There have been some changes made to the 2021 MLB draft, which was pushed back a month to coincide with All-Star weekend. Round one of the 2021 MLB Draft is set to kick off tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Cleveland has one Sunday night with its regular pick at No. 23. Starting Monday at 1 p.m., Cleveland has the No. 55 pick in the second round, then a competitive balance pick at No. 66. After that, the club has every 30th pick. Will they continue to draft proven college arms like Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale or will they take a shot on a high schooler who put up slow-pitch softball numbers?
I’ve rounded up as many decent and recent mock drafts as I could find, so let’s see what the experts think.
23: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
If there’s a high school hitter available, he might come up in conversation here, with Ford ahead of fellow prep backstop Joe Mack right now. They could also look at a college arm like McGreevy, who won’t be on the board long.
23: OF Joshua Baez, Dexter Southland HS (Massachusetts) ($2,926,800 slot value)
Moreso than other teams, Cleveland leans heavily on analytical models come draft day, hence the tendency to favor high school players who graduate at age 17 (Daniel Espino, Triston McKenzie, etc.). Young high schoolers tend to perform well in pro ball. Baez turned 18 last week and has a carrying tool in his enormous power. This is a “he fits their profile” mock pick more than a “they’ve been connected to him” mock pick.
June 11 mock pick: Baez
June 25 mock pick: Baez
23. Cleveland: Anthony Solometo, RHP, Bishop Eustace (NJ) Prep
Solometo goes somewhere in the 16-25 range, I think, and fits Cleveland’s recent m.o. of taking high-upside high school arms even if they have something unconventional in their deliveries.
23. Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS, East Amherst, N.Y.
If there’s a run on college pitching in front of this spot, potentially the White Sox and Indians could start a little run on prep hitters. There are a number of names who get mentioned in the 20s, but Mack seems to be one of the last high school bats that most teams seem confident will go off the board in the first round.
Pick: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (NJ)
Chase Petty is one of the most polarizing figures in the draft. While he can touch 100 mph, his low-angle slinging delivery is the polar opposite of smooth, and when combined with his smallish frame the whole operation generates considerable reliever risk. That said, Cleveland loves throwing big stuff prep arms to their player dev group, with recent examples including Daniel Espino, Ethan Hankins and Lenny Torres. We were told to mock Petty to teams who care a lot about pitch data and this is one. Cleveland might also take a super model-driven approach this year as their area scouts were not at college games until the postseason, relying entirely on data and video for that demographic of player until that point.
23: Michael McGreevy, RHP, Santa Barbara
McGreevy is a guy who’s been flying up boards of late and we think this is the floor. He’s a four-pitch command arm with as good a bet as anyone to stick in a rotation at the next level. McGreevy has some optimization in front of him, but Cleveland has a track record of guiding starters to their ceiling. Chase Petty, Peyton Stovall and Bubba Chandler have all been mentioned here.