The 2021 MLB draft concluded on Tuesday and the SF Giants selected twenty different players in the new 20-round format. In one of the most pitching-heavy classes in franchise history, San Francisco did not select a hitter until the tenth round and ultimately drafted 14 pitchers, three outfielders, and three infielders. While none of the players have officially signed professional contracts, it’s only a matter of time before the majority join the organization. Here are complete grades and analyses for every player they selected.
SF Giants 2021 MLB draft grades:
1st round (14th overall): Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
Will Bednar was a notable riser throughout the draft process. Aided by Mississippi State’s run to the national championship, Bednar helped lead the Bulldogs through the College World Series. He finished the year with 139 strikeouts across 92.1 innings pitched with 26 walks and a 3.12 ERA. Young for the class, Bednar turned 21 just a few weeks ago and has already performed on the biggest stages in college baseball against the toughest competition.
Bednar’s fastball generally sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has touched 97 mph, but it seems to have the characteristics that will help it play above its velocity. His slider is easily his best secondary offering, with sharp sweeping action that consistently left hitters flailing. His changeup remains unproven, but the Giants appear confident that it’s further developed than many anticipated because Bednar did not have to go beyond his fastball and slider against most amateur hitters.
While Bednar is immediately one of the best pitching prospects in the farm system, the Kahlil Watson question will hang over this entire class. Watson was considered by many to be one of the five or ten best prospects in the draft but fell all the way to the Marlins with the 16th overall pick. He’s going to be most closely associated with Bednar, since he was the player taken two picks before the prep shortstop, but the Giants scouting department made that decision thinking about more than just one player.
We’ll see what each player receives when their signing bonus terms are announced, but it’s not out of the question that Watson’s signing bonus will be larger than Bednar’s by a greater margin than the slot values for any of the Giants remaining picks in rounds 2-10. Obviously, they could have made it work by targeting some less costly prospects later, but that would change the entire fabric of the class.
With that said, Watson was one of my favorite prospects of this cycle. I probably would have taken the shortstop and figured the rest out knowing I landed one of the best players available in the draft with the 14th pick.