Arizona Diamondbacks 2022 Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: For the second straight year, the D-backs selected the top overall player on the BA Draft board with the second overall pick. In 2022, that player was OF Druw Jones (1) whose all-around tool set and ability made him the No. 1 player in the class—though he rated as the second-best pure hitter in the prep ranks after only Termarr Johnson, and projects to be a future plus hitter.
Best Power Hitter: 1B Ivan Melendez (2) was one of the best overall hitters in college baseball and smashed 32 home runs with Texas during the spring. The massive, 6-foot-3, 225-pound slugger has easy plus raw power and likely more, with the ability to homer to any part of any ballpark. His 90th percentile exit velocities were unsurprisingly the best of any player in the D-backs draft class to debut this summer.
Fastest Runner: Jones (1) is a double-plus runner who could make sense for this category, but Arizona is also high on the speed that SS Andrew Pintar (5) brings to the table, and he’s at least a plus runner as well—though that didn’t show up in his stolen base numbers in a three-year career with Brigham Young.
Best Defensive Player: Jones (1) was the best defensive outfielder in the 2022 draft class whether you are talking about high school or college players. He is one of the most instinctual, advanced and impactful defenders in center field that scouts have seen in years, and if he were to be placed in the middle of a big league outfield today—he would be an asset. There’s no tool, ability or skill he doesn’t have to become one of the better defenders in the game at the position.
Best Fastball: RHP Landon Sims (1s) showed a fastball that was one of the best in the college game and it played well as a reliever and during his brief stint as a starter in the 2022 season before injury ended his year. The pitch is routinely in the 93-95 mph range and gets up to 98 with excellent shape. It has around 18 inches of induced vertical break and Sims throws from a lower release height that allows the pitch to have a flat vertical approach angle and rack up tons of whiffs at the top of the zone. It’s a four-seam fastball that analysts dream about.
Best Secondary Pitch: It’s a testament to Sims’ (1s) exceptional talent that he could fit in this category as well with a wipeout slider, though the D-backs love both the curveball and slider that RHP Dylan Ray (4) throws. The slider is a mid-80s pitch with spin around 2,400-2,500 rpm and the curveball is slower in the mid 70s.
Best Pro Debut: SS Josh Day (15) signed for $125,000 on the third day of the draft, but he was one of Arizona’s more impressive debut prospects. Day played at three levels, but spent most of his time at Low-A Visalia before pushing to the High-A Northwest League for four games at the end of the season. Overall across 26 games, Day hit .290/.396/.398 with a pair of home runs and managed a 113 wRC+. He got time at shortstop, third base and second base.
Best Athlete: Jones (1) was one of the best overall athletes in the class and is an easy selection for this category, thanks to his speed, arm strength, raw power and natural body control.
Most Intriguing Background: Jones (1) is also the pick here, as the son of former major leaguer Andruw Jones, who was one of the game’s best defensive outfielders, while also being a 51-homer, righthanded slugger in his peak season.
Closest To The Majors: Despite recovering from Tommy John surgery, Sims (1s) has the sort of pitch mix that could play in a big league bullpen today. He could be moved quickly in that capacity if the D-backs wanted, though given his draft capital and his track record as a starter in college, it would be surprising for the team to push him directly to the pen.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): The D-backs signed LHP Spencer Giesting (11) to a $400,000 deal with their first pick on the third day of the draft, and that bonus represented the seventh-largest the team handed out in 2022. He has a solid four-pitch mix and a 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame that has plenty of projection remaining. RHP Eli Saul (13) made impressive strides during the 2022 season and has a sinking fastball that generates a lot of ground balls and also gets weak contact with an upper-80s cutter.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Malachi Witherspoon (12) was a late-rising, high-risk, high-reward high school pitcher who generated a ton of interest leading up to the draft. Young for the class, Witherspoon was still 17 on draft day and has innate feel to spin a 3,000 rpm curveball that should be an above-average future offering. While the D-Backs selected him in a range where many high school players still sign, they didn’t agree to a deal with him and he’ll head to Jacksonville for his college career.