2022 MLB Draft Grades: Best and Worst Picks from Sunday Results
The first day of the 2022 MLB draft is in the books, and while it will be years until we see most of the prospects who were chosen performing in the big leagues, we can make some early assessments based on pre-draft rankings, other available talent and long-term upside.
Ahead, we've counted down the three best and three worst picks of Sunday's action, which spanned the first two rounds and 80 picks of what will once again be a three-day, 20-round event.
This is not meant to be an expectation of failure or a guarantee of success for anyone involved but simply an early take on how things unfolded.
No. 3 Worst Pick: RHP Cade Horton, Chicago Cubs
This pick made more sense after the Chicago Cubs selected prep left-hander Jackson Ferris in the second round at No. 47 overall, but it still stands out as one of the more questionable decisions of the first round.
Horton had a 7.94 ERA when the regular season concluded, and he had seen more time at third base than on the mound, but he strung together an excellent run during postseason play, posting a 2.61 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 31 innings over five starts to help Oklahoma reach the College World Series finals.
He has an extremely short track record after missing his entire freshman season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while part of the strategy here was to reach for him at No. 7 so they could save money for an above-slot deal in the second round, it still feels like they left some high-level talent on the board to make that move.
No. 3 Best Pick: LHP Carson Whisenhunt, San Francisco Giants
Carson Whisenhunt spent his junior year watching from the sidelines after he received a season-long suspension for a positive PED test that he attributed to supplements he purchased from a national chain.
Prior to that suspension, he was a consensus first-round pick with the potential to climb into the top 10, and he wound up sticking around until the final pick of the second round when the San Francisco Giants scooped him at No. 66 overall.
With a mid-90s fastball, an elite changeup that ranks as one of the best offspeed pitches in the draft class and a durable 6'3", 209-pound frame, he ticks all the boxes to be a staple in the MLB rotation.
After picking dynamic two-way talent Reggie Crawford in the first round, the Giants managed to add a high-floor college pitcher with middle-of-the-rotation upside in the second round.
No. 2 Worst Pick: SS Cutter Coffey, Boston Red Sox
More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Boston Red Sox reached for Nick Yorke in the first round of the 2020 draft, and now he's a Top 100 prospect.
The issue here is that the Red Sox reached not once, but twice for high school infielders ranked well below their draft slot on predraft rankings:
Pairing one of those early reaches with a safer college pitcher would have been a balanced approach, especially for a team with a shortage of quality arms in the pipeline.
Will the Red Sox make the industry rankings look silly once again?
No. 2 Best Pick: SS Brooks Lee, Minnesota Twins
After hitting .357/.462/.664 with 25 doubles, 15 home runs, 55 RBI and far more walks (46) than strikeouts (28) this spring, Brooks Lee had a strong case for being the top college position player in the 2022 draft.
Throughout much of the predraft process, he was a viable candidate to go No. 1 overall, and it looked like his floor might be No. 4 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Instead, he lasted all the way until the No. 8 pick, where the Minnesota Twins pounced.
With "otherworldly bat-to-ball skills," per MLB.com, and the over-the-fence pop to at least be a 20-homer guy at the next level, Lee might have been the safest pick on the board and one who also has impact potential.
Even with a likely move to second or third base in his future, the Twins might have walked away with the steal of the draft at No. 8 overall.
No. 1 Worst Pick: 1B Xavier Isaac, Tampa Bay Rays
It's unwise to question the Tampa Bay Rays when it comes to talent recognition and player development, as they have been contending on a budget for years thanks to their ability to keep their prospect pipeline churning out MLB contributors.
But this one was a head-scratcher.
Xavier Isaac missed most of his junior season and all of the summer showcase circuit with a foot injury, leaving him as something of a wild card from a scouting perspective.
Even with a clean bill of health and a long track record of production against high-level talent, he still has an extremely risky profile as a first-base-only prep player who will generate all of his value with his bat.
This pick likely saved a ton of money relative to slot value at No. 29 overall, so what they do with that saving also has to be taken into account, but this was by far the biggest reach of the first round and the definition of high-risk, high-reward for an organization that can't afford to whiff on first-round picks.
No. 1 Best Pick: OF Druw Jones, Arizona Diamondbacks
It's hard to argue anyone was a bigger winner on Sunday night than the Arizona Diamondbacks, who came away with the consensus top player in the 2022 draft class despite not having the No. 1 pick.
That's not meant to be a knock on Jackson Holliday, who has superstar potential in his own right and was the Baltimore Orioles selection to kick off Sunday's draft, but Jones was the guy the D-backs wanted all along, and they weren't shy about making it known.
"The biggest lock is Jones at No. 2 if he doesn't go No. 1," wrote Jim Callis of MLB.com in his final mock draft.
The son of former MLB All-Star Andruw Jones, he has a great chance of following in his father's footsteps as a Gold Glove center fielder and perhaps the best defender in the entire draft class.
He also has an advanced hit tool, plus speed and plenty of room to tap into more power potential as he grows into his 6'4", 180-pound frame.
Expect Jones and Holliday to be compared frequently in the coming years.