2022 MLB Mock Draft Version 3.0
Editor’s Note: Carlos and the participating scout did their mock draft two days before it was announced that Dylan Lesko would require Tommy John surgery. Since moving Lesko down in the mock would require re-working the entire mock draft, we are leaving him here, but with the understanding that his elbow injury makes him a less likely pick for this spot.
After updating our draft board yesterday, we are attempting a third mock draft of the season. With about 80 days before the 2022 draft takes place, there are still plenty of moving parts that will (hopefully) resolve as we get closer, but also a decent sized group of prospects that seem to be solidifying among the top 10 picks.
As with our previous two mock drafts this year, we’re enlisting the help of an industry insider for V 3.0 who will make alternating picks throughout the first round—our scout has odd picks, and we have even picks.
The board is shaping up to be hitter heavy at the top, thanks to an above-average group of bats in the top tier of the class as well as an abysmally unlucky year for college pitching health among the most talented arms in the country.
That could make for a fairly straightforward first 10 picks or so, before things get crazy as we get into the middle and back of the first round. Teams could have to decide between going high-risk on one of many talented high school pitchers in a spot that might be aggressive in a normal year, or take a shot on a healthy college arm who might be more of a second/third round talent in an average draft class.
Alternatively, teams could just avoid pitching altogether and grab whatever bat sits at the top of the board and try to take advantage of pitching depth later.
It’ll be fascinating to see how it unfolds, but we have plenty of time before that happens. For now, let’s get into our third mock of the year, with a new pick in the No.1 spot …
*For each player, we also list the range of mock selections the player has been selected in during each of our first three mock drafts of the year.
1. Orioles — Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Scout’s Take: He’s always had the hit tool and ability to control the strike zone. He’s demonstrating extra-base power and while he might lack a step in the field he is quietly consistent and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Mock Draft Range: 1-5
2. D-Backs — Andruw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.
Carlos’ Take: Jones has close to an ideal blend of tools, present skills and future projection. He has natural hitting ability, above-average power potential, the best defensive ability in center field in the class and big league bloodlines. The reports of his swing progress this spring have been loud and it's hard to find a box Jones doesn't check for a high school prospect.
Mock Draft Range: 1-2
3. Rangers — Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Scout’s Take: His athletic ability is exceptional and he backs that up with a plus athletic skill set. At times there is swing and miss, but he more than makes up for it with his ability to impact the baseball.
Mock Draft Range: 3-5
4. Pirates — Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Carlos’ Take: Lesko is the best pitching prospect in the class and he showed that in front of a huge crowd of scouts recently at USA Baseball's National High School Invitational. If he’s healthy, he looks like a no-doubt top-five pick. He hasn’t pitched since the NHSI with arm soreness (Editor’s note: Lesko has now announced he will have Tommy John surgery). That makes Lesko more difficult to place at the moment, and high school righthanders are always tricky in general. Still, he’s one of the only front-of-the-rotation pitching talents you’ll find in this class and the best high school pitching prospect in years.
Mock Draft Range: 3-15
5. Nationals — Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Scout’s Take: Jung is a lefthanded hitter with power and the ability to control the strike zone. His swing mechanics are unorthodox, but they are highly functional. It is a limited defensive profile, but teams will always find a place for Jung because of his bat.
Mock Draft Range: 5-9
6. Marlins — Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Carlos’ Take: Parada is third among Division I hitters with 19 home runs and his 136 total bases rank second. It’s not as if he’s a big slugger with lots of swing-and-miss questions, either. He’s more than doubled his home run total from 2021 (nine) while dramatically lowering his strikeout rate at the same time—16.9% in 2021 to 9.1% in 2022. Critique the catching if you want, all this kid does is destroy baseballs.
Mock Draft Range: 6-13
7. Cubs — Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta
Scout’s Take: One of the top high school hitters in the draft. He’s an absolute grinder at the plate with plus power potential and loves to play the game. His business cards read: “Have bat, will travel.”
Mock Draft Range: 2-7
8. Twins — Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Carlos’ Take: In another draft class I don't think it would be surprising for a player like Cross to be a top-five pick. He's made an impressive approach adjustment this spring and while he will still expand the zone at times, his contact rates are much improved. His strikeout rate has gone from 20.5% in 2021 to just 11.0% this spring. He's also walked more than he's struck out for the first time in his career. There are swing-and-miss concerns, but Cross has never hit below .345 as an ACC outfielder with tons of power. It's a very strong offensive profile.
Mock Draft Range: 9-13
9. Royals — Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
Scout’s Take: His physical size at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds will deceive people on how athletic he actually is. It’s plus offensive upside with tremendous power potential and he also plays a very good right field.
Mock Draft Range: 9-31+
10. Rockies — Jacob Berry, 3B/1B, Louisiana State
Carlos’ Take: Berry continues plugging along and performing and if there was ever a question about whether or not he’d have similar production against SEC arms, he’s answered it. He’s coming off a loud weekend series against Missouri where he went 6-for-10 with three home runs. On the season, Berry is hitting .370/.459/.669 with solid power and more walks (19) than strikeouts (15).
Mock Draft Range: 5-10
11. Mets* — Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS
Scout’s Take: Holliday has made tremendous strides with his physical strength which in turn has exponentially improved all of his tools.
Mock Draft Range: 11-31+
12. Tigers — Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.
Carlos’ Take: There’s a second-tier mix of high school pitchers that I feel like are clustered somewhere in the middle of the first round. I still don’t have confidence that I know how the industry lines these guys up (I think you’d get many different orders depending on who you asked), but Porter is a big arm, has a double-plus changeup and a strong breaking ball. Detroit likes power-armed profiles and that’s why I’m placing him here, with the Michigan connection being more of a cherry on top than anything.
Mock Draft Range: 11-17
13. Angels — Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Scout’s Take: Barriera is a plus athlete and he’s got plus skill. His fastball will top out at 97-99 mph and he will also showcase a plus curveball. He needs to keep working on his command.
Mock Draft Range: 13-29
14. Mets — Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
Carlos’ Take: DeLauter’s track record as a hitter is among the best in the class, and while a broken foot doesn’t help his case … I’m not sure how much it really hurts him either. He’s a career .402/.520/.715 hitter at James Madison with a 19% walk rate and a 13.9% strikeout rate. He hit .298/.397/.589 on the Cape with nine home runs and more walks than strikeouts. He has physicality and tools and plays center field surprisingly well. About the only hole in his resume is a two-game sample against Florida State. Is that really holding him back? I would be surprised.
Mock Draft Range: 8-14
15. Padres — Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC
Scout’s Take: It’s a well-rounded skill set in the field and at the plate. Collier reclassified from the 2023 class to 2022 and enrolled in junior college to challenge himself and prove himself for the next level.
Mock Draft Range: 15-16
16. Guardians — Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Carlos’ Take: Like DeLauter, Neto is an up-the-middle college position player with a strong track record of performance. The Guardians have made a living taking middle infielders who make a ton of contact and Neto fits that bill and should stick at shortstop. I can’t imagine Cleveland’s model isn’t excited about the guy with a .389/.487/.712 career line with Campbell, plus a strong 16 games in the Cape (.304/.439/.587 with eight walks and eight strikeouts). It’s performance, plus a premium position, plus some solid tools. Neto feels like a player who will go higher than people expect.
Mock Draft Range: 16-31
17. Phillies — Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Scout’s Take: Susac is a well-rounded offensive college player not quite on the level with Parada, but has shown extra-base power. He’ll get the job done behind the plate defensively.
Mock Draft Range: 7-22
18. Reds — Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Carlos’ Take: The Reds have taken plenty of players out of the Sunshine State and Ferris has done nothing to diminish his prospect status this spring. It’s a funky delivery that adds deception, but he’s got a good feel for his body moving in space and a solid three-pitch mix that should only improve as he adds strength.
Mock Draft Range: 13-18
19. A's — Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
Scout’s Take: Tidwell has two power swing-and-miss pitches with a solid statistical profile to go along with them.
Mock Draft Range: 19-31+
20. Braves — Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Carlos’ Take: The Braves recently traded away their power-armed righthander from the 2021 draft in Ryan Cusick. How about a 2022 version whose fastball might be even better, whose breaking ball is certainly better and who also has a better track record of throwing strikes? Sure, you have to take on an injured pitcher to get that collection of stuff here and—like Cusick—there is some reliever risk, but it’s not like the Braves haven’t been able to develop pitchers coming off injuries in recent years …
Mock Draft Range: 14-26
21. Mariners — Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell
Scout’s Take: Harrington is putting up great numbers: a 0.83 WHIP, 7.75-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and he’s athletic with projection remaining on his arm and frame.
Mock Draft Range: 21-31+
22. Cardinals — Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (Ill.) East HS
Carlos’ Take: If Schultz went 10 spots higher than this I wouldn’t be surprised. While he hasn’t pitched a ton this spring, he has trended in the right direction with velocity and he’s got plenty of physical projection remaining, with feel to spin a breaking ball and shockingly good body control and strikes.
Mock Draft Range: 11-22
23. Blue Jays — Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Scout’s Take: Beavers is a great athlete with projection left on his 6-foot-4, 206-pound frame. He’s a lefthanded hitter with power potential and the ability to play center field.
Mock Draft Range: 23-31+
25. Red Sox — Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
Carlos’ Take: Crawford will always remind me a bit of Jackson Holliday as a premium position player with professional bloodlines who has taken a step forward with his strength after the offseason. He’s an elite runner who should provide plenty of defensive value and he’s got a nice swing with power potential.
Mock Draft Range: 24-31+
25. Yankees — Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
Scout’s Take: He’s putting together a quality year inside and outside of the SEC. Jones has tremendous physical tools that will allow him to lock down right field defensively. He needs to keep cutting down on strikeouts and improve his performance against lefthanded pitchers.
Mock Draft Range: 25-31+
26. White Sox — Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Carlos’ Take: Like many of the college pitchers in this range, Whisenhunt is difficult to place but no one really questions his pure stuff and it’s not like he’s dealing with an injury. We’ll get a better feel for where he slots when he gets back on the mound (it sounds like he’s going to pitch in the Cape Cod League) but most scouts view him as a first round talent so I’m not letting him slide out.
Mock Draft Range: 16-29
27. Brewers — Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Scout’s Take: Hughes has two power pitches with solid feel for the changeup. He’s putting together a really good year.
Mock Draft Range: 27-31+
28. Astros — Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State
Carlos’ Take: It’ll be interesting to see what the Astros do now that they are once again picking in the first round and beefing up their scouting staff. Campbell has an impressive track record of throwing strikes (2.5 BB/9 for his career), is getting more strikeouts than he ever has this spring and has a fastball with characteristics I think the Astros might like.
Mock Draft Range: 19-31+
29. Rays — Andrew Dutkanych, RHP, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, Indianapolis
Scout’s Take: Dutkanych has three power pitches with feel for the changeup. He’s been making steady progress with command and control. He’s taken ownership of his mechanics and has also worked hard to understand the data and pitch design.
Mock Draft Range: 25-31+
30. Giants — Cade Doughty, 2B, Louisiana State
Carlos’s Take: Cade Doughty's bat in the Giants player development system is a nice match in my opinion. He’s got an advanced approach and a lengthy track record of hitting dating back to his prep days. He’s played a bit of shortstop and third base this spring, but I think he’ll be a fine defender at second where he’ll provide good average and on-base skills.
Mock Draft Range: 20-31+