Guide To 2021 Bowman Draft Prospects

The upcoming 2021 Bowman Draft Baseball release will feature a crop of top prospects. CardLines is here to rank our top 10, in our guide to Bowman 2021 Draft prospects! The highlight of this year’s draft class was the abundance of high school hitters. Most of the top prospects are hitters, but two pitchers made our list. Incidentally, both come from the same organization.

We evaluated players on scouting grades from MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs, incorporating written reports from various scouts. If you need a refresher or want more details about the 20-80 grading scale and evaluating hitters vs. pitchers, check out my article on the best prospects in a different 2021 release here.

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Guide To 2021 Bowman Draft Prospects: The Top 10

  1. Marcelo Mayer, SS in Boston Red Sox organization

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Age: 19 | Bats: L | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 60

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 25/60 | Game Power: 20/55 | Raw Power: 45/55 | Speed: 35/40 | Field: 45/50 | Future Value: 55

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2021 (18) Marcelo Mayer Rk 26 25 3 7 14.1% 25.2% .275 .377 .440

The Red Sox snagged Mayer, a high school shortstop and one of the highest-rated prospects in the class, at No. 4 in the 2021 MLB Draft. Scouts assessed all of Mayer’s tools as average or above-average. In addition, they praised the 18-year-old for his understanding of the strike zone, smooth swing, and sturdy defense.

Already listed as the Red Sox’s top prospect by MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs, Mayer is expected to move quickly through the minor leagues. His first 26 professional baseball games went well so well that some observers compare him to open-handed Corey Seager’s shortstop. All this makes Mayer the top pick in our guide to 2021 Bowman Draft prospects.

The consensus among scouts is that Mayer was both the best hitter and the best defender in the 2021 Draft class, and he was likened to a mix of Corey Seager’s bat and Brandon Crawford’s glove.

Marcelo Mayer appears to be the full package (look for his autos on eBay)
  1. Henry Davis, C in Pittsburgh Pirates organization

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Age: 22 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 45 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/50 | Game Power: 35/70 | Raw Power: 70/70 | Speed: 40/40 | Field: 30/40 | Future Value: 55

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2019 (19) Henry Davis NCAA 45 37 3 0 8.8% 12.2% .280 .345 .386
2020 (20) Henry Davis NCAA 14 16 3 1 15.4% 7.7% .372 .481 .698
2021 (21) Henry Davis NCAA 50 68 15 10 13.6% 10.5% .370 .482 .663
2021 (21) Henry Davis Rk&A 8 8 3 1 12.9% 32.3% .308 .387 .808

The Pittsburgh Pirates made Davis the first overall pick in a surprising move. That made him only the seventh catcher selected with the first overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. The college catcher attracted teams with an electric arm and massive power potential. However, after a lost NCAA season because of the pandemic, many hitters struggled to adjust in 2021. Davis was one of them, and it is a top reason we did not pick him first in our guide to 2021 Bowman Draft prospects

But Davis bounced back. In his junior year at Louisville, the catcher cemented his status as one of the best bats in college baseball. The Pirates promoted Davis to High-A after two games in rookie ball, but an oblique injury prematurely ended his first professional season. Davis is well-rounded offensively, making hard contact and limiting his swing and misses. The most exciting feature, though, is the light-tower power.

Davis has rare offensive talent for a backstop. He has titanic, strength-driven power and has hit some epic, arching dingers off of scoreboards and some lasers that get out on a line.

  1. Jordan Lawlar, SS in Arizona Diamondbacks organization

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(also look for listings with his name misspelled Lawler!)

Age: 19 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 25/55 | Game Power: 20/50 | Raw Power: 45/50 | Speed: 60/60 | Field: 45/60 | Future Value: 50

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2021 (18) Jordan Lawlar High School 28 34 4 27 18.1% 15.2% .425 .552 .713

Lawlar had committed to play at Vanderbilt University. However, the Diamondbacks’ first-round selection prevented him from attending the college baseball powerhouse.

Scouts describe Lawlar, a speedy shortstop, as a well-rounded prospect. His compact swing and good bat speed allow him to cover the whole plate. On the defensive side of the ball, there are no worries that Lawlar won’t stick at shortstop. He has good range, soft hands, and a strong arm.

However, the one question mark surrounding Lawlar is the shoulder injury that ended his first professional season after two games. The labrum tear required surgery and will require a long recovery. However, the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect should be ready to return in 2022.

Lawlar is a complete prospect. He has terrific defensive hands, feet, and actions, enough arm strength for the left side of the infield, and he showed advanced feel to hit and barrel control on the showcase circuit while inexplicably struggling with swing and miss during the spring of 2021. In addition, he projects as a solid everyday shortstop.

Lawlar projects as an elite defender, but will he have the bat to match? (look for his autos on eBay)
  1. Colton Cowser, OF in Baltimore Orioles organization

Age: 21 | Bats: L | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/70 | Game Power: 30/40 | Raw Power: 45/45 | Speed: 50/50 | Field: 45/55 | Future Value: 50

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2019 (19) Colton Cowser NCAA 56 78 7 9 9.9% 11.1% .361 .450 .602
2020 (20) Colton Cowser NCAA 14 14 1 5 12.1% 13.6% .255 .379 .364
2021 (21) Colton Cowser NCAA 55 76 16 17 16.6% 12.6% .374 .490 .680
2021 (21) Colton Cowser Rk&A 32 45 2 7 16.8% 15.4% .375 .490 .492

Cowser was one player who was very impressive in his first stretch of professional baseball this summer. He put up a nearly identical batting average, on-base percentage, and walk rate as he did during his junior season at Sam Houston State.

The power numbers didn’t transfer primarily because of the switch from a mental to a wood bat. However, no one expected exceptional power from Cowser. The outfielder will not flash the slugging numbers fans clamor for, but scouts love his line-drive approach at the plate and instincts in centerfield.

One of the best bats in the college class, Cowser has a pure left-handed stroke and repeatedly finds the barrel. In addition, his quick hands allow him to pepper line drives all over the field as he executes a very controlled approach.

  1. Jackson Jobe, RHP in the Detroit Tigers organization

Age: 19 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2025

MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Fastball: 50/55 | Slider: 55/60 | Changeup: 45/55 | Command: 20/50 | Future Value: 45+

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
W
L
IP
K
BB
H
ERA
WHIP
2021 (18) Jackson Jobe High School 10 9 0 51.2 122 5 15 0.14 0.39

Jobe didn’t start focusing on pitching until 2020. Indeed, the pitcher first garnered attention as a shortstop with lots of pop in his bat. Scouts reported a gigantic spike in his fastball velocity from the upper-80s to mid-90s around the summer of 2020.

Jackson’s best pitch is a slider with an elite spin rate (3,000 rpm) which caught the eye of big-league pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. The Tigers selected Jobe with the third overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, but the team didn’t want to rush him into game action in 2021.

Instead, Jobe is expected to come into 2022 with an above-average fastball, slider, and changeup. The organization has an excellent track record with drafting and developing pitchers (Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Kyle Funkhouser), and they are excited to work with Jobe.

He generates elite spin on a plus-flashing slider and will flash an above-average changeup. Jobe’s fastball has tailing action, so its ability to miss bats is going to be more velo/location dependent than those of his back-spinning peers, but there’s still a shot for three 55-grade (or better) pitches here.

Pitchers are more of a gamble than most, but Jobe has a lot going for him (get his autos on eBay)
  1. Brady House, SS in Washington Nationals organization

Age: 18 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 20/45 | Game Power: 20/60 | Raw Power: 60/80 | Speed: 45/40 | Field: 40/50 | Future Value: 45+

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2021 (18) Brady House Rk 16 19 4 0 10.6% 19.7% .322 .394 .576

Teams took an interest in House because of his power. Scouts agreed he was among the best, if not the best, high school bat in the 2021 class. One scout ventured to say he’s “physically superior to every player” in the class.

House was one of just seven players FanGraphs gave a future game power value of at least 60 and was the only player to receive above a 70 in future raw power. Along with elite power, he consistently hits the ball hard and has excellent bat control.

There was a period where House got too aggressive, tried to crush balls, and ended upswing and missing a lot. However, MLB Pipeline noted he made adjustments and got back on track. This summer, he hit well in 16 rookie ball games, batting .322 with three doubles and four home runs. Although he currently plays shortstop, he’s likely to move to third base due to his size and lack of speed.

At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds with plenty of strength and bat speed, House looks the part of a power hitter and has well-above-average raw pop to all fields. But after showing the ability to crush good velocity and handle quality breaking balls in past years on the showcase circuit, he got overly aggressive, and his right-handed stroke got longer and slower. However, since learning what happens when he sells out for home runs, he has made adjustments, shortened his swing, and gotten back to doing damage.

  1. Sal Frelick, OF in Milwaukee Brewers organization

Age: 21 | Bats: L | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 70 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/60 | Game Power: 30/45 | Raw Power: 40/45 | Speed: 60/60 | Field: 45/60 | Future Value: 45+

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2019 (19) Sal Frelick NCAA 39 55 4 18 12.2% 8.9% .367 .447 .513
2020 (20) Sal Frelick NCAA 15 14 2 7 15.5% 8.5% .241 .380 .414
2021 (21) Sal Frelick NCAA 48 70 6 13 11.8% 12.3% .359 .443 .559
2021 (21) Sal Frelick Rk&A 35 48 2 12 12.4% 14.8% .329 .414 .466

Having played baseball, football, and hockey at a very high level in high school, Frelick brings versatility to the diamond. Unfortunately, he went unnoticed by big-league scouts in high school and wasn’t sure if he would accept the baseball or football offer he received from Boston College. However, after a first-round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft and earning two minor league promotions this summer, he seems to have made the right choice.

Frelick hits for contact, smacks line drives to all parts of the field, and has the speed to put pressure on opposing defenses. He’s also a good defender in centerfield.

After going 7-for-15 in four games at the rookie ball level, the Brewers promoted their first-rounder to Low-A, where he continued to dominate opposing pitchers. After another promotion to High-A, Frelick struggled for the first time. The Brewers, however, are impressed with the maturity Frelick has shown and are confident in him moving forward.

He has several catalytic qualities already and might hit for more in-game power later as his swing and approach evolve. Right now, Frelick is a slap-and-slash hitter who’ll occasionally show you low-ball power. He has good vertical plate coverage and can catch pitches near the top of the zone.

Sal Frelick may not have a lot of power, but he has every other tool in spades (look for his autos on eBay)
  1. Ty Madden, RHP in the Detroit Tigers organization

Age: 21 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Fastball: 50/55 | Curveball: 45/45 | Slider: 55/60 | Changeup: 40/50 | Command: 35/55 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
W
L
IP
K/9
BB/9
HR/9
ERA
WHIP
2019 (19) Ty Madden NCAA 15 4 1 42.1 7.9 5.1 0.2 3.40 1.47
2020 (20) Ty Madden NCAA 4 3 0 25.0 9.4 1.4 0.7 1.80 0.88
2021 (21) Ty Madden NCAA 18 7 5 113.2 10.8 3.5 0.6 2.45 1.05

The Tigers were ecstatic that Madden, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, was still available when their supplemental first-round pick rolled around at No. 32. Madden’s fastball touched 97 mph coming out of high school with an above-average slider.

Despite the late-round selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, Madden attended the University of Austin. The right-hander’s fastball wasn’t always consistent in college, mostly sitting mid-90s and occasionally getting close to triple digits. However, Madden’s slider continues to be his best pitch, and his control improved throughout college. With the selection of Madden, the Tigers have another young pitcher to excite them.

Madden added 35 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame in college, and the extra strength has helped him improve his pitches and repeat his sound delivery more consistently. He walked just four batters in four starts last spring, and scouts love the way he attacks hitters. He has the ingredients to become a frontline starter.

  • MLB Pipeline                                                   
  1. Harry Ford, C in Seattle Mariners organization

Age: 18 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2025

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 25/50 | Game Power: 25/55 | Raw Power: 55/60 | Speed: 60/60 | Field: 30/50 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2021 (18) Harry Ford Rk 19 16 3 3 13.8% 21.5% .291 .400 .582

Ford has the potential to play multiple defensive positions. He also seriously impressed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto with his batting practice routine before the draft. The Seattle scouting director detailed it to Baseball America, saying, “‘This kid has a maturity level that is beyond his years, and he just took a major league batting practice in front of a major league GM.'” Scouts report Ford possesses incredible bat speed, good speed on the base-paths, and has shown a strong arm behind the plate.

The 18-year-old played well in 19 games with the Mariners’ rookie ball team. Ten of his 16 hits went for extra bases. In addition, he threw out three would-be base stealers and stole three bases of his own.

There’s no doubt that Ford can remain behind the plate, though he still needs to polish up his footwork to get the most out of his solid to plus arm strength. Though he doesn’t have a lot of experience at other positions, he has the athleticism, quickness, and arm to play second base, third base, or anywhere in the outfield.

Is Harry Ford a future star or utility guy? (look for his autos on eBay)
  1. Benny Montgomery, OF in Colorado Rockies organization

Age: 19 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2025

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 20/55 | Game Power: 20/45 | Raw Power: 45/60 | Speed: 60/55 | Field: 40/50 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age)
Name
Level
G
H
HR
SB
BB%
K%
BA
OBP
SLG
2021 (18) Benny Montgomery Rk 14 16 0 5 9.6% 17.3% .340 .404 .383

Before the 2021 MLB Draft, scouts lauded Montgomery for his raw tools. He has the power-speed potential to be an impactful player, but many scouts questioned his ability to make contact consistently. The problem is that Benny has a significant hitch in his swing.

Montgomery didn’t tap into his power through 14 games in rookie ball, though, with 15 singles out of his 16 hits. He didn’t strike out a ton either, but we’re talking about a very small sample size. Nevertheless, Montgomery boasts a strong arm in the outfield and, when combined with his speed, makes scouts believe he can stay in centerfield long term. But just because Benny appears last in our guide to 2021 Bowman Draft prospects, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a great future ahead of him.

He’s a big-framed young guy who runs well underway and has a rare combination of bat speed and hand-eye coordination dressed in an ugly swing. His long speed gives him a chance to stay up the middle. He’s a high-variance high school outfielder.

Bottomline Of The Guide To 2021 Bowman Draft Prospects

The upcoming Bowman Draft release features many exciting first-round draft picks. Some players like Brady House and Benny Montgomery carry a high risk but have the potential for high rewards. Other players like Colton Cowser and Sal Frelick may not offer the flashiest rewards, but they come with a much lower risk. So which player are you eying?

Nicole Cahill

Nicole Cahill

Nicole Cahill is a freelance writer with sports bylines at Baseball Prospectus, Fish Stripes, and Pitcher List. She also writes about mental health and recently founded a nonprofit. When she’s not fighting stigma or exploring Baseball Savant visuals, you can find Nicole enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book. View her portfolio at NicoleCahill.com or find her on Twitter at @NicoleCahill_


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