With just over two months before the draft starts on July 17, it’s too early to establish strong links between teams and goals. In my first full screening of the first round in 2022, I will try to place players in the area they would go for if the draft starts today, but I expect a lot to change in the next nine weeks.
There is a consensus among clubs that the Georgia Druw Jones high school outfielder is the best talent available, although he does not hang over this draft like, say, Adley Rutschman 2019 or Spencer Torkelson 2020. It is possible that the first four points could be preparatory strikers , and the top 10 selections could be bats, which has not happened since the start of the 1965 draft. So far, I have not had a single member of the college class full of injuries in the first 14 selections, which would be the longest closure since 1969.
In Pipeline’s first extended MLB trial two weeks ago, Jonathan Mayo predicted the Orioles would do what they did with their last two first-round players: make a deal with a college player to save money from a bonus fund to spend on later selections. This time I take a different approach, Baltimore chooses the best player available, as he did with Rutschman three years earlier. Detailed scouting reports for all players can be found in our Draft Top 150 (scale in parentheses).
1. Orioles: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Peachtree Corners, Ga. (No. 1)
The Orioles narrowed their field to the top four high school players – Jones, Elijah Green, Jackson Holliday and Termarr Johnson, who are also the top four prospects in the Draft Top 150 – and several college options – probably Cal Poly Shortstop Brooks Lee and Louisiana State third player / outfielder Jacob Berry. If they want to make a discount, Berry would theoretically save the most money as it is most likely to slip into the 6-10 range.
2. D-defenders: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida (No. 2)
This seems like a floor on Jones, and if he doesn’t, the D-backs could take Green, who has a higher ceiling but more questions about his bat (though less than last summer after a strong senior season), or Johnson, the best clean hitter which will come out of the preparatory ranks for years. Kevin Parada and Lee, a Georgia Tech catcher, would be major factors in college.
3. Rangers: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS (No. 4)
Holliday climbed to the top of the draft getting bigger and stronger and improving his tools as a whole. Although the Rangers have gone with polished counterparts with their last three players in the first round, the high school talent is simply too good to be overlooked this year. If Holliday and Jones score 1-2, Johnson could be the choice.
4. Pirates: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
Lee would fit in nicely with the advanced college bats (Nick Gonzales, Henry Davis) that the Pirates took from the first seven selections to the last two drafts.
5. Citizens: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 8)
Although the Parade is now perhaps the most favorable candidate for the university, Orioles and Pirates have selected university catchers with the No. 1 overall in the last four drafts. This is not the case with national team players, who have a pronounced lack of prospects for backstop.
6. Marlins: Jacob Berry, 3B / OF, Louisiana State (No. 6)
Berry may offer the best combination of hitting ability, strength and discipline on the board in the draft, but if he’s not No. 1, then he’s likely to last until the 6-10 range. The Marlins would have nothing against shooting at some of the best in high school, and Johnson’s baton could attract them.
7. Cubs: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Atlanta (No. 3)
Getting Johnson or Berry in 7th place would be a huge value for the Cubs, who are known to love Chipol (Fla.) JC third-seeded Cam Collier.
8. Twins: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 7)
After the top four high school students come out of the table, there will be a second-tier college competition made up of Jung, Arizona catcher Daniel Susac, Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross and Collier.
9. Royals: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 10)
An offensive catcher, Susac is a slightly smaller version of the Parade and contributes to a large number of athletic lines in the first round as the younger brother of former big league catcher Andrew. Jones (Andruw), Holliday (Matt) and Nevada outfielder Justin Crawford (Carl) are the sons of former All-Stars; Collier’s dad, Lou, also played in the Majors; Green’s father, Eric, was a solid member of the Pro Bowl; Lee’s dad, Larry, coaches him at Cal Poly, and his uncle, Terry, was the first player to top the Triple-A in 1974; and Jung’s older brother, Josh, finished eighth overall in 2019 in the Rangers.
10. Rockies: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 11)
The best striker in the U.S. national team last summer, Cross has the widest range of options of any player predicted to enter this top 10. He has an outside goal to reach 2nd place and could fall in the middle of the teens.
11. Mets: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s Prep (No. 13)
(Compensation selection for unsuccessful signing of Kumar Rocker’s first player in 2021)
Finally, pitcher! Most of the best active and healthy potential crowds are high school students, a demographic that generally makes the industry insecure. More / less on the preparatory hurlers in the first round of this unusual year is 5 1/2, and Porter is the best in the group.
12. Tigers: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (No. 17)
The Tigers would have preferred the bat and would have been in the game for any of the names we projected in front of them. If they – along with Collier – are not available, Porter’s homemade product would be tempting.
13. Angels: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Florida (No. 16)
The Angels have tried to address their lack of throwing prospects using all 20 of their types on the 2021 draft, and Barriera has a better combination of starting ceiling and floor than any of them.
14. Mets: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison (No. 12)
A career blow .402 / .520 / .715 in three shortened college seasons, DeLauter broke his left leg by sliding into second base on April 9th. He may not play again this season, but he offers one of the best combinations of strength and patience available.
15. Padres: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 23)
The Padre occupied Cal Quantrill eighth overall in 2016 after missing an entire college season while recovering from Tommy John’s surgery the year before. A candidate to be No. 1 overall before he blew his elbow last May, Prielipp is in the same situation. He will organize team training on May 23 in Hoover, Ala., The day before the city hosts the Southeast Conference tournament.
16. Guardians: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 26)
It’s almost too easy to give the Guardians a lovely infielder, but Net’s exceptional batting skill will make him the first first-round player in Campbell’s history.
17. Phillies: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Reno, Nev. (No. 79)
Also, it’s no secret that the Phillies aren’t afraid of prep pitchers after inserting Mick Abel and Andrew Painter with their first players in the last two drafts. Snelling currently has more helium than any high school and broke Shawn Estes ’record in Nevada in the big state with 145 in 62 1/3 innings, including 15 on Tuesday.
18. Red: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ms.) HS (No. 9)
Lesko was the best looking of this Draft until he injured his elbow and operated on Tommy John in April. It’s unlikely to go any further among the top 10, but it shouldn’t fall too far.
19. Athletics: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 22)
Tidwell missed the first six weeks of the season due to shoulder pain and has yet to endure five substitutions initially, but he may have more advantages than any active university pitcher. It is rumored that third baseman Tucker Toman, preparing for South Carolina, could pass in the first round, alongside one of the athletics teams.
20. Braves: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 19)
It took 20 selections, but we finally got to the student arm which was completely healthy this spring. The Braves have been linked with a number of college pitchers, including right-handers Justin Campbell (Oklahoma State) and Thomas Harrington (Campbell).
21. Mariners: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. (No. 18)
It’s hard to read Young, as some teams believe he won’t last this long, while others think he could make it in the extra first round. The Mariners broke a series of three consecutive years with a right-hander in college in the first round to take over the Middle Prepster in 2021, and they could do so again in July.
22. Cardinals: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS (No. 25)
A 5-foot-8 spark plug with a lot of striking ability and speed, Williams could dare even in his mid-teens.
23. Blue Jays: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (No. 37)
Crawford currently has more helium than any high school player and this could be his floor. It is possible that he could sneak in the top 10.
24. Red Sox: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 21)
Four of the next five anticipated picks are student bats, and they could all go in the teens if teams prefer safer picks than high school pitchers. The Red Sox picked Beck in the 14th round of Alabama High School three years ago and is often compared to Hunter Renfroe, who made a similar leap in his third SEC season.
25. Yankees: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 36)
The scouts love Thompson’s light swing with his left hand and he continues to climb the Draft boards. It is rumored that outside Florida high school player Roman Anthony could pass in the first round, starting here.
26. White Sox: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 20)
Off-field students like Beavers and Drew Gilbert (Tennessee) make sense here, as does a hand from college.
27. Brewers: Andrew Dutkanych, RHP, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, Indianapolis (No. 14)
Dutkanych was at the head of the class in high school before he had trouble in his last two outings. Number 27 could be at a lower level, although a team with multiple early picks could try to push him down and overpay him with their second choice. If second Louisiana player Cade Doughty climbs to the first round, it could be with the Brewers.
28. Astros: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida (No. 29)
Fabian has turned down more than $ 2 million from the Red Sox as his second player in 2021 and it looks like gambling will pay off for him as he made more contacts this spring without sacrificing power. Other college bats that could pass in the first round that weren’t mentioned earlier: Mississippi State catcher Logan Tanner, Oklahoma shortman Peyton Graham and Stanford outfielder Brock Jones.
29. Rays: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 46)
A type of cunning high southerner who often sneaks into the first round, Hjerpe has a chance to be the first catcher to be caught in college and could pass 10-15 spades earlier. Other healthy college hands are candidates for the first round: right-wingers Jonathan Cannon (Georgia) and Drew Thorpe (Cal Poly) and left-handed Carson Whisenhunt (East Carolina, suspended) and Parker Messick (Florida State). Injured university pitchers with top side in first round: right-winger Peyton Pallette (Arkansas) and Landon Sims (Mississippi state), not to mention right-winger Kumar Rocker, who did not return to Vanderbilt after the Mets canceled their $ 6 million bonus offer after taking it 10th overall last July and shying away from his physical after the draft.
30. Giants: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida (No. 15)
The Giants haven’t picked in the bottom half of the first round since 2017 and are now at the very end, hoping to drop a high-ceilinged high schooler like Ferris. Other preparatory players making noise in the first round: left-handed Noah Schultz and Tristan Smith, outfielder Henry Bolte, right-hander Jacob Miller and Owen Murphy, and catcher Malcolm Moore.