2022 MLB Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Top 1st-Round Baseball Prospects

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2021

Georgia Tech's Kevin Parada runs home during an NCAA baseball game against Notre Dame on Friday, April 09, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Robert Franklin/Associated Press

On the final day of the 2021 Major League Baseball draft, the very-early planning has already begun for next year's class. 

As was the case this year, there doesn't appear to be a clear-cut No. 1 pick. There is a strong mix of position players and pitchers at the top who have the potential to separate themselves from the pack over the next 12 months. 

Keeping in mind that many things are going to change over the course of the next year, here's an early look at what the first round of the 2022 MLB draft could look like: 

1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Elijah Green, OF (IMG Academy, Florida)

2. Baltimore Orioles: Carter Young, SS (Vanderbilt)

3. Pittsburgh Pirates: Brooks Lee, SS (Cal Poly)

4. Texas Rangers: Kevin Parada, C (Georgia Tech)

5. Kansas City Royals: Nate Savino, LHP (Virginia)

6. Miami Marlins: Nolan Schubart, 1B/OF (Orchard Lake St. Mary's HS, Michigan)

7. Minnesota Twins: Termarr Johnson, 2B (Mays HS, Georgia)

8. Detroit Tigers: Brandon Barriera, LHP (American Heritage HS, Florida)

9. Colorado Rockies: Bryce Osmond, RHP (Oklahoma State)

10. Washington Nationals: Tristan Smith, LHP (Boiling Springs HS, South Carolina)

11. St. Louis Cardinals: Robert Moore, SS (Arkansas)

12. Chicago Cubs: Ian Ritchie, RHP (Bainbridge HS, Washington)

13. Atlanta Braves: Dylan Lesko, RHP (Buford HS, Georgia)

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Druw Jones, OF (Wesleyan HS, Florida)

15. Los Angeles Angels: Chris Newell, OF (Virginia)

16. New York Yankees: Riley Stanford, RHP (Buford HS, Georgia)

17. Toronto Blue Jays: Nazier Mule, RHP/SS (Passaic County Tech HS, New Jersey)

18. Cleveland Indians: Jayson Jones, 3B (Braswell HS, Texas)

19. Seattle Mariners: Cayden Wallace, 3B/OF (Arkansas)

20. Cincinnati Reds: Brock Porter, RHP (Orchard Lake St. Mary's HS, Michigan)

21. New York Mets: Victor Mederos, RHP (Miami)

22. Oakland Athletics: Hayden Dunhurst, C (Mississippi)

23. San Diego Padres: Nick Dugan, RHP (St. Bernards HS, California)

24. Milwaukee Brewers: Brennan Milone, SS (South Carolina)

25. Tampa Bay Rays: Cole Young, SS (North Allegheny HS, Pennsylvania)

26. Boston Red Sox: Brandon Fields, OF (South Carolina)

27. Houston AstrosSpencer Jones, 1B (Vanderbilt)

28. Chicago White Sox: Gavin Klein, SS (Milton HS, Wisconsin)

29. Los Angeles DodgersNoah Schultz, LHP (Oswego HS, Illinois) 

30. San Francisco GiantsConnor Prielipp, LHP (Alabama)

Order based on current standings


Who is the No. 1 overall pick going to be?

Elijah Green

If the draft were being held today, Elijah Green would be in the driver's seat to go No. 1 overall. 

One reason it's not a slam dunk that Green goes No. 1 is teams have been shying away from high school prospects with that pick in recent years. The last non-college player to be selected first overall was Royce Lewis by the Minnesota Twins in 2017. 

Lewis appears to be living up to the hype, though he has yet to reach the big leagues. The 22-year-old is ranked No. 13 on MLB.com's top prospects list. His development was set back by a torn ACL suffered in February that will cause him to miss the entire 2021 season. 

Since 2009, Lewis, Mickey Moniak (2016) and Brady Aiken (2014) are the only high schoolers taken with the top pick. Aiken didn't sign with the Houston Astros, had Tommy John surgery the following year and has a career 5.18 ERA in the minors in 43 appearances with Cleveland after being selected No. 17 overall in 2015. 

Moniak has a .154/.283/.231 slash line in 19 games with the Philadelphia Phillies since the start of 2020.

Per Dan Zielinski III of Baseball Prospect Journal, the IMG Academy star is already 6'3" and 225 pounds with a five-tool skill set that includes "elite speed and exceptional arm strength."

In addition to the raw tools that make Green such an intriguing talent, he's more polished than a typical high school draftee that could help him advance through the minors faster than a normal 18-year-old. 


Carter Young

In terms of polish, skill set and positional value, Carter Young looks like the biggest threat to Green at No. 1 overall right now. 

The Vanderbilt star hit a solid .252/.341/.559 with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 61 games as a sophomore in 2021. 

Young did suffer a left shoulder injury late in the regular season that likely impacted his performance down the stretch. He only had two extra-base hits over the final 12 games, compared to 34 in the first 50 games. 

Per Joe Doyle of Prospects Live, Young would "likely have been the first college shortstop off the board and quite possibly the first college hitter off the board" if he had been draft-eligible in 2021. 

Doyle noted scouts have no concerns about Young's ability to stay at shortstop "thanks to quick, athletic actions for the position."

The power tool is something of a question mark for Young right now, but the hit tool and defensive ability are both good enough to keep him in the mix for the top pick in 2022. 


Kevin Parada

Speaking of positional value and skill set, Kevin Parada could become the first-ever Georgia Tech player to go No. 1 overall. 

In April, Drew Wesolowski of Perfect Game came away very impressed with Parada after scouting the Yellow Jackets:

PG College Baseball @PGCollegeBall

Kevin Parada one of the top Freshman prospects in the country. Smooth stroke as he drives it into LCF gap. Plus defender behind the dish & handles the staff with confidence. A name to remember going forward. https://t.co/YmnJ1C55wd

Wesolowski called Parada "nothing short of one of the most fundamentally sound backstops in the country" behind the plate and showed a natural ability to barrel the ball as a hitter. 

Georgia Tech has a strong history of developing catchers for the MLB draft. Matt Wieters was selected No. 5 overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. Joey Bart went second to the San Francisco Giants in 2018 after being named ACC Baseball Player of the Year. 

Parada hit .318/.379/.550 with nine homers and 42 RBI last season as a freshman. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates just made Henry Davis, a terrific offensive player with some questions about his long-term ability to play catcher, the top pick in this year's draft.

Parada isn't quite the offensive player that Davis is, but the gap isn't that far off. And there's little doubt he can stay behind the plate in professional baseball.