California didn’t get the No. 1 overall position for the second straight year and ended the night with a lower total than usual, but there was still plenty of highlights from the first night of the 2021 MLB Draft. Chula Vista Eastlake struck again with Marcelo Mayer’s selection at No. 4 while the intrigue of Max Muncy (Thousand Oaks) going to the Dodgers missed by four spots.
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Leading up to this year’s MLB Draft, which began with the first 36 picks on Sunday night in Denver, most of the mock drafts had Chula Vista Eastlake shortstop Marcelo Mayer going in the No. 1 position. That didn’t happen, which was too bad because Eastlake would have become the first high school in the state (and we believe in the nation) to have two No. 1 overall players, but it’s very hard to call it a disappointment over where Mayer did get selected.
After catcher Henry Davis from the University of Louisville went first, then pitcher Jack Leiter of Vanderbilt went second and then Oklahoma prep pitcher Jackson Jobe went third, Mayer had his name announced at No. 4 by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred as the selection by the Boston Red Sox.
Some of the players were in Denver for the event, which was moved back from its early June date of many years prior to the pandemic to be part of All-Star week, but Mayer was a family gathering. He hugged his parents and then doffed a Red Sox cap for the ESPN & MLB Network cameras to see.
While Mayer was not able to match Eastlake’s Adrian Gonzalez in snagging the No. 1 overall choice from 2001, he was still the No. 2 high schooler in the nation chosen and was No. 1 for California (including college players). One of his teammates from his early years at Eastlake, third baseman Keoni Cavaco, was the No. 1 California high schooler chosen just two years ago. Cavaco went at No. 13 overall by the Minnesota Twins.
The Red Sox have had a great history with California infielders over the years, including Dustin Pedroia of Woodland and Nomar Garciaparra from St. John Bosco of Bellflower. Their selection of Mayer in the first round also comes one year after they picked Archbishop Mitty of San Jose infielder Nick Yorke at No. 17 in the first round.
Mayer certainly didn’t slip in the draft from anything he did during the 2021 season at Eastlake. He was tied for the state lead among large school players with 14 homers, including a grand slam that he hit in his final at-bat during an 8-6 loss to Ayala of Chino Hills in the CIF Southern California Division I regional playoffs. Mayer, who also had signed a letter of intent with USC, led the Titans to the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title and he also batted .392 with 45 RBI, 46 runs, 31 walks and a .555 on-base percentage.
Note: For our all-time list, we have counted everyone selected for MLB Draft in compensation rounds prior to the start of the second round. We also have listed the first high school player from the state chosen each year and there are times when that has occurred after the first round and compensation rounds.
Here are short bios of the four others from the state (both high school and college) who were chosen in this year’s MLB Draft.
No. 17 Matt McLain
(Beckman, Irvine) Reds
He’s actually been in the first round before. That was in 2018 coming out of Beckman High when he went at No. 25 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He didn’t sign with that club (maybe he knew what might be happening with that team now) and instead proceeded to play for three seasons (one being the one scrapped by the pandemic) at UCLA. McLain only struck out 34 times with the Bruins in 2021 and he showed power with the speed that could make him an ideal leadoff hitter someday for the Reds.
No. 18 Michael McGreevy
(San Clemente) Cardinals
A scholar-athlete for the Tritons with a 4.1 GPA, McGreevy headed to UCSB in 2018 as a shortstop and pitcher and developed into a top-flight pitcher. He was selected by a St. Louis club that this season at the top level has struggled with walks and hit batters. In his career for the Gauchos, McGreevy walked only 31 batters in 189 1/3 innings.
No. 25 Max Muncy
(Thousand Oaks) Athletics
Just one year after the Athletics at No. 26 snagged Turlock’s Tyler Soderstrom in the opening round, they went for Muncy at No. 25. He’s no relation to the L.A. Dodgers’ Max Muncy, but that didn’t stop a lot of Dodger fans hoping they’d hear their team take the Max Muncy who just graduated from high school. The A’s actually took the other Max Muncy once in the draft, later released him and have had to watch him become an MLB star in L.A. The younger Muncy is a shortstop (he even shares the same birthdate as older Max) and has been named L.A. Times Player of the Year, Ventura County Player of the Year and L.A. Daily News Player of the Year after helping the Lancers go 30-1 and earn State Team of the Year honors.
No. 28 Carson Williams
(Torrey Pines, San Diego) Rays
While Marcelo Mayer has been near the top of the overall MLB draft boards, Williams was another San Diego area standout who was more quietly moving up. A Cal commit, Williams ended up going in the first round to Tampa Bay. Part of the reason for Williams’ rise had to be the season that he had at Torrey Pines. He batted .495 with 11 homers, 42 runs scored and 35 RBI. Carson also had a .598 on-base percentage and went 2-for-3 with a homer in a game against Eastlake and Mayer. Williams is projected to be a shortstop at the next level.