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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

July 15: A last-minute rankings update to account for player movement and prospects removing themselves from the draft.

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.

3 Matches
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 7/15/2022
  1. 250
    Last: 251

    Matthew Etzel

    Panola (Texas) JC OF
    Notes:

    HT: 6-3 | Wt: 208 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Southern Mississippi
    Age At Draft: 20.2
    Some may wonder where Eztel is coming from, but the Southern Miss recruit is more of a player getting back to where he once was. Coming into his high school senior year, Etzel was viewed as a very promising power-speed outfielder. But the Texas A&M signee broke his leg playing football that year. He enrolled at Texas A&M but left after the fall semester. This spring at Panola, he showed that while he may never have every bit of the speed he had pre-injury, he’s once again a power-speed outfielder. He was the Region XIV player of the year thanks to his .427/.504/.704 season. He then went to the MLB Draft League, where he was making a strong case as the league’s best player. As of early July, he was leading the league in batting average (.423), on-base percentage (.516) and slugging (.654). Etzel is a 55-60 runner who plays above-average defense in center field. Some teams may prefer to see if Etzel can show the same impact at the plate against DIvision I competition, but a team believing he can be an average hitter with average power or better may see this year as an opportunity to get him on the ground floor.

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  2. 302
    Last: 302

    Tyler Stuart

    Southern Mississippi RHP
    Notes:

    HT: 6-9 | Wt: 250 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 22.7
    Stuart is the rare fourth-year sophomore. He redshirted in 2019, then the coronavirus pandemic wiped out his 2020 season, so his 2021 season was his freshman year at Southern Mississippi, even though it was his third year on campus. This year as a sophomore, he became an extremely valuable reliever. While most college relievers pitch rarely, Stuart showed he could work three or four innings if needed or pitch on back-to-back days. In the regional, Stuart pitched 2.2 scoreless innings over three outings in three days. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Stuart is a truly massive human. He likes to work glove side and down with his mid-90s sinker and low-80s slider. The sinker is an above-average pitch. It generates ground balls but it isn’t an out pitch. His average low-80s slider may have more development ahead. He doesn’t use it that much, but when he does, it shows depth and can be a bat-misser. He has an improving fringe-average changeup as well. Stuart is more pro-ready than many college relievers because he’s already demonstrated his ability to bounce back quickly.

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  3. 361
    Last: 360

    Dalton Rogers

    Southern Mississippi LHP
    Notes:

    HT: 5-11 | Wt: 172 | B-T: R-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Age At Draft: 21.5
    A 5-foot-11, 172-pound lefthander, Rogers was a lights out reliever for Southern Mississippi this spring. He posted a 1.95 ERA over 23 games and 37 innings, while striking out 57 batters (37.7 K%) and walking 23 (15.2 K%). Rogers overwhelmingly pitches off his fastball—a 92-93 mph heater that touches 96 at peak and comes with solid carry and around 18 inches of induced vertical break. He attacks from a lower release height with a shallow vertical approach angle and those traits, along with his IVB, allow him to rack up plenty of whiffs with the pitch at the top of the zone. His most used secondary was a low 80s changeup that generated whiffs more than 60% of the time this spring, but he only threw the pitch around 10% of the time. He has also infrequently thrown a low-80s slider.

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