The first overall pick in this year’s MLB draft may earn over $8 million in signing bonuses. Teams who draft this high are willing to shell out this kind of money in hopes that these players develop into all-stars. The truth is, the draft is like a coin flip.While there are quite a few first overall picks who had careers as MLB players, there are almost as many who’ve flopped. A first overall pick in baseball brings no guarantees. That said, the most recent crop of future all-stars looks promising. Do you want to know who the best new and upcoming MLB players to watch are? Read on to learn about the top 10 major league prospects.
1. Jack Leiter RHP
No matter how much the game changes, starting pitching is vital for winning a World Series. A team might assemble a modern-day Murderer’s Row, but even the best bats go cold during a season. A championship-caliber team needs consistent pitching to push through the inevitable cold streaks.
That’s why when ranking baseball players, Jack Leiter is at the top of the list. Son of former great Al Leiter, Jack’s rising fastball dominated the college ranks. His mid to upper 90s velocity combined with electric “stuff” on his breaking pitches makes scouts drool.
2. Kumar Rocker RHP
Rocker and Leiter provided Vanderbilt with a one-two punch at the top of the rotation that no other SEC team could match.
Rocker is, by far, the most-hyped player in baseball 2021. There’s a good reason for that hype. At 6’5″ and 245 lbs, Rocker possesses the large frame of dominant pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Lance Lynn.
While his mechanics are a concern, most scouts predict Rocker will have all-star caliber MLB stats.
3. Henry Davis C
A great defensive catcher can transform an average starting pitching rotation and keep runners honest on the bags.
Davis showed the capacity for doing everything a team could want from an all-star catcher. This past collegiate season, Davis hit .370 with 15 home runs. His bat power and throwing arm power make Davis a duel threat with all the necessary tools for a fantastic career.
4. Jordan Lawlar SS
Shortstops in the previous century were not known for their plus power. It was a defensive position, and even the great shortstops like Dick Groat and Dave Concepcion were singles hitters with middling gap power.
The 90s and players like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez changed the way teams thought about the position. Jordan Lawlar ranks so high because he has all the tools a modern shortstop needs.
He has above-average arm strength and quickness. His bat also shows plus power capability.
5. Marcelo Meyer SS
Marcelo Meyer has all the tools to be number one on this list. He’s a shortstop with lightning-quick hands, a strong arm, and decent range.
He’s also cut from the mold of shortstops like Miguel Tejada and Nomar Garciaparra with his 20 home run potential. If he develops his bat and speed, he could become a cornerstone franchise player like Derek Jeter.
6. Colton Cowser OF
Today’s game is a game of power. Managers and owners don’t want their players risking injury through old-school means of manufacturing runs. Likewise, defensive shifting led to a change in the way hitters approach their at-bats. These days, hitters are far more concerned with launch angles than hitting into the opposite field.
Teams are always on the hunt for outfielders who possess plus power, and Cowser’s recent development pushed him into the top ten players to watch. Last year, Cowser hit .374 with 16 home runs. He already shows the type of range a big-league centerfielder needs.
Look for him to dominate MLB news highlights with sparkling web gems and towering home runs.
7. Jackson Jobe RHP
When gamblers look for the best odds on a baseball game, they first look at the starting pitchers. Dominant pitchers transform average line-ups into division winners, and a pitcher with a hot arm can carry a team through a post-season.
Jackson Jobe has the fastball-slider combination that made pitchers like John Smoltz legends. He has the velocity to blow a pitch by a hitter and can make them whiff on a breaking ball way out of the zone. He’s also shown improvement on his change-up, and should he perfect it, he’ll confuse batters three times through the line-up.
8. Kahlil Watson SS
This year’s top prospects are dominated by pitchers and shortstops, though Watson probably won’t last at the shortstop position. As he fills out his frame and increases his power, Watson projects as an athlete capable of a corner infield or outfield slot.
The type of power Watson projects doesn’t come around often, and his ability to play both infield and outfield positions makes him a sought-after prospect. Look for Watson to serve as a valuable super-utility player during the early part of his career before settling into a position.
9. Sam Bachman RHP
Bachman’s sinker/slider combo is electric. The only knocks on him are his mechanics and injury history. Pitchers who slot as relievers aren’t traditional top ten prospects, but Bachman’s stuff pushes him into the rarefied air of the top up and comers.
He’s the piece out of the pen all winning teams need during a long season.
10. Brady House SS
Brady House is another shortstop who’ll more than likely change positions as he adds more muscle weight. He’s already shown the kind of power that calls to mind players like Albert Pujols and Aaron Judge.
Though House’s power is elite level, he drops to the low end of the top 10 due to his high number of strikeouts. Should he add more plate discipline, he will be a fearsome home run threat.
The Top Future MLB Players
While this list projects the top 10, there are late-round prospects gems who develop into MLB players and all-stars. Albert Pujols, one of the game’s all-time greats, wasn’t picked until the 12th round.
There’s a chance, however, that each of these players could develop into a legend. Will they? Only time will tell.
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