MLB 2021 Draft: NJ Talent Shines!

Get ready to meet the next generation of baseball’s stars! New Jersey baseball players are very much at the forefront of the 2021 MLB Draft and JSZ will keep you updated on the Garden State’s players who get picked. Stay tuned throughout the next three days as we track where players are headed.

The 2021 MLB Draft was headlined by four New Jersey high school senior pitchers who had their name called over the three days of selections. In addition, two SEC pitchers who made their name on New Jersey diamonds were also part of a stellar draft for the Garden State. Watch JSZ’s highlight videos of the newest pros!

Round 1 Pick 2: Jack Leiter (Texas Rangers)

From starring at Delbarton to shining in the SEC at Vanderbilt, Jack Leiter is now one of the highest drafted NJ players ever. Leiter displayed his elite fastball and knee-buckling off-speed pitches for the Commodores in 18 starts this season. A Summit native and son of MLB veteran Al Leiter, Jack Leiter will bring big-time stuff to the Lone Star state.

Round 1 Pick 26: Chase Petty (Minnesota Twins)

Chase Petty turned in a dynamic performance every time he took the mound for Mainland in 2021. He finished with 99 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched, throwing a fastball that sat in the upper 90’s and topped out over 100 MPH. The Twins take Petty 26th overall, as the Mustangs star now begins his journey with Minnesota.

Round 2 Pick 37: Anthony Solometo (Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bishop Eustace lefty was absolutely sensational in 2021, allowing just a single earned run in 33 innings. The lefty fanned 64 batters, finishing with double-digit strikeouts in each of his five starts. The Pirates plucked Solometo off the board with the first pick of Day 2 of the MLB Draft.

Round 4 Pick 108: Shane Panzini (Kansas City Royals)

Not only was Shane Panzini the best pitcher in the Shore Conference, he was also very much in the conversation among the elite arms in New Jersey’s entire high school Class of 2021. The Red Bank Catholic ace went 9-0 with 115 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings on the bump. His 0.46 ERA helped his Caseys win the Shore Conference Tournament while also making a deep run in the Non-Public A South state tournament.

The MLB Draft process is truly unique. With Shane Panzini poised to go to the University of Virginia, the behind-the-scenes game leading up to his name being called by the Royals is fascinating. JSZ goes to the Panzini home in Spring Lake Heights to get reaction from the newest Kansas City Royal:

Round 8 Pick 241: Mike Antico (St. Louis Cardinals)

Colts Neck’s Mike Antico closed out a stellar five-year college baseball career and now has a professional opportunity in St. Louis.  Antico played four years at St. John’s University before playing a fifth season at the University of Texas helping the Longhorns reach the 2021 College World Series.  Antico hit .273 with 16 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, and 47 RBIs. He scored 69 runs and walked 63 times for Texas.  Antico finished his career at St. John’s as a .332 hitter with 22 doubles, seven triples, and 13 home runs. He also had 67 RBIs, 44 stolen bases, and 108 runs scored.  The 2016 graduate of Colts Neck has a signing bonus slot of $171,200.

14th Round Pick 410: Tyler Ras (Colorado Rockies)

The 2018 graduate of Middletown North went on to a great SEC career at the University of Alabama earning his shot at the big leagues with the Rockies. We went back into the JSZ archives to show Ras when he was the Lions ace in high school:

20th Round Pick 603: Sean Hard (New York Yankees)

The 2021 high school baseball season was the year of the pitcher and St. Joe-Montvale’s Sean Hard was among the very best in the Garden State. Hard was an incredible 8-0 with a 0.28 ERA and 87 strikeouts to lead the Green Knights to the Non-Public “A” state championship. The Boston College commit becomes the fourth New Jersey high school pitcher to be selected in the 2021 MLB Draft . Check out JSZ’s highlight reel from his stellar senior season”