Sunday, June 20, 2021
Like numerous names, Will Bednar has been linked to the Braves as a potential first-round selection for the upcoming 2021 MLB Draft. Who is he and why should we pay attention to his World Series start on Sunday?
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Bednar is a 2020 freshman All-American at Mississippi State who struck out 23 batters in his first 15 ⅓ innings as a collegiate player, and those impressive numbers have continued this season, as well as his 60-grade fastball that has helped him rack up 113 punch outs in 74 innings (13.7 strikeouts per nine).
Bednar’s career at MSU
2020 stats – 15 ⅓ IP, 1.76 ERA
2021 stats – 74 IP, 3.53 ERA
Bednar is a full fledged power-pitcher that sits between 91-94 MPH and oftentimes touches 96 with the heater, although it’s his breaking ball that enables him to generate so much swing-and-miss.
The late-break is hell on same-handed batters, and Bednar’s able to induce such tilt thanks to a spin-rate that routinely reaches near 3,000 RPM. Just his fastball and slider alone should allow him to become a solid reliever in the majors.
But then Bednar also wields an offspeed pitch, an average changeup that, with improvements, should make him a top-tier prospect starter in the pros. In college he has used his offspeed as mostly a show-me offering, though it’s likely that with more development it could become something much more.
Right now the analysis on Bednar is fairly mixed. FanGraphs has the righty ranked 44th on THE BOARD as a 40+ FV prospect, primarily due to the fact that currently he flashes just two plus-pitches (the aforementioned fastball and slider). Baseball America, on the other hand, has Bednar listed a bit higher at no. 38 on its draft board, and seems more impressed with his current arsenal, as well as his ability to “fill up the zone”.
Regardless, at no. 24 in next month’s draft, Bednar is certainly a viable pick for the Braves, and I’m sure a few of Atlanta’s scouts will be tuned in to his start today versus Texas.
You can watch Bednar pitch today at 7:00 PM (ET) on ESPN 2 as Mississippi St. and Texas face one another in the 2021 College Baseball World Series.