The 2021 Draft concludes on Tuesday, with 10 rounds, the proceedings beginning at 11 a.m. CT. Here are eighteen names to mind. You can pay more specific attention to the "who" or the "why", but I find the why more interesting.
For instance, I'd have scrounge for one of the remaining catchers, but Arkansas' Casey Opitz checked that box. With a 20 round draft (instead of 40) and a 180 player roster limit, positionality plays a bigger part than before.
Players younger than 20 are entirely left out. It's possible the Cubs grab a teen, but if so, I'd have no idea which one.
Bryce McGowan, right-handed pitcher, Charlotte
He's as good of a pitcher as there is still on the board. If he slips, he'd make all kinds of sense. Quality starting pitching is always a reasonable get on the third day.
Jack Perkins, right-handed pitcher, Louisville
Perkins was supposed to be a leverage guy for the Cardinals since 2019, but it hasn't worked out. He's put up hideous numbers, but they kept trying.
Perhaps with a pro coach and a fresh start, Perkins represents. Possibly a more "round 17" than "round 11". These types were great gambles with looser limits on rosters.
Alex Toral, first base, Miami
For lack of a better comp, think a somewhat more mobile Dan Vogelbach. I'm not sold on him early, but later? Certainly.
Mason Pelio, right-handed pitcher, Boston College
I prioritized a few Pelio starts, and was impressed, until he started to get pounded late. He shouldn't still be on the board.
Drake Batcho, lefthanded pitcher, Cincinnati
I'd like to say this is because he's lefthanded, but he rolls with that fun mix of velocity, spin, and no idea where it's going. Someone will draft him, so it might as well be the Cubs.
Conner Pohl, right-handed pitcher, Ohio State
The Buckeyes pitchers throw hard. Don't try to overthink this.
Niko Kavadas, first base, Notre Dame
He's been on my list since Round Five. He mashes.
Chase Silseth, right-handed pitcher, Arizona
A durable-armed starter from a major program in a major conference, Silseth eats innings. He might be a bit low-ceiling for some, but that's what the Pitch Lab is for.
Nic Kent, shortstop, Virginia
A firestarter type of leadoff man on a good college team in a good college conference.
Dylan Neuse, outfield, Texas Tech
His brother Sheldon is in MLB. Little brother isn't necessarily worse than big brother. Missed a bunch of the 2021 season, and only homered once. Shut him down for the season, and start fresh in March.
Mason Erla, right-handed pitcher, Michigan State
Michigan State for Michigan State's sake. It's a popular Cubs draft scouting location.
Matt Goodheart, utility, Arkansas
More of a contact hitter than Kavadas, but is a fun hitter to watch. Turn Mesa into West Fayetteville.
Steven Williams, right-handed pitcher, Auburn
Accomplished starter from the SEC.
Jackson Leath, righthanded pitcher, Tennessee
The Vols had some hard-throwing relievers. Here's a sample.
Thomas Francisco, first base, East Carolina
In case another bat is needed.
Jack Neely, right-handed pitcher, Ohio State
More velocity from a Buckeye.
Tyler Ras, right-handed pitcher Alabama
Another sturdy SEC arm to try to get to and through Double-A Ball.
Kenyon Yovan, infield, Oregon
Same thought as Kavadas or Francisco. Also used to pitch, but that's in the rear view now.
More the why, not the who. Look for three more left-handed pitchers. Maybe a prep. And I'd dig another masher.