MLB

MLB Draft 2021: Time, live stream, how to watch online and storylines for first round

Major League Baseball will kick off its 2021 Draft on Sunday evening. For the first time, the draft will coincide with All-Star Game festivities, and will be hosted in Denver, Colorado. The Pittsburgh Pirates will make the top pick for the fifth time in franchise history, and the first time since they selected Gerrit Cole in 2011. 

Whom might they select? Let’s break down that question, as well as four other questions worth answering heading into Sunday night.

1. When is the draft and how can I watch it?

The first round of the draft is scheduled to begin around 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night. It will be broadcast on MLB Network and ESPN and will be streaming via fuboTV (Try for free). You can also follow along with CBS Sports’ coverage, both online and through the CBS Sports HQ streaming service.

Here’s the viewing info for the 2021 MLB Draft:

Sunday, July 11: Round 1 & Competitive Balance Round A

  • Time: 7 p.m. ET | TV channel: ESPN, MLB Network | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)

Monday, July 12Rounds 2-10 & Competitive Balance Round B

  • Time: 1 p.m. ET | Live stream: MLB.com

Monday, July 12Rounds 11-20

  • Time: 12 p.m. ET | Live stream: MLB.com

2. Who will the Pirates take at No. 1?

As we recently chronicled, the expectation within the industry is that the Pirates will take whichever of the top prospects is willing to accept the lowest signing bonus. That figures to leave them picking between California prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer and Louisville catcher Henry Davis. It should be noted that both are defensible selections at the top of this class.

Mayer, for his part, was ranked No. 1 by CBS Sports in the pre-draft top 50. Here’s what we wrote:

Mayer makes the leap from No. 5 in the preseason to No. 1 now, but this spot could have gone to a couple other players without fuss. His boosters within the industry believe that he’s the best player in the class: a potential 15-to-20-home-run-hitting shortstop who can deliver a good average and professional at-bats all the while. He isn’t a fast runner, yet the smoothness of his defensive actions enable him to appear as though he’s moving at a higher frames per second than the average prep shortstop. Depending on the extent of his projected power gains, he could finish his development with four plus tools (everything but the run), giving him a lofty ceiling that merits the top selection. Mayer is far more likely to become the first prep shortstop to go No. 1 since Royce Lewis in 2017 than he is to attend class in-person at USC this fall.

Meanwhile, here’s what we wrote about Davis when we slotted him at a No. 4:

“Don’t sleep on Davis as a dark horse to go in the top five,” is how his preseason capsule began. Five months later, he’s a legitimate candidate to go first overall, depending on his financial ask. Davis made the leap by hitting .370/.482/.663 this season with 15 home runs and seven more walks than strikeouts. The demand for two-way backstops always outpaces the supply, which is why Davis’ upside is intriguing. He combines a low whiff rate with a high average exit velocity at the plate, and he’s at least an adequate defender (with a strong arm) behind it. Some evaluators are concerned his strength-based swing won’t work as well against advanced pitching. Fair enough, but he’s the most accomplished collegiate bat in a class that doesn’t have many of them, and it’s hard to envision him slipping far beyond No. 5.

Theoretically, the Pirates could also weigh selecting Jordan Lawlar, Jack Leiter, Kahlil Watson, and any number of others. Again, though, the expectation in the game is that their call will come down to Mayer or Davis.

3. Where will the Vanderbilt right-handers land?

Said right-handers are, of course, Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker. Each is coming off a storied career at one of the best baseball schools in the country. Relatedly, they happen to be the two most famous players in the class.

Leiter, who ranked No. 2 on the pre-draft top 50, is considered to be the better draft prospect of the two thanks to his edge in fastball quality and arsenal depth. Most scouts who spoke to CBS Sports expect him to go within the top five, with his window ostensibly opening at No. 2 to the Texas Rangers.

Rocker is more likely to go outside of the top five, an upset based on the public perception of his game, because of concerns about his wavering velocity, lack of a third pitch, and durability. He ranked No. 8 on the pre-draft list.

4. Will there be surprises in the top five?

Almost certainly. The Rangers at No. 2 would seem to have the best chance at ruining everyone’s mock draft, depending on whether or not they take anyone besides Jordan Lawlar or Jack Leiter. They aren’t alone in that regard, either.

The Detroit Tigers are rumored to be deciding between prep shortstop Brady House and right-hander Jackson Jobe. Jobe ranked sixth on the pre-draft top 50; House checked in at No. 9.

It’s worth noting, for a certain chunk of the readerbase, that if the above proves to be the case, then either Lawlar or Leiter will be on the board when the Boston Red Sox pick at No. 4.

5. When does my team pick?

Here is the order of the first round:

  1. Pirates 
  2. Rangers
  3. Tigers 
  4. Red Sox
  5. Orioles 
  6. Diamondbacks 
  7. Royals 
  8. Rockies
  9. Angels 
  10. Mets 
  11. Nationals
  12. Mariners
  13. Phillies 
  14. Giants 
  15. Brewers
  16. Marlins 
  17. Reds 
  18. Cardinals 
  19. Blue Jays 
  20. Yankees 
  21. Cubs 
  22. White Sox 
  23. Indians
  24. Braves
  25. Athletics
  26. Twins 
  27. Padres 
  28. Rays 
  29. Dodgers 

You can find the complete draft order by clicking here.



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