Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Once again, the talent level in the college ranks for the 2021 First Year Player Draft is impressive. The draft landscape at the college level is littered with power pitchers who boast both strong command and solid pitch metrics. Here is College Baseball Nation’s inaugural ranking of next year’s college draft class based on in-game performance, discussions with scouts, and first-hand observations.
1. Jud Fabian, OF, Florida: Simply put, Fabian checks all the boxes—he’s uncommonly young for his class, posted a .290/.350/.500 slash line in 137 PAs as an 18-year-old in the Cape Cod League, and doesn’t have a tool under 55. Comps range from Mitch Haniger to a young Kevin McReynolds to Ryan Braun.
2. Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt: A draft eligible sophomore whose freshman season was interrupted by COVID-19, Leiter won’t be able to equal the lengthy track record of many of his peers, but that won’t matter. He has superb command of five plus pitches, including a fastball that can reach 97 MPH, and flawless mechanics.
3. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt: A 6-04, 255-pound man-child, Rocker has been on scouts’ radar since his early high school days. As impressive as Rocker’s mid-90’s fastball is, it’s his high-80’s slider and its gyro-like qualities that have scouts excited.
4. Alex Binelas, 3B, Louisville: A Wisconsin native, Binelas burst upon the scene as a freshman when he belted 14 HR and posted exceptional exit velocities. He has improved markedly at the hot corner and multiple scouts believe he’ll remain there as a pro.
5. Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama: Wilson’s high exit velocities and loft in his swing combine to give him at least 60 power; however, high swing-and-miss rates on breaking stuff translate into a best-case average hit tool. He’s an adept fielder in LF and might even play some CF next spring.
6. Adrian Del Castillo, C/OF, Miami (FL): Del Castillo is the consensus top pure hitter on this list as he combines a great feel for the barrel and discerning eye. His receiving lags far behind his offense and he’ll most likely have to shift to 1B or LF at the next level.
7. Matt McClain, 2B/SS, UCLA: Though former Oregon State star Nick Madrigal is the en vogue comp for McClain, McClain’s substantial edge in physicality and power evoke memories of a young Brian Dozier. Scouts are split on whether McClain will have the defensive chops to stick at SS long-term.
8. Ty Madden, RHP, Texas: College has paid off for Madden. In his time in Austin he’s put on 35 pounds of good weight, added 5 MPH to his heater, and improved command of his entire 4-pitch repertoire.
9. Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU: Hill is the popular preseason sleeper pick for 1-01 as he was unhittable last season before the onset of COVID-19 and his fastball pushes triple digits. But his checkered medical past (just 22 total college IP) and pedestrian spin rates mitigate some of that enthusiasm.
10. Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State: Cowser’s profile is interesting, if not a throwback. He’s a hit-over-power guy with strong contact metrics who plays a decent CF. If he’s able to add more loft to his swing and enhance his power, the team that selects him in July would hit paydirt.
11. Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
12. Levi Usher, OF, Louisville
13. Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
14. Steven Hajjar, LHP, Michigan
15. Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
16. Zack Gelof, 3B, Virginia
17. Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss
18. Mason Black, RHP, Lehigh
19. Eric Cerantola, RHP, Mississippi State
20. Robby Martin, OF, Florida State
21. Jack Perkins, RHP, Louisville
22. Henry Davis, C, Louisville
23. Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
24. Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida
25. Cody Morissette, 3B, Boston College
26. Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest:
27. Hunter Goodman, C/OF, Memphis
28. Kevin Abel, RHP, Oregon State
29. Pete Hansen, LHP, Texas
30. Wyatt Olds, RHP, Oklahoma
31. Jose Torres, SS, NC State
32. Christian MacLeod, LHP, Mississippi State
33. Noah Cardenas, C, UCLA
34. Hugh Fisher, LHP, Vanderbilt
35. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Ole Miss
36. Seth Lonsway, LHP, Ohio State
37. Dominic Hamel, RHP, Dallas Baptist
38. Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
39. Nick Nastrini, RHP, UCLA
40. Griff McGarry, RHP, Virginia
41. Max Ferguson, 2B, Tennessee
42. J.T. Schwartz, 1B, UCLA
43. Ben Specht, RHP, Florida
44. Jonathan Childress, LHP, Texas A&M
45. Doug Nikhazy, LHP, Ole Miss
46. Nic Kent, SS, Virginia
47. Mason Pelio, RHP, Boston College
48. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Virginia
49. Ryan Holgate, OF, Arizona
50. Jack Leftwich, RHP, Florida