Happy Friday to all the Loupe shoppers and blog readers out there! Before we all dive into the weekend after a long week of prepping for The National, allow me to nerd out about baseball prospects a little bit. Last time I wrote on the blog it was to discuss this year’s MLB Futures Game, and today I’m talking about my other favorite event, the MLB Draft!
The 2021 edition of the June Amateur Draft took place a bit later than usual, as the MLB made it apart of July’s All-Star weekend for the first time. The show itself was more of a spectacle than ever, and the potential of this year’s class did not disappoint.
While the MLB Draft is the toughest to predict compared to the other major sports, that doesn’t stop baseball collectors from forming early opinions and identifying targets to collect when the drafted players are available in Bowman Baseball. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do today! Let’s look at three players drafted in the 1st round that I believe will have some of the most highly touted Bowman Chrome debuts in the near future.
Red Sox SS Marcelo Mayer (4th Overall Pick)
This was one of those picks where you knew it was a steal as it was happening, and it just made too much sense. The Red Sox were easily the most notable team picking in the top 8, have one of the best records in all of baseball, and were able to acquire the consensus #1 prospect in this year’s Draft with pick #4.
Marcelo Mayer is one of those guys that will end up with diamond hitting AND defense on MLB The Show (all my gamers will feel me on that one), but to put it simply he’s just going to be a stud. Couple that with him landing in one of the biggest baseball markets in the country, and you have the recipe for some STEEP Bowman 1st prices. For example, I think Mayer will grade higher as a prospect than Blaze Jordan, and we all know just how sought after his cards are.
While the 18-year-old Mayer won’t make an impact in the MLB right away, it’s tough for Red Sox fans to not feel great about where their team is at right now and where their future is headed.
Marlins SS Kahlil Watson (16th Overall Pick)
Staying on theme with high school shortstops who fell WAY lower than they should’ve, I introduce Kahlil Watson! The Marlins got arguably the steal of the draft, as many Draft experts thought he could go as early as the top 5. This selection was a no-brainer for the Marlins at 16, and I’m excited to collect Watson’s cards for numerous reasons.
First and foremost I think Watson has as high of a ceiling as just about any player in this class, so collecting his cards is an obvious move. But when I think of a middle infield of Watson and Jazz Chisholm combined with the young pitching and other top position player prospects in the Marlins farm system, I start to get really excited about the talent and star-power they’re accumulating down in Miami.
Reds SS Matt McLain (17th Overall Pick)
I ALMOST felt bad about choosing only shortstops in this blog post, until I remember just how stacked the position was in the 2021 class. The final player on this list, Matt McLain, is so good that this was actually his second time getting drafted in the 1st round. McLain made the surprising decision to go to UCLA after being selected 25th by the Diamondbacks in 2018, but after a great career there he’s ready to rake in the pros.
While his ability to play defense at shortstop is a plus (especially for how late in the 1st round he fell), McLain’s plus bat will likely allow him to fly through the minor leagues. He started for all three years at UCLA, but his numbers as a true junior were especially eye-opening. While he may not be THE chase in Bowman, McLain may very well be the first player to make a significant impact in the MLB, so I recommend stocking up on his cards as early as possible.