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2022 MLB Draft: Baseball America Staff Draft V 1.0



For the fifth year at Baseball America, we’re putting staffers in big league war rooms.

Below you can see how the 2022 first round would unfold if seven BA writers—Ben Badler, Carlos Collazo, JJ Cooper, Tom Lipari, Savannah McCann, Chris Trenkle and Geoff Pontes—were making the decisions for teams.

Keep in mind this is not a mock draft. We aren’t picking what we think teams will do, but making selections as if we were the decision makers for each of the teams.

We’ll continue to go through this exercise as the 2022 draft approaches.

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1. Orioles 
Player: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga. 
Writer: Geoff Pontes

Rationale: Our top player in the 2022 draft class, Jones has the pedigree, tools, and bloodlines to develop into a superstar center fielder similar to his father—Braves great Andruw Jones. The Orioles have gone under slot in the top 10 the past two seasons, but buying on a talent like Jones at the top of the draft is too tough to pass up.

2. D-Backs 
Player: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. 
Writer: Tom Lipari

Rationale: I simply couldn't pass on the overall tool set and potential Green brings to the table. Once Green settled in this spring, he's shown why he belongs amongst the elite of this draft class. He’s a potential franchise talent.

3. Rangers 
Player:
Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta 
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: I think Johnson is the best high school hitter in the country. It's a beautiful lefthanded swing with explosive bat speed and huge raw power that's startling to see from a player who's around 5-foot-8. That size might scare other teams this high in the draft, but who cares when he already has this type of power? I could see a future 7 hit, 7 power player, and with the emphasis the Rangers have put on bat-driven players in recent years, I think there's a potential organizational fit here too.

4. Pirates 
Player:
Brooks Lee, SS , Cal Poly 
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I expected to have my choice of the college class knowing who was picking in front of me. Termarr was never getting past Ben, so with this pick for the Pirates I was thinking about Lee, Kevin Parada and Dylan Lesko. Parada makes less sense for the Pirates after taking Henry Davis a year ago, and in the end I was too gun shy to take Lesko—who probably has the most pure upside on the board here—over a player like Lee, who is mashing (.402/.503/.693, 7 HR, 17 2B, 30 BB, 10 K).

5. Nationals 
Player:
Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: There remain questions about Parada's defense at catcher. It's improved but he still has work to do. But if robo-umps arrive, that's a much smaller issue, and his bat is one of the best in the class.

6. Marlins 
Player:
Jacob Berry, 3B/1B, Louisiana State 
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: The Marlins desperately need an impact bat in their system, and Berry is as good of an impact bat as any player in the class.

7. Cubs 
Player:
Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS 
Writer: Savannah McCann

Rationale: Two things are certain. One, Lesko is the top pitching prospect in this year's draft. Two, the Cubs need pitching. With those two facts in mind, I had an easy selection at No. 7.

8. Twins
Player: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona 
Writer: Geoff Pontes

Rationale: I may be the only person on Earth who thinks Susac versus Parada is a debate, but in my mind it is. There's serious juice in the profile and he has a better chance to stick behind the plate than Parada does. He was a freshman All-American in 2021 and is one of the best hitters in the country as a sophomore, hitting .386/.435/.627.

9. Royals
Player: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech 
Writer: Tom Lipari

Rationale: I’m delighted to draft Jung at No. 9! I love the natural hit ability with strength to all fields. Defensively, I expect Jung to stay on the dirt until he proves otherwise.

10. Rockies 
Player: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison 
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: I'm torn here between Cam Collier and DeLauter. I love Collier's swing, his approach and his ability to drive the ball with what looks like effortless power. It's a similar vibe to seeing Rafael Devers at the same age. DeLauter, though, has an excellent mix of tools and track record. He looked great on the Cape last summer and has carried that over this spring, with the contact, damage and on-base skills to play in the middle of a lineup.

11. Mets
Player: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS 
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: If you know me, you know I'm a sucker for high school shortstops and I got the best one in the class here, in a spot that fits his talent. Holliday has bat-to-ball skills, developing power, athleticism, solid defense at the position, more projection remaining, big league bloodlines and a lefthanded bat. What's not to like?

12. Tigers
Player: Kumar Rocker, RHP, No School  
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: Yes, this is a truly wild card pick but this is a tough spot in the draft right now. The best college bats are solid performers, not standouts. The best prep bats are already off the board and it's hard to find a college pitcher who fits at 12. So how about taking a pitcher who would have seemed like a steal at 12 at this time last year.

13. Angels 
Player: Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (Ill.) East HS 
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Schultz has trended up all season and I like the potential of his fastball/breaking ball/changeup combination.

14. Mets 
Player: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC 
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: I am a bit surprised that both Gavin Cross and Jordan Beck are still available in this spot. I thought long and hard about taking both players, leaning more towards Cross. In the end, Collier's youth, hitting ability and power potential have me too enamored and, like Holliday, the big league bloodlines are a nice bonus. It's just hard for me to pass up a 17-year-old who is hitting .333/.431/.525 with seven home runs, 25 walks and 30 strikeouts at one of the better junior college programs in the country. He definitely wasn’t getting back to my next pick. I also briefly considered grabbing a college arm in this range, but that doesn't really make sense to me here given how the class is shaping up and the bats who are still available—I thought Rocker in front of this spot was a bit of a reach and am higher on the bats available than JJ seems to be.

15. Padres 
Player: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. 
Writer: Savannah McCann

Rationale: Young is viewed as one of the best pure hitters in the class and has solid defensive skills. He needs some time to grow and get stronger, meaning it will be some time before he is ready for the bigs. I hesitated going shortstop with this pick, but with his lefty bat and potential—l'll take my chances.

16. Guardians
Player: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech 
Writer: Geoff Pontes

Rationale: This is the steal of the draft so far for me. Big league exit velocities with plus contact rates, and Cross has the ability to play all three outfield spots. How many players in the draft have an 82% contact rate with a 90th percentile exit velocity north of 109 mph? Very few.

17. Phillies
Player: Jackson Ferris, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. 
Writer: Tom Lipari

Rationale: Along with Schultz, Ferris is one of the most dynamic prep lefties in the country, with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus breaker and feel for a changeup. Experience and fine-tuning are all that's left on his journey to the show.

18. Reds 
Player: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas 
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: Carlos and Savannah are out here shattering dreams with the Mets and Padres taking Cam Collier and Cole Young with back-to-back picks before I could get two of my favorite pure hitters in this draft I was targeting here. I'm happy to audible here to Crawford, a premium athlete with an elite tool in his outstanding speed. The wheels and bloodlines (he's the son of Carl Crawford) stick out right away, but when I saw Crawford I really liked his bat control and surprising raw power given his slender frame, with more likely coming once he gets stronger.

19. A's
Player: Cade Doughty, 2B, Louisiana State 
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: In this spot I feel a bit obligated to take one of Brock Porter, Jordan Beck or Brandon Barriera. Those are the top players available on the board, but there is just something about Cade Doughty's swing that I can't quit. It's so easy and his approach is so advanced to me, plus he has started hitting for more power this spring. I think I am passing up some upside here, but I feel confident I'm getting a big leaguer.

20. Braves 
Player: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee 
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: The A's picked my pocket as I wanted to take Doughty. Beck physically is everything one could ask for in a right fielder. I just wish he was not being outperformed by many of his Volunteer teammates.

21. Mariners
Player: Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas 
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: Moore provides a long-term option for the Mariners at second base, and I love the potential of a middle infield duo with Moore and Noelvi Marte.

Kevin Parada Courtesygeorgiatech3

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22. Cardinals 
Player: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama 
Writer: Savannah McCann

Rationale: Tommy John surgery pushed Prielipp way down the draft board, however his talent is undeniable. He has a chance to throw before the draft which gives me more confidence in this pick. If he can get back to pre-injury form, the Cardinals run away with a ton of talent at No. 22—but for now, that remains a big if.

23. Blue Jays
Player: Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State  
Writer: Geoff Pontes

Rationale: If it were not for an unfortunate injury, Sims may have been the first college pitcher off the board in July. He sits mid 90s on his fastball and can run it up to 98 mph at peak, with plus vertical break and a flat vertical approach angle. The injury will certainly push him down the draft board but as we've seen in recent seasons betting on injured college stars isn't the worst strategy.

24. Red Sox 
Player: Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida 
Writer: Tom Lipari

Rationale: Solid, pitchability lefty with history of success in the SEC. Safe pick and quick mover through any system.

25. Yankees
Player: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. 
Writer: Ben Badler

Rationale: There are a bunch of quality high school pitchers to choose from who are still on the board here at the back of the first round. The best of the group still available for me is Barriera, a lefty with a power fastball, innate feel to spin his breaking stuff to get swing and miss, and a changeup that he shows feel for as well.

26. White Sox 
Player: J.T. Williams, SS/OF, Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas 
Writer: Carlos Collazo

Rationale: Have you seen J.T. Williams' swing? It's gorgeous. He was a standout performer at last summer's Area Code Games and this spring he's only added more strength. His is one of my favorite swings in the class and I’m making an upside play here with a hitter instead of one of the many pitchers who could make sense in this range. I could regret passing on Brock Porter or Blade Tidwell, but give me a dynamic middle-of-the-field Texan with a 60-grade name.

27. Brewers
Player: Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich. 
Writer: JJ Cooper

Rationale: It's not all that unusual for a prep pitcher to slide in the draft compared to our pre-draft ranking. If Porter is available at pick 28 in the real draft, it would be excellent value.

28. Astros 
Player: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee 
Writer: Chris Trenkle

Rationale: The Astros have a good record of developing pitchers and Tidwell has one of the best track records of any college pitcher in the 2022 draft class. I'm happy to get him here.

29. Rays
Player: Walter Ford, RHP, Pace (Fla.) HS 
Writer: Savannah McCann

Rationale: The Rays drafting a young pitcher from Florida? Groundbreaking. Tampa is known for developing pitchers and Ford (who won't turn 18 until December) is one of the youngest ranked players in the draft class. His fastball and slider are already above-average for his age group, and I would love to see what this organization can do with him.

30. Giants 
Player: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State 
Writer: Geoff Pontes

Rationale: A low-slot lefty with an interesting pitch mix, Hjerpe's fastball has a vertical approach angle flatter than Jack Leiter's. He does not, however, have Leiter's velocity and is sitting around 91 mph in 2022. He mixes his fastball with two pitches with dynamic horizontal movement to each side of the plate in his sweepy slider and hard-running changeup. With the recent velocity gains of college pitchers in pro ball, Hjerpe's weakness doesn't seem to be the deterrent it once was.

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