After leading Mississippi State baseball to the first national title in program history in June, Mars High School alumnus Will Bednar is preparing to mark another career milestone. He has become a rapidly rising prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft and is preparing to hear his name called in the first round on July 11. After dazzling during last month’s College World Series, he stands to move up draft boards and increase his slot value dramatically.
Expectations for where he will go in the opening round vary, but they represent an upward trend. On Friday, ESPN MLB Draft analyst Kiley McDaniel mocked Bednar No. 20 overall to the New York Yankees on Friday, and on June 30, MLB.com slotted the Mississippi State ace at No. 11 to Washington.
Before the College World Series had begun, Bednar was considered a mid-to-late 20’s pick and his stock rose slowly at first. Baseball America had him going No. 29 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Athletic’s Keith Law pegged him as the No. 18 pick to St. Louis in late May and MLB.com’s Jim Callis had him going No. 26 overall to Minnesota in his June 9 predictions.
But his run in the final stage of the NCAA Baseball Tournament has helped raise his stock. Bednar gave up just three earned runs — all in one game — over 18 ⅓ innings in Omaha. The right-handed native of Valencia, Pennsylvania also struck out 25 while allowing only six walks and five hits in three starts against Texas and Vanderbilt.
McDaniel told the Columbus Dispatch that Bednar’s national television performances in the College World Series helped move him up “about 10 spots or so”.
Bednar could stand to increase the money taken home from his signing bonus by more than two million dollars. The No. 29 and 26 overall picks will sign for $2,424,600 and $2,653,400, respectively. But if he is taken at No. 11, his signing bonus would be $4,547,500, $4,547,500 at No. 18 and $3,242,900 at No. 20.
The MLB Draft will begin on Sunday at 6 p.m. and air on MLB Network and ESPN. On Monday and Tuesday, fans can watch the latter rounds on MLB.com.