MLB

2022 MLB Draft recap: Breaking down players to know for all 30 teams

The Diamondbacks landed Georgia prep outfielder Druw Jones, the No. 1 player on our board, with the second overall pick. He’s the son of Andruw Jones and he could boast five plus or better tools at maturation, making him an All-Star-level talent. Second-round pick Landon Sims, a right-hander from Mississippi State, has a high-grade fastball-slider combination and might’ve been the first pitcher drafted if he didn’t require Tommy John surgery in March. He does have relief risk. Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez, nabbed in the third, leveraged his huge power to set the modern NCAA single-season home-run record. He’s a right-right first baseman, meaning he’ll have to keep slugging in order to retain prospect status.  The Braves selected a high school pitcher with each of their first three picks. Two-way player Owen Murphy‘s future is likely on the mound, where his stature, delivery, and fastball traits bear some resemblance to Rangers prospect Jack Leiter. J.R. Ritchie has polished and a good understanding of the tenets of pitch design. He’s got a carrying fastball that can touch into the mid-90s and a quality slider, too. Cole Phillips underwent Tommy John surgery in April, but showed enough arm strength to land in the top 60 anyway. The Braves also tabbed Blake Burkhalter from Auburn. He should be a quick-moving reliever with late-inning-caliber stuff.  We covered the Orioles’ draft in more detail elsewhere. The short version is that they landed Oklahoma prep shortstop Jackson Holliday with the No. 1 pick. He’s a left-handed hitter who could have a plus bat. Baltimore then went with a trio of power-over-hit collegiates, in Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers, Clemson third baseman Max Wagner, and Florida outfielder Jud Fabian. It’ll be on the Orioles’ development staff to help them make contact on a more consistent basis. If they succeed, watch out. The Red Sox opened their draft by taking California prep shortstop Mikey Romero. He’s a lefty-swinger whose upside hinges on how much power he can tap into. Romero is a surefire shortstop, giving him a wide berth. Boston followed up with a pair of upside plays in Cutter Coffey (a two-way player with good athleticism) and Roman Anthony (an outfielder with massive raw power). Both will need refinement to make the most out of their gifts. The Cubs popped a pitcher with nine of their first 10 picks, including both their first- and second-round selections. Oklahoma’s Cade Horton was the class’s biggest riser following the publication of our top-30 list thanks to a lights-out NCAA postseason. He has a power fastball and breaking ball, but scouts aren’t sure he’ll start long-term. Prep lefty Jackson Ferris bears some physical resemblance to Padres vet Blake Snell. The Cubs might want to tune down his busy delivery, but the selling point here is a promising three-pitch arsenal. The White Sox selected 6-foot-9 left-hander Noah Schultz from a local high school. He fires sinkers and sliders from a low-three-quarters slot, creating a tough angle on hitters. Chicago then went the college route for its next 10 picks. Second-rounder Peyton Pallette has big stuff but has battled elbow issues the last two years that resulted in Tommy John surgery. Fellow SEC righty Jonathan Cannon missed time with a forearm issue. He profiles as a sinkerballing back-of-the-rotation starter. Shortstop Jordan Sprinkle is a good defender who might not hit at all. The Reds landed arguably the steal of the draft when they picked Florida junior college third baseman Cam Collier at No. 18. He would’ve been a defensible top-three pick after he held his own against JuCo-level competition as a young 17-year-old. (He won’t turn 18 for several more months.) Third-round pick Bryce Hubbart is a slight lefty who receives high marks for his intelligence and guile. His fastball doesn’t stand out the radar gun, but it plays up because of the impressive spin he imparts upon it. He should be an organizational asset, even if he projects as a back-end starter, at best. The Guardians’ draft played out like a well-informed simulation based on their historical tendencies. First-round pick Chase DeLauter, an outfielder from James Madison, is a model’s delight based on his impressive track record. Scouts have wondered how much he benefited from a cupcake conference, and he didn’t help his case by breaking his foot midseason. The Guardians selected a pair of collegiate pitchers with their next two picks. Tall righty Justin Campbell and short lefty Parker Messick are high-floor starters who are a half grade of stuff here and there from raising their back-of-the-rotation projections. The Rockies surprisingly went with Gonzaga right-hander Gabriel Hughes at No. 10. He’s big and strong with a promising fastball-slider combination, but he needs to learn to work through his changeup rather than getting underneath it. The Rockies took a pair of SEC-based outfielders with their next two selections: Florida’s Sterlin Thompson and Tennessee’s Jordan Beck. If they could combine Thompson’s hit tool with Beck’s power they’d have a heck of a prospect. Third-round lefty Carson Palmquist fared well in his only season in Miami’s rotation. His low arm-slot and just-OK stuff has scouts convinced he’s more of a reliever at the next level. The Tigers pounced on a pair of collegiate bats early. Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung has an excellent feel for contact and the strike zone. It’s unclear how much of his plus raw power he’ll tap into as a professional, though, and he profiles as a below-average defender who will need to be positioned well. Oklahoma shortstop/third baseman Peyton Graham is a well-rounded player whose boosters believe his best days are ahead.  The Astros had their first-round pick for the first time since 2019. They used it on Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert, a high-energy center fielder who has some question marks concerning his offensive output. The Astros doubled-down on center fielders in the second by taking Oregon State’s Jacob Melton. He has an unusual swing and struck out nearly twice as often as he walked, but he can hit for power and he should remain in center. The Astros went on a run of collegiate pitchers from smaller programs thereafter, nabbing righties Andrew Taylor (Central Michigan), Michael Knorr (Coastal Carolina), and Trey Dombroski (Montmouth). The Royals did not take a single high-school player until the 18th round. They started off with Gavin Cross, a well-rounded outfielder from Virginia Tech. He improved his strikeout and walk rates, and he provided more thump this year — all while playing a serviceable center field. He’s likely to return to a corner as a pro. Second-round pick Cayden Wallace, a third baseman with outfield experience from Arkansas, also has a slew of 50-plus tools.  The Angels plucked Campbell shortstop Zach Neto with their first-round selection. He’s a savvy, well-rounded player who dominated the Big South Conference. He may not have a plus tool to his game, and some scouts see him as just a second-division shortstop. The Angels later took two collegiates with cult followings: third-round reliever Ben Joyce has touched 105 mph before and could become the first player from this class to reach the majors; fifth-rounder Sonny DiChiara is a pure hitter with negative value elsewhere.  The Dodgers had their first pick dropped 10 spots because of their Competitive Balance Tax payroll figure last season. When they did pick, at No. 40, they chose Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing. He succeeded Henry Davis, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, as the Cardinals catcher and did a good job by launching 23 home runs and hitting .310 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Third-round pick Alex Freeland, an infielder by way of Central Florida, is an on-base machine with solid pop. Scouts aren’t sure he’ll stick at shortstop for the long haul. The Marlins used their third top-six pick in the last four drafts on LSU switch-hitter Jacob Berry. He fared well in his single season in the SEC, hitting .370/.464/.630 with 15 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. Scouts don’t think he’s much of a defender, though, with some going so far as to label him as a designated hitter. Evaluators familiar with his ball-tracking data have also cast doubt on his power upside. Second-rounder Jacob Miller is a lean right-hander with a plunging arm action and a promising fastball-slider combination. He had some late first-round buzz. The Brewers popped Coastal Carolina shortstop Eric Brown with their first-round pick. Despite an unusual pre-swing setup, he’s put together an impressive track record of hitting, including last summer’s Cape Cod League. Second-round pick Jacob Misiorowski is a long-term project. He’s a tall, lean right-hander with a good fastball-slider one-two punch and a trove of positive analytical indicators. Coincidentally, he hails from Crowder College in Missouri, the same school that produced current funky Brewers lefty Aaron Ashby. The Twins played the role of opportunist early on, and were the beneficiaries of some surprises ahead of them in the first round, resulting Cal Poly infielder Brooks Lee being there when they made the eighth pick. Lee, No. 2 on our board, can really hit and has a high baseball IQ. There are concerns about his knee and back health, and some scouts believe he’s destined for either second or third base. The Twins later popped Alabama lefty Connor Prielipp, who may have vied for the top overall pick had he not required Tommy John surgery last year. He was back to throwing bullpens late in the season. The Mets were the only team with two top-15 selections. They chose Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada at No. 11 and then Texas prep infielder Jett Williams at 14. Parada, who posted some fantastic batted-ball data while hitting .361 with 26 home runs, has improved enough behind the plate to envision him sticking there for the long haul. Williams is short but strong and athletic, and some evaluators considered him to be the second best prep hitter in the class — no small consideration given his peers. Second-round righty Blade Tidwell may have gone in the first round had he stayed healthy all year. The Yankees kicked off their draft by taking Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones. He’s a 6-foot-7 outfielder who has good power and moves better than his height indicates. Jones did post an ugly strikeout-to-walk ratio, however, raising some cause for concern. The Yankees doubled-up on west-coast collegiate pitchers with good changeups in the second and third, taking Cal Poly’s Drew Thorpe and Gonzaga’s Trystan Vrieling. The Athletics took Arizona catcher Daniel Susac with their first pick. He likes to swing the bat and he likes to lift the ball, resulting in ugly strikeout-to-walk ratios and pleasant power outputs. Susac has a good arm, but he could benefit from the implementation of the automated strike zone. Second-round pick Henry Bolte, a prep outfielder from California, has loud tools but has to improve his usability. Third-rounder Colby Thomas, by way of Mercer, has big raw power. He suffered a torn labrum in May that ended his season after hitting 17 home runs in 42 games. The Phillies took Justin Crawford, Carl’s son, with the 17th pick. He can fly and he has a good feel for hitting. The biggest question facing his game is how much power he’ll grow into as he matures. Fellow outfielder Gabriel Rincones, the Phillies’ second-round pick, elected against signing last summer after being taken by the Padres in the 19th round. He’s a pure hitting prospect with no other means of contributing value. The Pirates grabbed a pair of players ranked in our top 30 to begin their draft. Second baseman Termarr Johnson is one of the best bets in the class. One veteran scout threw an 80 on his potential hit tool, and he has at least average raw power to boot. He’s also considered to have some of the best instincts in the draft. Right-hander Thomas Harrington is a former walk-on who has gained velocity and has two encouraging secondaries, in his slider and changeup.  The Padres went with prep pitching back-to-back to start their draft. Dylan Lesko has the best changeup in the class, and checks nearly all the boxes so far as a starting pitching candidate goes. He will have to work on his breaking ball, though, and he underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year that will delay that progress. Lefty Robby Snelling is a former football player, which is a tip-off that he’s strong and athletic. His delivery is a touch rough and he’ll need to learn the ways of the changeup. There’s no knocking his arm strength or his feel for spinning a slider, however. The Giants took players who combined for zero regular-season appearances with their first- and second-round selections. Two-way player Reggie Crawford had shown big stuff from the left side in limited action with UConn, but he missed the year because of Tommy John surgery. ECU lefty Carson Whisenhunt, meanwhile, cost himself a chance at being the first pitcher off the board by failing a performance-enhancing drug test in the preseason.  One scout predicted to CBS Sports in the spring that Seattle’s first-round pick, prep infielder Cole Young, would become a top-10 selection if he went to college. He won’t, but that shouldn’t stop the well-rounded shortstop from becoming a solid prospect. Second-round pick Tyler Locklear is an exit velocity deity from VCU. He’s likely to become a right-right first baseman, though, limiting his margin of error. The Mariners’ third pick, righty Walter Ford, has a big arm and won’t turn 18 until December. The Cardinals have a reputation for taking polished collegiate pitchers late in the first round. That’s exactly what they did by nabbing Oregon State lefty Cooper Hjerpe at 22. He has a funky delivery and a lower release point than the normal starter, but vertical approach angle is all the rage these days, and he should move quickly through the system. Second-rounder Brycen Mautz is another collegiate lefty with unorthodox mechanics. He’ll need to nurse a third pitch to stick in the rotation.  The Rays surprised everyone by selecting prep first baseman Xavier Isaac with their first pick. He has a lot of bat speed and raw power, but he’s limited defensively and didn’t face top-notch competition. Stanford outfielder Brock Jones fell to the Rays at No. 65. He’s a former football player with ample physical gifts who could’ve easily gone 50-plus picks higher with a better season. Shortstop Chandler Simpson, a third-round pick, would’ve been Whitey Herzog’s kind of player: he has minimum power and maximum speed and contact chops. Fourth-round pick Dominic Keegan, meanwhile, has done nothing other than produce with the stick in the SEC and in the Cape Cod League. He’ll have to find a position, as he’s considered a below-average defender at both catcher and first base. Texas forfeited its second- and third-round picks to sign Corey Seager and Marcus Semien over the winter. As a result, the Rangers’ draft can be boiled down to two players: right-handers Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter. The Rangers shocked everyone by popping Rocker at No. 3. His track record at Vanderbilt and his fastball-slider combination are undeniable; nevertheless, scouts do have reservations about his changeup and what his delivery will mean for his command and long-term health. Porter slipped to the fourth round despite a projectable frame, fast arm, and good changeup. One source theorized that it had to do with his fastball’s movement profile (it’s a runner), his inadequate breaking balls, and his age (he turned 19 in June, making him old for a prep player). There’s a lot of potential reward here; there’s a ton of risk, too. The Blue Jays started their draft with prep lefty Brandon Barriera. He has a deep arsenal, but analysts have concerns about his fastball’s movement profile, elevating his relief risk. Oregon infielder Josh Kasevich has raw juice in his bat, yet he seldom tapped into it. The Blue Jays will have to figure out if they want to let him be as an extreme contact hitter, and whether or not they think he’s actually a shortstop despite his limited athleticism.  The Nationals selected arguably the biggest boom-or-bust player in the class, in prep outfielder Elijah Green. He has massive tools, including top-shelf power and speed, but the abundance of swing-and-miss in his game raises red flags about his hit tool. Green could become the best player in the class if it all clicks. The Nationals later chose Oklahoma lefty Jake Bennett, a former teammate of prospect Cade Cavalli’s. Bennett is a sturdy southpaw with a good changeup.



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