2022 Baseball America Two-Round Staff Draft
With the 2022 draft less than a month away we put together a two-round staff draft, with analysis of all 66 picks. Carlos Collazo, Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Savannah McCann, Tom Lipari, Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes and Chris Hilburn-Trenkle participated in the staff draft.
|No.||Round||Team||2022 Slot Values||Writer|
Pick: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.
Rationale: Jones at No. 1 just makes sense. He is the industry’s consensus top prospect in the class, and for good reason. His defensive skills are among the best in the class. He has the tools to develop into an all-star center fielder—like his father Andruw Jones.
Pick: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Rationale: The vision of Lawlar at shortstop and Green in center field is beyond exciting.
Pick: Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta
Rationale: I would take Johnson if I had the No. 1 overall pick. It’s a sweet lefthanded swing with great bat control, premium bat speed and the upside for a 7 hit, 7 power player if everything comes together.
Pick: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS
Rationale: Best player available at this point, I believe, and I tend to skew toward upside over safey, hence Holliday over Lee.
Pick: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Rationale: With the four upside high school players in front of me this pick was between Brooks Lee and Kevin Parada. I am happy with both bats, but my personal favorite of the two is Parada, who has done it with more power in the ACC and has a chance to stick at the toughest position on the diamond.
Pick: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Rationale: Switch-hitting power with the ability to play on the left side of the infield. Even if Lee ends up at third base long term the Marlins have plenty of middle infield options.
Pick: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC
Rationale: I love the idea of adding Collier to a Cubs system that has some exciting bats at the top, including Brennen Davis, Cristian Hernandez, PCA and Kevin Alcantara.
Pick: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Rationale: My pocket was picked with the Cam Collier selection, but Jung is an excellent consolation prize.
Pick: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Rationale: Cross has arguably the best raw power from a college bat in the draft. He's been consistant for the Hokies and continued to develop this season. The Royals could add outfield depth to their system, but the lefthanded power is why you are drafting Cross at No. 9.
Pick: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Rationale: Backed up the hype with an All-American-worthy year. Love the thought of an offensive catcher in Colorado, joining Drew Romo. Simply couldn't pass this prospect up.
Pick: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa.
Rationale: The Mets are bat driven, and there are few players more hitterish than Young. He has a chance to stick at shortstop with a potential plus bat, good strike-zone awareness and power that should play up because of how frequently he finds the barrel.
Pick: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Rationale: Tommy John surgery or not, Lesko's arm is special, and I would move heaven and earth to get him in my system.
Pick: Jett Williams, SS/OF, Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas
Rationale: I'm tempted to grab Jacob Berry, but I have long been a huge fan of Jett Williams and his swing. I know if I don't take him here I won't get a chance with my next pick, so I'll pass on the safer option and take a chance on more upside.
Pick: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Rationale: Led by a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider, Hughes was the ace of the Zags staff. His physicality, loud stuff and projectability make him one of the survivors of the college pitching class, maintaining health and production throughout the spring.
Pick: Jacob Berry, 1B/3B, Louisiana State
Rationale: It's safe to say the Eric Hosmer contract hasn't worked out great for the Padres. Here they get one of the top impact bats in the draft and a player who slots right in at first base in the lineup.
Pick: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Rationale: For this exercise, we pick based on talent, not team fit, but man, Neto fits the Guardians profile as a middle infielder with bat-to-ball skills.
Pick: Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.
Rationale: The Phillies have gone high school pitching in the first round the last two years, and 2022 will continue that trend with another prep arm.
Pick: Peyton Graham, 3B/SS, Oklahoma
Rationale: He's earned his way here. Along with his overall projection, I love the range he's showing at shortstop in the College World Series.
Pick: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
Rationale: Elite athlete, elite runner and an exciting player to watch, but I wouldn’t be taking Crawford here if I didn’t believe in his hitting ability as well. I like what I have seen from his contact skills and I think there’s more power that could come as he fills out his long, wiry frame.
Pick: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (Frontier League)
Rationale: I've already added one risky arm to my haul (Dylan Lesko), so why not another? Rocker's as big a wild card on the board as can be, and I'm willing to bet I've turned over an ace.
Pick: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
Rationale: I view a clear tier break between Crawford, Rocker and Delauter and then the next group of players available on the board—so DeLauter is the pick. The small conference bat is a bit concerning for me, but I think at this point in the draft, DeLauter's college and Cape production, plus his physicality and tools, make for a solid choice. I'd rather get a bat like this than gamble on the best arms available, though I was tempted to grab Robby Snelling.
Pick: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
Rationale: A case can be made that Hjerpe had the best season of any college pitcher this spring. While Hjerpe lacks power on his three-pitch mix, his combination of unusual release traits and movement make him an analytical darling.
23. Blue Jays
Pick: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Reno, Nev.
Rationale: The Blue Jays haven't taken a prep pitcher in the first round since Phil Bickford in 2013, who did not sign, but I like the idea of them grabbing Snelling here. With a pair of above-average or better offerings and plus control from the left side he could wind up being a steal at 23.
24. Red Sox
Pick: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
Rationale: I didn't expect to still see Gilbert on the board at this spot. He's an extremely productive baseball rat.
Pick: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Rationale: The Yankees have focused on college bats in recent drafts, but there is something about Barriera. This spring, he peaked at 98-99 mph, leaving no questions about his power behind the fastball.
26. White Sox
Pick: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
Rationale: Love the overall repertoire, and he'll only get better. I believe he can be a quick mover.
Pick: Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (Ill.) East HS
Rationale: I thought about Landon Sims here, but Schultz is too good to let slip away. The Brewers normally go with a bat in the first round, but the last two times they made an exception it was for lefties, and they’ve done well developing them recently with Aaron Ashby and the resurgence of Antoine Kelly. Schultz has electric upside. He's a 6-foot-9 lefthander with good body control and a potential wipeout fastball/slider combination.
Pick: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Rationale: Sensing a theme with my picks yet? The specter of the scalpel is muted by the intrigue of the upside.
Pick: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida
Rationale: I am perfectly happy to let pitchers come off the board in between my picks. I personally prefer Thompson of the toolsy group of college outfielders available, because of his long track record as a good hitter and his performance in the SEC against as much velocity as anyone here. Hitting .330/.446/.509 in conference play is encouraging for me and I think there's untapped power potential as well.
Pick: Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Rationale: Prior to his injury Sims was trending into the top 10 overall, so I'm happy to snatch him up with the last pick of the first round.
Pick: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
Rationale: Not a lot of great options for me here, but I like the idea of pairing Jones' power with Coors Field.
Pick: Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Rationale: Whisenhunt was considered one of the best college pitchers in the draft class, he just didn't get to show it during the college season after he was declared ineligible because of a positive drug test. This is the range where the reward outweighs the risk.
Pick: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Rationale: After taking a position player with their first pick, the Orioles will look to add an arm with this pick. Ferris is a good fit and boy, would it be fun to watch him develop with the other pitchers in Baltimore's system.
Pick: Ryan Cermak, OF, Illinois State
Rationale: I really like the overall tool set Cermak brings to the table. He reminds me of Aaron Rowand.
Pick: Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS, Baltimore, Ohio
Rationale: Miller has an innate feel to spin his breaking stuff that should lead to a high strikeout rate in pro ball. Seeing his velocity jump a few ticks this spring adds more power to his arsenal as well.
Pick: Walter Ford, RHP, Pace (Fla.) HS
Rationale: Ford reclassified into the 2022 class, and I covet both youth and pitching, so this fits my desires perfectly.
Pick: Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas
Rationale: A player with Melendez's profile is typically not my cup of tea, but he's absolutely hammered the baseball the last two seasons and was arguably the best hitter in the country this spring. I love that he has massive raw power with a hit-first approach.
Pick: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
Rationale: Beck has the sort of body, power and raw tools the Rockies generally value highly. He's a name that had been mentioned among the top 20 or so prospects in this class as recently as a month ago, so I'm happy to take the Vols slugger here.
Pick: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Rationale: If not for injury, Pallette would surely not be available by pick 39. I like the idea of pairing him with the Padres, allowing him to slowly build up innings before eventually taking a spot in the back of the rotation.
Pick: Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas
Rationale: As we dive into the second round, the differences between players gets smaller. Wallace is an excellent defensive third baseman with promising offensive upside as well.
41. Red Sox
Pick: Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Rationale: If a team is going to bet on a player's upside, it is going to be the Red Sox. With some adjustments to his swing and stance, he has the chance to be an everyday outfielder who hits 30 home runs.
Pick: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State
Rationale: I envision a quick mover in Campbell with his advanced feel for pitching. He pounds the zone with strong offspeed stuff.
Pick: Andrew Dutkanych, RHP, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, Indianapolis
Rationale: This range is a sweet spot for high school pitching, with the most polished hitters gone but a slew of promising young arms still available. I’ll go with Dutkanych, who has a good mix of power behind his fastball and feel to spin his breaking stuff.
Pick: Reggie Crawford, LHP, Connecticut
Rationale: Give me all the wild cards. Crawford played two ways at Connecticut but had his season wiped out by Tommy John. At his best, his fastball runs up to 99 from the left side. I'll take a chance on that kind of velocity all day.
Pick: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State
Rationale: I still haven't dipped as much into the high school class as I would like, but Jacob Melton still being on the board is too much to pass up. I think he's in the same tier as other college outfielders who are long gone like Drew Gilbert, Brock Jones, Dylan Beavers, Jordan Beck, Sterlin Thompson and Ryan Cermak.
Pick: Adam Mazur, RHP, Iowa
Rationale: With a strong combination of pitchability and stuff, Mazur proved his talent by making the jump from South Dakota State to Iowa this spring. He possesses a deep arsenal of pitches and was good for me last summer on the Cape.
Pick: Drew Thorpe, RHP, Cal Poly
Rationale: The polished 6-foot-4 righthander could be one of the quickest pitchers to reach the big leagues in the 2022 class thanks to his plus control and a pair of promising secondaries.
Pick: Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell
Rationale: Harrington fits the profile of a college arm who demonstrates present control and command, but could take a step forward if a pro team can help him add more velocity.
Pick: Josh Kasevich, SS, Oregon
Rationale: Kasevich is a reliable defensive player, rarely committing errors. The Royals have a history of drafting some suprises and this could be one. With some slight tweaks to his swing to tap back into his power, he could be exactly the type of player the Royals could develop.
Pick: Cole Phillips, RHP, Boerne (Texas) HS
Rationale: Similar to what Josh mentioned about Lesko in the first, Phillips is recovering from Tommy John now and I'm excited to see him work back to where he was this spring. He's an electric arm.
Pick: Jackson Cox, RHP, Toutle Lake HS, Toutle, Wash.
Rationale: The Tigers are building a monopoly of high school righthanders named Jackson who can spin 3,000-plus rpm breaking balls. I’m a little surprised he’s still here, too, with a fastball that can get up to 98 mph and a potential knockout curveball to miss bats.
Pick: Ben Joyce, RHP, Tennessee
Rationale: The hardest throwing amateur pitcher of all time? Sounds like a good starting point to me!
Pick: Malcolm Moore, C, McClatchy HS, Sacramento
Rationale: Two potential 60s for hit and power? That's all I need to hear at this point in the draft.
Pick: Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
Rationale: I love the value I'm getting with Jones, who's a player with big up-arrows next to his draft stock. He's a tremendous athlete with huge raw power.
Pick: Owen Murphy, RHP/SS, Riverside-Brookfield HS, Riverside, Ill.
Rationale: I'll take Murphy here, who has an intriguing mix of pitches that includes an above-average fastball, a plus curveball with hard break and two average pitches with a changeup and cutter to go with above-average control.
Pick: Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto (Calif.) HS
Rationale: Bolte's swing-and-miss issues would make him risky as a first-round pick for a team, but as a second-round pick, his defense, power and speed are fascinating.
Pick: Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
Rationale: One of the highest ranking collegiate players to go unselected in the 2021 draft, Cannon went back to Georgia this season with something to prove. In a year with not a ton of depth in the college pitching class, this spot makes sense for the righty.
Pick: Jake Bennett, LHP, Oklahoma
Rationale: The big lefty took a big step forward this spring, physically coming into his own. Bennett's three-pitch mix is equally tough on both lefthanded and righthanded hitters.
Pick: JR Ritchie, RHP, Bainbridge HS, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Rationale: With the big bats off the board, landing a high-end prep arm here is the way to go. I like the uptick in peak velocity Ritchie has shown this spring, the potential for his slider to miss a lot of bats and his history of throwing strikes.
60. Blue Jays
Pick: Nazier Mule, RHP/SS, Passaic County Tech HS, Wayne, N.J.
Rationale: Mule is an athletic righthander with huge velocity. I'll add him to my collection of pitching prowess.
Pick: Xavier Isaac, 1B, East Forsyth HS, Kernersville, N.C.
Rationale: Enough with safe bats I feel comfortable with. How about a hitter who is extremely exciting but also a bit scary? Isaac has gargantuan power and has shown some good hitting traits as well. If he played on the circuit more last summer we could be talking about him in a much different light this spring—for better or for worse. I'm finishing off the draft with a swing for the fences. (I think the Yankees might actually like him, too.)
62. White Sox
Pick: Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina
Rationale: One of my favorite players in the draft, Brown is a tooled-up middle infielder with a knack for finding the barrel. Despite an unorthodox setup at the plate, Brown has done nothing but hit during his collegiate career, including a star turn last summer with Cotuit in the Cape Cod League.
Pick: Cade Doughty, 3B, Louisiana State
Rationale: Doughty has an impressive track record as a standout hitter in college baseball's toughest conference over the last two years, and I think he should move quickly through the minors and eventually help a Brewers lineup that needs more quality bats.
Pick: Max Wagner, 3B, Clemson
Rationale: Wagner wouldn't have come close to being in consideration at this spot coming into the season. But now, it may be a steal to get one of the country's best hitters in 2022 at pick 64.
Pick: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C.
Rationale: Toman impressed this spring, but is still very young which sometimes shows up at the plate. With some reps and development with Tampa, the switch-hitting high schooler could be a fun addition to the Rays organization.
Pick: Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida
Rationale: I love the fastball and Sproat's feel for his secondaries. He still has upside left, making me think I got a steal here at No. 66.
Druw Jones Sees Brighter Days Ahead With D-backs
The second overall pick suffered a shoulder injury shortly after signing and had season-ending surgery.
Carlos Collazo, Chris Hilburn-Trenkle and Josh Norris break down their favorite picks, least favorite picks and biggest surprises from the two-round draft.
Whose picks (outside of your own) do you like the most and why?
CC: Ben’s players are exciting. I am typically more in the heavy high school bucket that he was in during this draft, but for whatever reason some college players fell into my lap. I like him being aggressive on Termarr up front and getting both Cole Young and Justin Crawford in the middle of the first as well. His heavy prep arms strategy with his later picks is risky, but man I love all of the pitchers he took.
CHT: I loved Josh’s Kumar Rocker pick at 20. Assuming Rocker’s medicals check out, the Braves are getting the best non-prep pitcher in the class and a guy who was in the running for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft. Imagine Rocker pairing with Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka in Atlanta’s rotation. He also got great upside with Lesko at 12 and Prielipp at 28.
JN: It’s really hard to argue with Druw Jones and Brock Porter, which is where Savannah went with her first and third picks. Gavin Cross has a ton of power, too, so he makes for a nice middle of the three-pick sandwich.
Whose picks (including your own) do you like the least and why?
CC: I loved Josh getting Jackson Holliday at 4 and I personally am with him on Dylan Lesko at 12, but he went a bit too risky for me in his draft. I wouldn’t mind sneaking a few Kumar Rockers or Connor Prielipps into my portfolio of players, but getting both of them on top of a Lesko and a Reggie Crawford, and then also taking a college middle reliever who throws 101 and a high school righthander with big velo? It’s a lot of big stuff, but man this group scares me. I would’ve liked to see him get more balance with other demographics.
CHT: Josh thrives on madness in these exercises, and that’s exactly what his Ben Joyce pick is at 52. If the Mets are going to take a college pitcher at that spot, it should be a starter, especially with guys like Georgia’s Jonathan Cannon, Oklahoma’s Jake Bennett and Florida’s Brandon Sproat available. I already regret taking Brock Jones over Carson Whisenhunt, due to the fact that Whisenhunt’s profile is really intriguing and the Rockies could use more pitching.
JN: Here’s where I’ll acknowledge the wrath of my madness. The draft’s pitching class is weak, yes, but it seems that a great deal of that has to do with a lot of the top arms getting injured rather than a lack of talent. Seeing this, after Holliday, I decided to go with as many high-end arms as possible. Pitching development is absurdly good these days, so I figured once my stable of arms finish their various rehabs, I have a chance to be left with an absolute motherlode of guys who would have gone a lot higher if they’d stayed healthy. Once they get into my hypothetical pitching development program and iron out their wrinkles, well, look out, opposing hitters.
What was your favorite pick?
CC: I liked Tom getting Peyton Graham in the middle of the first. That was a bat I was hoping to get with one of my next two picks and while I was a bit surprised he went that early, it was more of a “good on you” surprise for picking my pocket. Graham has really grown on me and he’s performing at the right time in the postseason.
CHT: For some reason Drew Gilbert just feels like the kind of guy who would fit well in Boston, what with his swagger and his impressive tool set. I think that fit could lead to multiple all-star selections.
JN: I liked JJ’s pick of Zach Neto at 16 to Cleveland. One of the knocks on Neto, it seems, has to do with the questions surrounding his raw power. He plays at Campbell, which—at least when the Astros had their High-A team there—had a way of knocking down power. Yordan Alvarez had just three homers during the 57 games he played there a few years back, and nobody would question his power. Scouts even had a term for it, saying a player got “Creeked” when a well-struck fly ball would fall surprisingly short.
Who was the most surprising pick of the draft?
CC: For me it was the Ben Joyce pick at 52. At that point on the board there were plenty of bats and arms I would take over Joyce—Jonathan Cannon and Jake Bennnett are two notable names who went right after—and I just feel like a high-risk college reliever is too rich at this spot. More upside with less risk was still on the board—though admittedly no better velocity.
CHT: Savannah’s pick of Brock Porter at 17 surprised me a bit, given the fact that the Phillies have already gone with a prep righthander in the last two years, but it looks like they struck gold with both. Porter has a chance to join the duo at the top of the Philadelphia system immediately.