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New York Mets: Pitchers to watch for the 2021 MLB draft

Feb 23, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) watches relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) deliver a pitch during spring training at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) watches relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) deliver a pitch during spring training at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets are currently getting a first-hand look at various farm system talents.  While mapping out what the future may hold, the Mets approach another year of opportunities to add another wave of prospects in the 2021 draft.

As we fly through the spring and approach opening day, the 2021 MLB draft slowly but steadily approaches.  This year’s draft will feel like Christmas in July, compared to 2020.  2021 is expected to have anywhere between 20-30 rounds, as opposed to the 5-rounder last year.

In 2020, the Mets first-round pick came out of the outfield, in Pete Crow-Armstrong, ranked 18th of the top 50 picks in that class.  2 outfielders, 2 pitchers, a shortstop, and a catcher completed the 2021 selections.

As we move into the 2021 selections, the New York Mets will have more than 5 chances but less than 40 to fill up the charts.  What should be the aim? Pitching.  The bullpen and potential future starters are crucial in this organization’s growth and development.  The Met’s are ranked 19th in the league in farm systems; only 3 of the top 10 prospects are pitchers.

What pitchers should the Mets pay attention to?

Before we dive into that, I’d say the name Kumar Rocker. Rocker is the top prospect in the upcoming draft; however, the Met’s are slated to make their selection in the 10th spot.  Now that we understand the reality of that, let’s scroll down the list.

5. RHP EVAN ELLIOT, University of Iowa Commit

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 210lbs

Current School: Virginia Commonwealth, Sophomore

GRADE SCALE:

Fastball: 65          Slider: 45              Changeup: 40     Curveball: 40

Synopsis

Elliot, a Toronto kid, originally a Virginia Commonwealth University right-handed pitcher.  Elliot is in his sophomore year; he was unable to play in his freshman year.  On 20 January 2021, Elliot announced his new commitment to the University of Iowa.  Despite the lack of present play, Elliot has shown previous and present impressive numerical evidence of ability to compete at a competitive level.  Elliot grew up, playing for the Ontario Terriers travel baseball program while involved with the 18U Canadian Junior National team.

In 2019, Elliot was sitting 90-91 consistent on his fastball with solid command and strong tail.  His development through the 2021 offseason had shown a spike in his numbers, staying consistent between 95-96mph, topping 98mph.  His consistent delivery with a violent whipping finishing over the top, on a line, has his fastball tailing and in and right off the zone.  The slider moves well from top to bottom shelf and comes out between 84-85mph.  His curveball can be thrown for a strike, works more like 12-5 with good movement rarely hangs.

With a promising season on its way, Evan Elliot will be one to watch leading up to the draft.  Elliot is a hidden gem and can hear his name called earlier than expected.

4. RHP Jackson Jobe, Heritage Hall High School (Committed – Mississippi)

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 190 lbs

Grade Scale

Fastball: 55          Slider: 60              Curveball: 50      Changeup: 55

Synopsis

Jackson Jobe is a stellar right-handed pitcher out of Heritage High School in Oklahoma.  Very athletic and very valuable to his post-secondary commit, the University of Mississippi, where he will start on the hill, but also considered playing the hole at short-stop with tools such as speed, strong arm, and an average bat.  Jobe has a repeating delivery that’s emphasized with energy on every pitch.  He can chuck his fastball consistently between 92-93 mph, topping 96mph with an approximate spin rate between 2500-3000 rpm.  His slider sits low 80s with side movement between a dept of 2900-3200 rpm. His change-up works low 80s with top-down movement, while a curveball in the mid-70s will roll hitters over.  Jackson has a Prep Baseball Report rank of #2 overall in the state.  Perfect game has him #335 overall, while at #1 as a RHP in the state.

3.  RHP Chase Petty, Mainland HS, New Jersey (Committed – Florida State)

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 lbs

Grade Scale

Fastball: 70          Slider: 60              Changeup: 50

Synopsis

As a high school hitter, you won’t want to face this kid. You’ll have approximately 0.4 seconds to react to a 100mph fastball while at the ages of 17-18.  Chase petty is electric; he comes out of Mainland High School in New Jersey and is committed to Florida State University.  He’s a competitor on the hill with grade A mechanics, athleticism, strength, and consistency.  Petty can ride it out for a good 5-6 innings or come out of the pen for an easy 3-6 outs as needed.  His stuff is spelled, “shut-down”.  The fastball grade says it all; 95-99 consistent, 100 max, and said to be up to 2400 rpm.  A 100mph fastball that runs is comparable to seeing the wind.  Petty throws a slider between 84-87 mph, a solid out pitch to work in any 2-strike count, and works a changeup like dessert after the fastball, known roll guys over. Petty paints corners and stays in and around the zone.  His weakness was control, which he seems to have found over the past year. His size is in question; however, his numbers project well and can read first-round opportunities.

2.  LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State University

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 220lbs

Grade Scale

Fastball: 55          Slider: 55              Curveball: 45      Changeup: 60

Synopsis

Big size LHP, comparable to former White Sox and Blue Jays LHP, Mark Buehrle. From the left side, he throws methodically with a good fastball sitting between 91-93mph and is said to have one of if not the best changeup in the upcoming draft.  His changeup is his top weapon, with phenomenal movement, deception, and location.  He repeats his delivery well and can utilize his repertoire very well in favorable counts.

His career stats with Kansas State start with a 13-4 W-L record, with 148 innings pitched, 163 strikeouts, 40 walks 48 runs, 46 of those being earned with a 2.80 Era.  His projections are promising based on his development from his SR high school year to date.  This guy could be Kansas State’s first, first-round pitcher!

1.RHP Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 195 lbs

Drafted: 2019, 20th (615), New York Yankees – No Sign

Grade Scale:

Fastball: 55          Curveball: 60      Changeup: 50

Synopsis

Aside from Kumar Rocker, Jack is the “Jack of all Pitchers” right now in college baseball.  This kid is the talk of the Nation, and it wouldn’t sit right if he weren’t coming from Vanderbilt. He’s the son of Yankees, Al Leiter, with similar potential.

Let’s start with this; in March 2021, Jack threw 9 inning no-hitter, against South Carolina.  He retired 27 hitters, striking out 16.  Believe me, the worse part of his outing in this game was the set of pre-game warmup pitches he chucked off of the mound before first pitch.  After that got out of the way, it was a shut-down season.

Al has a consistent delivery and smooth arm action, with a mix between Marcus Stroman and Tyler Glasnow.  Leiter serves an appetizer fastball between 91-95mph; his fastball is well located on corners, bottom, and top-shelf with strong cutting action, topping 97 at highest.  He has a change-up sitting average at best, does the job but very rarely deployed in his script.  His bread and butter is his curveball.  The hook has 12-6 action sitting between 75-79mph which can hand for a strike, hook to fish or bury for digging.  He has great control over this pitch and can throw it effectively at any given time.

Leiter has a track record to pay attention to.  Struck out 95 batters in 57 innings as a senior.  As a freshman, went 2-0 with 22 strikeouts, holding opponents to a 0.98 average with 0 home runs.  On February 18th 2020, he struck out 12 in 5 scoreless innings against South Alabama.

Baseball America has Jack ranked 62 overall amongst the top 150 players in 2020.  MLB pipeline has jack as the 6th best prospect for this year’s draft.  Whoever draft’s this kid, sets up a solid foundation for a future rotation.

Next. 2021 NL East Predictions

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These arms can be a real treat for the New York Mets. A lot of top talent in this list; these names can all be heard within the first 3 rounds.  The Mets have a wide selection of pitchers to build up the future.

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