MLB Draft Rumors: The 2021 draft is “highly likely” to be based on 2020 team records, per Jeff Passan in his latest column at ESPN. Passan says that, while the provisions negotiated between MLB and the MLBPA earlier this year provide for MLB to alter 2021 draft order if they choose, the expectation is that MLB will use inverse 2020 records to determine the 2021 draft order, rather than, as has been previously speculated, using 2019 records or a combination of 2019 and 2020.
That is good news for the Texas Rangers, who picked 14th this year based on 2019 records, but who currently have the second worst record in MLB. The Pittsburgh Pirates, at 15-39, have a near-lock on the worst record this year, but the Rangers are in position to get a premium pick if 2020 records are used.
The next two games in Arizona will play a not-insignificant factor in where Texas ends up, as the Arizona Diamondbacks are currently 20-34, only one game better than the Rangers (19-35), and a Rangers sweep would put them in a worse drafting position, while the D-Backs taking them both would make it very likely the Rangers would end up with a better draft pick than Arizona.
The Boston Red Sox are also 20-34 right now, while the Royals and Tigers are 22-32 and 22-30, respectively, and , the Washington Nationals are 21-32. The Rangers seem likely to pick somewhere between 2 and 6, depending on how strong they (and the rest of the non-Pittsburgh bottom feeding teams this year) finish out the season.
While it is still early, and there is no clear-cut number one pick in this draft, particularly with last spring’s games being mostly canceled, the guy who has been generating the most talk at the top slot is Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker. The son of former NFL lineman Tracy Rocker, the big (listed at 6’5”, 255 lbs.) righthander was one of the top prospects in the 2018 draft, but fell to the 38th round because of how firm his commitment to Vanderbilt was. His Vandy rotation-mate Jack Leiter, son of former major league pitcher Al Leiter, and another guy who fell because of he was seen as a lock to go to college, is also considered a potential top pick.