Each year hundreds of amateur ball players wait to hear their names called in the Major League Baseball draft.
Sunday, the first round of the draft was held, ushering in the first wave of this next generation of stars hoping to emerge.
Some will go on to greatness, others obscurity. But, in this moment, all that lies ahead is potential.
A number of young men joined the ranks of soon-to-be MLBbros, with rounds 2-10 starting on Monday afternoon at 1:00 pm ET, and rounds 11-20 starting at noon on Wednesday.
Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit HS (TX)
Jordan Lawlar, a 6’2” shortstop out of Texas, was rated as the third overall prospect in the MLB.com prospect rankings, but just as top prospect Marcelo Mayer was taken later than he expected, Lawlar lasted until the sixth pick, where he was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lawlar had been the top ranked high school player in his class since 2020, and posted a .430 average over 64 high school games. This past season, 12 of his 34 hits went for extra bases, showing off his speed. Lawlar stole 27 bases in 28 games, and has great range as a middle infielder.
He’s been most often compared to current All-Star Carlos Correa and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Arizona may have the worst record in the National League, but they just picked up possibly the best player in the draft.
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
It wasn’t that long ago that Rocker was being hailed as a potential number one overall pick. The 2021 season at Vanderbilt didn’t go according to plan, with scouts worrying about inconsistent velocity, and ending with a Game 3 loss to Mississippi State in the College World Series.
Instead, Rocker was a surprise selection by the New York Mets at 10.
Rocker doesn’t have to be Jacob DeGrom to be an instant contributor for a Mets staff that has used 14 different starting pitchers this season.
Listed at 6’5” and 245 lbs, he’s built to eat innings and strike out batters, tying for the NCAA Division I lead in strikeouts with 179 in 122 innings. His top two pitchers are his fastball and his slider, but he will have to improve his control and sharpen his secondary pitchers.
With fellow MLBbros Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman already making major contributions this season; Rocker could give the Mets an unprecedented three Black starters in its rotation.
Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA)
Ford became the fifth catcher from the state fo Georgia to be taken in the first round in the past eight drafts when the Seattle Mariners took him with the 12th pick.
The Mariners have been consistent in their acquisition and development of Black talent over recent years, and Ford should only add to that mix.
The 5’10”, 200 pound prospect has been solid on the backstop, but could be moved to the infield or outfield as his career progresses.
While the glove is nice, Ford is a first-round selection because of his bat. Swinging from the right side of the plate, he generates incredible bat speed for his age and can crush quality pitches as well as mistakes.
Ford’s immediate future will be determined by his discipline at the plate as much as his ability behind it.
Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Though he entered the draft as a top-five prospect, shortstop Kahlil Watson fell all the way to 16th and into the arms of the Miami Marlins.
Perhaps Marlins CEO Derek Jeter knows a thing or two about identifying middle infield talent. He’s already been a mentor to Jazz Chisholm, and now he has the ultra-athletic Watson in the fold.
Watson has a similar build to Chisholm, checking in at 5’9” and 178 pounds. He has power for a middle infielder and pairs good plate discipline with consistent contact.
His speed is more than adequate and Watson could be another of the young players who helps bring the stolen base back to the game. Though he has played shortstop throughout his high school career, Watson is talented enough to play any number of positions.
After being taken this late in the first round, Watson could end up being the steal of the draft.
Jay Allen, OF, John Carroll Catholic HS (FL)
The Cincinnati Reds used the 30th pick of the first round on outfielder Jay Allen. There is no doubting the raw talent that Allen has to work with. He was a three sport star for John Carroll, playing football and basketball as well as dominating on the diamond.
He’s already committed to the University of Florida on a baseball-only scholarship, but after being taken in the first round, he could be willing to reconsider that choice.
His six-foot, three-inch frame should add muscle as Allen matures, and scouts view him as a potential power-hitting right fielder for years to come.
The Reds have a hitter friendly park and Allen has time to develop. This could be a very solid match between player and organization.
Black Prospects Remaining in the MLB.com Top 100
36) Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU
44) James Wood, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
52) Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
66) Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Madison Central (MS)
70) Ryan Bliss, SS, Auburn
72) Lonnie White, OF, Malvern Prep (PA)
74) Dylan Smith, RHP, Alabama
80) Daylen Lile, OF, Trinity (KY)
94) Braylon Bishop, OF, Arkansas
95) Malakhi Knight, OF, Marysville-Getchell (WA)
97) Isaiah Thomas, OF, Vanderbilt