2022 Baseball America Staff Draft Version 3.0
The 2022 MLB Draft is just days away and with that we are giving BA staffers one last shot to put on their GM hats and make picks as if they were running the show on draft day.
This is Version 3.0 of the staff draft (you can also check out Version 1.0 and Version 2.0) and the one that history will judge us on. Keep in mind that this is not a mock draft. We are not attempting to predict what will actually happen on Sunday—rather picking players we personally like and would choose if we were (foolishly) placed in charge of a draft.
If a mock draft is what you’re looking for, you can find our most recent version here, with updates coming throughout the weekend.
For this staff draft BA writers include: Ben Badler, Carlos Collazo, JJ Cooper and Tom Lipari. Below you can find all of our picks through the first two rounds, as well as pick-by-pick rationale, four “sleeper” selections among players ranked outside the top 100 of the BA 500 and first round draft history nuggets provided by Pramana’s SHIFT tool.
Baseball America is partnering with Pramana to use the company's SHIFT tool. SHIFT helps companies find instant answers to a wide variety of questions by using natural language search and free text to turn data into content and insights. We used the SHIFT tool to find a variety of insights and nuggets about each of the potential first-round picks for our staff draft.
|1||Orioles||Ben||Termarr Johnson||SS||Mays HS, Atlanta||4|
|2||D-Backs||Carlos||Druw Jones||OF||Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.||1|
|3||Rangers||JJ||Cam Collier||3B||Chipola (Fla.) JC||7|
|4||Pirates||Tom||Elijah Green||OF||IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.||5|
|5||Nationals||Ben||Brooks Lee||SS||Cal Poly||2|
|6||Marlins||Carlos||Kevin Parada||C||Georgia Tech||6|
|7||Cubs||JJ||Jackson Holliday||SS||Stillwater (Okla.) HS||3|
|8||Twins||Tom||Jace Jung||INF||Texas Tech||9|
|9||Royals||Ben||Cole Young||SS||North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa.||14|
|10||Rockies||Carlos||Dylan Lesko||RHP||Buford (Ga.) HS||13|
|11||Mets||JJ||Jacob Berry||1B||Louisiana State||8|
|13||Angels||Ben||Justin Crawford||OF||Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas||18|
|14||Mets||Carlos||Jett Williams||SS/OF||Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas||15|
|16||Guardians||Tom||Kumar Rocker||RHP||Tri-City (Frontier)||20|
|17||Phillies||Ben||Chase DeLauter||OF||James Madison||19|
|18||Reds||Carlos||Gavin Cross||OF||Virginia Tech||10|
|21||Mariners||Ben||Noah Schultz||LHP||Oswego (Ill.) East HS||51|
|22||Cardinals||Carlos||Brock Porter||RHP||St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.||12|
|23||Blue Jays||JJ||Peyton Graham||3B/SS||Oklahoma||31|
|24||Red Sox||Tom||Justin Campbell||RHP||Oklahoma State||27|
|25||Yankees||Ben||Brandon Barriera||LHP||American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.||17|
|26||White Sox||Carlos||Cade Horton||RHP||Oklahoma||23|
|27||Brewers||JJ||Cooper Hjerpe||LHP||Oregon State||32|
|28||Astros||Tom||Owen Murphy||RHP||Riverside-Brookfield HS, Riverside, Ill.||45|
|29||Rays||Ben||Robby Snelling||LHP||McQueen HS, Reno, Nev.||21|
|30||Giants||Carlos||Carson Whisenhunt||LHP||East Carolina||28|
|31||Rockies||JJ||Landon Sims||RHP||Mississippi State||34|
|33||Orioles||Ben||Jacob Miller||RHP||Liberty Union HS, Baltimore, Ohio||39|
|37||Guardians||Ben||Walter Ford||RHP||Pace (Fla.) HS||58|
|39||Padres||JJ||Jacob Melton||OF||Oregon State||25|
|41||Red Sox||Ben||Jackson Cox||RHP||Toutle Lake HS, Toutle, Wash.||43|
|44||Pirates||Tom||Jackson Ferris||LHP||IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.||33|
|45||Nationals||Ben||JR Ritchie||RHP||Bainbridge HS, Bainbridge Island, Wash.||52|
|46||Marlins||Carlos||Malcolm Moore||C||McClatchy HS, Sacramento||66|
|48||Twins||Tom||Ryan Cermak||OF||Illinois State||56|
|50||Rockies||Carlos||Henry Bolte||OF||Palo Alto (Calif.) HS||42|
|52||Mets||Tom||Cade Doughty||Util||Louisiana State||57|
|55||Reds||JJ||Tucker Toman||3B||Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C.||40|
|57||Braves||Ben||Cameron Smith||SS||Palm Beach Central HS, Wellington, Fla.||81|
|58||Mariners||Carlos||Sal Stewart||3B||Westminster Christian HS, Miami||63|
|59||Cardinals||JJ||Parker Messick||LHP||Florida State||74|
|60||Blue Jays||Tom||Dalton Rushing||C||Louisville||44|
|62||White Sox||Carlos||Eric Brown||SS||Coastal Carolina||54|
|63||Brewers||JJ||Gavin Guidry||SS||Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.||85|
|65||Rays||Ben||Mikey Romero||SS||Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS||78|
Pick: Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta
Rationale: Johnson is the best high school hitter in the country. His smaller, Jose Ramirez body type reminds me of watching Wander Franco at the same age, and so does his bat speed, feel for manipuating the barrel and outstanding baseball IQ. I know some scouts are hesitant on Johnson this high up the board because of the way he's built, but I think he's a potential 70 hitter who could hit 30-plus home runs. I'm not letting him get away.
Pramana Insights: A high school shortstop has been the first overall pick nine times, the second most of any position, trailing only college righthanders (12 picks). The last time the Orioles selected a high school shortstop in the top 10 picks was Manny Machado with the third overall pick in 2010. Before that you have to go back to Junior Kennedy at number 10 in 1968.
Pick: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.
Rationale: As soon as Ben was randomly assigned the first pick in the draft, I knew I would be getting the best overall player in the class with the second pick. Who knows, the D-backs could wind up in this exact scenario in the real draft on Sunday as well. Druw's all-around tools are impressive and I think he will become a top-25 prospect in baseball pretty much immediatley whenever he signs. I am drooling over an outfield that includes Jones, Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas in Arizona.
Pramana Insights: Two players from the state of Georgia have never been drafted 1-2 in the same year. California is the only state to have that happen (2017, 2013, 2000, 1980). There have only ever been five players from the state of Georgia drafted in the top two picks (three at pick No. 1, two at pick No. 2). The last was Joey Bart at No. 2 in 2018.
Pick: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC
Rationale: There are plenty of good choices here, but I'll take a swing at the upside of Collier, a 17-year-old who showed an advanced approach and burgeoning power against more experienced junior college competition.
Pramana Insights: Collier would be the highest junior college third baseman selected by a huge margin. The previous record for a juco third baseman by any team was Mat Gamel (also out of Chipola) with pick 115 in the fourth round of 2005 by the Brewers. The Rangers have never selected a juco player in Round 1. Their previous record was Colby Lewis at pick 38 in the 1999 supplemental round.
Pick: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Rationale: With each mock, if there's an opportunity to take Green in the top 5, i'm ALL IN.
Pramana Insights: There have been 22 players selected all-time from IMG Academy, dating back to 2014. Pirate City, the draft headquarters for the Pirates, is 7.8 miles from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. They have never selected a player from the school. Green would make the first high school OF selected by the Pirates in the first round since Austin Meadows in 2013 and the highest by the franchise since Mark Merchant was picked second overall in 1987. Collier and Green at picks three and four would mark only the second time two players from the state of Florida were selected in the top four picks in the same year—Chipper Jones (1) and Alex Fernandez (4) in 1990 was the only other occurrence.
Pick: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Rationale: I'm torn here between Jackson Holliday and Brooks Lee. Some scouts think Holliday is the best player in the country, and he does bring more likely positional and defensive value than Lee. But Lee's offensive track record and overall hitting polish give him a slight edge here for me.
Pramana Insights: Lee would make only the second player from Cal Poly ever drafted in the first round and the first since catcher John Orton was taken by the Angels at 25 in 1987. The highest drafted Cal Poly shortstop ever selected was Ozzie Smith, the Padres fourth-round pick in 1977.
Pick: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Rationale: I was legitimately torn here and hoping Ben would take one of Kevin Parada or Jackson Holliday to make my selection easier. He took neither of the players I was considering for this pick and my conundrum was this: we have Holliday ranked higher and the industry has consistently pointed to him as a top-three prospect in this draft class given his impressive spring. However, Parada is in a similar phylum of talent (along with all the prospects ranked 2-6) and has long been one of my favorite hitters. I don't think I can really go wrong here, but part of me laments passing on a tooled-up high school shortstop. Still, I love Parada's hitting ability and he absolutely mashed this spring.
Pramana Insights: There has only been one college catcher selected at pick six all-time—Terry Anderson by the Cardinals in 1977. This would be only the third catcher the Marlins have selected in the first round in franchise history—Charles Johnson (1992) and Kyle Skipworth (2008). There have been four Georgia Tech players drafted sixth or earlier. Joey Bart was picked second overall in 2018. Matt Wieters was picked fifth in 2007, Mark Teixeira was picked fifth in 2001 and Kevin Brown was selected with the fourth pick in 1986. They have combined for 13 All-Star Game appearances, two World Series titles and seven Gold Gloves.
Pick: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS
Rationale: This would be a dream scenario for the Cubs. Holliday was exceptional all season. He's a five-tool talent who plays an up-the-middle position.
Pramana Insights: This would make the second consecutive year a high school player named Jackson from the state of Oklahoma was drafted in the first seven picks. Jackson Jobe (Heritage Hall HS, Oklahoma City) was selected third overall last year by the Tigers. The last time the Cubs drafted a player named Jackson was Jackson Todd (11th round) in 1970, also a high schooler from Oklahoma.
Pick: Jace Jung, INF, Texas Tech
Rationale: I've always felt Jace is/was the top collegiate bat in draft.
Pramana Insights: Starting in 1991, there has been a player selected from Texas Tech in 31 consecutive drafts. If selected eighth overall, Jung would match his older brother, Josh Jung, who was also taken eighth overall out of Texas Tech in 2019.
Pick: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa.
Rationale: The bat is the most important tool, and Young is one of the most hitterish players in the country. His swing works well, he controls the strike zone and makes a ton of contact with more power that I think can develop as he gets stronger.
Pramana Insights: Young would be the first Pennsylvania high school shortstop drafted in any round since 2016 when the Indians selected Nolan Jones in the second round at pick 55. The Royals have drafted a prep player from Pennsylvania twice before in the first round—Chris Lubanski (2003) and Jim Pittsley (1992).
Pick: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Rationale: If Lesko was healthy right now I probably wouldn't be grabbing him with the 10th pick of the draft. He's the best high school pitcher I have seen with a freakish combination of power stuff, an outlier changeup, a high-spin breaking ball and a silky smooth and athletic delivery. I think if you drew up a starting pitching prospect in a lab, the outcome would be something eerily similar to what Lesko is. Plenty of pitchers come back fine from Tommy John and I am more than happy with the risk here for a potential top-of-the-rotation arm.
Pramana Insights: If Lesko is the first pitcher off the board at pick 10, that would be the latest the first pitcher came off the board by three picks. The most picks in MLB draft history without a pitcher was six in 2019 when Nick Lodolo became the first pitcher selected with the seventh overall pick. Lesko would also be the fourth player from Georgia selected through the 10th pick, setting a new record. The previous high was two Georgia players in 2009.
Pick: Jacob Berry, 1B, Louisiana State
Rationale: It's hard to say where Berry will play defensively, as he's pretty limited at anywhere other than first base. But he can really hit, which makes him an excellent value at pick 11.
Pramana Insights: LSU has never had a first baseman selected in the first round. The last time the Mets drafted a college first baseman in the first round was Ike Davis in 2008. That same year set the all-time mark with seven first basemen selected in round one.
Pick: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Rationale: I'm a believer! Potential to be special. Though his performances tailed off a touch down the stretch, he displayed enough during the spring for me to take him here. Hughes turned out performances in '22 featuring now stuff. A lot of growth took place from his freshman All-American season to this spring, and I expect the positive strides to continue.
Pramana Insights: Hughes would be the first Gonzaga righthander ever selected in round one and first pitcher since lefthander Marco Gonzales was the 15th overall pick in 2013.
Pick: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
Rationale: Crawford is a supreme athlete with elite speed and defensive potential at a premium position. But I'm not taking a great athlete at No. 13 overall if I'm skeptical of his ability to hit, and with Crawford, one of the things I like about him is his bat control and feel at the plate. He has a long, lanky frame too, so I think there's more power to come, though even if that doesn't happen, I think he can be a tablesetter at the top of the lineup who adds value with his ability to prevent runs as well.
Pramana Insights: Crawford would be the first position player selected by the Angels since Werner Blakely in round four, pick 111 of the 2020 MLB Draft. The streak of pitchers selected spanned 21 consecutive picks.
Pick: Jett Williams, SS/OF, Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas
Rationale: I was considering Williams with my 10th pick for the Rockies, but figured Lesko was less likely to be available at 14 than Jett. My gambit paid off and I am left with one of my favorite swings in the class in an up-the-middle defender who has speed and plenty of power, with excellent bat speed, feel for the barrel and a strong lower half. He's short but he is not small and I am fully bought into his hitting ability. I think this could be a viable pick for the Mets in this spot on draft day as well.
Pramana Insights: If Williams goes at pick 14, he would be only the third player named Jett to ever be drafted (Jett Bandy, Jett Manning) and the highest selected by 572 picks.
Pick: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Rationale: I'm a Neto believer. His plus arm will be an asset anywhere around the infield and he has the ability to hit for average and power.
Pramana Insights: Neto would be the sixth shortstop taken in the first 15 picks, setting an all-time record. The previous record was five, set four times (2019, 2002, 1974, 1971). The last time a Campbell shortstop was drafted was Greg Cloninger in 1987 at selection 985 by the Atlanta Braves.
Pick: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (Frontier)
Rationale: Thought JJ was gonna take Kumar at 15! I'm optimistic on his arm health.
Pramana Insights: A righthander has been drafted 19 times with pick 16, the most of any position. Kumar has already been drafted twice and is only the second Rocker ever selected, joining John Rocker by the Braves in 1993. Both are from the state of Georgia.
Pick: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
Rationale: DeLauter is big, he's tooled-up, there's power, speed and an impressive performance record between the Cape and the regular season. He also doesn't turn 21 until October, so he's the same age as a typical college sophomore.
Pramana Insights: DeLauter would become the highest drafted player from James Madison and first-ever first-round selection, eclipsing Dan Meyer (34th pick overall) in 2002 and Brian McNichol (also 34th pick overall) in 1995.
Pick: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Rationale: I am just letting the board come to me with this pick. Cross is a top-10 talent in the class and I am getting him with the 18th selection. Hard not to like that. He has real power and showed an impressive approach adjustment this spring and is a sneaky good athlete in the outfield with big arm strength if he needs to move to right field. Consistent producer in the ACC and he was also quite good with Team USA last summer as well. More than happy with this college bat at this spot.
Pramana Insights: The last first round position player drafted out of Virginia Tech was outfielder Franklin Stubbs in 1982 (19th overall). The last first-round pick was lefthander Joe Saunders, picked 12th overall in 2002.
Pick: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Rationale: I was going to take Cross if he fell one more spot, but getting Susac here is excellent value as well. Like Carlos, I will value shop.
Pramana Insights: The A’s have only selected a college catcher in the top 19 picks once before in MLB draft history. In 1986, they selected Scott Hemond at pick 12 out of South Florida.
Pick: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
Rationale: In agreement with the industry that Gilbert has earned his way up the boards. Love his hard-nosed style of play. Also creates a lot of issues for opposing arms. Tough out.
Pramana Insights: Gilbert would mark the fourth consecutive year the Braves have selected a college player in the first round, including two in the 2019 first round (Braden Shewmake, 2019; Shea Langeliers, 2019; Jared Shuster, 2020; Ryan Cusick, 2021). That would be the longest streak in franchise history.
Pick: Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (Ill.) East HS
Rationale: A 6-foot-9 lefty with a power fastball and nasty slider from a low slot sure would look good in a Mariners uniform, right? We won't go there with the comp, but I love the present stuff with Schultz, the projection for it to tick up even more and the unusual body control and pitchability he has for a teenage pitcher his size.
Pramana Insights: If Shultz is the first lefthander off the board at 21, it will be only the second time in MLB draft history to see the first 20 picks without a lefthander taken. 1968 is the only other year, with Brad Gratz coming off the board at 29 as the first lefthander picked that year.
Pick: Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.
Rationale: Too easy. I am really getting the top pitching prospect on our draft board after... FOUR other arms have been picked? Like my last pick with Gavin Cross, this is purely a value and talent selection and with Lesko's injury, Porter is a comparable talent to my first pitcher selected and viewed by most of the industry as the best healthy pitcher in the class. He has a power fastball, and like Lesko has a chance for a double-plus changeup. On top of that he throw strikes and spins multiple solid breaking balls. Sign me up.
Pramana Insights: The only time the Cardinals have ever selected a Michigan high school righthander in any round was 1971. William Poe was selected in the 18th round, pick 423 out of Waterford High in Pontiac.
23. Blue Jays
Pick: Peyton Graham, 3B/SS, Oklahoma
Rationale: Too often, it's easy for fans to see a player going eight spots higher than where they were ranked and think that's a reach. In the MLB draft, the differences between the 20th and 40th player on this board is pretty thin. I like Graham's lengthy track record of hitting and his defensive value.
Pramana Insights: Oklahoma has had a position player drafted in the MLB draft in 31 consecutive years.
24. Red Sox
Pick: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State
Rationale: JJ got me with the Graham pick. Pleased with Campbell here, though. Mature, pitchability arm. Quick mover through a system.
Pramana Insights: The Red Sox have drafted a college righthader in the first 24 picks four previous times: Tanner Houck as the 24th pick in 2017, Matt Barnes as the 19th pick in 2011, Aaron Sele as the 23rd pick in 1991 and Roger Clemens as the 19th pick in 1983.
Pick: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Rationale: Barriera has a plus fastball, a slider that should be an out pitch and a changeup that he has shown feel for as well. With his ability to throw strikes, the Yankees are getting one of the best lefthanders in the draft.
Pramana Insights: There have been eight previous Florida high school lefthanders selected in the first 25 picks. Only Sean Burnett (2000), Bobby Seay (1996) and Vance Lovelace (1981) ever appeared in a major league game. Lovelace pitched a grand total of 4.2 career innings.
26. White Sox
Pick: Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma
Rationale: Horton was the biggest riser in of any prospect during the College World Series and has some of the best pure stuff in the class. If he was healthy and pitching all season he likely doesn't make it to this pick, but he's got a power fastball, a fantastic slider and the strikes to go along with it. It was between Horton and Snelling—the best player available on the BA board—for me with this pick.
Pramana Insights: If this draft happened in reality, Horton would be the fourth player from the state of Oklahoma drafted in the first 26 picks, breaking the record of three set back in 1973 (Joe Edelen, Jerry Tabb, Ted Cox).
Pick: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
Rationale: We are picking who we would pick, not who we think the team would pick, but I can't help but ponder how well the Brewers would be able to develop Hjerpe.
Pramana Insights: The Beavers have produced seven first-rounders all-time. The only pitcher was lefthander Scott Christman in 1981.
Pick: Owen Murphy, RHP, Riverside-Brookfield HS, Riverside, Ill.
Rationale: Absolutely love Murphy's arsenal and projection. I believe he can be a steal in this year's draft.
Pramana Insights: Murphy would be only the third high school righthander the Astros have selected in round one since 1996 and the second from Illinois, joining Mike Foltynewicz in 2010.
Pick: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Reno, Nev.
Rationale: Snelling fills the strike zone with a fastball that has ticked up this year to reach 96 mph and can put hitters away with a plus curveball. His changeup lags behind, which is typical for a high school pitcher, but there's a starter profile here with the stuff to miss bats and advanced ability to throw strikes for his age.
Pramana Insights: Snelling would be the third straight prep selection in the first round for the Rays, joining Carson Williams in 2021 and Nick Bitsko in 2020.
Pick: Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Rationale: We're now at a spot on the board where I am thinking long and hard about the players selected. This could have started sooner but a few players who I thought should have been taken much sooner fell to me. Now, there are 20-30 players on the board who I see very little separation at all between and it's difficult to make a confident selection. Whisenhunt has great stuff from the left side and while his ERA in the Cape Cod League is not sterling (hint at my next pick) his peripherals are good and I have heard good feedback on the stuff. If he had a normal spring we could be talking about him as a middle of the first round sort of talent. I am a sucker for good changeups as well, so that helps.
Pramana Insights: East Carolina has never had a lefthander selected before the fourth round. The highest picked was Jake Agnos, who was selected by the Yankees with the 135th pick in 2019.
Pick: Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Rationale: This is the point where I think there are a number of very interesting potential first round pitchers who have slid because of injury. Sims was looking like a first round starter pre-injury.
Pick: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
Rationale: Couldn't pass up on Tidwell here. He has size, a good pitch mix and upside left. More of a pitcher than a thrower with very good stuff.
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Pick: Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS, Baltimore, Ohio
Rationale: We're moving into the range where most of the top hitters are gone, and especially in a year where college pitching is down, there are a lot of high school arms I like that should be available over the next round or two. I'm adding one of my favorites here in Miller, who has long shown the ability to pile up strikeouts with his innate feel to spin his breaking stuff and has added more power behind his fastball this year.
Pick: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida
Rationale: Even after giving away my pick in my previous pick's rationale I get him here at 34 for the D-backs. There are a lot of pitchers on the board here who I think are comparable talents, but I prefer Thompson of the college outfield group and hitters available. Others might have more exciting pure tools like power and speed, but I believe Thompson is the purest hitter of the group and he is coming off a .354/.443/.556 season with 11 home runs. He faced as much top-end velocity as anyone (169 pitches against 93-plus mph) and hammered that pitch type.
Pick: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Rationale: Here's another pitcher who is available mainly because he's been injured. Unlike many of the other injured pitchers, Prielipp is now healthy and ready to pitch.
Pick: Reggie Crawford, LHP, Connecticut
Rationale: Special talent. Physical athlete up to triple digits from the left side. He has also been known to put pitches into orbit with his power. Will pick 36 be good enough for Crawford to pass up heading to Tennessee?
Pick: Walter Ford, RHP, Pace (Fla.) HS
Rationale: Not only do I love Walter Ford, I love pairing him with the pitching development system in the Guardians organization. Ford is an athletic pitcher who already throws hard, but I think there's more in the tank that the organization can help him maximize, along with a powerful slider that should miss a lot of bats.
Pick: Jake Bennett, LHP, Oklahoma
Rationale: Lefthanders up to 95 with the sort of command he has shown at Oklahoma State seem like rare profiles. Perhaps nothing in his pitch mix will really wow you, but he throws everything for strikes, mixes and matches and his college performance is quite strong.
Pick: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State
Rationale: It's time to go value shopping again. To get Melton here is an excellent opportunity to nab a player who could go 20-25th with a pick near 40.
Pick: Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Rationale: Let's keep Dylan on the West Coast. Really like the value with this pick.
41. Red Sox
Pick: Jackson Cox, RHP, Toutle Lake HS, Toutle, Wash.
Rationale: Cox is an athletic righthander who pitches in the low-to-mid 90s and can touch 98 mph. That might be his second-best pitch, as he throws a curveball with tight rotation and sharp bite that earns future projections as a plus or better offering.
Pick: Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
Rationale: I've long been high on Cannon thanks to his command and delivery, and this spring he employed a cutter to great effect. I would not be surprised if a pro team was able to help him improve his secondaries a tick and find a better swing-and-miss pitch, but even without that he induces groundouts at a high clip and has excellent starter attributes.
Pick: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
Rationale: I didn't expect Jones to still be available at pick 43. Considering Carlos drafted Druw Jones for the D-backs at the top of the draft, this is an incredible embarrasment of outfield riches, but draft for talent.
Pick: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Rationale: Not the first time I have chosen Ferris in a BA mock. Lefthanded, good frame, athleticism, arm strength and stuff should allow him to start long term.
Pick: JR Ritchie, RHP, Bainbridge HS, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Rationale: There has been a run of good high school arms going off the board here over the last 20 or so picks. Ritchie fits in well with that group, pitching in the low-to-mid 90s, reaching higher on occasion with a starter look between his pitchability and three-pitch mix.
Pick: Malcolm Moore, C, McClatchy HS, Sacramento
Rationale: I have more confidence in the hit and power tools with Moore than most of the other bats still on the board. In the actual draft he could be a tough sign, but we don't have that problem to sort through in our staff draft.
Pick: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
Rationale: Beck has prototypical right field tools. There are some concerns as to whether he'll make enough contact, but as a second-round pick, the risk is exceeded by the potential reward.
Pick: Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas
Rationale: Melendez hit .387/.508/.863 with 32 home runs, 52 walks and 51 strikeouts in 315 plate appearances. Yes, he's a first baseman, and at 22 he's a touch older than most college players here. But he's not an all-or-nothing slugger either, and if you're looking for a hitter still available who could potentially mash in the middle of the lineup, Melendez is one of the best candidates to do so.
Pick: Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto (Calif.) HS
Rationale: I've heard some scouts say that Bolte's physicality and tools are the closest you will get to Elijah Green in this draft class. The hit tool is the big question, but I feel OK taking on that risk for the potential reward with the 50th overall selection.
Pick: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Rationale: Yet another of the many injured but promising college pitchers from this class, getting Pallette helps mollify some of the risk.
Pick: Cade Doughty, UTL, Louisiana State
Rationale: I have the feeling Doughty is still getting better, and he has the makeup to make the appropriate adjustments.
Pick: Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida
Rationale: After drafting two college hitters with their first picks here, the Padres land one of the many college pitchers who entered the year with higher aspirations but succumbed to Tommy John surgery. A lot of those other TJ arms scare me more due to their lack of track record or history of erratic control, but with Barco, you're getting a pitcher who has a history of throwing strikes and racking up strikeouts as a starter in the SEC.
Pick: Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell
Rationale: The Guardians would be a great fit for Thomas Harrington in real life thanks to his excellent command foundation. Nothing right now is plus for Harrington, but he's a more projectable college pitcher than you typically see with more strength gains coming, and he showed impressive feel for four pitches this spring. I think the changeup and slider both could become consistent above-average pitches.
Pick: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C.
Rationale: Toman faces some defensive questions, but defense is something pro teams often do a good job of developing, so this is a bet on a very talented hitter.
Pick: Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas
Rationale: Love this pick. Wallace brings multiple tools to the table that can play for a very long time.
Pick: Cameron Smith, SS, Palm Beach Central HS, Wellington, Fla.
Rationale: Smith has a promising combination of contact and impact, with the strength projection for that power to continue to climb. I like him more than some of the high school and college hitters with more swing-and-miss tendencies who were already off the board.
Pick: Sal Stewart, 3B, Westminster Christian HS, Miami
Rationale: Similar to my Malcolm Moore pick a few selections earlier, I am taking an offensive high school player with defensive questions but plenty of confidence in the hit and power tools. Like Moore, Stewart had a strong high school season in a good area for competition and has a solid amateur track record of hitting at a high level.
Pick: Parker Messick, LHP, Florida State
Rationale: Messick was one of the most effective starting pitchers in college baseball. If he can add a little more velocity to go with his exceptional feel, he could be a steal here.
60. Blue Jays
Pick: Dalton Rushing, C, Louisville
Rationale: Rushing brings power from the left side while providing solid defense behind the plate. Needed to add a catcher to my group and got a really good one here.
Pick: Adam Mazur, RHP, Iowa
Rationale: Mazur already has good stuff and track record, including last summer on the Cape. Just as intriguing, with the space on his frame to add more weight, it's possible his stuff could hit another uptick in pro ball.
62. White Sox
Pick: Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina
Rationale: It's really not a great year for shortstops, is it? We've only had eight shortstops selected before this pick and of that group I would say more than half are not likely to stick at the position in the long run. Brown has solid tools across the board, but it's his plate discipline skills I am selecting him for here.
Pick: Gavin Guidry, SS, Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.
Rationale: Guidry was an excellent pitcher in high school, but the thought is he'll be an even better hitter and shortstop if he gets to focus full-time on it in pro ball.
Pick: Mikey Romero, SS, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
Rationale: Romero fits a profile the Rays have a history of acquiring, with a sweet swing, good feel for hitting and a hit-over-power profile from a player who doesn't have explosive tools. There's risk that power never materializes, but Romero has one of the better swings and ability to control the barrel in the high school class.
Pick: Pete Hansen, LHP, Texas
Rationale: Almost all of the pitchers I have selected in this staff draft stand out for their command. Hansen is no different and has some of the best strike-throwing ability in the draft class. Yes, the stuff is light, but he finds a way to make it work and is coming off a fantastic season with Texas. Teams can increase stuff much easier than they can increase command. In the right organization, I think Hansen could really take some massive steps forward.
One Gut-Feel Pick (not in top 100)
Ben: Eli Jerzembeck, RHP, Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.
Rationale: There's a lot of good clay to mold with Jerzembeck. His fastball is typically in the low 90s and will bump 95, with the strength potential where there could be more coming. His ability to manipulate his secondary stuff is what intrigues me, especially his curveball with tight rotation.
Carlos: Michael Knorr, RHP, Coastal Carolina
Rationale: Knorr was a strong strike thrower during his years with Cal State Fullerton, but this spring he showed much better stuff across the board. His fastball was firmer and his breaking stuff had more bite—resulting in the best season of his career with Coastal Carolina this spring. If that sticks around I think he could wind up being a sneaky good pick.
JJ: Ben Metzinger, 3B, Louisville
Rationale: Metzinger is one of the many players whose draft status was dinged by the pandemic. He's an excellent senior sign who should be a plus defender at third base with the potential to hit as well.
Tom: Trey Lipscomb, INF, Tennessee
Rationale: Let's put age aside. I believe Lipscomb is going to move quick in the right organization. He's still getting better and can be a nice steal in this draft.