With the release of North Side Bound, I’m thrilled to debut the first 2022 MLB Mock Draft. I’ve been itching to dive into this draft class since the 2021 class signing deadline. It’s finally time and with the Cubs tentatively drafting 7th, they’re in fantastic position to add even more impact talent to the organization. While we wait for any changes that may come from the Collective Bargaining Agreement and how that may impact the draft, let’s take a look at what the 2022 draft may look like.
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1. Baltimore Orioles – Jace Jung, 2B/3B, Texas Tech
Baltimore could go in any number of ways picking at the top of the draft, but you can lock down that the Orioles are going to take a player who showcases elite metrics (pitching or hitting). I’d strongly lean hitter for them at the present. While I love the “Chase DeLauter 1:1” discussion (and I totally buy that), I went a different direction in this mock by selecting Jace Jung who may have a plus hit and above-average to plus power. He’s a bat-first profile, but similar to Kjerstad and Cowser in the sense that it’s easy to project Jung as an advanced hitter at the next level.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks – Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan (HS)
The D-backs were willing to go well overslot to sign Jordan Lawler who boasts significant upside but struggled with contact issues. I was tempted to link them with Elijah Green who (at least right now) has similar contact issues and upper level upside. But I don’t believe that teams will be willing to let Druw Jones fall too far in this draft. He’s one of the better pure hitters in the high school class, but has the ability to tap into power that is improving. Like his father, Andrew Jones, Druw could be an elite defender in centerfield.
3. Texas Rangers – Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
The Rangers have historically leaned college player and with the 2022 class, I’d guess that continues as of now. Brooks Lee probably gets a chance in pro ball to play shortstop but may end up sliding over to third base eventually. He has the bat to profile at the position. The switch-hitter has all-star upside and could move fairly quickly up to Texas.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates – Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
I’ve been tempted to mock Chase DeLauter at picks 1 and 3, but I select him for the Pirates at 4. DeLauter (also known as CDL) has a metrically-aligned swing, produced impressively at the Cap Cod League with wood bats, and shows off what might be a plus hit with plus-plus power who can stick in centerfield. I personally lean towards his profile being above-average hit with plus power, but coupled with solid centerfield defense CDL could be a regular 4 WAR player for the Pirates.
5. Washington Nationals – Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy
Chances are most mocks will link Dylan Lesko to the Nationals. I totally buy that connection, but I also want to note how the Nats tend to pouch higher upside talents that fall to their selection. Washington has been willing to take chances on upside and in 2021 gambled on Brady House based on the profile, even if that profile also included contact concerns. Elijah Green could be that same level of upside and if Washington is willing to roll the dice again this year, they could snag an all-star talent from the HS class.
6. Miami Marlins – Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
It’s hard to decipher Miami’s target profile, but this is an organization that has been willing to invest in catching prospects. They took Joe Mack high in 2021 (supplemental first round), but the high school catching demographic is very different from college catching. HS catchers have a higher risk profile and a much longer time frame. An elite college catcher like Susac could be very appealing to the Marlins
7. Chicago Cubs – Temarr Johnson, 2B, Mays (HS)
In both of Dan Kantrovitz’s drafts for the Cubs, the first-round selections of Ed Howard and Jordan Wicks shared multiple commonalities. First, each was viewed as a bit of a value play. For Howard, from a few scattered reports, it appears that he was in play as early as #10 to the Angels. And with Wicks, the Kantrovitz identified him as “one of the top 9-10 players on [the Cubs’] board”. Second, both Howard and Wicks are viewed as having a high likelihood of being major league players. Don’t let that dampen your view on their overall ceiling, which is still there. But these are not your characteristic “boom or bust” candidates. From an organizational perspective, if you’re team is going to invest the most money in the entire draft into one player, you want to make sure that player provides value at the major league level. Virginia’s Gavin Cross would be a great college example of this, but how about a high school option?
Termarr Johnson: He can hit and I mean really hit. Termarr has a plus hit and plus power profile. Currently, he plays shortstop, but I can buy the reports from scouts that suggest he’s a candidate to move to second or third base. While I have Termarr as a top 5 prospect in this class, I know that some organizations may knock him for the positional projection. He may be a bat-forward second basemen from the high school class and that’s a profile that has done well when reaching the pro ranks. If he’s there’s there at 7, the Cubs should pounce.
8. Minnesota Twins – Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU
The Twins favor hitters who have strong batted ball data, which Berry has in his profile. The University of Arizona to LSU transfer has the opportunity to star in the SEC. My only question is whether he stays at 3B? A team taking him this high probably bets he does or loves the bat and doesn’t care if there’s a few too many Ks (an okay 19.5 K% in 2021). Based on the Twins’ past drafting habits, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ranks quite high on their board come next summer.
9. Kansas City Royals – Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (HS)
In a risk-averse landscape that most organizations operate in (especially in the draft), investing heavily in high school pitching isn’t an in-vogue strategy. But that is exactly what the Royals have done, especially in 2021. Could they double up again with Lesko who boasts some of the most impressive stuff of any high schooler in the past few years (I’d rank Jackson Jobe over Lesko as of right now FYI). This isn’t a slot savings move like Frank Mozzicato was in 2021, but the Royals go in for a pitcher with true ace-upside.
10. Colorado Rockies – Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia
This may even be a bit low on Gavin Cross (who I love and have within my personal top 10), but I don’t know where to place him right now. He’s an advanced hitter who could stick in centerfield. He doesn’t necessarily fits the Rockies’ draft philosophy other than just being an immense value (in my opinion) at this pick.
11. New York Mets (compensation for failing to sign Kumar Rocker) – Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas
It’s really hard to place what strategy the Billy Eppler-run New York Mets may go with their two first-round picks. Here at pick one, they take the son of Royals GM, Dayton Moore, Robert who profiles with average hit, average power, and potentially above-average defense at 2B. Moore feels like a high floor pick, but don’t let that discourage you. He’s a really good ball player who gets to shine in the SEC.
12. Detroit Tigers – Kumar Rocker, RHP
This is a total stab and let’s be honest all these picks are at this stage (feel free to copy that forward till June), but the Tigers have historically leaned college players. If he’s healthy and pitching well in whatever showcases or games he participates in, Rocker should still go high. He’s a total wildcard in the 2022 class, but he has the ability to be a quick-rising arm. The Tigers are a franchise on the rise
13. Los Angeles Angels – Bryce Hubbart, LHP, Florida State
Over the past few seasons, the Angels have clearly emphasized pitching. In 2021, 20/20 of their draft selections were pitchers. I won’t go so far as to predict they do it again, but in this mock we land them the best LHP in the class in Bryce Hubbart. Unlike Reid Detmers in 2020, Hubbart isn’t so reliant on one specific pitch. His three pitch mix and deceptive delivery give him plenty of opportunities to beat advanced hitters.
14. New York Mets – Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
With the second pick of the Mets, they go after one of the more physical players in the draft class. He’s split his time between football and baseball until last season when he focused strictly on the diamond. He exudes athleticism with plenty of power and speed in the profile. I’m not sure if he ends up in centerfield, but this spring will answer a lot of those questions.
15. San Diego Padres – Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
On some nights Pallette shows off the most electrifying stuff in the class with a 93-97 mph fastball, high 80s changeup, and low 80s curveball. He’s a primo spin rate pitcher. Consistency and injury risk are his main question marks coming into the 2022 college season. The Padres draft players with strong metrics and have a pitching infrastructure that allows the upper brass to take chances on upside players.
16. Cleveland Guardians – Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC
Collier is a recently reclassified player in the 2022 class. This means that he now will be eligible for the 2022 draft versus the 2023 draft. It also means that he’ll be one of the youngest players in the class (projected to be about 17 and a half years old) so teams that heavily factor in age to their draft models will be even more intrigued. The Guardians are one of those organizations, especially for high schoolers. Collier is a likely 3B at the next level, but probably a very good one. He has the bat to profile there, especially with his ability to pull the ball with authority. I was also impressed with his ability to go the other way with pitches on the outside of the plate.
17. Philadelphia Phillies – Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (HS)
Could it really be three years in a row that the Phillies take a prep RHP? After Mick Abel and Andrew Painter, this mock lands them Brock Porter who sports a mid 90s fastball with electric life. Unlike most pitchers his age, he’s able to “kill spin” with a changeup. Porter will also throw a pair of breaking balls that are inconsistent. A team that is willing to iron out the edges on Porter could get a front line starter.
18. Cincinnati Reds – Jayson Jones, 3B, Braswell (HS)
According to the folks at Prospects Live, Jones produces unbelievable swing data. According to their report, “On the data side of things, Jones in an absolute monster. It’s among the most outlandish barrel speed-hand speed combinations we’ve ever seen since Diamond Kinetics and K-Vest worked their way into amateur baseball.” The big question with Jones is the hit tool, but, frankly, those questions have not stopped the Reds before. Jones is electric and a dynamic player who you could see on a day and wonder how he’s going to last past the fifth pick.
19. Oakland Athletics – Gavin Turley, OF, Hamilton (HS)
The Athletics showed a great deal of interest in Wes Kath who boasted impressive power in the high school class but came with swing and miss. Kath and Turley aren’t direct comparables, but teams more willing to embrace a power over hit profile should be linked closer to Gavin Turley. The Oregon State commit is a plus runner and should be able to stick in CF early in his pro career. A centerfield profile helps his future projection where the threshold for an above-average offensive CF is a lot lower than the corners.
20. Atlanta Braves – Cayden Wallace, OF, Arkansas
Corner outfielders tend to be knocked down a few pegs in the draft, but Wallace shows off solid offensive production (lots of power) in a right field profile. The big question is whether he gets a chance to play third base, where he was originally slatted to play coming out of high school. The profile would play better at third rather than LF/RF.
21. Seattle Mariners – Josh Kasevich, SS, Oregon
Don’t let the Pacific Northwest bias sway you, I think Kasevich has a chance to play his way into the first round. His biggest question entering the 2022 season is whether he can adapt his swing to pull the ball. Having watched Oregon games, he tends to incorporate a Derek Jeter-esque swing to go the other way. It’s very difficult to live and die with that type of approach, but he’s a strong hitter and an organization that sees Kasevich succeed at SS while incorporating swing changes could identify him as a future big league starter at SS.
22. St. Louis Cardinals – Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Parada has top 5 overall pick upside. Georgia Tech is a fantastic development center for catchers. If you fast forward to July 2022 and Parada doesn’t make it out of the top 5 don’t clip this post. But he still has questions to answer. He’s a strong defensive backstop and starting to put it together at the plate more consistently. In this mock, the Cardinals take a gamble that the defensive tools continue to shine and the offensive skill set is refined in professional ball.
23. Toronto Blue Jays – Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
The Blue Jays are historically all over the more metrically impressive players and Fabian is absolutely one in this class. After he turned down the Red Sox in 2021, he’s available in the 2022 class. But it’s important to remember he’s still age-appropriate in the 2022 class since he was the youngest college junior in 2021. I ranked him as my top overall player in 2021 early in the season before the strikeouts were too hard to ignore. If he’s able to cut down the Ks to an average level, Fabian is a Top 5 player in the class. Even if he can’t, this is an above-average centerfielder with plus power.
24. Boston Red Sox – Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
Carter Young dealt with a shoulder injury last season so it’s hard to gauge where his expected performance will be in 2022. But his big question is related to strikeouts. Where they a product of his shoulder injury? I buy that he’s a first rounder, but I’ll wait till this spring to see if he’s able to temper the Ks. Campbell’s Zach Neto could fit here as well.
25. New York Yankees – Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Few teams have taken significantly injured arms in the first round in recent years (Blue Jays in 2021 – Hoglund, Yankees in 2017 – Schmidt, San Diego in 2016 – Quantrill, and the Dodgers in 2015 – Buehler). With the Yankees’ pitching infrastructure overseen by Eric Cressey and a number of talented arms in the system, the Yankees can afford to take a risk. Prielipp was ticketed for a selection in the top 5 selection prior to his injury.
26. Chicago White Sox – Parker Messick, LHP, Florida State
Messick absolutely easts up lefthanded batters and the White Sox have shown an ability to take a player they feel comfortable slotting into the bullpen provided there’s a possibility to start in the future. Messick has that ability and with the White Sox organizational structure, adding in an ACC pitcher that offers upside as a starter could make a lot of sense.
27. Milwaukee Brewers – Blake Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
The Brewers have recently invested in first round outfielders who tend to “fall” in the draft due to various knocks on their profile (Mitchell in 2020 with swing changes needed and Frelick in 2021 with his lower power potential). Admittedly Tidwell doesn’t fit that picture, but what Milwaukee also has built is a pitching infrastructure in which players with impressive metrics are optimized into very impressive performers. Williams, Small, Hader, Woodruff, and Burnes all were developed by Milwaukee into lethal options for a staff that consistently outperforms expectations. Tidwell has smoothing out to do, but he shows good vertical movement with the fastball (featuring upper level velocity) and he features a sweeper slider. He would be a monster if he lands with a handful of organizations (San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Houston, LA Dodgers among others).
28. Houston Astros – Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego (HS)
Every time I watch Schultz pitch, the more impressed I am in the profile. He is an ultra-projectable lefthander standing 6’9″ who slings the ball from a sidearm slot. His fastball only sits 88-92, but it beats hitters due to the severe angle and extension. With his projectable frame, the hope would be that Schultz is able to add muscle and consistency to improve his mechanics and add velocity. What really stands out with Schultz is his slider with sweepy movement. Several organizations prioritize sweeping movement in sliders (Tampa Bay being one of them). He could be truly elite in Tampa Bay’s system. The Vanderbilt-commit could be a difficult signing, but I won’t speculate too much on signability so far out from the draft.
29. Tampa Bay Rays – Cole Young, SS, North Alleghany (HS)
Tampa Bay is a balmy 71 degrees right now, but they aren’t shy about taking players from cold weather states. His hitting profile (contact bat with average power) and up the middle position fits Tampa Bay very well. Young could go any number of places whether much higher or even with the next pick, LA.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers – Mickey Romero, SS, Orange Lutheran (HS)
LAD is regarded as one of the premier developmental organizations in baseball. One of the their biggest strengths is the ability to take hitters with stronger hit over power grades with line drive swings, work with them to elevate the ball, and do so without sacrificing significant contact. Romero looks like a shortstop capable of handling the position in professional ball. He also shows off good bat-to-ball skills. He’s not being talked about very much yet, but high school shortstops tend to rise in the draft.
31. San Francisco Giants – Peyton Graham, SS/3B, Oklahoma
Graham is an exciting college bat that should be able to handle third base (perhaps even in with better than average defense) in professional ball. The 6’3″ Oklahoma hitter did struggle with Ks (22.7 K% in 2021) so there is work to be done, but he’s a name to watch entering the 2022 season.