EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

The most interesting 2021 MLB draft storylines one month from Draft Day

play
Who are the Pirates targeting with the No. 1 pick? (1:03)

Kiley McDaniel names Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer as prospects the Pirates should look at with the top pick in the draft. (1:03)

For a casual MLB draft fan, or a casual baseball fan in general, the specifics and depth of the draft can be intimidating.

With a month until this year's annual event, I wanted to run down the biggest storylines in the 2021 draft to give you some narratives to keep track of, rather than just giving you another ranking of names


Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter

The Vandy Boys are the two most popular, well-known players in the draft and, in my opinion, the most popular draft prospects in more than a decade. Other candidates include Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman in 2015, Carlos Rodon in 2014, Mark Appel in 2013 or Gerrit Cole in 2011, but the last player to clearly be more famous than Rocker and Leiter before being drafted is Bryce Harper and his SI cover in 2010.

Stephen Strasburg in 2009, David Price/Matt Wieters in 2007, Justin Upton in 2005, Joe Mauer/Mark Prior in 2001, Josh Hamilton/Josh Beckett in 1999 and Pat Burrell/J.D. Drew in 1998 are other notably hyped prospects going as far back as I can remember. I was 10 years old when Kris Benson went first in 1996, so maybe someone will tell me he deserves a mention. But the internet also barely existed back then, so then again, maybe not.

It's a longshot right now that either pitcher goes first overall, but Leiter seems likely to go in the top three, and Rocker is essentially guaranteed to go in the top 10, but is a little harder to pin down. I scouted them in person and went in depth, then updated that opinion in last week's rankings update.