MLB Writer Predicts Red Sox To Draft Top-Ranked Prospect In First Round

This pitcher has justified the hype so far in 2021

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The 2021 Major League Baseball Draft still is three months away, but it’s not too early to stoke the flames of Red Sox draft giddiness.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo predicted Tuesday in a mock draft the Red Sox will select Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker with the fourth overall pick. Mayo will excite Red Sox fans by linking the team to Rocker, whom MLB.com ranks as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s draft class.

“No way I was going to let Rocker go further than this, not with that ridiculous fastball-slider combination that comes from his intimidating 6-foot-5 frame,” Mayo wrote.

Rocker has been one of college baseball’s best pitchers since 2019 when he burst onto the scene, helped Vanderbilt win the College World Series and earned College World Series Most Outstanding Player honors. He entered this season as one of the draft targets to watch and has delivered on the hype, going 8-1 with a 1.64 ERA and has 81 strikeouts in just 55 innings in 2021. Although many have pegged him as a potential No. 1 overall pick, MLB.com’s mock draft has him falling to four.

It’s actually kind of surprising to see Rocker drop to No. 4, but there’s no denying how good his teammate, Jack Leiter, has been to start the season. Leiter has allowed just six earned runs in 55 innings while striking 94. Mayo then has two high school shortstop prospects going second and third, respectively, paving the way for Rocker to land in Boston’s lap.

The Red Sox own the No. 4 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft due to the down year they endured last season. The Red Sox haven’t had this high of a selection since 1967, and whomever they draft will join the organization carrying high expectations for future success.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers will make their selections before Boston in the draft, which takes place in mid-July.

Thumbnail photo via Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports Images

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