The first round of the 2021 MLB Draft is underway in Denver.
A total of 36 picks – the first round and Competitive Balance Round A – will be made Sunday night on ESPN and MLB Network beginning at 6 p.m. CT.
There is a chance that two Arkansas signees – Max Muncy and Peyton Stovall – hear their names called. If they do, they will almost certainly sign a professional contract, as is the case for all 36 players selected Sunday.
HawgBeat will keep up with the Day 1 picks in this tracker, posting if/when they get drafted and other tidbits or takeaways from the night…
(Click here to read our draft primer, which includes a list of players to watch over the three-day event, as well as intel on when they might get picked.)
Max Muncy – SS – Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS
Team: Oakland Athletics
Pick: 1st round, 25th overall
Slot value: $2,740,300
Although he’s not related to the Dodgers star with the same name, Muncy is a heralded prospect from the Los Angeles area. Most outlets considered him a top-50 draft prospect, while Perfect Game ranked him as the No. 48 overall recruit in the Class of 2021.
Playing in talent-rich southern California and and alongside fellow draft prospects Roc Riggio (Oklahoma State) and Charlie Saum (Stanford) at Thousand Oaks, Muncy put up impressive numbers his senior year. In 28 games, he hit .469 with 11 home runs (including four grand slams), 49 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
That helped the Lancers – who are coached by former MLB All-Star Jack Wilson – go 29-1 en route to a Southern Section Division 2 championship. He earned first-team All-America accolades from Collegiate Baseball and MaxPreps, plus was named the Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles Times.
Muncy is the first Arkansas signee taken in the first round since 2011, when the Mets took both Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer in the opening round.
~Louisville catcher Henry Davis was a surprise pick by the Pirates at No. 1 overall. Most mock drafts had Pittsburgh taking high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer (USC signee), but he slipped to the Red Sox at No. 4.
~As expected, Vanderbilt left-hander Jack Leiter was taken with the second overall pick by the Rangers. He played just two years with the Commodores and never faced the Razorbacks.
~The first high school player off the board was right-hander Jackson Jobe from Oklahoma. He is signed with Ole Miss, but it is unlikely he ever suits up for the Rebels now.
~There had been some talk that Jordan Lawlar, a heralded shortstop from Texas, might be seriously considering playing college baseball at Vanderbilt, but he went No. 6 overall to the Diamondbacks. Had he made it past that pick, there’s a chance he would have turned down the large seven-figure bonus to take his talents to the SEC.
~Kumar Rocker’s surprising slide in the draft ended when the Mets took him at No. 10. The Vanderbilt ace was projected to be taken much earlier and was considered a candidate to go first overall entering the spring. In his lone appearance against Arkansas, he took a loss by allowing five earned runs on four hits and four walks with six strikeouts in just 3 1/3 innings at this year’s SEC Tournament.
~It was a wild first 10 picks. The selections of Davis, Jobe, Colton Cowser (Orioles, No. 5), Frank Mozzicato (Royals, No. 7) and Sam Bachman (Angels, No. 9) seem to indicate that teams are aiming to save money on these large early slot values to use later – which could spell trouble for Arkansas’ signing class later in the draft.
~Widely viewed as a top-eight prospect, high school shortstop Brady House from Georgia fell to the Nationals at No. 11. He is a Tennessee signee.
~A 6-foot-7 right-hander from Florida, Andrew Painter is signed to play for the home state Gators, but he was picked 13th overall by the Phillies.
~The first non-Vanderbilt player from the SEC taken in the MLB Draft was Mississippi State right-hander Will Bednar, the hero of this year’s College World Series. He went 14th overall to the Giants. Facing Arkansas earlier this season, Bednar earned a no decision after giving up five runs – four earned – on six hits and one walk while striking out 10 in five innings.
~A four SEC pitcher is off the board, with Ole Miss right-hander Gunnar Hoglund going to the Blue Jays at No. 19. Like Bednar, he earned a no decision in a game the Rebels ultimately lost to Arkansas earlier this year. Hoglund was charged with three runs – two earned – on two hits and five walks while striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings.
~Conway native Jordan Wicks, a left-hander who played at Kansas State, was taken 21st overall by the Cubs.
~With the 24th overall pick, the Braved drafted right-hander Ryan Cusick, who signed with Wake Forest in the Class of 2018 – when Matt Hobbs was the Demon Deacons’ pitching coach.
~Florida has now had two signees taken the the first round, as Chase Petty – a right-hander from New Jersey – went to the Twins with the 26th overall pick.
~There has been a run on SEC signees, as the Padres took Kentucky signee Jackson Merrill – a shortstop from Maryland – with the 27th overall pick, following Muncy (Arkansas) and Petty (Florida).
~The final pick of the first round – No. 29 overall by the Dodgers – was used on Maddux Bruns, a left-hander from Alabama. He’s signed with Mississippi State, meaning four of the final five picks in the first round were used on SEC signees.
~The run on SEC signees continued with the lone compensation pick following the first round, with the Reds taking Jay Allen – an outfielder from Florida – at No. 30. He is the Gators’ third signee selected Sunday.
~The Competitive Balance Round A featured a pair of SEC signees – second baseman Cooper Kinney from Tennessee (South Carolina) to the Rays at No. 34 and shortstop Noah Miller from Wisconsin (Alabama) to the Twins at No. 36.