Baltimore Orioles 2022 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: In the last four years picking among the top five in the draft, the Orioles have exclusively taken hitters. SS Jackson Holliday (1) was the first high school hitter of the group in 2022, and ranked as the fourth-best pure hitter in the prep class, with a chance for 60-grade hitting ability. Holliday showed excellent contact (13.6% miss rate) and swing decisions (12% chase rate) in his pro debut, while slashing .297/.489/.422 with a 163 WRC+ between the Florida Complex and Carolina leagues. His 89.6 mph average exit velocity is also nothing to scoff at for an 18-year-old with tons of physical projection remaining.
Best Power Hitter: After drafting Holliday (1), the Orioles took a trio of college sluggers and each of OF Dylan Beavers (1s), 3B Max Wagner (2) and OF Jud Fabian (2s) have a case for this category. All three had 90th percentile exit velocities in the 101-102 mph range in their pro debuts, and each had plus raw power grades on their amateur scouting reports, with either 55 or 60 grades on their in-game future power.
Fastest Runner: OF Douglas Hodo (6) is a plus runner who should be a no-doubt center fielder in pro ball, thanks to solid athleticism and smooth, long strides that allow him to cover plenty of ground.
Best Defensive Player: There are a number of strong candidates for this category, including the previously mentioned Hodo (6). But Baltimore selected three players who ranked among the top five college players as the best defenders at their respective positions in the 2022 class: Fabian ranked first as the best defensive outfielder and has consistently played a great center field; C Silas Ardoin (4) ranked second as the best defensive catcher and threw out 42% of basestealers with Texas; and SS Carter Young (17) ranked fourth as the best defensive infielder with great footwork and hands up the middle.
Best Fastball: RHP Trace Bright (5) touched 96-97 mph with Auburn during the spring and sat around 93 mph in his pro debut, with excellent vertical riding life. Baltimore clearly values induced vertical break, as Bright and other pitchers like RHP Reese Sharp (20), RHP Graham Firoved (16) and LHP Jared Beck (13) all had more than 19 inches of IVB on their fastballs in their 2022 pro debuts.
Best Secondary Pitch: Bright’s (5) slider is one of the more advanced and consistent breaking balls of Baltimore’s 2022 pitching class. It could be an above-average secondary to go along with a solid four-pitch mix.
Best Pro Debut: Holliday (1) excelled in every major area offensively, while playing shortstop primarily and getting a few innings at second base as well. There’s plenty of pressure that comes along with the 1-1 label, but Holliday more than passed the test in 2022. He’s immediately one of the game’s premier infield prospects.
Best Athlete: Holliday (1) possesses speed and quickness currently that allow him to play a slick shortstop and be a threat on the bases, and his power is strong now and should only continue to improve in the future. He might not have the same sort of physique as his father, Matt, but the big league bloodlines are apparent when you watch Holliday move around on the diamond. Beavers (1s) should be a candidate here as well thanks to size (6-foot-4), strength (perhaps 70 grade raw power) and speed (plus running ability).
Most Intriguing Background: Both Holliday (1) and Ardoin (4) are the sons of major leaguers and make sense here because of that alone. But how about RHP Preston Johnson (7) whose nickname “Beef” comes from a solid 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame and the fact that he is also an actual cattle farmer.
Closest To The Majors: Perhaps it’s surprising given Fabian’s (2s) swing-and-miss questions in college, but he could move quickly after getting into Baltimore’s system. His 185 wRC+ was the best mark of any 2022 draftee for the Orioles and the organization has done a great job getting the most out of its hitters. Fabian slashed .333/.455/.615 across three levels, while posting a 19% walk rate and 21% strikeout rate that is lower than his career college rate.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): When Young (17) wasn’t drafted with only four rounds left, most in the industry believed he was heading back to college. Baltimore selected him and also figured out a way to sign him for $1.3 million and prevent that from happening. There’s upside here given Young’s raw power as a switch hitter and high defensive bar—but he’ll need to make more contact.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Nolan McLean (3) was one of just three players who were selected among the top 10 rounds who didn’t sign—along with RHP Brandon Sproat (Mets) and 2B Brock Rodden (A’s). A two-way college player, McLean has big raw power and a live arm.