The 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft begins on Sunday, July 19. We are about a month away from learning who will be the first overall pick. This class is loaded with hitters and four of the top five are high schoolers. With still a month before the draft, things could very well change, injuries happen, and major trades mean farm systems need to be restocked.
BAL – Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan (GA)
Jones, the son of former MLB outfielder, Andruw Jones, has all the tools to be a superstar at the highest level. His best tools are his fielding and speed, both graded at 70 on the 20-80 scale. His hit is measured at 55, power at 60, and arm at 65. Overall, Jones grades as a 65 overall. He will stay in center as a big leaguer and has also shown he has the ability to move to shortstop in a pinch. On the field, Jones’ athleticism and instincts have helped him become an elite defender in center field. He should improve at the plate as he grows into his 6’4” frame more. He already consistently makes hard contact and squares up line drives, but the power will come as he gains strength. Jones is committed to Vanderbilt, but the expectation is he turns pro.
ARI – Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
Green, whose dad was also a pro athlete, becomes the best player available with Jones gone. Green’s tools and skillset are very similar to Jones’ with the only concern being his pitch selection and how he could handle an uptick in velocity. Green swings and misses more than many would like, but when he connects, the ball explodes off his bat. If he can speed his bat up and recognize pitches a bit better, he has a good shot of being a very good center fielder for a long time. Green is currently committed to Miami University (FL), but he, like Jones, is expected to turn pro.
TEX – Jackson Holiday, SS, Stillwater (OK)
Another prospect whose dad played in the MLB, Jackson Holiday is the first infielder taken. The left-handed-hitting shortstop from Stillwater High School in Oklahoma can flat out hit the ball. He is very mature at the plate, has a good pitch selection and recognition, and doesn’t try to do too much. He had a down summer in 2021 but has rebounded very nicely this spring by shortening the swing and letting things come to him. He is not as fast as the first two players taken here but still has above-average speed. On the field, Holiday possesses a great feel for the game, a great arm, and good fielding abilities. While many believed he would wind up as a second or third baseman as a pro, he has a solid chance at staying at short if he can improve on some of those skills. Holiday is committed to Oklahoma State, where his uncle and father both coach. There is more of a risk here considering the relationships Holiday has, but a nice signing bonus should convince him to turn pro.
PIT – Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Lee becomes the first college player taken at No. 4. He was previously drafted by the Giants in the 35th round back in 2019. The reason he fell so far was that it was known he wanted to play at Cal Poly, where his father is the head coach. Lee played for USA baseball and also played in the Cape Cod League in addition to playing at Cal Poly. The switch-hitting shortstop has elite contact skills and above-average power. His strikeout rate is extremely low, and when he hits the ball, he hits the ball very hard. In the field, it remains to be seen if he can stick as a shortstop as a pro, but he has a great feel for the game, knows how to handle himself like a pro, and will rise through any team’s system quickly.
WSH – Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays (GA)
Johnson has been dubbed “the best pure prep hitter in decades” by some scouts. This is evidenced by his 70-grade hit tool and his 60-grade power tool. Scouts rarely ever give out 70+ grades, so when they do, it is really earned. Johnson is listed as 5’10” which might be inaccurate, but when he physically matures more, has the ability to hit 30 homers every year. Johnson’s glove doesn’t exactly match up with his bat due to his bat being ridiculously good. That’s not to say he won’t be able to stay on the field, he will, but he may have a hard time staying at second base. He may, but I see him more as a corner outfielder. Johnson is currently committed to Arizona State University and just turned 18 on June 11. The commitment to ASU shouldn’t stand in the Nationals’ way of taking him.
MIA – Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Miami simply goes best player on the board here. They have incredible starting pitching depth throughout their organization. In Parada, they get a good player who hits the ball well. Parada is more of an offensive threat and his defense is above average as well. His only weakness, compared to the rest of his game, is his defensive ability. His arm measures out to be average at best. He is athletic and runs well for a catcher, but due to long-term concerns about his defense, it’s more likely than not he switches to first base or a corner outfield spot.
CHC – Jacob Berry, OF/3B, LSU
Berry is listed as a primary third baseman but has been the primary DH at LSU. Berry is a switch hitter who hits for contact and power and has strong pitch recognition. His plate discipline is another strength of his offensive game. He lacks speed and arm strength, meaning he projects as a future first baseman, where his offensive skillset should fit in nicely.
MIN – Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
The Twins don’t have a single catcher in their top 30 prospects. Susac immediately becomes the catcher of the future in Minnesota. His defense is strong enough for him to stay behind the plate for most of his career. He has decent speed at best but should be about average for catchers. He does his best work with his bat. He was a consistent extra-base threat all season for Arizona, spraying line drives all over the field. Due to his strong overall game, he could rise quickly and be in the show before long.
KC – Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Jung is listed as a second baseman but has shifted around the infield throughout his time at Texas Tech. His defense is average, but his bat makes up for it. Jung won the Big 12 Conference POTY in 2021 as a full-time second baseman. Due to his average arm, second base is probably the best position for him moving forward. A team could survive with him in the outfield, but he projects as a second baseman or DH. Jung hits for high contact and very good power. There’s a chance he could develop into a middle-of-the-order guy that hits at least .280 with 25+ homers. His speed is below average, but he runs the bases with controlled aggression and good instincts.
COL – Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard St. Mary’s (MI)
The Rockies have one pitcher in their top-10 prospects. Ideally, there would be a college pitcher available here (there are), but Porter is the best pitcher in the draft. His fastball and changeup are both already plus pitches. He reaches 100 on the fastball, but routinely sits 94-97. His improvements on his slider have really propelled him up the board. Having two plus pitches with a third one on its way at only 18 years old is not only rare but special. If this class wasn’t loaded with hitters, Porter could easily be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick.
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