Likely 2021 MLB draft order gives Pittsburgh Pirates the No. 1 overall pick

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While MLB has yet to announce the order of selections for the 2021 draft, at one point it was viewed as highly likely that it would be determined by the final 2020 standings. 

According to the March agreement between MLB and the Players Association, commissioner Rob Manfred has the right to modify the draft order rather than let the 60-game 2020 regular season determine it as usual. Here’s the relevant passage: 

In the event that each Club plays less than 81 regular season games in 2020, the Office of the Commissioner shall have the right, after conferring in good faith with the MLBPA, to modify the Draft order.

However, ESPN’s Jeff Passan has previously reported that the 2021 draft is “highly likely” to be determined by the 2020 final standings. Since the regular season is now completed, we can lay out what the 2021 draft order will be, should MLB take the expected approach. Here’s a look at how the first round will unfold according to the final standings: 

  1. Pirates
  2. Rangers
  3. Tigers
  4. Red Sox
  5. Orioles
  6. Diamondbacks
  7. Royals
  8. Rockies
  9. Angels
  10. Mets
  11. Nationals
  12. Mariners
  13. Phillies
  14. Giants
  15. Brewers
  16. Marlins
  17. Reds
  18. Cardinals
  19. Blue Jays
  20. Yankees
  21. Cubs
  22. White Sox
  23. Indians
  24. Braves
  25. A’s
  26. Twins
  27. Padres
  28. Rays
  29. Dodgers

The first round will include just 29 picks because the Astros were penalized with the loss of the 2021 first- and second-round picks as a result of the sign-stealing scandal. The Astros would have had the No. 16 overall pick according to final 2020 standings. 

If this does wind up being the order, then the Pirates will claim the top overall pick for the fifth time in franchise history. The last time the Pirates picked No. 1 was in 2011, when they tabbed a right-hander out of UCLA named Gerrit Cole. On the other hand, their top overall pick in 2002, Bryan Bullington, achieved nothing of consequence at the major league level. 

The 2021 draft will reportedly be held in Atlanta during the July All-Star festivities. Our own R.J. Anderson named a pair of Vanderbilt right-handers — Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter — as being among the early favorites to go No. 1 overall in 2021

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