but if I had to guess Hahn will take the best collegiate pitcher on the board at #22 (Bachman, Cusick, Bednar most likely in that mix)


I’d rather they went with Jayden Hill…more upside