The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. It seems more likely that they select shortstop Jordan Lawlar.
During the 2020 MLB season, it appeared that Kumar Rocker was going to be the first overall pick with the phrase “tank for Kumar” becoming more and more popular among not just the Pittsburgh Pirates fanbase, but other teams picking in the top five. Throughout the early course of the 2021 season, there was debate on if Rocker or his teammate Jack Leiter will go with the first pick. However, it seems likely that a high school shortstop will go first instead.
Jordan Lawlar is seen as the top prep shortstop prospect in the draft and while Marcelo Mayer’s name has been connected with the first pick, that is more of a move that would allow the Pittsburgh Pirates to spread their bonus pool allotment out to later draft picks. In the most recent mock by MLB Pipeline, Jordan Lawlar went to the Pirates while Baseball America went with Jack Leiter, though they did mention Lawlar.
A new mock by Kiley McDaniel of ESPN has the Pittsburgh Pirates taking Lawlar, writing that
“He’s also the best prospect at the moment, despite some swing-and-misses in high school games”
What Lawlar presents is the opportunity for Ben Cherington and the front office to chase upside in the draft, with Lawlar representing that. He’s an advanced high school bat with at least average tools and is comparable to Bobby Witt Jr. In Kiley’s mock he had Leiter, Mayer, and Rocker going in the top four, indicating that these four players are the top four prospects in the game, something MLB Pipeline and Baseball America agree with.
For now, it seems that Jordan Lawlar is likely to be selected with the first overall pick. He’s seen as the best high school player in the draft and likely the best prospect in the draft. He has upside, is athletic, and would provide the Pirates another up-the-middle prospect.