The 2021 MLB Draft is quickly approaching, and all the experts and pundits throughout the national media have their picks in. Mock drafts are much more commonplace in NBA and NFL circles, but there are those who circulate their thoughts and ideas for the MLB Draft as well. Who do the experts expect the Cincinnati Reds to take with the No. 17 pick on Sunday?
The Reds are in an interesting spot, as the team holds no only the 17th-overall pick in the MLB Draft, but also the 30th and 35th pick as well. This will make Cincinnati’s selection very interesting. Do they go over-slot at No. 17 or under-slot? That seems to be the question that’s dividing most of the experts.
Who might the Reds take in Round 1 of the MLB Draft?
Let’s start with MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo who’s most recent mock draft has the Cincinnati Reds going with right-handed pitcher Sam Bachman of Miami University (Ohio). Bachman is the 14th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, so there’s a good chance that the right-hander could be off the board before the Reds make their selection at No. 17.
Bachman’s four-seam fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and the former Red Hawk can hit triple-digits on the radar gun. He ranked second in WHIP (0.77) among all other D-1 pitchers this season, and showed great improvement with his command and control in 2021.
FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein foresee Bachman going several slots sooner to the Washington Nationals at No. 11. Instead, they have Cincinnati going with the lightning quick Pennsylvania high school prospect, Benny Montgomery.
Montgomery is said to have a high price tag, but with three of the first 35 picks, the Cincinnati Reds have the fourth-most bonus pool money to offer and could use that extra cash to lure Montgomery away from his commitment to the University of Virginia.
CBS Sports likes Cincinnati to select Gunnar Hoglund of Ole Miss in Round 1. This has everything to do with strategy, as Mike Axisa of CBS Sports surmises that selecting Hoglund, who just underwent Tommy John surgery, could offer the Reds a discount and allow the team to go after a big name later in the draft.
Finally, we look at The Athletic’s Keith Law whose mock MLB Draft has the Cincinnati Reds going with high school catcher Joe Mack. Experts are split on whether or not Mack or Georgia’s Harry Ford are the best prep catching prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Ford is said to be the best all-around catcher the state of Georgia has produced since Joey Bart. Reds fans have been pleased with former Georgia high school product Tyler Stephenson, who’s making a run at the Rookie of the Year this season. Both Mack and Ford grade out very similarly, but Ford does have the advantage in terms of speed.
So there you have it. It’s apparent that the experts are split on who the Cincinnati Reds should select with the No. 17 overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft. No matter which direction Nick Krall and front office decide to go, they’re sure to land a solid prospect.