Five Things You Need To Know About The 2022 Draft

Image credit: Termarr Johnson (Matt Dirksen/Colorado Rockies)

1. It might be the best year ever for talented players in Georgia

There’s a good chance their scouting directors and high-end decision-makers with teams picking at the top of the draft this year got heavily acquainted with baseball fields in Georgia. 

The Peach State is annually one of the better talent-producers in the country. Georgia falls behind only behind California, Florida and Texas on the volume of pro players produced, and the 2022 class has a chance to be one of the strongest years ever for the state.  

High school center fielder Druw Jones, the consensus top player in the class, hails from Georgia. So does shortstop Termarr Johnson, the No. 4 prospect, who is one of the most accomplished, polished and impressive amateur hitters scouts have seen in years. 

The duo represents the best pairing of Georgia high school prospects since the 2013 class produced top 10 overall draft picks Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows, both outfielders. 

Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada (No. 6) was one of college baseball’s best hitters this spring and is the best college prospect to come out of the state since fellow Yellow Jackets catcher Joey Bart in 2018. 

The high-end talent doesn’t stop there. Buford High righthander Dylan Lesko was the clear top pitching prospect in the class when healthy. If not for Tommy John surgery, he would also rank among the top prospects in the class. He’s still a strong candidate to be drafted in the first round.

2. Injuries have decimated the college pitcher inventory 

Speaking of injured pitchers, the 2022 class has been decimated by injuries to top-end pitching talents, particularly on the college side. 

The wave of injuries hit so hard that this class has a chance to be the worst college pitching crop the industry has seen—and that’s coming just a few years after a 2019 class was criticized in a similar manner. 

Seven college pitchers ranked among the top 30 on our preseason top 200 draft prospects list. Of those, five have dealt with injuries and the other two—Kumar Rocker and Carson Whisenhunt—didn’t throw a single pitch in college baseball this spring. The former was showcasing for scouts in the independent Frontier League, the latter in the Cape Cod League in the lead-up to the draft.

Tennessee righthander Blade Tidwell suffered shoulder soreness and missed time early in the season. Arkansas righty Peyton Pallette had Tommy John surgery before the season began. Mississippi State righty Landon Sims made just three starts before TJ ended his season. Alabama lefthander Connor Prielipp had TJ in 2021 and didn’t pitch at all this spring.  

Florida lefthander Hunter Barco was well on his way to a strong season—he had a 2.50 ERA through 50.1—before his own Tommy John surgery. 

If a team is looking for a polished, fast-moving pitcher at the top of the 2022 draft, then they are out of luck.


3. The hitter inventory is strong this year, with a depth of proven college bats at the top 

Teams should sink their teeth into an impressive and proven crop of hitters instead. 

The top four high school position players in the class—Jones, Johnson, Jackson Holliday and Elijah Green—offer plenty of upside at up-the-middle positions, while the top tier of college hitters brings a long enough track record of power and patience to profile at corner spots. 

The top 11 prospects in the class are hitters, and there’s a good chance we see the longest run on hitters before a pitcher is selected in draft history. There’s also a reasonable chance that more hitters are selected in the first round than ever before.  

Attrition to college arms plays a significant role in this reality, but hitters like Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee, Parada, Louisiana State third baseman Jacob Berry, Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung and Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross have lengthy track records of performance and should give teams at the top confidence because of their combination of performance and pedigree.  

4. This might go down in history as the “bloodlines draft” 

If the 2022 draft isn’t remembered for its lack of college arms or its impressive depth of bats, it very well could be remembered as the “bloodlines draft.”  

Each year, there are notable prospects who are the sons, brothers or nephews of prominent former players or coaches. The 2022 class stands out for both the quantity and quality of those prospects. 

Six of the top 10 prospects come from notable athletic families: 

– Druw Jones is the son of Andruw Jones, one of the best defensive center fielders in MLB history 

Brooks Lee’s father is Larry Lee, who has coached the Cal Poly baseball team for two decades 

Jackson Holliday is the son of seven-time all-star Matt Holliday 

Elijah Green is the son of Eric Green, who was a 10-year tight end in the NFL 

Jace Jung is the younger brother of Rangers 2019 first-rounder Josh Jung 

Cam Collier is the son of eight-year big leaguer Lou Collier

Beyond the top 10, notable bloodlines players include Daniel Susac (brother of former MLB catcher Andrew Susac), Justin Crawford (son of four-time all-star Carl Crawford), Cade Hunter (son of Mariners scouting director Scott Hunter) and Robert Moore (son of Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore). 


5. The draft-and-follow returns, plus other CBA changes

The 2022 draft will also feature some notable rules changes, thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The draft-and-follow system returns. Any player selected after the 10th round who doesn’t sign and attends junior college will be eligible to sign later with his original selecting club for up to $225,000—which won’t impact a team’s bonus pool.

Additionally, the MRI program has been expanded and included with the predraft combine. The new system gives designated top 300 players in the class the option to participate in the medical portion of the combine, which includes a medical history questionnaire, physical exam and imaging. 

Players who participate fully in this medical portion of the combine are guaranteed at least 75% of the slot value they were drafted with, while players drafted after the 10th round will have to receive at least $50,000. If those thresholds aren’t met, players will become free agents, and selecting clubs won’t receive a compensation pick for players drafted in the top three rounds.

After slot values stagnated during each of the last two drafts, the 2022 draft features increased amounts and a total bonus pool value of around $280 million.

More changes are slated for the 2023 draft, including a draft lottery system, new eligibility dates and new orders for supplemental rounds based on winning percentages. 

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