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2022 MLB Draft Top Prospects

Draft500 (1)

The BA 500 is an attempt to capture the industry’s consensus on the talent of the 2022 draft class—not to predict where players will be selected. The list was compiled in consultation with major league scouts, front office executives, scouting directors, college coaches and other professional evaluators. Ben Badler, Teddy Cahill, JJ Cooper, Kyle Glaser, Joe Healy, Tom Lipari, Bill Mitchell and Carlos Collazo contributed to reporting and writing. Chris Trenkle contributed to editing.

Related: 2022 MLB Mock Draft Version 4.0

June 29 Update: The big mover in this BA 500 update is Cade Horton moving into top-two round consideration, as well as high school righthander Andrew Dutkanych being removed from the list after withdrawing from the draft. Additionally, we now have updated reports for the top 250 players.

With about a month to go before the 2022 draft, we are happy to release the first version of the BA 500!

As we get closer to the draft, we’ll continue to refine and tweak the list as is necessary and regularly roll out updated draft reports for every ranked player. On today’s edition of the BA 500, you can find updated scouting reports for prospects ranked among the top 200, with BA Grades and tools grades for those players as well.

Georgia high school outfielder Druw Jones continues to lead the class in the No. 1 spot, as the industry’s consensus top prospect.

Given the extreme attrition to the top-end pitching talent of the class, it’s a hitter-heavy group up top, with high-upside high school players like SS Jackson Holliday, SS Termarr Johnson and OF Elijah Green.

For teams more inclined to chase the safer college demographic, there are plenty of proven bats to be found among the top 10 as well: SS Brooks Lee and C Kevin Parada have cases as the best pure hitters in the college class, while 3B/1B Jacob Berry, 2B Jace Jung, OF Gavin Cross and 3B Cam Collier have varying degrees of high-level hitting ability and power.

Prep righthanders Brock Porter and Dylan Lesko lead the pitching class, with power arms and elite changeups to go with them, while former Vanderbilt star Kumar Rocker ranks at the top of the non-prep pitching demographic.

BA Grades

Baseball America has used BA Grades and risk factors for minor league prospects as part of our team top 30 rankings and annual prospect handbook for more than a decade. Starting in 2021, we assigned the top draft prospects BA Grades as well. This is an attempt to further contextualize the talent of the class and create a more seamless transition from amateur to professional talent rankings.

Below is a brief overview of BA Grades:

For the BA Grade, we used a 20-to-80 scale, similar to the scale scouts use, to keep things familiar. However, most major league clubs put an overall numerical grade on players, called the Overall Future Potential or OFP. Often the OFP is merely an average of the player’s tools.

The BA Grade is not an OFP. It’s a measure of a prospect’s value, and it attempts to gauge the player’s realistic ceiling. We’ve continued to adjust our grades to try to be more realistic, and less optimistic, and keep refining the grade vetting process.

BA Grade Scale

Grade

Hitter Role

Pitcher Role

75-80

Franchise Player

No. 1 starter

65-70

Perennial All-Star

No. 2 starter

60

Occasional All-Star

No. 3 starter, Game's best reliever

55

First-Division Regular

No. 3/No. 4 starter, Closer

50

Solid-Average Regular

No. 4 starter, Setup reliever

45

Second-Division Regular/Platoon

No. 5 starter, Middle reliever

40

Reserve

Fill-in starter, Low-leverage reliever

35

Quality Org Player

Quality Org Player

Risk Factors

Low: Likely to reach realistic ceiling, certain big league career barring injury.

Medium: Some work left to refine their tools, but a polished player.

High: Most top draft picks in their first season, players with plenty of projection left, players with a significant flaw left to correct or players whose injury history is worrisome.

Very High: Recent draft picks with limited track record of success or injury issues.

Extreme: Teenagers in Rookie ball, players with significant injury histories or players who struggle with a key skill, especially control for pitchers or strikeout rate for hitters.

500 Matches
See Full List Expand Collapse All Updated on: 6/29/2022
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    Druw Jones

    Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga. OF
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-4 | Wt: 180 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Vanderbilt
    Age At Draft: 18.64
    BA Grade: 65/Very High
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 70. Field: 70. Arm: 65.

    Unsurprisingly, the son of five-time all-star and 10-time Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones is an excellent defensive center fielder as well. Druw is the top player in the 2022 draft class thanks to his unique combination of present skills, projection and loud supplemental tools while handling a premium defensive position. Jones stood out during the summer showcase circuit with plenty of hard contact and the ability to drive the ball with authority to the right-center gap. His swing wasn’t always the most fluid or ‘hitterish’ and at times he would get out of sync with his lower and upper halves, resulting in lots of ground ball outs, but he has improved the consistency of that swing this spring. Jones has an advanced approach at the plate with solid pitch recognition and pure bat-to-ball skills. As he continues to add strength to a lean frame, he should grow into above-average or plus raw power, and he could become a plus hitter with above-average game power. He’s a lock to play center field at the highest level and is one of the best defensive outfielders scouts have seen in years, with the instincts and physical tools necessary to be a 70-grade defender at the position. Scouting directors unanimously named Jones the best defensive outfielder in the high school class prior to the season, and he has a case as the best defender in the entire class as well. He’s a double-plus runner with a fantastic first step that allows him to track difficult balls into the gaps and to the fence with instinctual route-running ability on top of that. His arm strength is a cherry on top of his tool set and it’s at least plus with some scouts putting 70 grades on his throwing ability as well. If Jones weren’t such a dynamic center fielder, teams might be inclined to try him at shortstop as well, where he shows advanced actions and instincts as an infielder. Jones is committed to Vanderbilt but is expected to be one of the first players selected in the 2022 draft. He has all-star upside and should impact the game in many ways.

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    Brooks Lee

    Cal Poly SS
    Notes:

    HT: 6-2 | Wt: 205 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Giants '19 (35)
    Age At Draft: 21.43
    BA Grade: 60/High
    Tools: Hit: 70. Power: 50. Run: 40. Field: 50. Arm: 55.

    The son of Cal Poly coach and renowned hitting guru Larry Lee, Brooks has long been an elite hitter and would have been a top-50 pick out of high school if not for his strong commitment to play for his father in college. A hamstring injury and the coronavirus pandemic limited him to two at-bats as a freshman, but he lived up to his reputation as a premium hitter once play resumed. Lee hit .342 to win Big West Conference co-player of the year as a redshirt freshman and torched the Cape Cod League with a .405/.432/.677 slash line for Yarmouth-Dennis in the summer. He followed with a standout showing for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and hit .357 with 15 home runs and a 1.125 OPS this spring, all career highs. Lee is a gifted switch-hitter with exceptional hitting ability. He takes short, balanced swings with elite bat speed from the left side and laces balls hard to all fields. His righthanded swing isn’t as fluid or powerful, but he has the hand-eye coordination to make consistent contact and spray balls around the field. He has elite strike-zone discipline, crushes fastballs and drives pitches in all parts of the zone, projecting as a potential plus-plus hitter. He has rarely faced good breaking stuff and will need to prove he can handle that. Lee has bulked up as he’s matured and is now a physical specimen with strong legs, broad shoulders and a chiseled torso. His strength and knack for barreling balls give him at least average power potential and likely more. Lee is an instinctive defender who positions himself well at shortstop and converts the routine plays with his reliable hands and above-average, accurate arm, but his bulk and below-average speed limit his range. He projects to move to second or third base, where he should be an average defender. Lee’s only major concern is his health. He missed time with multiple back injuries in high school and had hamstring surgery as a true freshman. His physical, maxed-out frame raises concerns about how his body will age. Even so, Lee’s premium hitting ability makes him a likely top-five pick in the draft. As long as he stays healthy, he projects to be a switch-hitting infielder who hits for average and power in the top half of a lineup.

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    Jackson Holliday

    Stillwater (Okla.) HS SS
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-1 | Wt: 180 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Oklahoma State
    Age At Draft: 18.63
    BA Grade: 65/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 60. Field: 55. Arm: 60.

    The son of seven-time all-star and four-time Silver Slugger Matt Holliday, Jackson is a lefthanded-hitting, toolsy shortstop who significantly boosted his draft stock by getting bigger and stronger this spring. Holliday had an inconsistent performance on the showcase circuit last summer, where scouts saw him get big and aggressive with his swing and show more whiff tendencies than he did as an underclassman. Scouts with history watching Holliday believed he was simply looking to hit for power, rather than letting his developing power come naturally and he looked like his instinctual and natural hitting self this spring in Oklahoma, where he broke JT Realmuto’s national hits record. Holliday worked hard over the offseason and added plenty of strength—as well as a few inches of height—to his frame, while showing an impressive ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. He looks like a plus hitter when he is focused on the opposite field gap and willing to go the other way, instead of ripping out on his front side and trying to hunt homers like he did over the summer. Holliday still has room to add more strength to a 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame and he could grow into above-average power in the future. His tools improved across the board after his offseason in the weight room and he now shows plus running ability, above-average power and plus arm strength. In a class light on true shortstops, Holliday is the best bet of the top tier hitters in the class to stick at the position. He has solid hands and instincts, impressive athleticism and great carry and accuracy on his throws, which at times look like they are climbing into a second gear on the way to first base. He also shows a good understanding of where to position himself. Holliday is committed to Oklahoma State but has put himself in position to be one of the first players selected in the draft and has a special combination of tools, lefthanded-hitting ability, premium defensive positional value and professional bloodlines.

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    Termarr Johnson

    Mays HS, Atlanta SS
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 5-8 | Wt: 194 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Arizona State
    Age At Draft: 18.1
    BA Grade: 60/High
    Tools: Hit: 70. Power: 60. Run: 45. Field: 50. Arm: 50.

    Johnson is one of the most unique, top-of-the-class high school prospects the industry has seen in years. He’s a 5-foot-8, 194-pound shortstop who probably moves to second base at the next level and is close to physically maxed out, but he’s also one of the most advanced pure hitters to come out of high school since perhaps Joe Mauer in 2001. Johnson manipulates his bat from the left side of the plate like a magic wand, equally capable of turning on mid-90s velocity and showing 60-grade power to the pull or sitting back and slapping a breaking ball or offspeed offering through the 5-6 hole for a softly hit single. He was the top hitter on the showcase circuit and consistently performed no matter the competition and has a lengthy track record as an underclassman with USA Baseball. He has the rare amateur combination of excellent bat-to-ball skills, an advanced approach at the plate, impressive pitch recognition and more power than you’d expect given his frame, thanks to excellent bat speed and precise barrel accuracy. There are few holes to speak of in his game offensively and he has a real chance to be a 70-grade hitter. As a defender, Johnson is likely to move to second base due to limited range and arm strength that fits better on the right side of the infield. He’s sure-handed on balls he gets to and he turns a double play nicely, with quick footwork and a fast exchange, and profiles as an average defender. He is an average runner now, but it would be unsurprising for him to slow down a tick as he reaches physical maturity. Johnson committed to Arizona State late in the process but is expected to be a top-10 pick thanks to his hitting prowess. It’s certainly possible Johnson is selected as a shortstop, but if he is selected as a second baseman, he has a chance to top Delino DeShields (2010, No. 8) as the highest-ever drafted prep player at the position. There’s plenty of pressure on Johnson’s bat given his supplemental tool set, but it’s also hard to point to a recent high school hitter this advanced.

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    Elijah Green

    IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. OF
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 214 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Miami
    Age At Draft: 18.63
    BA Grade: 65/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 50. Power: 70. Run: 70. Field: 55. Arm: 60.

    Green is one of the most dynamic and unique athletes scouts have seen on the baseball field in a long time. The son of 10-year NFL tight end Eric Green, Elijah’s physicality would stand out on a football field and is almost unheard of on the baseball field at his age. At 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, Green has tremendous strength and power currently and would look right at home standing next to the top sluggers in baseball as an 18-year-old. His power/speed combination with his frame gives him the biggest pure upside in the 2022 draft class as a righthanded hitter with the power to drive the ball out of any ballpark, while also turning in 70-grade run times. As one scout remarked, “Guys that big and that strong aren’t supposed to be running 6.5 in the 60.” Green isn’t a raw hitter without a plan at the plate either. He has an impressive track record of performance as an underclassman and accessed his power regularly in games over the summer showcase circuit, with USA Baseball’s 18U National Team—where he homered four times in seven games—and this spring against strong competition with IMG Academy. There is swing and miss in Green’s game. He’ll get caught out in front on breaking balls and he has shown whiff tendencies against velocity as well, but he should make more than enough impact to live with those whiffs. He has more than enough speed for center field now, and will likely begin his career at the position, but will need to refine his routes and reactions to stick there long term. It’s uncommon to see a major league center fielder with Green’s size, but he is an outlier athlete. If he does have to move to a corner he has the tools to be an above-average defender in right, with plus arm strength to profile nicely there. While other hitters in this class might top Green as a pure hitter, you won’t find anyone with his combination of dynamic athleticism, power, speed and pure upside.

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    Kevin Parada

    Georgia Tech C
    Notes:

    HT: 6-1 | Wt: 210 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 20.96
    BA Grade: 60/High
    Tools: Hit: 65. Power: 60. Run: 45. Field: 45. Arm: 45.

    One of the top prep hitters in the 2020 draft class, Parada ranked as the No. 48 prospect on the BA 500 but made it to campus at Georgia Tech after going undrafted. His cross country move from Southern California to Atlanta should pay off, as Parada is now viewed as one of the best prospects in the 2022 draft class—and again viewed as one of the most accomplished pure hitters of the crop, albeit a more proven one with more power. A draft-eligible sophomore, Parada turned in a strong freshman campaign in 2021 (.318/.379/.550 with nine home runs and 20 doubles) before looking tired and worn out during the summer in the Cape Cod League and with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Over the offseason, Parada added more weight and strength, which translated into more home run power (26) and durability that has prevented fatigue from setting in at the end of the season. Parada has a unique pre-pitch setup at the plate, with his bat angled behind his back and pointed down into the dirt with his lead shoulder raised and almost directly between his eyes and the pitcher. Despite that unorthodox setup, Parada consistently gets to a good launch position and times up quality stuff, with the ability to hit for average power to all fields. His improved power production this spring came with reduced strikeout rates (from 16.9% in 2021 to 9.5% in 2022) and he also walked as frequently as he whiffed. Between his contact ability, newfound power and production in a strong conference, Parada’s offensive package is as complete and proven as anyone’s in the 2022 class. Defensively, it’s less glowing, though Parada has made strides to improve as a receiver and thrower this spring. He’s a good athlete and runner for a catcher, but could improve his lateral mobility and blocking, as well as his arm strength, which is cited as fringe-average currently. He did improve his 12% caught stealing rate from 2021 to 22% in 2022 and scouts who know him praise his work ethic and desire to stick at the position at the next level. Parada’s bat is enough to force its way into a big league lineup and he should be one of the first college players selected because of it.

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    Jacob Berry

    Louisiana State 3B/1B
    Notes:

    HT: 6-0 | Wt: 212 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.21
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 60. Run: 40. Field: 35. Arm: 45.

    Berry is a dynamic switch-hitter who should come off the draft board quickly in July. Atop the batting average leaderboard in SEC play, Berry’s Pac-12 dominance at Arizona carried over to the SEC after making the jump from Tucson to Baton Rouge alongside current LSU skipper, Jay Johnson. Analytics departments will appreciate Berry’s plate discipline, as he’s walked more times than he’s struck out. Berry stands in with a semi crouch and very still hands above the shoulders from both sides of the plate. He is very efficient in his timing and load, setting himself up for success prior to the pitch’s arrival. He tends to put more lift on the ball from the left side and does more damage there. Berry has the ability to level off his swing from the right side on fastballs up in the zone, showing the ability to use all fields with more of a gap-to-gap approach. Some evaluators question Berry’s true power from the right side, as he has notched just one homer from that side of the box this spring. However, what stands out is his ability to hit. His maturity at the plate projects to carry over to the next level, as the strong-framed 6-foot, 212-pound slugger has proven himself in two high-powered conferences. If there’s any blemish in Berry’s game, it falls on the defensive side. Lacking a true position, Berry may profile best at first base, but his profile also fits as a DH. Known for his high makeup both on and off the field, expect Berry to make the adjustments needed at the next level to carve his path to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

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    Cam Collier

    Chipola (Fla.) JC 3B
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-1 | Wt: 219 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Louisville
    Age At Draft: 17.66
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 40. Field: 50. Arm: 65.

    The youngest hitter in the 2022 draft class, Collier will still be 17 years old on draft day and doesn’t turn 18 until November. The son of former big leaguer Lou Collier, Cam was originally a top-ranked member of the 2023 high school class, but he opted to first reclassify for the 2022 draft class and then move from Georgia high school baseball to one of the top junior college programs in the country at Chipola. Those aggressive moves have paid off for the 6-foot-1, 219-pound third baseman, who was second on the team in hitting and posted a .333/.419/.537 slash line with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 25 walks to 33 strikeouts. As you likely guessed given Collier’s age and performance, he’s an advanced hitter who has long shown a savvy approach at the plate. He has quick hands and a clean bat path paired with excellent pitch recognition and an ability to let the ball travel, trust his hands and use the entire field. Collier has a wide, crouched and open setup with a low handset. He’ll occasionally let those hands completely take over in his swing and slap the ball the other way without fully incorporating his lower half or being fully grounded. He has plenty of strength in the tank as a physically mature player for his age with plus raw power, but it’s an approach that is more geared for balls sprayed into the gaps than homers to the pull side. Collier has an easy plus arm from the hot corner, with solid hands and defensive instincts as well, though he’ll need to maintain his body and lateral mobility to stick at the position. Scouts skeptical of his defense think he’ll eventually move to first base primarily because of mobility concerns at his physical peak. Collier should be the first junior college bat taken in the first round since Tim Anderson (No. 17) in 2013 and will join a strong demographic that includes Anderson, Cory Spangenberg, Bryce Harper, Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Markakis this century. He is committed to Louisville but could go among the first 10 picks.

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    Jace Jung

    Texas Tech 2B
    Notes:

    HT: 6-0 | Wt: 215 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.79
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 60. Run: 40. Field: 45. Arm: 50.

    Being a first-round pick is in the Jung bloodlines, as older brother Josh was selected eighth overall in the 2019 draft by the Rangers. There is a chance the younger Jung can top that pick, as he put together another stellar spring campaign. The sturdy 6-foot, 205-pound lefthanded hitter is one of the best pure bats in the college class. Jung brings an old-school approach to the plate in terms of hitting the ball where it’s pitched and has displayed power to all fields in his time at Texas Tech. His gap-to-gap approach will remain the same in the pro ranks and his home run power should translate to a wood bat as well. Though his offensive setup is unique (with the bat head pointed to the backstop), after his load he is in a perfect position to strike and let his hands work. Like most offensive threats, Jung does have a tendency to get “too big” or over swing trying to do too much. However, plate discipline is not a problem, as Jung walked 59 times compared to 42 strikeouts this spring and has a career walk rate of 19.9%. Defensively, Jung won’t wow you with an overall athletic profile, but you can count on the routine plays being made with an average, accurate arm. His baseball IQ and adequate reads off the bat will allow him to stay on the dirt at the next level, with most action being at second base, third base or first base if needed. Jung backs his game up with very high makeup. Certainly the type of player you want in the clubhouse as his leadership at Texas Tech speaks for itself. With Jung’s high baseball IQ, plate discipline and hit tool with power behind it, he could be a fast-mover through a minor league system and should go in the top half of the first round.

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    Gavin Cross

    Virginia Tech OF
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 210 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.43
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 60. Run: 50. Field: 50. Arm: 60.

    Cross was one of the breakout stars in college baseball in 2021 with Virginia Tech. He hit .345/.415/.621 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles and five triples, then followed that up by being the most consistent hitter with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team over the summer. In fact, he’s been tremendously consistent as a hitter throughout his collegiate career, never hitting below .300 for the Hokies and turning in a .318/.399/.627 line in 2022, with a career-best 14 home runs, while adding 13 doubles and 11 stolen bases. Cross is a large and physical, 6-foot-3, 210-pound outfielder who primarily played right field before transitioning solidly to the everyday center field job during his junior season. While moving to the middle of the outfield, Cross also showed an improved approach at the plate as a junior, cutting his strikeout rate from 20% in 2021 to 14% in 2022 and boosting his walk rate from 7% to 11%. While Cross has made improvements, scouts still view him as a power-over-hit lefthanded bat, thanks to a long-striding, low bat path that has been exploited at times and a tendency to chase out of the zone—though he showed progress in this area in 2022. While most of his power came to the pull side, Cross has easy plus juice and can homer to the opposite field, with exit velocity numbers that stack up with (and in many cases surpass) the elite college hitters in the class. Cross has annihilated fastballs—including impressive results against 93-plus mph velocity—but does swing and miss against breaking stuff and offspeed offerings, which could cap his overall hitting upside at the next level. Cross profiles as a corner outfielder at the next level despite his impressive showing in center with Virginia Tech, where he is an average runner and fielder with a big, plus throwing arm that could allow him to profile as a classic powerful, lefthanded-hitting right fielder. Given his track record of performance in both the ACC and with Team USA, as well as his power and physicality, Cross should be drafted somewhere among the top 15 picks.

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    Daniel Susac

    Arizona C
    Notes:

    HT: 6-4 | Wt: 218 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.18
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Run: 40. Field: 50. Arm: 60.

    Susac ranked as the No. 118 player in the 2020 class out of high school, where he stood out as a power-oriented backstop with arm strength and big league bloodlines—his brother, Andrew, caught for five years in the big leagues. After going undrafted, the 6-foot-4, 218-pound catcher had a freshman All-American campaign in 2021 (.335/.392/.591, with 12 home runs and 24 doubles) and was named the 2021 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for his efforts. In his draft-eligible 2022 season, Susac continued to perform with the bat and followed up with a .367/.432/.598 slash line with 12 home runs and 19 doubles. Susac hits the ball hard and puts the ball in the air, with plus raw power, though most of his homers came to the pull side this spring. A long-levered hitter, there is some swing and miss in his game (evidenced by 18% and 15% strikeout rates the last two seasons) and Susac has been prone to chasing out of the zone a bit more often than scouts would like, which leads to average, or above-average hit tool grades rather than the 60-grade hit tool his .350 career average might suggest. He has hammered fastballs and done well against 93-plus mph velocity but will swing and miss more frequently against breaking and offspeed offerings. Even with some swing and miss, Susac’s top-end exit velocities stand out and should allow him to provide plenty of impact for the catcher position. Defensively, Susac has a chance to be an average defender behind the plate, which is a credit to him given his tall frame. He is a solid athlete (he was a standout high school quarterback) with plus arm strength and a 24% caught stealing rate this spring. Susac is one of the more divisive players at the top of the 2022 draft class, with some teams viewing him as an easy top-10 talent and others viewing him as more of a back-of-the-first sort of prospect. Still, the industry tends to push college catchers up the board and Susac is a proven hitter with power who should stick behind the plate.

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    Brock Porter

    St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich. RHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 188 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Clemson
    Age At Draft: 19.13
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 70. Control: 50.

    Porter is the top prospect on a talented St. Mary Prep high school team and one of the best prospects to come out of Michigan in years. He should become the first high school first-rounder out of the state since Nick Plummer (No. 23) in 2015. The lanky and still-projectable 6-foot-3, 188-pound righthander established himself as one of the top pitchers in the class last summer, when he showed a fastball that was regularly in the mid 90s, an elite changeup and multiple quality breaking balls. Porter has a chance for two 70-grade pitches with his fastball—a pitch that has been up to 100 mph and regularly touches 97-98 mph—and a devastating changeup that features tremendous velocity separation, arm-side fading life and tumbling action. The pitch is one of the better secondary offerings in the class (rivaling fellow prep righthander Dylan Lesko’s changeup) and it regularly stymies hitters in the upper 70s. He sells it with impressive arm speed and shows advanced feel to locate the pitch and spot it down in the zone and below it for swings and misses. On top of his fastball/changeup combination, Porter throws both a curveball and a slider. The former is in the mid-to-upper 70s with top-down shape and the latter is in the lower 80s with three-quarter breaking action. Scouts believe the slider has a chance to be an above-average offering, but he’ll need more consistency with the pitch. Part of that inconsistency with spin could stem from a longer arm action, which is one of the few critiques in Porter’s game. There’s significant depth in the back side of his arm stroke, with some tilt in his delivery as well that could lead to inconsistencies, but in general Porter has repeated well and filled up the zone with strikes. He’s more of a control-over-command pitcher now but has the sort of power stuff to more than get away with that sort of accuracy. Porter is committed to Clemson, but with Dylan Lesko’s injury this spring he has a chance to be the first pitcher selected in a down class of college arms.

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    Dylan Lesko

    Buford (Ga.) HS RHP
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 195 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Vanderbilt
    Age At Draft: 18.87
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 70. Control: 60.

    Lesko has been paving his way as the top pitching prospect in the 2022 class for years now. His track record of performance on the travel circuit and with Buford High in Georgia is exceptional, and he was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2021 as an underclassman after posting a 0.35 ERA over 60 innings with 112 strikeouts. He pitched his way into consensus top pitching prospect status in the 2022 class—college or high school—this spring and was looking like a top-five pick before suffering an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Lesko showed a unique combination of power and polish, with three pitches that have flashed plus and two which consistently reach that grade. His arsenal is headlined by a fastball routinely in the mid 90s that touches 97, with impressive riding life that plays nicely at the top of the zone. While the velocity is impressive, Lesko’s touch and feel for the pitch and his ability to locate it in the zone at will is extremely advanced and the combination of velocity plus command remind many scouts of Josh Beckett at the same time. His best secondary offering is a low-80s bugs bunny changeup that routinely earns double-plus grades and is one of the best changeups the industry has seen from a high school pitcher. He sells the pitch with fastball arm speed and will double and triple up on the pitch for swings and misses in the zone and below it to both lefthanded and righthanded hitters. It’s an elite out pitch presently with no projection necessary. His curveball is less consistent, but also flashes plus at its best. The pitch is a high-spin breaking ball (2,700-3,000 rpm) that varies in shape but shows depth and hard finish when he breaks off a good one. All his stuff comes together with clean arm action and a highly polished delivery that one scout described as “poetry in motion.” Lesko is a standout athlete and would be a strong prospect as a shortstop and hitter if he didn’t pitch, and he still has some projection remaining in a lean, 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. His injury clouds his draft stock a bit, and a Vanderbilt commitment could make things tricky as well, but there’s no doubting he is the highest upside pitcher in the class.

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    Cole Young

    North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. SS
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 5-11 | Wt: 179 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Duke
    Age At Draft: 18.98
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 60. Power: 45. Run: 55. Field: 55. Arm: 55.

    Young separated himself over the showcase circuit as one of the best shortstops in the 2022 class with arguably the best hit tool of anyone not named Termarr Johnson. A 5-foot-11, 179-pound lefthanded hitter, Young doesn’t jump off the page in terms of tools and might not have a single plus tool outside of his bat. That said, he does everything on the field well and could have average to above-average tools across the board, with no obvious weakness in his game beyond power. Young has a sound offensive approach with a good understanding of the strike zone and an ability to track velocity and offspeed offerings consistently. He has a slightly crouched setup, with a lower handset and good rhythm in the box before firing a fast and direct swing to the ball. He has a flat bat path and keeps the barrel in the zone for a long time and uses the opposite field naturally. Those skills give him future plus hit tool projections, but he will need to add more strength to project for anything more than fringy power and there’s not much physical projection remaining. Young has a chance to stick at shortstop, as a capable and fluid defender, albeit not an explosive one. He plays low to the ground and has a solid first step, with above-average speed once he’s underway. His above-average arm will give him a chance to stick on the left side of the infield, as will his baseball instincts. In terms of size and tools, Young is reminiscent of Yankees 2019 first-rounder Anthony Volpe at the same time, though Young has the advantage of hitting from the left side. While there are players with more upside in this class, Young’s swing is ready made and the overall polish of his game should give teams confidence in a high floor. He is committed to Duke and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2024 if he makes it to campus but has been scouted throughout the first round and should come off the board before the first 30 picks are up.

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    Jett Williams

    Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas SS/OF
    Notes:

    HT: 5-8 | Wt: 185 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Mississippi State
    Age At Draft: 18.71
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 60. Field: 55. Arm: 50.

    Consistency best describes Williams’ performance in 2021 and 2022. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound center fielder has performed everywhere he’s been, from the Area Code Games all the way to the 2022 spring. In the box, Williams stands with an upright stance and his hands close to his chest. Williams strides into the ball, drawing his hands back in time prior to contact. His plus bat speed is eye-opening, resulting in higher exit velocities off the barrel and gap shots you wouldn’t expect to come from someone of his age and stature. Scouts marvel at his ability to track spin and use all fields, which gives the notion that the transition into professional baseball should come with little restraint. Williams is a plus runner, turning in 60-yard dash times around 6.5 seconds. It’s not a rare occurrence to see him turn a single into a double and a double into a triple. Defensively, Williams’ plus speed, quickness, reads and instincts give scouts everything they look for in a center fielder. He has the ability to go deep in the gaps to make the difficult play and combines his defense with a solid-average arm. Throughout the year, Williams has also shown the ability to play up the middle on the dirt, adding to his versatility. Depending on which scout you talk to, the defensive future for Williams changes, but all agree it will be in the middle of the field somewhere. The only concern in Williams’ profile is the one thing he can’t control. With limited physical upside left, Williams will not fit the profile some evaluators look for in a highly drafted prospect. However, evaluators cannot doubt the tools and overall package Williams brings to the table. Do not be surprised if Williams comes off the draft board a bit sooner than expected.

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    Zach Neto

    Campbell SS
    Notes:

    HT: 6-0 | Wt: 185 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.47
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Run: 55. Field: 50. Arm: 60.

    Neto was the 2021 Big South Conference Player of the Year after he hit .405/.488/.746 with 12 home runs and posted a 3.43 ERA as a reliever who logged 21 innings. Neto followed up that two-way campaign in the Cape Cod League, where he played shortstop, second base and third base and slashed .304/.439/.587 with as many walks (eight) as strikeouts (eight). Neto has a noisy operation at the plate, with plenty of pre-pitch bat-waggle and hand movement during his load, as well as a big leg kick. Despite all those moving parts, Neto has made the swing work and has produced plenty of contact with Campbell, with more walks (53) than strikeouts (49) throughout his career. Listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, Neto shows only average raw power in batting practice, but he backspins the ball consistently and has solid bat speed and barrel manipulation—enough so that scouts think he’ll get to every ounce of the raw power that he does have, with potentially above-average game power depending on the major league environment. There are some questions about whether his setup will need to be simplified at the next level against better competition, but so far Neto has shown an ability to be on time. Neto has played all over the infield for Campbell but was the team’s everyday shortstop in 2022. He has solid hands and defensive actions, with easy plus arm strength that allows him to make challenging throws in the hole. As a pitcher, Neto has been up to 93 mph on the mound and that arm strength should give him a chance to stick on the left side of the infield. He’s an above-average runner with solid athleticism and has been an aggressive and successful baserunner with Campbell, going 28-for-33 (85%) in stolen base attempts for his career. For teams who think he’s a shortstop and any team heavily reliant on a model, Neto will stand out nicely in the 2022 draft class. He fits somewhere in the middle or back of the first round and should become Campbell’s first-ever first-round pick.

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    Justin Crawford

    Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas OF
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 175 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Louisiana State
    Age At Draft: 18.52
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 45. Run: 70. Field: 60. Arm: 50.

    In 1999, Carl Crawford was one of the two or three best athletes in the draft class, with a special combination of speed and strength. Several decades later, his son, Justin Crawford, is one of the most impressive athletes in the 2022 draft class. Crawford is much leaner than his father at the same time, with a highly projectable and lanky, 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame that has plenty of room for more strength gains in the future. Crawford showed solid bat-to-ball skills last summer over the showcase circuit, with a slappy approach in games, but sneaky raw power in batting practice given his strength at the time. Scouts noted that Crawford added more muscle throughout the fall and this spring, and he’s started driving the ball with more authority. Crawford has contact skills and will make two-strike adjustments by widening his stance at the plate, but his swing can get lengthy at times, and he’ll need to refine his bat path a bit at the next level. Power should be the last part of his game to develop, and how much he has in the future will depend on how much strength he can add to his frame. Even if he’s never a big power hitter, he should be able to find plenty of extra-base hits by driving balls into the gaps and using his speed on the bases. The industry raved about his performance this spring and he continued to show premium tools. He’s one of the best runners in the class and regularly turns in 70-grade run times, getting out of the box quickly from the left side of the plate and covering tons of ground when underway with long, graceful, loping strides. That speed should allow him to stick in center field, where he has a chance to be an impact defender at the position. Crawford is committed to Louisiana State but has gotten plenty of attention as a prospect in the middle of the first round. Crawford is the latest in a long line of talented prospects produced by Bishop Gorman, including Tyler Whitaker, Austin Wells, Cadyn Grenier and Joey Gallo in the last 10 years.

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    Chase DeLauter

    James Madison OF
    Notes:

    HT: 6-4 | Wt: 235 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 20.78
    BA Grade: 55/High
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 60. Run: 60. Field: 55. Arm: 60.

    DeLauter exploded during the summer of 2021 in the Cape Cod League, when he hit .298/.397/.589 with nine home runs, 21 walks and 18 strikeouts with Orleans. That performance with a wood bat, combined with his gaudy numbers with James Madison and a loud set of physical tools, elevated him into the top tier of 2022 draft prospects, with some scouts citing him as the top player in the class. DeLauter scuffled out of the gate initially in a tough matchup against Florida State, with a swing path that looked steeper and stiffer than it did over the summer. He quickly found his form and went on to hit .437/.576/.828 with eight home runs and more walks (28) than strikeouts (21) for the Dukes before a broken left foot ended his season after just 24 games. DeLauter is a large and physical, 6-foot-4, 235-pound center fielder who looks like he should be in a corner outfield position, but he’s a surprisingly good runner for his size and has turned in double-plus run times in the 60-yard dash. That speed, plus solid instincts, have led some scouts to believe he can at least start his career in center field, and he has the plus arm strength to profile in right if he slows down or is forced off the position by a better defender. DeLauter’s statistical portfolio will be more heavily criticized as a small school hitter, but he has shown a precocious batting eye and rarely expands the zone with good contact as well. DeLauter has plus raw power that translated to a wood bat in the Cape Cod League, and while he never hit double-digit home runs with James Madison, he also never played more than 26 games in a season and was well on his way in 2022 before getting injured. He hasn’t faced a large sample of elite velocity, which will be another question he’ll need to answer at the next level. DeLauter should become the highest-drafted player in James Madison’s history (outfielder Kellen Kulbacki was selected No. 40 in 2007) and fits somewhere in the middle of the first round on talent.

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    Kumar Rocker

    Tri-City (Frontier) RHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-5 | Wt: 245 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Mets '21 (1)
    Age At Draft: 22.66
    BA Grade: 60/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 60. Slider: 70. Changeup: 55. Cutter: 50. Control: 50.

    Despite not throwing a pitch in amateur baseball this spring, Kumar Rocker is likely one of the most famous prospects in the 2022 class. A first-round talent out of high school, Rocker became the highest-ranked player (No. 13) in Baseball America’s college recruiting rankings history to make it to campus at Vanderbilt. While there, Rocker was one of the most dominant pitchers in college baseball over his three-year career, posting a 2.89 ERA over 236.2 innings, with 321 strikeouts (33.2 K%) and 68 walks (7.0 BB%). He was the 2019 Freshman of the Year after helping push the Commodores to a 2019 College World Series championship and after a strong 2021 junior draft season, was selected by the Mets with the 10th overall pick. The two sides never agreed to a deal because of medical concerns voiced by the Mets, which meant the team got a compensation pick (No. 11) in the 2022 draft and Rocker had to wait another year to enter affiliated ball. Instead of returning to Vanderbilt, Rocker signed with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Frontier League, and he made his debut on June 4. In terms of stuff, physicality and track record as a college-equivalent starting pitcher, no prospect comes close to Rocker in the 2022 class. When on the mound he’s shown a fastball up to 99 mph at peak, and he showed that same velocity during his Tri-City debut, along with a 70-grade slider that has made a mockery of amateur hitters, as well as a solid changeup and cutter. Rocker’s velocity fluctuated during his junior season with Vanderbilt, which raised some concerns, but it’s an easy plus offering which pairs well with a low-to-mid-80s slider that is a real wipeout offering. While Rocker’s command has been nitpicked at times, he has a strong track record of throwing strikes and profiles as a starter at the next level, with middle-of-the-rotation or better stuff at his best. Ultimately, Rocker’s 2022 draft status could depend on how teams view his medical—as he has nothing left to prove in terms of stuff and performance and is likely the top non-prep arm in the class on talent.

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    Gabriel Hughes

    Gonzaga RHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-4 | Wt: 220 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 20.91
    BA Grade: 50/High
    Tools: Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Hughes began his career at Gonzaga as a hitter and pitcher, but it quickly became clear his future was on the mound. In his first season as a full-time starter in 2021, Hughes posted a 3.23 ERA over 61.1 innings and 10 starts, while striking out 67 batters, but showing erratic control and walking 30. During his draft year in 2022, Hughes has made impressive steps forward with his command, and in a poor college pitching class, he’s worked himself into a position to perhaps be the first college pitcher selected. Hughes has a fantastic pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, with plenty of strength and he’ll also still be just 20 years old on draft day. He primarily works off of a fastball/slider combination and after sitting 91-93 a year ago, in 2022 Hughes has averaged 93-94 mph with his fastball and touched 97 at peak. Scouts noted that his fastball command specifically looked better this spring (which helped him cut his walk rate significantly year over year) and the pitch has gotten close to a 40% whiff rate when he locates it up in the zone. His slider flashes wipeout potential at best but hasn’t consistently been a plus pitch this spring. It’s a low-80s offering that will get into the mid 80s, with 2,300 rpm spin and a whiff rate north of 40%. He did a nice job landing the pitch to his glove side this spring and showed some ability to manipulate the pitch to use it as an early-count strike stealer and expand the zone as a swing-and-miss offering. Hughes didn’t use his changeup as frequently as a secondary, but it was successful as a bat-misser and as a pitch to induce ground balls. It sits in the low 80s and features some slight fading action, but he will yank and spike the pitch at times. Hughes’ combination of size, youth, stuff and performance this spring allows him to check plenty of boxes as a potential No. 4 starter and he should benefit from a down college pitching class on draft day as well.

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    Drew Gilbert

    Tennessee OF
    Notes:

    HT: 5-9 | Wt: 185 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Twins '19 (35)
    Age At Draft: 21.64
    BA Grade: 50/High
    Tools: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 55. Field: 55. Arm: 60.

    Gilbert might be a smaller center fielder at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, but in 2022 he’s been the best hitter on the best team in college baseball, and he’s got the physical tools to back it up. Through 54 games during his junior season, Gilbert slashed .380/.474/.696 with 10 home runs, 20 doubles and as many walks (32) as strikeouts (32). Gilbert controls the zone well. He rarely chases at pitches outside of the zone and he also makes plenty of contact, with low whiff rates across all pitch types. He’s a twitchy, lefthanded hitter with bat speed and strength—with some of the louder exit velocity numbers among the top college hitters in the class. Most of his in-game power came to the pull side this spring, but he has shown enough juice to homer to left and left-center as well, though some scouts wonder if he’ll maintain that power at the next level with a wood bat. Gilbert has played a strong center field and should stick at the position at the next level. He’s turned in plus run times and he also has a strong, plus throwing arm that will be an asset for him regardless of the position. There’s a lot of safety in Gilbert’s profile given his up-the-middle defensive role and solid tool set across the board. The industry may be split on his overall upside potential, however, with some scouts more skeptical because of his maxed-out frame with little physical projection remaining. For teams who think his power and exit velocity numbers are more a product of aluminum bats and a good hitting environment in Knoxville, he could be viewed as more of a second-round pick, but his contact ability, performance and well-rounded tool set certainly has others interested in the second half of the first round.

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    Landon Sims

    Mississippi State RHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-2 | Wt: 227 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.54
    BA Grade: 55/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 70. Slider: 70. Changeup: 45. Control: 55.

    Sims was a power-throwing high school righthander who touched 97 mph and ranked as the No. 198 prospect in the 2019 draft class. Despite his velocity, Sims made it to campus at Mississippi State, where he immediately became one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball. During the 2021 season, Sims posted a 1.44 ERA over 56.1 innings out of the bullpen as a lockdown, multi-inning reliever who struck out 46.9% of the batters he faced. Sims transitioned to a full-time starting role during the 2022 season but made just three starts before he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and had Tommy John surgery that ended his draft year. When healthy, Sims has shown one of the most electric two-pitch mixes in the country. His fastball is routinely in the 93-95 mph range—both as a starter and reliever—and has been up to 98 with exceptional metrics under the hood that make it a truly elite fastball. He gets more than 18 inches of induced vertical break and throws from a lower release height that gives him a flat vertical approach angle—all of which translates into plenty of whiffs and a pitch that both scouts and analysts alike will call an easy plus offering. Hitters don’t get a break with his slider, either. The breaking ball has power in the mid 80s, tons of sweeping movement and high spin rates in the 2,400-2,700 rpm range. It’s a true wipeout offering that generated whiffs more than 40% of the time in his brief stint on the mound in 2022. Scouts have said Sims has a solid changeup as well, but he’s rarely thrown it in games and it’s no surprise given the quality of his fastball and slider. Sims has the pitch mix and aggressive, competitive nature on the mound to profile as an elite, big league reliever but he showed the command and control early in 2022 that should give him a chance to start as well. Sims’ injury and lack of track record as a college starter make him more of a wild card, but his stuff should be more than good enough to fit in the first round.

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    Robby Snelling

    McQueen HS, Reno, Nev. LHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 220 | B-T: R-L
    Commit/Drafted: Louisiana State
    Age At Draft: 18.58
    BA Grade: 55/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 40. Control: 60.

    One of the more impressive performers and biggest risers in the country this spring, Snelling is a strong and physical lefthander whose football background is apparent when you see him standing on the mound. Listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Snelling has broad, tapered shoulders and a thick and muscular lower half. Last summer, Snelling pitched around 90 mph and touched 94, but this spring his velocity has ticked up a bit and he’s consistently been in the 90-95 mph range, touching 96, and held that velocity throughout his outings. His best secondary offering is a spike-grip curveball with excellent spin. The pitch ranges from the mid 70s to the mid 80s and features plenty of sweeping action at times and two-plane break with sharp and late vertical bite at others. The breaking ball consistently draws plus grades and is one of the better breaking balls in the prep class. On top of his natural feel to spin the baseball, scouts have been impressed with his ability to land the pitch with consistency. Snelling will throw a changeup in the low 80s as well, but he uses the pitch infrequently and it needs refinement to become an average third pitch. While Snelling was plenty physical last summer, scouts thought his body looked more streamlined this spring and he has shown enough touch and feel for scouts to project future plus control. Snelling has a connected delivery and clean arm stroke, and his athleticism helps him repeat everything consistently and spot his fastball/curveball combination to an advanced degree. Snelling is committed to Louisiana State, but he’s been scouted heavily throughout the first round this spring and with two potential plus pitches and plus control from the left side, it won’t be surprising if he’s one of the first arms to come off the board.

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    Brandon Barriera

    American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. LHP
    Video
    Notes:

    HT: 5-11 | Wt: 171 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Vanderbilt
    Age At Draft: 18.38
    BA Grade: 55/Extreme
    Tools: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 45. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 55.

    Barriera isn’t a physically imposing pitcher by any means, but he more than makes up for his smaller, 5-foot-11, 171-pound frame with electric arm speed and standout athleticism on the mound. Barriera has one of the fastest arms in the class, and he uses that arm speed to throw a fastball that sits in the low 90s and regularly touches 96. This spring Barriera peaked at 98-99 mph, so pure stuff isn’t a question. On top of that fastball, Barriera has shown a slider in the low-to-mid 80s. The slider features a lot of horizontal movement with late turn and sharp bite at its best, and he shows good feel to land the pitch for strikes. It’s a 2,500-2,600 rpm offering and routinely gets plus grades from evaluators. The fastball/slider combination is Barriera’s bread and butter currently, but he has also shown solid feel for a firm changeup in the mid 80s. He doesn’t use the pitch often, but it has shown at least average potential and because he throws it with the same electric arm speed as his fastball, it could be a deceptive offering against better hitters at the next level. Barriera will also mix in a slower, mid-70s curveball at times to give him a four-pitch mix. Barriera fills up the strike zone and throws with a loose and fluid but whippy arm action. There’s a slight head whack in his finish, but he stays balanced and fields his position well. The Vanderbilt commit is praised for his intense and competitive demeanor on the mound, and while he doesn’t have much in the way of physical projection, he has plenty of stuff and the control that should give him a chance to start. Barriera will need to prove his durability and that his stuff can hold up to the rigors of a professional schedule, but he is a real first round talent and one of the best lefthanded pitchers in the class.

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    Jacob Melton

    Oregon State OF
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 208 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.87
    BA Grade: 50/High
    Tools: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Run: 60. Field: 50. Arm: 50.

    An All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2021 after slashing .404/.466/.697 with six home runs, Melton has continued to produce at a high level during his 2022 draft year while moving from first base and right field to the everyday center field role for the Beavers. A 6-foot-3, 208-pound lefthanded hitter, Melton hit .371/.435/.684 over his first 57 games, with 15 home runs and 21 doubles, while going 20-for-21 (95.2%) in stolen base attempts. Melton’s production is prettier than his swing, which is described as “unorthodox” and features plenty of moving parts. He starts with an open stance and features a leg kick in his load, with a long load that includes a barrel dump on the back half and an arm bar. Despite those mechanics, Melton has plenty of bat speed and the athleticism to make it work. While his bat path might not be ideal, his barrel stays in the zone for a long time and he has the strength to drive the ball with authority, with a frame that suggests more could be coming. Melton will expand the zone at times and there’s some swing and miss—particularly against breaking balls and offspeed pitches—but he has hammered fastballs, produced against 93-plus mph velocity and displayed all-fields home run power. Some scouts have given him plus raw power grades. Melton has turned in 70-grade run times from home to first and is a plus runner consistently who should be able to stick in center field, with an average throwing arm. While Melton is a bit on the older end for the college class (he turns 22 in September), his power-speed tool set, Pac-12 production and lefthanded-hitting center field profile will check plenty of boxes for teams and he has a chance to be selected at the back of the first round and shouldn’t get out of the second.

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