MLB Player Comparisons for Top 2022 MLB Draft Prospects

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesFeatured Columnist IVJuly 16, 2022

MLB Player Comparisons for Top 2022 MLB Draft Prospects

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    The 2022 MLB draft begins this Sunday, with guys like Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Jacob Berry and Brooks Lee shortly thereafter becoming the top overall prospect for their respective new franchises.

    But which current MLB players do these future stars most resemble?

    Before we dive in, let's be sure to address the elephant in the draft room: The MLB draft is a bit of a crapshoot. Of the 100 players taken with a top 10 pick from 2006-15, 11 never made it to the majors and 35 others currently have a career Baseball Reference WAR of 5.0 or worse. Forty-two of the 100 did make it to at least one All-Star Game, but even with the No. 1 overall pick, the odds of a player living up to the hype—even just for one season—have been 50/50, at best.

    For every Bryce Harper or Gerrit Cole, there's a Brady Aiken or Luke Hochevar.

    In other words, we fully expect half of these guys to never come anywhere close to matching the production of our MLB comparisons for them. It's just the way it goes. But you also don't have to squint much at all to see Elijah Green becoming the next Julio Rodriguez, nor Termarr Johnson blossoming into eight-time All-Star Robinson Cano.

    These potential top 10 overall draft picks are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Jacob Berry, 3B/OF

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    Physical Attributes: 6'0", 212 lb, Bats: S, Throws: R, Main Skill: Power Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Josh Bell

    From a positional perspective, we're admittedly starting out with a poor comp here. Jacob Berry has predominantly played third base at LSU while Josh Bell has spent just about his entire professional career at first base.

    However, there is already talk of Berry ending up either in right field or first base, as he is just OK defensively at the hot corner. So, if we think of Berry as a powerful, switch-hitting corner infielder, then Bell 2.0 works.

    Berry hit .370 with 15 home runs this season with the Bayou Bengals and is legitimately dangerous from both sides of the plate. He's one of the best power hitters in this year's draft class and should eventually match or surpass the 37 home runs that Bell hit back in 2019 with the Pirates.

    If you prefer a better positional match and are willing to consider former players, Berry could approach Chipper Jones' level of switch-hitting excellence.

Cam Collier, 3B

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    Physical Attributes: 6'2", 210 lb, Bats: L, Throws: R, Main Skill: Arm/Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Rafael Devers

    There's no Shohei Ohtani in this draft class because, well, Ohtani is as unique as it gets.

    But if there were one, it would be Cam Collier.

    Collier has a sweet left-handed stroke at the plate. He looks uncommonly relaxed in his stance, almost like a lion silently stalking its prey before pouncing with a ton of force. He only hit eight home runs this season for Chipola JC, but there's no question that this 17-year-old has 30-homer potential.

    And then there's the arm. He's not going to be a pitcher, but he's a flame-throwing third baseman. It's possible that the franchise that drafts him does so with the intention of moving him to right field, because Collier has an Ichiro Suzuki, Vladimir Guerrero or Yasiel Puig type of cannon to nail any baserunners foolish enough to test their luck.

    But if he does remain at the hot corner, comparisons to Rafael Devers are sure to follow. The two-time All-Star also has an excellent arm with one of those silky smooth left-handed swings that seem to make the ball explode off the bat.

Elijah Green, OF

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    Physical Attributes: 6'3", 225 lb, Bats: R, Throws: R, Main Skill: Speed/Power

    MLB Comparison: Ronald Acuna Jr. or Julio Rodriguez

    If he can keep his strikeouts under control, Elijah Green has the potential to be a Gold Glove centerfielder and a multiple-time member of the 30 HR / 30 SB club.

    Green is the son of a former NFL tight end (Eric Green) and he looks the part. Both in terms of height and weight, he's going to be one of the biggest guys drafted on Sunday. But in spite of his size, this IMG Academy star has elite speed to go along with his effortless power to all fields.

    Were it not for the occasional propensity to swing and miss, he'd be the no-brainer choice for the No. 1 pick.

    But you know what? Ronald Acuna Jr. has a career strikeout rate of 25.7 percent, and 2022 All-Stars like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Julio Rodriguez are all hovering right around 100 whiffs this season. K's happen, and Green could be one of those guys who thrives in spite of fanning once every four trips to the plate.

Jackson Holliday, SS/3B

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    Physical Attributes: 6'1", 175 lb, Bats: L, Throws: R, Main Skill: Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Corey Seager

    Matt Holliday was a seventh-round draft pick who didn't make it to the big leagues until six years later. Expectations are much higher for his son, Jackson, who is on the short list of candidates to be taken No. 1 overall by the Baltimore Orioles.

    The 2022 Baseball America High School Player of the Year batted .685 (with 17 home runs) in 40 games played as a senior, which simply has no comparison. A .685 slugging percentage would be good enough to lead the majors in any season since Barry Bonds retired. But batting .685? Madness.

    The lefty-hitting shortstop is a great all-around player who has impressed scouts with his improved fielding and speed. It's unlikely he'll be a Gold Glover or a league-leading base stealer, but he checks all the boxes for a future MLB shortstop.

    Corey Seager feels like a good comp for Holliday, albeit probably the Dodgers version of Seager who hit .297 with one home run for every six games played as opposed to the current Rangers version batting .245 with a home run every four games. Holliday's swing is too smooth to be a sub-.250 hitter.

Termarr Johnson, 2B

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    Physical Attributes: 5'10", 175 lb, Bats: L, Throws: R, Main Skill: Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Pre-2018 Robinson Cano

    Termarr Johnson is an elite hitting prospect. MLB.com says Johnson "might be the best pure prep hitter in decades."

    Because of that, it was tempting to go with Luis Arraez as the comp here. Arraez is leading the majors this season with a .343 batting average, is a career .321 hitter and is even a lefty with identical height, weight and primary spot in the field.

    However, Arraez has just 10 home runs in more than 1,300 career trips to the plate, and Johnson has considerably more pop in his bat than that.

    As such, pre-2018 Robinson Cano makes way more sense here.

    Through his first 13 years in MLB, Cano hit .305 and averaged 23 home runs per season. He was a five-time Silver Slugger and a two-time Gold Glove recipient, and Johnson may well be headed for the former of the two. (Gold Gloves are unlikely to be in his future, but you never know.)

Druw Jones, CF

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    Physical Attributes: 6'4", 180 lb, Bats: R, Throws: R, Main Skill: Speed/Fielding

    MLB Comparison: Luis Robert

    Andruw Jones made it to the big leagues as a 19-year-old, and his son, Druw, might do the same. Heck, he might even make it as an 18-year-old if the franchise that drafts him decides his speed on the basepaths and his glove/arm in centerfield are worthy of a September call-up this season.

    Jones is regarded by most as the top prospect in this draft class. Whether the Orioles ultimately take him at No. 1 remains to be seen, but he sure looks the part of a 5-tool, can't-miss prospect.

    Jones is easily one of the best defensive players in the draft. The combination of his arm, his next-level speed and his instincts is borderline unfair. This is also true of Luis Robert, who won a Gold Glove in centerfield as a rookie in 2020. (Also true of Andruw Jones, who was a 10-time Gold Glove recipient.)

    In what amounts to about 1.2 full seasons, "Lu-Bob" has hit .294 with 36 home runs and 26 stolen bases. If Jones can come anywhere close to matching that while thriving in the field, he'll be a perennial All-Star.

Jace Jung, 2B

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    Physical Attributes: 6'0", 205 lb, Bats: L, Throws: R, Main Skill: Power Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Brandon Lowe

    Second basemen capable of hitting 30 home runs in a season are rare. Add "lefty-swinging" to the equation and over the past three decades it's pretty much Chase Utley, Robinson Cano, Brandon Lowe and part-time second baseman Max Muncy.

    But Jace Jung is quite the candidate to join that club.

    He's neither much of a runner nor a prolific fielder, but Jung mashed 21 home runs in 2021 with Texas Tech. He added another 14 this past spring. In 136 collegiate games, he went yard 39 times and had a .647 slugging percentage.

    That 39 mark is identical to what Lowe did for the Rays last season. It wasn't enough for him to win the AL Silver Slugger because Marcus Semien hit 45 home runs at the same position, but it was a mighty impressive season all the same. Lowe has spent most of the current campaign on the IL with a back injury, but his career 162-game average of 36 home runs is about what we should expect from Jung in a few years.

Brooks Lee, SS/3B

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    Physical Attributes: 6'2", 205 lb, Bats: S, Throws: R, Main Skill: Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Jose Ramirez

    Physically speaking, this isn't a great comparison. Brooks Lee is a solid five inches taller than Jose Ramirez, and the Cal Poly shortstop is nowhere near the base-stealing threat that the Cleveland Guardians third baseman is.

    But he's a switch hitter who rarely strikes out, who has the potential for a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 40 doubles per season and who makes his defensive home on the left side of the infield, so it's pretty much "Jo-Ram" or bust.

    Lee triple-slashed .357/.462/.664 this season with 15 home runs, 46 walks and just 28 strikeouts. Pick any batting category and he was the best that Cal Poly had to offer, which is at least anecdotally true for Ramirez in Cleveland's lineup, too.

    He probably won't be the No. 1 overall pick, but there's a good chance that Lee will be the first player selected from a four-year college. And with his plate discipline, his stay in the minor leagues figures to be a short one.

Kevin Parada, C

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    Physical Attributes: 6'1", 197 lb, Bats: R, Throws: R, Main Skill: Power Hitting

    MLB Comparison: Mike Piazza Lite / Evan Gattis Heavy

    We wanted to limit the comparisons to current MLB players, but we need to go a little old school for Kevin Parada.

    The catcher from Georgia Tech is a bona fide slugger. He hit 26 home runs this season, averaging better than one for every 10 at-bats. He also hit .361, and is going to make it to the big leagues in a hurry based solely on his bat.

    Parada may even need to do so as a full-time DH, because his defense and athleticism leave a lot to be desired—for a catcher who is likely to be taken in the top 10 of the draft, at any rate.

    He might hit 40 home runs in a season, and he would do so as a defensive liability. There aren't any current catchers who fit that bill, but Parada could be 75 percent of 12-time All-Star Mike Piazza, or 125 percent of zero-time All-Star Evan Gattis, both of whom could absolutely rake to make up for defense that was mediocre at best.

Brock Porter, RHP

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    Physical Attributes: 6'4", 208 lb, Throws: R, Main Skill: Fastball

    MLB Comparison: Sandy Alcantara

    With a 1.73 ERA through 18 starts, Sandy Alcantara would be the clear-cut choice for the NL Cy Young Award if the season ended today. As such, this may well be the most lofty comparison of them all.

    But for the highest-rated pitcher in this year's class, it fits.

    Brock Porter is built similarly to Alcantara—one inch shorter; a few cheeseburgers heavier—and has the same pitching repertoire. Aside from Gerrit Cole, Alcantara has the fastest fastball among qualified starting pitchers, and Porter has the best fastball in the draft, able to touch 100 on occasion. And when he turns to the off-speed stuff, it's a split between changeup and slider, just like Alcantara.

    One big difference, however, is the speed of the changeup. Alcantara's average changeup hums in at 91.8 MPH while Porter's is down in the low 80s. But if he can locate it well, that 15-ish MPH difference between his fastball and changeup will be lethal. It certainly was this spring, as he racked up 115 strikeouts in 58 innings of work.

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