The 2021 MLB Draft begins on July 11, 2021, and unlike in 2020, this will be a twenty round draft — shorter than the forty rounds the draft has been in the most recent years prior to 2020, but longer than last year’s five round version. The Rangers’ top three picks are at #2, #38, and #73.
In the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks, looking both at players who are in the mix at #2 and players who would be candidates to be picked in the second or third rounds. Today we are looking at Vienna, Virginia, high school shortstop James Triantos.
James Triantos is a 6’1”, 195 lb. shortstop out of Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, who is committed to the University of North Carolina. I’m a little confused because Baseball America lists him as a switch hitter, while MLB Pipeline lists him as a righthanded hitter, though it appears that he does switch hit. That snafu is indicative of how late Triantos has risen, however, in large part because, despite the fact he turned 18 this past Janaury, he was originally classified as part of the class of 2022. When he reclassified to be draft eligible this year, it meant scouts had to play a degree of catch up.
The word “polarizing” is used to describe Triantos, who some scouts love while others...don’t. He’s a bat-first guy, who the scouts that believe in him think has power potential as well, despite him not being a real big guy, with his bat speed getting good reviews.
Triantos is a two way prospect — he also has been scouted as a pitcher, having hit 96 mph on the mound — and as one would expect, the arm isn’t in question. There are concerns about his mobility in the field, and a lot of doubts whether he will stick at shortstop, though if he can’t then third base would seem to be no problem for him. The reports say he’s a good runner and a good athlete, as well.
Baseball America has Triantos at #59 on their current top 500 draft list. MLB Pipeline has Triantos at #78 on their board. Over at ESPN Kiley McDaniel has Triantos at #109 on his current board. Neither Fangraphs nor Law have him on their board.
Triantos is someone who MLB Pipeline listed in their “5 draft prospects with helium” piece from last month. The late rising seems to be in large part due to his late re-classification — he would have been a freshman the last time prior to 2021 he would have had a full, non-COVID affected high school season of play. Going from the 2022 draft (when he would have been one of the oldest prep prospects) to the 2021 draft (where he’s right about the average prep draft age) means that teams were farther behind on him relative to the rest of the draft class. Teams have had fewer looks at him, as a result, and that likely contributes to the wider spread of opinions on him.
MLB Pipeline mentions that those who buy in on Triantos see David Wright and Alex Bregman as the type of potential upside he offers. The Bregman comp is notable because, of course, the Rangers coveted Bregman in the 2015 draft, despite the questions about his future power, and really, really wanted him (or Brendan Rodgers) to fall to them at #4 in that draft. If they see some of the same traits in Triantos that they did in Bregman, you have to think he’s someone they’re going to have relatively high on their board.
In discussing Triantos, MLB Pipeline says he “gets high marks for his baseball IQ and work ethic.” That sort of thing is something the Rangers have moved the sliders to emphasis in the last couple of years, and that, combined with the bat (if the Rangers are one of the teams who are high on him), could lead to him being someone the Rangers look to go overslot on after the first couple of rounds.