2022 MLB Mock Draft: 'Way Too Early' Look At The Top 10 Picks
We give you this spiel every year after the draft about how crazy it is to do a mock draft for the next class the day after the previous one wraps up. But, hey we are a little crazy about prospects here at Baseball America and sometimes we want to just embrace it.
It goes without saying that plenty will change between now and the 2022 draft—including the team order; for now we’re going with current MLB standings—but here’s an early crack at predicting the top 10 picks of the 2022 draft.
1. D-Backs — Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Green currently ranks as the top prospect on our 2022 high school class rankings (update on those coming soon) and he could make a compelling case as the top player overall in the class. We haven’t yet started having conversations on who is the overall top player of the 2022 class but Green has a special combination of elite physicality, electric tools and an impressive underclass track record of hitting. If he did wind up going with the first pick, he would be the first right-right high school outfielder to be taken first overall since Delmon Young in 2003 (Rays). But when scouts talk about you like this, anything is possible:
“I think Elijah Green would go in the first 10 picks (in 2021),” one scout said about Green, who is committed to Miami. “I have lived here a long time and he is up there on the list of guys I have scouted at this time in his junior year… It's a polished game too, not just electric tools. He uses the field, his tools are outstanding. He is very big and very strong, he has all five tools but it is a polished game.”
2. Orioles — Jace Jung, 2B/3B, Texas Tech
Jung is the younger brother of Rangers 2019 first round pick Josh Jung and recently was named to our Freshman All-America First Team after posting one of the better offensive seasons in the country. His 1.159 OPS was better than any mark his older brother hit with the same program over three years and he finished with a .337/.462/.697 line with 21 home runs and an impressive 18% walk rate.
3. Pirates — Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Lee was a high-pedigree prospect out of high school who ranked as the No. 38 prospect on the 2018 BA 500 thanks to standout pure hitting ability from both sides of the plate. He made it to campus at Cal Poly where his father, Larry, is the head coach of the baseball program. After hamstring surgery limited him to just two pinch-hit appearances in 2020, Lee hit .342/.384/.626 with 10 homers and 27 doubles this spring while starting 54 games at shortstop. He’s continued that offensive pace so far in the Cape Cod League this summer, hitting .389/.405/.639 with three homers through nine games. Lee has a chance to be the highest drafted player in Cal Poly history next year, topping catcher John Orton, who is the only first rounder from the program (1987, 25th).
4. Rangers — Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Similar to Lee, Parada was an outstanding pure hitter out of high school and see by many as one of the best hitters in the prep class in 2019. He ranked as the No. 48 player in the 2020 draft class and is a draft-eligible sophomore who posted a .318/379/.550 slash line with nine home runs this spring in his first collegiate season in the ACC. Parada has a chance to become the fourth first-round catcher out of Georgia Tech, following in the footsteps of Jason Varitek (1993, 1994), Matt Wieters (2007) and Joey Bart (2018).
5. Royals — Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS, Atlanta
Johnson has some of the best barrel control and pure hitting traits in the 2022 class and seems totally in control of every at-bat with top-of-the-order upside. He’s performed at a high level with Team USA and has played shortstop, second base and centerfield, with almost unconsciously smooth actions and sure hands defensively. He’s listed at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds and doesn’t have the most projectable frame, but does everything on the field at a very high level already. Johnson is uncommitted.
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6. Twins — Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Lesko recently won the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award as an underclassmen and was the sole player on our 2021 All-America Teams that wasn’t a member of the 2021 class. He has been seen as the top pitching prospect in his class for several years now thanks to pitching ability well beyond his years, a loose and easy arm action, lean frame and a three-pitch mix that could be plus across the board. This spring Lesko went 11-0, 0.35 with 112 strikeouts in 60 innings for Buford High.
7. Marlins — Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Susac will compete with Parada for the title of best draft-eligible catcher in the 2022 class and had a similarly strong collegiate debut. He was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a Baseball America First Team All-American after hitting .335/.392/.591 with 12 home runs and 24 doubles and his numbers were even better in conference play.
8. Tigers — Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Pallette posted a 4.02 ERA over 56 innings and 11 starts this spring for Arkansas, with 67 strikeouts and 20 walks. He made massive strides between the 2020 and 2021 season, and this spring sat with a fastball that sat in the 93-95 mph range and ran up to 98-99 mph at his best. He pairs that with an upper-70s curveball that generated whiffs at a 44% rate and a mid-to-upper-80s changeup.
9. Rockies — Jacob Berry, 3B/1B, Louisiana State
Berry will follow coach Jay Johnson from Arizona to Louisiana State this year and was one of the national leaders in homers, with 17—which was good for third in the Pac-12. Berry hit .352/.439/.676 with 19 doubles and his bat seems very real from both sides of the plate, but he’ll need to establish his defensive profile this year.
10. Nationals — Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida
Barco has been a full-time starter essentially from day one with the Gators—no small feat considering some of the other pitchers on the staff he’s had to compete with. Over two seasons (including the shortened 2020 season) the 6-foot-4 southpaw has posted a 3.52 ERA in 102.1 innings, with 120 strikeouts and 32 walks. He has a four-pitch mix with a fastball that gets into the mid-90s, a low 80s swing-and-miss slider and a curve and changeup that are thrown less frequently. Barco ranked as the No. 32 prospect in the 2019 draft class out of high school.