1: (13) - Andrew Painter, HS RHP
There are high school pitchers who garner a lot of attention because of huge raw stuff, and there are prep arms who have an advanced feel for pitching. When the two come together in one prospect, there’s the chance for something special. Painter showed off that exciting combination of raw stuff and feel for pitching at a number of showcase events over the summer to establish himself as one of the best high school pitchers in the 2021 Draft class. He did nothing to dampen those expectations, striking out 54 percent of the batters he faced during his senior year en route to Gatorade state high school player of the year honors. Painter delivers a legitimate four-pitch mix from a 6-foot-6 frame and has a very advanced feel for his gameplan on the mound. He typically sits in the 93-95 mph range and touches 96 with his fastball. He utilizes both a two- and four-seamer and likes to elevate to get swings and misses up in the zone. He throws both a 12-to-6 type curveball in the upper 70s and a mid-80s slider, and he flashed a potentially plus changeup over the summer. Despite his size, Painter is very athletic on the mound and repeats his delivery extremely well, throwing all four pitches for strikes with a chance he’ll have plus control and command in the future. And while he’s already strong, there’s projection in his frame, and he could throw harder as he matures. Committed to Florida, Painter should be one of the first high school pitchers to come off the board in July.
2: (49) - Ethan Wilson, OF
Wilson went from an unheralded recruit to the Sun Belt Conference player of the year in 2019, when he hit 17 homers to nearly double five-time All-Star Luis Gonzales’ South Alabama freshman record of nine. Though his approach has changed and he’s more contact hitter than slugger now, he remains one of the best all-around college hitters in the 2021 Draft class. He has a chance to become the second first-round pick in Jaguars history, following Travis Swaggerty (No. 10 overall, 2018).
Wilson doesn’t have the smoothest left-handed stroke but he has a knack for finding the barrel and hangs in well against southpaws. He also has the patience to work counts and draw walks, and his contact rates and plate discipline are better than ever after regressing last spring. He’s not driving the ball as much as he has in the past, however, and projects as more of an average power hitter with his current approach.
Almost all of his value will come from his offensive production, though most evaluators believe Wilson will provide enough to fit in the middle of a big league lineup. He’s a fringy to average runner out of the batter’s box and a step quicker once he gets going. His fringy arm limits him to left field, where he’s a decent defender.
3: (84) - Jordan Viars, HS OF
Phillies pick Jordan Viars is 403 on BA's list and not on anyone else's list. Very young player who should be in a corner long term.— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) July 12, 2021
4: (114) - Micah Ottenbreit, HS RHP
Phillies take Micah Ottenbreit, prep RHP from Michigan. Long, projectable frame, FB 90-94 mostly, can really spin the breaker and flashes good CH as well. Starter traits with a long ways to go. #PGDraft— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) July 12, 2021
5: (145) - Griff McGarry, RHP
Griff McGarry is absolutely disgusting.— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) July 12, 2021
Second best pick of the draft so far.
Elite FB and slider, control concerns.
Reminds me of Oswalt. pic.twitter.com/SWyvOP2QzZ
6: (175) - Jose Pena, Jr., HS RHP
Over the summer, Pena showed off some premium arm strength at events like the East Coast Pro Showcase and in the fall at Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Association World Championship. He hasn’t missed a step this spring in terms of lighting up radar guns, bringing scouts to Tampa Prep all season. The 6-foot-3 Pena relies heavily on his fastball and he can crank it up to 95-96 mph at times. He missed a lot of bats with his heater at showcases, though scouts were concerned it was a little too true and hittable this spring. His mid-70s curveball has improved this spring and he throws both his fastball and breaking ball with a quick arm, posting high spin rates. He does have a seldom-used changeup, around 78-80 mph. Pena generally is around the zone, though he can struggle landing his secondary stuff for strikes, and he’s definitely control over command right now. Still his size, arm strength and athleticism on the mound could lead teams to take a look at him on Day 2 and try to keep him from attending Florida International in the fall.
7: (205) - Christian McGowan, JUCO RHP
McGowan drew scouting interest in 2020, when he ranked fourth among national junior college pitchers with 58 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings, but ultimately went unpicked. He initially planned on transferring to Kansas State for 2021 but opted to return to Eastern Oklahoma State JC, where he’s part of a rotation that could have three members selected in single-digit rounds this July. While Mountaineers left-hander Andrew Walling is ahead of McGowan in MLB Pipeline’s Draft rankings, the latter has more athleticism and room to add polish. McGowan operates at 92-94 mph and reaches 99 with his fastball, which features more downhill plane than true life. He gets depth on an 82-84 mph slider that peaks at 88 with bite when it’s on but gets slurvy when it’s not. His mid-80s changeup has nice fade and shows flashes of becoming at least a solid pitch at its best, though it gets too firm and he struggles to throw it for strikes. While he’s naturally athletic, McGowan throws with effort and recoil in his three-quarters delivery, which compromises his ability to control and command his arsenal and also casts doubt on his long-term future as a starter. One scout likened him to Trevor Rosenthal when the future All-Star was at Cowley County (Kan.) CC. Clubs could get a better read on McGowan if he attends Texas Tech in 2022, but his arm talent may be too enticing to pass up this summer.
8: (235) - Jason Ruffcorn, RHP
5th year senior for the Phillies in the 8th round in Jason Ruffcorn. This is a money saving pick, but one that isn't a waste because it is a relief profile with plus velocity— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) July 12, 2021
9: (265) - Gavin Tonkel, HS OF
Fun, quick story. Congrats to Gavin Tonkel. The Phillies pick is an example of player who was helped by the draft being pushed back.https://t.co/8t8Xl3JrSK— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) July 12, 2021
10: (295) - Logan Cerny, OF
Three years ago, Troy had a twitchy 6-foot-1, 185-pound center fielder who went in the fifth round of the Draft, and Brandon Lockridge since has become one of the Yankees’ better position prospects. Now the Trojans have another center fielder with the same build and profile who figures to go in the same range this July. Part of two national championship teams at Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.), Cerny offers one of the best combinations of raw power and speed in the 2021 crop. The question with Cerny is how much he’ll hit, because he has a busy right-handed swing and a grip-it-and-rip-it approach. He chases a lot of pitches out of the strike zone and struggles with breaking balls and changeups. But his bat speed and strength produce legitimate pop from gap to gap when he connects, and he could have 25-homer power if he can make more consistent contact. Cerny’s plus-plus speed and aggressive nature on the basepaths make him a dynamic basestealing threat. His quickness allows him to cover plenty of ground and combines with his defensive instincts to make him a quality center fielder. He has solid arm strength and provides some added intrigue with his catching experience in high school.
11: (325) - Andrew Baker, RHP
A converted shortstop, Baker is athletic on the mound, and his arm works well. His fastball can touch 95 mph, he complements it with a decent slider and while he has some feel for a changeup, he didn’t use it much while pitching largely in relief for Chipola in 2021. He missed a ton of bats (14.4 K/9) but also struggled with command (5.3 BB/9).
12: (355) - T.J. Rumfield, 3B
13: (385) - Jared Carr, OF
14: (415) - Jose Valadez-Acuna, HS OF
15: (445) - Matt Osterburg, P
16: (475) - Ty Collins, P
17: (505) - Alex Garbrick, P
18: (535) - Malik Binns, P
19: (565) - Seth Halvorsen, P
A 30th-round pick out of a Minnesota high school by the Twins in 2018, Halvorsen had Tommy John surgery in his first year at Missouri and spent 2020 as an outfielder before returning to the mound this spring. Though he had a 6.00 ERA with 57 walks versus 70 strikeouts in 72 innings, he’s an athletic 6-foot-2, 225-pounder who can run his fastball to 98 mph and flash a plus power slider and an effective changeup. If he doesn’t sign this summer, he’ll transfer to Tennessee for the 2022 season.
20: (595) - Cam Wynne, P