2021 MLB Draft Report: Updated Top 100 Rankings, Colson Montgomery, Jud Fabian, and College World Series Picks

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This week, a busy MLB Draft Report as College Baseball begins Regional play this weekend, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel updated his Top 100 prospects, which shifts players up and down on the 2021 MLB Average Draft Rankings database, and a fan question about Colson Montgomery. Let’s get to it. 

Updated Top 100 Rankings

McDaniel updated his rankings on ESPN, which you can view here, and in a somewhat surprising fashion, he added new names to the database. Prospects that don’t even make Baseball America’s Top 400 list. Below is the updated Top 100 Average Rankings Prospects, which combines ESPN, MLBPipeline, Baseball America, and The Athletic’s lists. We are still waiting on FanGraphs to update their rankings. 

RankPlayer NamePvs. RankPositionSchool
1Jordan Lawler1SSJesuit Prep (TX)
2Marcelo Mayer3SSEastlake (CA)
3Jack Leiter2RHPVanderbilt
4Henry Davis5CLouisville
5Kumar Rocker4RHPVanderbilt
6Brady House6SSWinder-Barrow (GA)
7Kahlil Watson8SSWake Forest (NC)
8Sal Frelick7OFBoston College
9Jackson Jobe10RHPHeritage Hall (OK)
10Matt McLain92BUCLA
11Colton Cowser19OFSam Houston State
12Harry Ford13CNorth Cobb (GA)
13Ty Madden11RHPTexas
14Jordan Wicks14LHPKansas State
15Gunnar Hoglund15RHPOle Miss
16Sam Bachman12RHPMiami (OH)
17Bubba Chandler18RHPNorth Oconee (GA)
18Andrew Painter17RHPCalvary Christian (FL)
19Benny Montgomery21OFRed Land (PA)
20Will Taylor22OFDutch Fork (SC)
21Adrian Del Castillo16CMiami
22Ryan Cusick20RHPWake Forest
23Joshua Baez24OFDexter Southfield (MA)
24Joe Mack23CWilliamsville East (NY)
25Jud Fabian29OFFlorida
26Michael McGreevy30RHPUC Santa Barbara
27Jaden Hill25RHPLSU
28Chase Petty26RHPMainland (NJ)
29Will Bednar32RHPMississippi State
30Ethan Wilson33OFSouth Alabama
31Anthony Solometo36LHPBishop Eustace (NJ)
32Izaac Pacheco273BFriendswood (TX)
33Josh Hartle28LHPReagan (NC)
34Tommy Mace31RHPFlorida
35Lonnie White37OFMalvern Prep (PA)
36Jay Allen34OFJohn Carroll Catholic (FL)
37Ben Kudrna40RHPBlue Valley Southwest (KS)
38Peyton Stovall412BHaughton (LA)
39Braden Montgomery35RHPMadison Central (MS)
40James Wood38OFIMG Academy (FL)
41Spencer Schwellenbach55RHPNebraska
42Thatcher Hurd39RHPMira Costa (CA)
43Dylan Smith50RHPAlabama
44Chase Burns45RHPBeech (TN)
45Gavin Williams56RHPEast Carolina
46Michael Morales48RHPEast Pennsboro (PA)
47Maddux Bruns43LHPUMS-Wright (AL)
48Robert Gasser63LHPHouston
49Matt Mikulski47LHPFordham
50Gage Jump51LHPJSerra (CA)
51Peyton Wilson492BAlabama
52Luca Tresh44CNC State
53Tyler Black572BWright State
54Max Muncy59SSThousand Oaks (CA)
55Alex Binelas421BLouisville
56Matheu Nelson66CFlorida State
57Ryan Bliss67SSAuburn
58Alex Mooney46SSSt. Mary’s Prep (MI)
59Noah Miller68SSOzaukee (WI)
60Colson Montgomery713BSouthridge (IN)
61Wes Kath603BDesert Mountain (AZ)
62Jonathan Cannon54RHPGeorgia
63Tyler Whitaker64OFBishop Gorman (NY)
64Jackson Baumeister52RHPBolles (FL)
65Christian Franklin53OFArkansas
66Edwin Arroyo62SSCentral Pointe Christian (FL)
67Trey Sweeney75SSEastern Illinois
68Michael Robertson79OFVenice HS (FL)
69Daylen Lile85OFTrinity (KY)
70Cody Schrier72SSJSerra (CA)
71Carson Williams105SSTorrey Pines (CA)
72Frank Mozzicato98LHPEast Catholic HS (CT)
73Sean Burke70RHPMaryland
74Carter Jensen76CPark Hill (MO)
75Connor Norby1062BEast Carolina
76Ricky Tiedemann82LHPGolden West JC
77Cody Morissette74SSBoston College
78Joe Rock58LHPOhio
79Andrew Abbott83LHPVirginia
80Hunter Goodman65CMemphis
81Jac Caglianone69LHPPlant (FL)
82McCade Brown77RHPIndiana
83Peter Heubeck88RHPGilman (MD)
84Malakhi Knight61OFMarysville-Getchell (WA)
85Doug Nikhazy90LHPOle Miss
86Isaiah Thomas95OFVanderbilt
87Mike Vasil78RHPVirginia
88Irving Carter100RHPCalvary Christian (FL)
89Christian MacLeod73LHPMississippi State
90Landon Marceaux97RHPLSU
91Grant Holman96RHPCalifornia
92Eric Hammond89RHPKeller (TX)
93Jose Torres80SSNC State
94Davis Diaz101SSAcalanes (CA)
95Justice Thompson93OFNorth Carolina
96Troy Melton87RHPSan Diego State
97Zack Gelof863BVirginia
98Dominic Hamel114RHPDallas Baptist
99Steven Hajjar81LHPMichigan
100Eric Silva99RHPJSerra (CA)

One of the big risers in the updated Top 100 is Indiana prep SS, Colson Montgomery. I wrote about Montgomery a couple of weeks ago as a prospect to follow as rumors consistently tagged the White Sox as an interested party in drafting him. In ESPN’s updated rankings, Montgomery shot up to the 17th ranked prospect in this draft class. There is helium in Montgomery’s draft stock.

This draft ranking update for Montgomery leads to the question we had in the comments section in last week’s MLB Draft Report from caseywsox:

Hi Josh! Callis, Law, and James Fox all had new mocks this week. They all mentioned the Sox interest in Indiana prep SS, but probably future 3rd baseman, Colson Montgomery. Looking at your draft average rankings, Montgomery is ranked #71. Taking Colson Montgomery at 22 seems really aggressive. If the Sox were to go that route, could they go under slot and push pool money back picks? I’ve read this draft is light on elite talent at the top yet is deeper than normal for what would be rounds 3-5. What would you think of taking Montgomery and then spreading their extra pool space and picking up several prep players with their early selections?

To answer the hypothetical details first – yes, the White Sox could very well attempt to sign Montgomery under slot at Pick 22 to spread out the draft bonus pool money. Pick 22 has a bonus slot of $3,027,000, so if the White Sox could get Montgomery at $2.5 million, that’ll be an extra $500K they could use to pump up the Round 2 bonus slot (currently $1,243,600). 

What I’m curious about is if ESPN’s rankings are a shift of the industry’s thinking of Montgomery. We should be getting updated rankings from everyone at least one more time in a couple of weeks. Does Montgomery rise to the Top 30 prospects in the average rankings? If so, I’m a bit doubtful the White Sox could get Montgomery under slot because other teams might be interested in the late first-round who could offer close to $3 million. 

At this juncture, caseywsox, I’m still working with the idea that the White Sox are going in a different direction with Pick 22 selecting a player they will sign at slot value and then borrow from Rounds 4 – 10 to sign players over the slot in Rounds 2 and 3. That’s where Montgomery comes into the White Sox picture with the second-round pick. A similar strategy they used to add Jared Kelley into the fold last year. 

Jonathan Mayo Mock: Jud Fabian to White Sox at Pick 22 

Naturally, this leads to a follow-up question, “Who is most likely the White Sox first-round pick today?” Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released another mock draft, and he had the White Sox taking University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian. Maybe the most polarizing prospect in this draft class. With enormous power and ability to stick in center field, Fabian was a preseason Top-5 pick whose stock dropped considerably as the strikeouts piled up. His regular-season K% finished at 29.37%, more than 7% from last year. 

I’m a firm believer that if you strike out at a high clip in college, that will carry over to the minors. Fabian striking out close to 30% has me worried about his future ability to make enough contact to take advantage of his power. This draft profile was a similar situation when the White Sox entertained the idea of selecting Jeren Kendall in the 2017 draft. Kendall struck out at a 25% clip his Junior year at Vanderbilt, and since the Dodgers drafted him:

2018: 31.98% K

2019: 35.68% K

2021: 38.04% K

Kendall’s strikeout rate continues to get worse. Honestly, if we revisit Fabian’s progression in three years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s striking out more than 35% of the time. I think there’s a pitch recognition issue with Fabian and his approach is all or nothing. Hence why he strikes out a lot, but also why he’s one of eight college hitters to bash 20 home runs in 2021. 

Fabian is one of the players that I think can help himself the most with a solid postseason performance with the Regionals starting this weekend. MLBPipeline has a good list of each school’s top draft prospect in Regionals that I recommend checking out. 

Josh’s College World Series Picks

Regionals is always a fun time to watch college baseball with non-stop action going on. If you’re a baseball junkie, the first set of games start at 11:00 am CT, and the last group starts at 9:00 pm CT. Add in the White Sox game at 7:00 pm CT, and one could watch baseball for 12 straight hours. I can’t think of a better way of spending my time. 

Here are my picks who will win each Regional, Super Regionals, and the College World Series. 

Fayetteville: (1) Arkansas 

Ruston: (3) Alabama

Stanford: (3) Nevada

Lubbock: (1) Texas Tech

Tucson: (3) UC Santa Barbara

Oxford: (1) Ole Miss

Greenville: (1) East Carolina

Nashville: (1) Vanderbilt

Knoxville: (1) Tennessee

Eugene: (1) Oregon

Columbia: (3) Virginia

Fort Worth: (2) Oregon State

Starkville: (1) Mississippi State

South Bend: (1) Notre Dame

Gainesville: (1) Florida

Austin: (1) Texas

College World Series Picks:

Bracket 1: Arkansas, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt

Bracket 2: Florida, Mississippi State, Virginia, Tennessee

College World Series Championship: Arkansas over Mississippi State

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  • 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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GrinnellSteve

That Fabian mock pick has me scared. Those strikeout numbers are frightening.

Greg Nix

Based on your first paragraph description of Fabian, I also thought of Kendall as a comp so it was funny to then read that in the next paragaph.

Interesting that the power spike and strikeout spike are in the same season, though. I wonder if there’s a middle ground where he gets back down to a 22ish% K rate but maintains some of the power gains. Seems like a risky profile, but that’s what you get drafting in the 20’s instead of the top 5.

jorgefabregas

Are the White Sox still contracting with Voros McCracken? Wondering what statistical models say about Fabian. Hard for me to imagine that they’re favorable.

Ed Casey

Thanks so much for the detailed response to my question Josh! I hope the Sox target high upside prep position players in the upcoming draft. Although Fabian is young for the college class, and is tooled up, the K rate is frightening, and I hope the Sox pass on him.