2022 MLB Mock Draft Version 1.0
With the college baseball season looming on the horizon, we figured it was as good a time as any to drop our first full mock for the 2022 draft.
As always with mock drafts released this early, it’s important to emphasize that this is much more of a thought exercise for entertainment purposes and to see how the class is shaping up today. We have a full six months before the Orioles will make the first selection of the draft and teams among the top 10 haven’t come close to bearing down on who they are likely to pick yet—let alone the 20 clubs behind them.
Much will change between now and draft day. It happens every year and 2022 will be no different. Still, we love the draft at Baseball America and we know you do as well. So we’ve enlisted a scout to help create this mock draft and alternate picks with me, attempting to make the best selections for each team given the talent on the board and whatever information we feel we might have on team tendencies.
Our scout makes the first pick and has every odd-numbered pick in the draft. I will pick second and have every even-numbered pick.
Related: Top 100 Draft Prospects
1. Orioles — Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.
Scout’s take: A five-tool prospect, all being future plus to plus-plus. Regardless of how it gets done, he will hit. Jones has a high ceiling, and will only get bigger and stronger with so much remaining to fill out the frame. Scouting from the middle of the field first, he definitely stays there in center. He will have plus power, be a perennial gold glover, and is a better runner than his father.
Carlos’ take: When I can, I love to defer the first overall pick just to see who our insiders view as the top choice. It’s not a surprise to see Druw’s name here. He’s the No. 1 player on our board and it feels like his profile appeals strongly to a wider range of evaluators than the other prep hitters who I expect to go quickly. With the Orioles, though, it’s always worth considering an under slot option here. They love to spread money around. Tricky to make that move in a February mock, however.
2. D-Backs — Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta
Carlos’ take: With Druw off the board in front, this is a no-brainer for me and I think it pairs nicely with the sort of hitter the D-backs have selected in recent years—guys like Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, Matt McLain, Ryan Bliss—standout pure hit tool bats and often smaller players with short levers. Johnson fits that to a tee and is the best pure hitting prospect of that entire group by a fair margin. A middle infield combo of Johnson and Jordan Lawlar would be a lot of fun to see.
Scout’s take: Advanced bat, well beyond his years. The most handsy hitter in the draft. He projects to get to plus power due to his plus-plus hit tool, regardless of his stature. In four of the last six drafts, Arizona signed a pitcher in the first round, but not in the top 10 picks. I think the D-backs go bat here, where Termarr will be an offensive performing second baseman. Lawlar/Johnson up the middle will be a good combo in the big leagues for Arizona.
3. Rangers — Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Scout’s take: There’s a chance to repeat 2017 where three high schoolers went 1-2-3. The five-tool package is rare, and since Druw Jones is gone, Green is the next five-tooler to grab. Big power profile here in a large 18-year-old frame. He’ll add a little more to the near maxed frame and move to right field with big impact in the middle of a lineup. Dad was an NFL tight end, so it’s not hard to see Elijah preserving athleticism as his body matures. Texas doesn’t have much pitching at the top of its system and Lesko looks like a No. 1 starter, but I think they take the five-tool power guy with future 70 power over the high school righty profile.
Carlos’ take: I could see Green going here purely on talent and upside, but I do think this pick feels more like a previous Rangers’ regime than the current one. It can be tricky to separate the signal from the noise when analyzing draft tendencies based on draft position and how the talent fluctuates year to year, but certainly there has been a shift in philosophy with Texas. That makes me wonder if it would be more interested in a college performing bat here. Still, I am a sucker for tools and upside so I like the pick.
4. Pirates — Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Carlos’ take: I said I was a sucker for tools and I did consider James Madison outfielder Chase DeLauter here because of that. In the end, I chickened out and went with arguably the best pure hitter in the college class and a player who is going to provide infield value in some capacity. I have no clue which direction the Pirates could be going or whether or not they will continue to try and get an under-slot deal near the top of the draft and move money to later picks a la 2021. I really like Dylan Lesko, but I wonder if he makes more sense at the next pick to a team like Washington.
Scout’s take: That would have surprised me if you took DeLauter this high. He is interesting though, considering the above-average and plus run times guys have on him, with such a large frame. But Lee has always hit, and hit especially well on the Cape. That's a good choice. Profiling as a future 2B/3B, and with Hayes and Gonzalez as young pieces already primed for the bigs at those positions in the organization, Lee will provide another great asset for them to create more depth and value. This is a safe pick, with his high floor, the instincts and aptitude of a coach’s son. Just being around the game his whole life at a high level like that will push him up quickly.
5. Nationals — Jacob Berry, 3B/1B, Louisiana State
Scout’s take: Hmmm, you mentioned Lesko here, and I did think hard about it. My thinking with this pick was looking at their recent drafts and their system, besides Brady House last year, they have gone pitcher in four of the last five first-round picks. They haven't picked this high since Anthony Rendon at No. 6 in 2011, and you see how that turned out. They have a lot of pitching at the top of their system. They need bats and Berry fits here, regardless of the defensive inconsistencies, but hopefully he improves at third base at LSU this season. We could be seeing a switch-hitting plus-plus hit/power combo in the future. The Nats may be looking at Berry playing the opposite corner of House in the big leagues or DHing since it will be universal. You can figure out the position later, but you can't pass up the bat now.
Carlos’ take: If Lee isn’t the best pure hitter in the college class I would assume that title goes to Berry based on the results of our best tools ballots. Even after what he’s done already with the bat, I think Berry has a solid shot to boost his stock. If he puts up similar numbers in the SEC teams will love it and as you mentioned he’s going to be playing third base. Even if he looks fringy there I think teams would have a lot more comfort in the profile. At the end of the day, hitting is the most important tool and Berry is a fantastic hitter.
6. Marlins — Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Carlos’ take: I feel like Jung’s talent just fits nicely here. His production as a college infielder is extremely loud and the hit/power combination he offers from the left side is exciting to me. The swing is a bit unorthodox and I don’t know how much defensive value he will necessarily provide, but I think he’s the bat I have the most confidence in at this point with Johnson, Lee and Berry off the board. I probably would have taken Jung before Berry as well, so that makes this decision a bit easier though it would be fun to see Dylan Lesko with Miami’s pitching development group.
Scout’s take: If you didn't take him here, I would have told you that I had Jung on my board here at six. I had him on my list right here with the Marlins. Wow, we have the same top six guys. Not too much difference than Berry here. Maybe one grade lower on the hit/power combo and the fact that Berry is a switch hitter. Jung is playing second now but looks like he’ll move to first base like Berry will and focus more on putting up big numbers.
7. Cubs — Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Scout’s take: The Cubs look to add more pitching depth with Lesko, the best pitcher in the draft. It’s tempting to take the lefthanded college bats of DeLauter, Gavin Cross, or Brock Jones over a high school righty, but I don’t think you pass up Lesko and his type of stuff. He possesses the rare combo of a plus-plus fastball, plus curveball, and plus plus changeup to go with an exceptionally smooth delivery and ability to command all three pitches. Lesko makes it look easy at the age of 18, and fills up the zone. Gatorade national player of the year as a junior? Let’s not overthink this one.
Carlos’ take: Yeah, I am not sure what the criticism of Lesko is beyond the fact that he is a high school righthander. At the moment the top pitching prospect in baseball—Orioles righthander Grayson Rodriguez—came from that demographic as well, so it’s not like you never hit on it. It’s such an impressive overall tool set, track record of performance, body, delivery and arm stroke. His changeup is one of the best changeups I’ve seen from a prep arm and he has the fastball life and feel for spin you want to see as well. At this point it’s hard to see another arm in this class coming off the board before Lesko does. He’s ahead of where Jackson Jobe was sitting on boards at the same time last year as well—I wonder what his true ceiling in the draft is going to be.
8. Twins — Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
Carlos’ take: OK, I thought about DeLauter at a few previous picks and I think No. 8 is far enough to let him slide. I’ve talked with some evaluators who would consider him as the top overall player in the class given his tool set and his performance on the Cape. I am not sure how the Twins specifically will weigh his small conference background, but I have to imagine their model likes his contact ability and zone recognition skills. He’s not an absolute lock to be a corner guy either, like some of their recent college picks have been.
Scout’s take: He can hit. He has power. He can “currently” run, regardless of the large frame. As he gets closer to the bigs, I see him putting on more weight as he concentrates on hitting for power. DeLauter performed well on the Cape. He's playing center field right now at JMU but I see him moving to a corner in the big leagues. The bat will play in the middle of a lineup. I was torn between DeLauter and Cross at this point on my board.
9. Royals — Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Scout’s take: This is probably the toughest one for me so far. I have two college bats at different positions here, and either guy would fit. I think Robert Moore is the best infielder available after Jung, Berry and Lee. I think he is currently ahead of Cole Young, Carter Young and Jordan Sprinkle. I had to shuffle after your DeLauter pick. Well, does Dayton Moore take his son here? I’m going with the next guy on my board. Gavin Cross is a future above-average hitter with plus power, and Kansas City needs outfield depth in its system. Cross has a chance to play center with an above-average run tool. He also performed well with the College National Team.
Carlos’ take: The fact that Moore fits solidly in this range on talent is going to be an intriguing storyline to follow throughout the year. How does a president handle that decision? Is it awkward at the dinner table if he was there on the board and the Royals pass him up? Would Robert even want to be taken by the team his dad runs? Are these all foolish questions to ask? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see how it plays out. We just miss a great scenario here with the pivot to Cross.
10. Rockies — Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas
Carlos’ take: After all of that talk with the Royals, I am just going to scoop up Moore here. He does everything on the field well and is one of the better defensive infielders in the college class. I wonder if he’ll get a chance to play shortstop at the next level.
Scout’s take: I may look back at this one in July and say “I could have been spot on with the No. 9 pick.” Hey, a lot will change in the next few months. The floor for Moore is high, so I’m comfortable knowing he goes in the first round. Moore can flat out play the game, which is not surprising considering his exposure at a young age to the highest level of the game. It’ll be interesting to see if he repeats the power numbers from last season. I’m predicting a future above-average hitter with average power and plus defense at second base.
11. Mets* — Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.
Scout’s take: The Mets have two picks, 11 and 14. I think they go with an infielder or pitcher here. Brock Porter’s stuff can be compared to Lesko’s repertoire. Porter’s ceiling is high. He projects to have a plus plus fastball, plus breaking ball and plus-plus changeup. Porter has a slender build on a tall frame which gives him plenty of room to fill. The question will be command as his delivery needs refinement. With a few injuries to first round college arms now, the Mets go with Porter. I think what's going to happen with their two picks is one of them is going to be a budget saver—but attempting to predict the future before the start of the season is what makes this fun.
Carlos’ take: I like that you are taking the prep righthanders and not me in this mock. I feel like I typically am the person taking that demographic because 1) I don’t ever have to deal with the actual risk of taking that profile and 2) I just love the upside these players offer every year. Like you said, Porter does a lot of what Lesko does and I have talked with some scouts who even prefer the power of his game and the consistency of his breaking ball over Lesko. It doesn’t seem to be the consensus opinion, but it is out there.
12. Tigers — Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa.
Carlos’ take: This really doesn’t feel like a Tigers pick to me but I think the talent here makes sense. I think of more physical and power-oriented players with the Tigers, generally, though perhaps that’s just because I am used to them picking in the top five over the last four years. This is the lowest Detroit will have picked in my time covering the draft for BA. It’ll be interesting to see where they go because—at least as of now—it feels like the board is starting to open up a bit in this range.
Scout’s take: I had either pitcher or infielder on the board. Ultimately, I had the thought that the Tigers were going with shortstop here, too. I have a feeling that Carter Young is going to surprise some people so I was thinking the college shortstop at this pick. But Cole is younger, and a lefthanded bat, so I can see your thought process. Cole has a knack for the barrel, a future plus hitter, but doesn’t project to hit for power. He needs to get stronger, but runs well and can defend. There’s a longer wait time with him to get to the big leagues, but he increases value in the Tigers’ system.
13. Angels — Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Scout’s take: My board is all over the place. I had Parada at 10 to the Rockies and picked Porter at 11 with the Mets. You had Cole Young at 12 and I had Carter Young possibly there. The Angels have outfield depth in their system with Jordyn Adams and Jo Adell. They also have infield depth with Jeremiah Jackson and Kyren Paris. Maybe pitching here at 13? Kevin Parada and Daniel Susac are available. Parada, a future plus hitter with above-average power for me, definitely upgrades the Angels’ system immediately. Susac has the plus arm and has shown power numbers to this point, but Parada has a longer, more consistent track record for hitting. Carson Whisenhunt did cross my mind at 13 as a college pitcher with a high floor that projects as a starter.
Carlos’ take: Part of me feels like a failure for not having selected Parada with one of my selections. I have been high on him since his time in high school when he barreled pretty much everything I saw thrown at him. I am a big believer in his bat, whether or not he’s going to stick at the position at the next level. If this is the pick, Parada will have quite a few pitchers to get to know given what the Angels did in 2021.
14. Mets — Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Carlos’ take: Because you’ve mentioned Whisenhunt I have started to think about him here, but one of my gut feels to move up this spring is Sims—who has a pitch data profile that I adore. Love the fastball. Love the breaking ball. Love the release point. I think he really has a shot to start as well, given some of the feedback I have heard from scouts recently and dating back to his time in high school. Maybe it’s not the most buttery smooth delivery, but the man just walked 2.4 batters per nine last spring over 56.1 innings. I can’t wait to see him in a starting role this spring. Though, I did feel similarly about Jaden Hill transitioning to a starting role last year …
Scout’s take: So we have the Mets taking two arms. Interesting. With Sims, the Mets will have an arm that can get to the big leagues quickly as a back-end reliever. Sims’ plus fastball and plus-plus slider combo may be better than anyone they currently have in their minor league system. The Mets weren’t able to sign their first round power arm last year, but they get another one here. Healthy arms are starting to come off the board now.
15. Padres — Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC
Scout’s take: I was thinking Susac here, but they have some catching depth. San Diego likes the high ceiling, young athletes with loud tools. They have some young infielders and outfielders in their system that can really hit, but they also need some arms to go with those guys. Perhaps Whisenhunt here? Collier feels more like a Padres pick. Collier has the pedigree and is the youngest hitter in the draft. His strong lower half gives him present strength and he still has room to fill out up top which is why I think he will hit for plus power, matching the plus hit tool. His future plus arm will fit well at third base.
Carlos’ take: I agree, this does feel like a Padres pick. For our purposes, Collier may as well qualify as a toolsy high school hitter and San Diego doesn’t bat an eye when it comes to high-risk, high-reward preps. Collier homered in his first juco game with Chipola this spring (or winter?) and through eight games is hitting .250/.406/.500 with a pair of home runs, six strikeouts and six walks.
16. Guardians — Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Carlos’ take: Would Cleveland dip into the East Carolina well in back-to-back drafts in this scenario? I’m not sure. Whisenhunt doesn’t seem very similar to Gavin Williams, but he does feel like a Cleveland pick as a college arm with some of the best pure command in the class and a changeup that could be one of my favorite individual pitches in the 2022 group. I think if he comes out with more velocity this spring he could be gone way earlier than this given the state of the college pitching.
Scout’s take: I was thinking the same thing all the way, a pitcher for Cleveland. The Guardians pick from the same tree in East Carolina as they chose Williams last year. I felt more confident in Rocker going in this range if he decides to pitch in game situations before the draft. Whisenhunt’s ability to command his average fastball and curveball, along with a future 70 changeup, keeps him in first round conversations. He is the safest bet of all college lefthanders to pitch as a starter in the big leagues, so I think this is a good pick.
17. Phillies — Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Scout’s take: I have a feeling the Phillies are going pitcher here, even if four of their top five prospects are pitchers. There are some college shortstops available, but pitching is hard to come by in this draft. Susac is sitting there but the Phillies aren’t hurting for catching. I think with Whisenhunt gone, I will go with Ferris. His potential three plus pitches—fastball-curveball-changeup—earned him an honor amongst hitters as one of the hardest pitchers to hit on the summer circuit.
Carlos’ take: Ferris is another one who wouldn’t surprise me if he moved up with a strong spring. He didn’t have the best summer and most people I talk to still view him as a solid middle-of-the-first-round talent. I would think with more consistency he could push further up the board than this. I like the deception he has, his overall feel for pitching and his good mix of quality pitches.
18. Reds — Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
Carlos’ take: We’re in a range now where my confidence in picks is starting to fall from even the very low baseline that we started with. Because of that, I am simply going to take the best available talent on the board here and not think much of it. We currently have Jones ranked as a top 10 talent so getting him here at No. 18 feels like a good value pick for the Reds.
Scout’s take: As far as value, I think this pick adds more athleticism to a system full of athletes. The Reds have gotten very athletic in the first round the last few years, so Jones fits their latest draft tendencies. Last year’s first-rounder and comp pick were multi-sport guys like Jones. With the need for pitching in their system, I would think they go with an arm, but there’s a shortage of healthy college arms. Since he’s available, I don’t know if they turn to a high school arm over a college bat that can play center, hit for power and is a plus runner like Jones.
2022 MLB Draft Buzz: The Orioles Plans At Number 1, College Catchers Rising And More
Here is the latest inside draft information based on extensive conversations with national crosscheckers, special assistants, scouting directors, assistant general managers and other executives in recent days.
19. A's — Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (Ill.) East HS
Scout’s take: I was thinking college shortstop, maybe Carter Young, but they need pitching depth in their system. Maybe Schultz reminds them of A.J Puk and they go get him? My concern is they haven't taken a high school pitcher in the first round since Jeremy Bonderman in 2001. The length and angle that Schultz creates makes it hard for any hitter to face him. The slider will be plus along with plus projection to the fastball as he fills out and gets stronger. The changeup is average, which gives him three pitches to go along with above-average control and command. The concern is signing Schultz away from Vandy.
Carlos’ take: It would be fun to see the Athletics make a pick like this and buck quite a long trend (or coincidence) of avoiding prep arms in the first round for that length of time. Schultz has a few outlier traits and it’s hard not to like him after what we just saw Eury Perez do during last year’s minor league season. Everyone raves about Perez’s body control and I think Schultz similarly grades out well in that department. I was struck by how consistently he repeated his delivery and the polish of his command for a fastball and slider. His baseline spin profile is quite loud and I think he’s got a ton of upside as he adds more strength and comes into more power.
20. Braves — Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Carlos’ take: It’s hard to have any confidence in where Prielipp will land at this point and I am not sure how much clarity we will get this spring with him not pitching in games after having Tommy John surgery. If he were healthy, there’s no chance we’d be talking about him this far down the board. His stuff all seems electric and his performance is top-notch. The lack of innings (just 28 with Alabama) and health question marks make this one tricky.
Scout’s take: Will we see Prielipp pitch before the draft? That’s the concern with Rocker as well. Hopefully, Prielipp returns with the same plus fastball, plus-plus slider selections. The Braves continue their run on college pitching here. This makes four lefthanded pitchers in this first round in the last five picks. Wow.
21. Mariners — Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
Scout’s take: It's either Carter Young or Jordan Sprinkle here. Young is a switch-hitting, reliable-defending shortstop that I expect to perform better this year in the SEC. I think it's a safe pick. He has experience leading one of the best teams in the country. He has some swing and miss but he should get to his power as he improves his plate discipline. I’m high on Young and believe he will be an average switch hitter with above-average power and an above-average glove. The Mariners don’t let him get past pick 21 after a good performance this season.
Carlos’ take: You’ve been talking about Young for a while now so I am not surprised to see him go off the board here. Still, the swing and miss (30.1 K% in 2021) scares me, even if he is a good defender at a premium position in the SEC. There are shades of Jud Fabian for me with Young, though I’m not sure how much more the industry will prefer the premium shortstop with power over the premium center fielder with power.
22. Cardinals — Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Carlos’ take: Susac has been on the board long enough, and given where Parada went, we probably both waited a bit too long to pop him. Scouting directors voted for Susac narrowly over Parada for our preseason all-american first team, so that could be telling, and we have the two neck and neck on our draft rankings. He’s shown solid extra-base power and a strong arm and I feel like the Cardinals would have to feel good about this talent getting to them at No. 22.
Scout’s take: Cardinals get plenty of value with this pick. The consensus is Susac goes top 20 but in this case he slides to 22. If Susac continues to put up the huge numbers, a team picking from an analytical model could select him early. The Reds, A’s and Mariners don’t seem like suitors for a catcher considering their recent first and second round catcher selections.
23. Blue Jays — Kumar Rocker, RHP, No School
Scout’s take: I wanted to go with a shortstop again but man they have a ton of shortstops in their organization. Toronto needs to add pitching value so they go with Rocker. Would Rocker fit here? If he’s healthy, I don’t think he’s too far from helping them make a playoff run. The Jays pick up a big arm before the college pitching well runs dry.
Carlos’ take: Another pitcher who’s going to be super tricky to figure out and is probably going to wind up being extremely polarizing. There’s no pitcher we have discussed or will discuss who has a better track record as a starting pitcher than Kumar Rocker. It’s hard for me to give any insight into his medical situation because I just don’t have that information. I wonder how much this one will simply come down to what each team’s doctor has to say. Can’t imagine he has anything left to prove on the field.
24. Red Sox — Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State
Carlos’ take: I don’t have much feel for the Red Sox pick tendencies, especially in this range. They’ve taken prep infielders in each of the last three drafts but all of those picks are quite a bit different both in terms of bonus, draft position and player profile. Again, I feel like I’m just going to take one of the best players available here and go with Tanner, who is ranked No. 17 on our draft board and has the best catching arm in the college class.
Scout’s take: I think the same. Red Sox take the best available at this point. They are pretty balanced in their minor league system. Tanner immediately becomes Boston’s best catching prospect as a defense-over-hit profile. This may be a safer bet than taking a chance on an arm with its first pick. The AL East is the toughest in baseball right now and the Red Sox need valuable assets to continue as contenders.
25. Yankees — Andrew Dutkanych, RHP, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, Indianapolis
Scout’s take: On my board, I had Brandon Barriera, Tristan Smith, Andrew Dutkanych and Jordan Sprinkle here. It’s tough not knowing how some of these guys will pan out with signability. They have a ton of shortstops so I am going with Dutkanych here. He has premium stuff overall and high aptitude. He has a great feel to pitch due to being a persistent student of the game.
Carlos’ take: I’m curious to see how the high school righthander demographic shakes out once we get past Lesko and Porter. Those two seem like the clear 1 and 2 players in that group—beyond that guys like Dutkanych, JR Ritchie and Walter Ford feel pretty close together in my mind.
26. White Sox — Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
Carlos' take: Another BPA selection for me here and another college arm who should be a conundrum with his shoulder issues. Hopefully, he gets healthy and can take the ball because he has some of the best stuff, size and starting track record in the class. Assuming health, I would think this might make some sense for a White Sox team who is in win-now mode.
Scout’s take: I see that you like going back to pick from the same tree. This reminds me of the White Sox selecting Crochet out of Tennessee. Tidwell is another reliever that could get to the show quickly. Crochet went through a little soreness as well, but was able to bounce back. Hopefully, Tidwell does the same.
27. Brewers — Jordan Sprinkle, SS, UC Santa Barbara
Scout’s take: Brewers get their college shortstop which adds more depth as they contend in the NL Central. They have Turang and a couple more interesting infielders, but I think Sprinkle is one of the best infielders available that will stay at shortstop. There is plenty of twitch to his game and he's a defense-over-hit profile.
Carlos’ take: You are big on these college shortstops and have gotten both of the guys you’ve talked about a bit in this mock here. We have Sprinkle ranked No. 44 at the moment, so now I am wondering if that is a bit too light for him. The reports on his defense at the position are quite good and he hit well with Team USA last summer (.300/.353/.467), but I guess I am a bit concerned about his impact with wood? Perhaps I’m overthinking this one.
28. Astros — Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Carlos’ take: This will be the first time the Astros have made a first-round pick since 2019, when the team took California catcher Korey Lee at No. 32 overall. It might be tricky to get a feel for what this Houston regime wants to do in the draft, but I imagine it is going to be pretty analytically inclined and Pallette’s pitch mix might be exciting for Houston. If he’s healthy, it’d be hard to see him being available in this range so this could be great value.
Scout’s take: Pallette was considered the college arm with the best curveball before the injury. He still has the potential to be a future starter after he recovers, and if the Astros are patient they will see real value in this pick once Pallette is healthy.
29. Rays — Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Scout’s take: Barriera lands in an organization known for developing young pitchers. The Rays are intrigued by young prospects with high ceilings and Barriera is a match. He is just turning 18 during this season, and will continue to grow into a stronger build. Barriera has a three-pitch mix, fastball-slider-changeup, released from the same slot with the same arm speed. He is very deceptive. A lot of Vanderbilt commits are off the board now. Obviously, there are some signability concerns.
Carlos’ take: Yep, based on our board this is pretty good value. Our mock to this point would also be a bummer for Vanderbilt and its fans, as Barriera is the fourth Vanderbilt commit we have selected—joining Jones, Lesko and Schultz. Man, it is terrifying to think about what that rotation could look like in a few years if even two of those pitchers made it to campus. Back to your Barriera pick though, I like it. Florida product going to a Tampa-based team that has a magic wand for pitchers, what’s not to like?
30. Dodgers — Peyton Graham, 3B/SS, Oklahoma
Carlos’ take: Whoever the Rays and Dodgers take with their picks, I’m inclined to trust that they will be smart ones. Both these orgs have just done too good a job drafting and developing players not to. So how about an athletic infielder who should add plenty of strength and has a good mix of on-base ability and power.
Scout’s take: He has a tall, slim frame playing shortstop this year for the Sooners. Graham has a chance to play up the middle if he shows he can do it this season. He played virtually everywhere on the Cape this past summer. Long term, he could become a valuable utility guy who can hit.
31. Giants — Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Scout’s take: He had one of the best summers on the Cape. Neto has barreled up balls consistently. He plays with a lot of energy and should stay at shortstop with an average arm and as an above-average defender. He has a chance to be an above-average hitter with average power. There has been chatter about Neto playing in a mid-major conference, but I don't see him slipping out of the first round if he hits .400 again, after he just hit over .300 on the Cape.
Carlos’ take: I came into this mock feeling a bit ‘meh’ about the college shortstop class, but here we are through 31 picks and we have selected four of them. That would be a better number than each of the last two classes (two each) and just shy of the 2019 class that produced five. Neto’s numbers are insane. We don’t have him ranked too far outside of the first round range at the moment—he’s at No. 37—but you could be right that he’s being underrated given the conference he plays in.