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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

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.

1 Match
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 6/20/2022
  1. 51
    Last: 86

    Ivan Melendez

    Texas 1B
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 225 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Marlins '21 (16)
    Age At Draft: 22.4
    BA Grade: 50/High

    Tools: Hit: 50. Power: 60. Run: 40. Field: 55. Arm: 50.

    Melendez has put together a monster spring for the Longhorns. Heading into postseason play, the 6-foot-3 225-pound slugger had made a legitimate run at the Division I triple crown, registering a top 10 batting average at .406, tied for the lead in home runs with 29 and just two RBIs short of the nation’s leader with 87. The Longhorns’ first baseman brings a relaxed but aggressive approach with him to the plate. He likes to sink into his lower half before letting his hands fly. Unlike a lot of power hitters, Melendez rarely overswings. With more of a bat-to-ball approach, he allows his power to come naturally rather than forcing the issue. Melendez’s spray chart is a work of art. He has the ability to drive the ball the other way with authority, and opposing arms are cautious of attacking zones where Melendez can get extension. Some teams will find success if they’re able to pitch inside effectively or get him to chase spin down in the zone, but the attempts come with a warning, as Melendez will crush mistakes that catch too much of the plate. Melendez has strong plate discipline, as he walked more than he struck out heading into NCAA Tournament play (47 to 43). Melendez’s skill on the defensive side is equally impressive. He committed just one error all spring with a .998 fielding percentage, and he should have no problem holding the position down at the pro level. Melendez moves fairly well for a big man, too, as he’s not a clogger on the basepaths. Melendez’s performance has put him in a favorable spot for July’s draft. He’ll likely be the earliest first baseman off the board and could be a quick riser up the minor league ladder.

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