Andy Garriola – Photo via ODU Baseball

A few weeks ago, I took a crack at what Baseball America’s draft grades were going to be for the 2022 draft class. Earlier this week, Baseball America finally dropped their superlatives in 12 categories. Let’s take a look and see how I did.

For Best Pure Hitter, I had Haydn McGeary, the Cubs 15th round pick out of Colorado Mesa. I thought that was a pretty solid pick considering the Cubs only drafted four position players. However, Baseball America went in a different direction as they selected Andy Garriola, an outfielder out of Old Dominion who was one of the nation’s leading home run hitters in D1 whereas McGeary was the same but in D2.

When it came around to the Best Power Hitter, I also selected McGeary mainly for his size and what I got to see of him in Myrtle Beach. Baseball America went in a different direction as they were more focused on the potential of Christopher Paciolla. Here’s what they had to say about Paciolla: “SS Christopher Paciolla has a projectable frame and a chance to hit for above-average power potential as he adds strength.”

In all, I matched seven of the 12 categories with Baseball America. The first one was the Fastest Runner which was Ke’Shun Collier and I also twinned with them on Best Defensive Player which was Paciolla. As well, we both named Hayden McGeary as having the Best Debut of any prospect in the draft and we also both named Nazier Mule as the Best Athlete. Hayden McGeary comes up a lot in these comparisons as we also both named him Best Late Round Draft Pick. Baseball America and I also connected on Cade Horton having the Best Secondary Pitch which is his slider. The final category in which we matched was The One Who Got Away as we both named Brock Blatter, the only draft pick who didn’t sign. Instead, Blatter will attend the University of Alabama.

The most surprising category we did not see eye to eye on was who had the Best Fastball. I picked Nazier Mule because he can throw it 100 miles an hour. Baseball America took Cade Horton due to his spin rates, carry, and its 65 grade offering.

Two other categories we did not click on were the Most Intriguing Background and Closest to the Majors. Considering that NazIer Mule is going to be a two-way player, I found that to be the most intriguing aspect of him and his potential.

As a big Brandon Birdsell fan, I was pleased to see that Baseball America picked him as their most as the prospect Closest to the Majors. I picked Cade Horton as I thought his staff was a little nastier. But Birdsell’s experience might give him a leg up. Here is why Baseball America said they picked Birdsell.

RHP Brandon Birdsell was older for the class, but has the pure stuff to move quickly in a bullpen role if he’s not stretched out as a starter. Horton also has the pure stuff to move quickly.

Overall this was fun and I enjoyed seeing that I got over half of them correct. Having not seen many of them up close and personal probably had more to do with the different answers. I’ll get to see some of these guys next summer when they travel to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa as part of the South Bend Cubs. Then I’ll get to see for myself whether I was right or whether Baseball America was.

Either way, it’s all in fun.