Quick Bit: The first round of the 2022 MLB Draft is just around the corner, with ESPN set to broadcast the first batch of players selected by teams on Sunday.
The first round of the 2022 MLB Draft is just around the corner, with ESPN set to broadcast the first batch of players selected by teams on Sunday.
Until MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announces each pick, trying to predict exactly which player will be selected in each spot is a near-impossible task, as teams weigh factors from player quality, signability, bonus pools and organizational needs.
But The Sporting News is going to give it a shot anyway at picking the first 30 players to be taken off the board in this year’s draft, and to which teams.
Take a look at The Sporting News’ MLB mock draft.
1. Orioles — Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan High (Norcross, Ga.)
Baltimore could look to cut a deal at this top spot, but we’ve got them taking the best player in the draft. Druw Jones is a true five-tool talent, whose power-speed combination and incredible defensive prowess are reminiscent of his father, 10-time Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones.
2. Diamondbacks — Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater High (Stillwater, Okla.)
Jones would certainly fall no further than second should the Orioles go another direction, but in this case, he’s not left, and the Diamondbacks take another high-upside, son of a former big leaguer in shortstop Jackson Holliday. The left-handed hitting Holliday boasts five-tool upside, with one of the better hit tools in the class.
3. Rangers — Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Kevin Parada and Brooks Lee could be options for the Rangers at No. 3. However, the tantalizing upside of Elijah Green might be too much to pass up. The son of NFL tight end Eric Green has explosive power and speed, and has shown he can stick in center field. If his hit tool comes around, his upside is right up there with Jones.
4. Pirates — Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Pittsburgh has used its top pick in back-to-back drafts on high-floor, up-the-middle collegiate prospects in second baseman Nick Gonzales and catcher Henry Davis, and they could be a great fit for Brooks Lee at No. 4. The switch-hitter is the best college position player in the class with an advanced hit tool and plus power, and the chance to stick at shortstop.
5. Nationals — Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Parada has been commonly linked with the Nationals this offseason, and he’s likely to fall to them, if he doesn’t get selected by Texas. Parada is by far the best hitting catcher in this year’s class with the chance to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat while sticking behind the plate defensively.
6. Marlins — Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays High (Atlanta, Ga.)
There isn’t a prospect in the 2022 MLB Draft class that has a better hit tool than Termarr Johnson, and his combination of a high floor and high upside could lead him to go higher in the draft. Miami struck gold at pick No. 16 last year when Kahlil Watson slid down the board to them, and they could do that again with another middle-infielder sliding out of the top five.
7. Cubs — Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, LSU
The Cubs feel likely to target a college bat, and there might not be a better pure hitter than Jacob Berry. The switch-hitter doesn’t have a defensive home, which puts extra strain on his bat to carry him to the big leagues, but if his bat is what many believe it to be, he could be a middle-of-the-order slugger for years to come.
8. Twins — Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola Junior College
At 17 years old, Cam Collier is one of the youngest players in the draft as he left high school early to take the junior college route, and the Twins are known to be looking at college bats. Given his age and his production at Chipola, this could be the lowest he falls in the draft.
9. Royals — Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Kansas City could look at some of the pitchers, but we’re having them go with one the best college bats still on the board in Virginia Tech’s Gavin Cross. Cross is a complete player, who has shown average or above skills across the board, and would provide the Royals with a low-risk bat that could fly through the minors quickly.
10. Rockies — Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
The Rockies have been linked to a number of college bats at this pick, and Arizona catcher Daniel Susac could be a great fit for them at this spot. He’s a better defensive catcher than Parada, and while his bat isn’t on Parada’s level, it is still an above-average bat both in hitting and power. That profile is extremely valuable in a time where catchers with adequate hitting skills are becoming progressively more rare.
11. Mets — Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Jace Jung had some struggles late in the season for Texas Tech and has fallen from top 10 projections where he was earlier in the season. The Mets need to sign a player in this spot, a pick they received for failing to sign Kumar Rocker last year, as they will not receive another compensation pick if they can’t sign the player here. They could sign Jung here on a slot value deal.
12. Tigers — Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
The Tigers are nearing the opening of their competitive window as players like Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene are reaching the majors, and they are linked to college bats who could go through the minors quickly. Jordan Beck could fit that profile at No. 12, and he comes with plenty of upside as a batter with impressive power-speed upside.
13. Angels — Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Last year, the Angels spent all 20 picks on pitching prospects to address that weakness in their farm system. Here, we have them picking up right where they left off, selecting Alabama southpaw Connor Prielipp 13th overall. Prielipp missed all of the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2021, but the stuff he has shown when he’s pitched is among the most electric in the college class.
14. Mets — Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas)
The Mets went with the more polished college bat with their first pick, and now are going to go with the high upside of Justin Crawford with their second pick. The son of long-time Rays outfielder Carl Crawford has an advanced hit tool and plenty of speed with the ability to stick in center field.
15. Padres — Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary’s Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
It took a while for a high-school pitcher to be selected, but Brock Porter is the first off the board here as the Padres bank on his lofty upside. Porter can reach triple-digits and has an electrifying arsenal, and has among the highest upside of any prep arm in the class.
16. Guardians — Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford High (Buford, Ga.)
Cleveland has taken the gamble on pitchers with health concerns in the past, like when it selected Ethan Hankins 35th overall in 2018, and develops pitching talent like few systems, so it could be a fit for Dylan Lesko. Lesko was widely considered the best prep arm in the draft until he underwent Tommy John surgery this spring, but the ceiling remains incredibly lofty.
17. Phillies — Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.)
The Phillies have gone back-to-back with prep arms in the first round in the past two years with Mick Abel and Andrew Painter. This time, they’ll go with a prep left-hander. Brandon Barriera is the best high-school pitcher left on the board, and would fit their mold of high-upside, young arms.
18. Reds — Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny High (Wexford, Pa.)
Cincinnati has a lot of bonus pool money and could use that to help land a highly valued prospect like Cole Young in this spot. Despite being an older prep player, Young’s advanced bat and ability to stick at shortstop give him plenty of value.
19. Athletics — Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Oakland is going to keep their pick local at No. 19, taking Golden Bear outfielder Dylan Beavers. The Cal product has both power and speed, and though he still has some refinement left in his approach, he could be the high upside gamble a farm system lacking in top-tier talent could use.
20. Braves — Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Atlanta has a long track record of selecting pitchers early in the draft and developing them well, including Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Gabriel Hughes had a dominant spring for Gonzaga and has a wicked fastball/slider combination.
21. Mariners — Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
The Mariners’ competitive window is just beginning to open as stars like Julio Rodriguez and Logan Gilbert reach the majors, so taking an advanced player would be in their best interest. In TSN’s mock draft, they’re taking Campbell shortstop Zach Neto, who has one of the best hit tools in the collegiate class and should stick either at shortstop or second base in the future.
22. Cardinals — Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
St. Louis has gone a number of different directions in the past with their picks, ranging from the high-upside picks like Jordan Walker in 2020 to high-floor guys like Michael McGreevy in 2021. The Cardinals are going back with a high-floor pick in Cooper Hjerpe, a southpaw with a well-rounded repertoire and plus control and command.
23. Blue Jays — Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath High (Rockwall, Texas)
Toronto has been tied to a number of bats, and if Jett Williams is still around at No. 23, the Blue Jays could end his fall down the board. Williams has one of the more advanced hit tools in the high school class, and should stay at second or shortstop long-term.
24. Red Sox — Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
In recent years, the Red Sox have picked prospects with refined hit tools like Nick Yorke and Marcelo Mayer, and with Drew Gilbert still on the board, they might be tempted to pick him at No. 24. He has the higher floor of the two Tennessee outfielders, and though he doesn’t have as much power as Beck, his bat, speed and defense make him a low-risk selection.
25. Yankees — Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida
The Yankees have been linked to several college hitters, and Sterlin Thompson would be one of the best college bats still left on the board. Like Gilbert, he’s a more low-risk bat with the potential for some raw power, though he is likely to shift to a corner outfield spot at the next level.
26. White Sox — Kumar Rocker, RHP, No school
Chicago took an MLB-ready arm in Garrett Crochet in 2020 and moved him right to the bullpen to help their team. Why not do it again in 2022? Kumar Rocker was already considered one of the best pitching prospects both in 2018 as a prep prospect and again in 2021 coming out of Vanderbilt. After he failed to sign with the Mets in 2021 over his physical, he’s back as one of the top arms in the draft, though now with more of a risk in the health department.
27. Brewers — Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
Chase DeLauter’s numbers at James Madison are inflated by a stretch against inferior competition, but he has plenty of upside, with the chance for plus skills across the board. The analytics behind his numbers, however, appeal more to how the Brewers scout for the draft, which makes them a solid bet to take him in the first round.
28. Astros — Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
The run on college players ends here with Spencer Jones being selected 28th overall by the Astros. Houston has been linked with several college bats, and the 6-7 Vanderbilt outfielder possesses plenty of upside, already with plus power and the chance to hit for average as well.
29. Rays — Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen High (Reno, Nev.)
Tampa Bay has used its first-round picks on high-upside high school arms like Nick Bitsko and Matthew Liberatore at times in the past, and that’s the direction it could head in 2022 if an arm like Robby Snelling is still on the board. Snelling has one of the best curveballs in the draft and can reach the upper-90s with his fastball.
30. Giants — Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma
If the Giants are looking for a college bat with upside, there won’t be many better options at this stage in the draft than Peyton Graham. The Oklahoma shortstop combines above-average power with plus speed, and he should have a future at shortstop or third base.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More