2021 MLB Mock Draft: Jim Callis has a projection of the top 10 picks in the 2021 MLB Draft, based on the current draft standings, and while he acknowledges that it is way, way too early for such an exercise to be meaningful, its still interesting to see how things would be thought to shake out as of right now.
Assuming that 2020 standings are used (which Jeff Passan said earlier this week was likely), the Rangers are currently in position to have the #2 overall pick in the draft, and Callis has them taking University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian. Not surprisingly, Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker is projected to go #1.
Fabian is one of a rare breed — the lefthanded thrower who hits righty. A search of Baseball Reference indicates that there have been 64 position players in MLB history who throw lefthanded and hit righthanded. Rickey Henderson is the best and most famous, but not only is he the only Hall of Famer in this category, he is one of only six such players with at least 10 bWAR (the others being Jimmy Ryan, Hal Chase, Rube Bressler, Cleon Jones, Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick). There are five active position players who throw lefty and bat righty, however — Guillermo Heredia, Joey Rickard, Ryan McBroom, Evan White and John Nogowski.
Fabian, who turns 20 in three days, has never been drafted — he was slated to be part of the 2019 MLB Draft class, but he opted to graduate from high school early, in December, 2018, and enroll at the University of Florida in January, 2019. He had a middling freshman season as the team’s center fielder, but impressed in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2019, and was slashing .294/.407/.603 in 81 plate appearances in 2020 before the season was canceled.
Fabian doesn’t have any one tool that jumps out, but is viewed as solid across the board, with the ability to stick in center field defensively. He went 6th in the “way too early” top 10 mock draft Baseball America did in June.
Jack Leiter, Rocker’s Vandy teammate who has been a name much discussed in draft talk, shows up at #7 on Callis’s early mock, a prep shortstop from Dallas, Jordan Lawlor, is #3.
Keep in mind that it is really, really early, and boards are going to change dramatically. As a point of reference, Keith Law’s top 30 2015 draft prospects from October, 2014, had a top five of Brady Aiken, Mike Matuella, Brendan Rodgers, Nathan Kirby and Kolby Allard, with Alex Bregman at 17, and future Ranger later round draft picks Kyle Cody and Jake Lamoine at 14 and 23, respectively. The Fangraphs rankings from September, 2014, similarly showed a much different board than what we saw come draft time.