2021 MLB Mock Draft: Fangraphs has a mock draft out today, and the Texas Rangers grab Dallas Jesuit shortstop Jordan Lawlar at #2 in this projection from Kevin Goldstein and Eric Longenhagen.
Lawlar has been a hot name pretty much all year, as he has seemingly solidified himself as one of the top three or four players on most boards. And as a local product, there’s been more attention paid to him as a potential Rangers pick by the local media, and that’s been fueled even more than usual by Special Assistant to the General Manager Michael Young being seen at some of Lawlar’s games this spring.
Goldstein and Longenhagen have Marcelo Mayer, a prep shortstop out of California, going to the Pittsburgh Pirates at #1. Rangers officials reportedly met with Mayer before Saturday’s game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, and Goldstein says that the feeling seems to be that the Rangers are going to take whichever of Lawlar and Mayer the Pirates don’t pick, though they also mention North Carolina prep shortstop Khalil Watson, who has been increasingly mentioned as someone on the Rangers’ radar at two.
The ideal situation for the Rangers would seem to be for the Pirates, who Fangraphs indicates are mostly linked to Mayer, Lawlar and Louisville catcher Henry Davis, to take Davis, leaving Texas with their pick of Mayer and Lawlar, and potentially allowing them to play one against the other to squeeze some slot money savings to be used on other picks later on.
One of the things that I’ve noticed in following the draft talk is Jack Leiter and the Boston Red Sox being linked, and Goldstein says that he’s hearing Leiter is working to “price himself down to Boston,” with Leiter really wanting to get drafted by the Red Sox and the Red Sox really wanting to draft Leiter. Leiter would, in non-pandemic times, be a draft-eligible sophomore, giving him more leverage than the average college draftee. Because players were granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to last year’s COVID-truncated college season, however, Leiter is actually a draft-eligible freshman, which increases his leverage that much more. That makes it that much riskier for a team in the top three to draft Leiter, offer him slot and see if he blinks.