B/R's 2022 MLB Mock Draft 1.0 for Every 1st-Round Pick
Welcome to Bleacher Report's first MLB mock draft of the 2022 season!
The real draft is still two months away, and a lot will likely change between now and then. There is still plenty of season remaining at both the high school and college levels, and scouts will once again have the chance to evaluate talent in the MLB Draft League.
That doesn't mean we can't start setting the stage for what the first round might look like. The headliners include prep outfielders Druw Jones and Elijah Green, prep infielder Termarr Johnson, Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee, and Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada.
On the pitching side, several of the top arms in the class are dealing with injuries, and it's entirely possible there will be no pitchers selected inside the top 10.
The Baltimore Orioles will be on the clock with the first overall pick when the draft gets underway on July 17, with the event scheduled to span three days and 20 rounds this year.
There will be plenty of updates and changes made in the weeks and months to come, but for now, here's version 1.0 of Bleacher Report's 2022 MLB mock draft.
Note: The Los Angeles Dodgers' first selection was moved back 10 spots to No. 40 overall as a result of luxury tax penalties, so they will not have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft.
1. Baltimore Orioles: SS Brooks Lee, Cal Poly
Lee is hitting .364/.471/.651 with 22 doubles, 12 home runs, 48 RBI and more walks (43) than strikeouts (23) this spring, and he batted .405 in 88 plate appearances swinging wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. The only thing keeping him from being the slam dunk No. 1 pick is his average range at shortstop. However, he has the offensive upside to fit at third base if a move is necessary, and the Orioles might prefer a college bat with their next window of contention expected to open soon.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks: OF Druw Jones, Wesleyan High School (GA)
It should come as no surprise that the son of former MLB All-Star Andruw Jones is viewed as the best defensive center fielder in the 2022 prep class, but it's his bonafide five-tool potential that gives him perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. He has ample room to add strength to his 6'4" frame, and while his offensive profile is power-over-contact at the moment, his tremendous upside means he likely won't last beyond the top three picks.
3. Texas Rangers: OF Elijah Green, IMG Academy (FL)
A similarly gifted athlete to Jones with five-tool potential in his own right, Green has a bit more swing-and-miss to his game and a bit less defensive upside, but he's still one of the elite players in this draft class. With a strong 6'3", 225-pound frame and huge raw power, he's more of a finished product physically, and in a draft that's thin on pitching, the Rangers can focus on the best available player at No. 3 overall.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Jackson Holliday, Stillwater High School (OK)
Holliday is the son of former MLB slugger Matt Holliday and profiles as a shortstop at the next level, unlike his outfielder father. After some inconsistency on the showcase circuit last summer, he has taken a major step forward this spring, showcasing one of the best hit tools in the draft class with improved strength and athleticism to boot. The perpetually rebuilding Pirates are strong candidates to go upside over polish.
5. Washington Nationals: C Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech
Parada was a top-50 prospect in the 2020 draft class and went undrafted because of his strong commitment to Georgia Tech and leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore. After a strong freshman season and solid run with Team USA during the summer, he's absolutely raking this spring with a .355/.444/.732 line that includes 24 home runs and 77 RBI in 51 games. He's an average defender with a fringy arm but should be able to stick behind the plate, where he has the potential to be an elite offensive player.
6. Miami Marlins: 2B Termarr Johnson, Mays High School (GA)
It's not often a prep player with a second base defensive profile is viewed as a top-tier draft prospect. That said, it's quite a bit easier to overlook that fact when the player possesses an elite 70-grade hit tool and plus power. Johnson has a long history of production against quality competition on the showcase circuit, and his plate discipline and top-of-the-scale contact skills could make this his floor with an outside chance to go No. 1 overall.
7. Chicago Cubs: 2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech
With a 21.3 percent walk rate and a .502 on-base percentage this spring, Jung is the most polished hitter in the 2022 draft class. The 21-year-old is also hitting .358 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 53 RBI in 51 games, and he has a chance to be a .300 hitter and 30-homer threat at the next level. The Cubs front office has targeted advanced college hitters time and again over the past decade, and he could be their No. 1 target this summer.
8. Minnesota Twins: 3B Cam Collier, Chipola JC
Originally a top 2023 draft prospect, Collier reclassified to the 2022 draft, got his GED, and enrolled at JUCO powerhouse Chipola College. He won't turn 18 years old until November, yet he's holding his own against older competition, hitting .333/.419/.537 with 20 extra-base hits in 215 plate appearances. With a smooth left-handed swing, 60-grade hit tool, budding raw power and a strong arm that would play well at third base or in right field, he is quickly playing his way into the top-10 conversation.
9. Kansas City Royals: OF Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech
With the exception of Bobby Witt Jr. and 2021 first-round pick Frank Mozzicato, the Royals have skewed toward college players in the first round in recent years, and they are lining up to have their choice of several top-tier college bats. After a breakout 2021 season, Cross is hitting .337/.420/.653 with 13 doubles, 13 home runs and 11 steals this spring while showing marked improvements in his strikeout rate (-7.1%) and walk rate (+3.9%).
10. Colorado Rockies: 3B/OF Jacob Berry, LSU
Berry was a freshman All-American at Arizona last year and followed manager Jay Johnson to LSU this spring, where he has solidified his status as one of the top college hitters. With a 60-hit, 65-power offensive profile, the 6'0", 212-pound sophomore is hitting .378/.462/.672 with 15 home runs and more walks (21) than strikeouts (18) this spring. First base might be his only viable defensive option as a pro, but his bat is good enough to warrant a top-10 selection, and the Rockies love corner infielders.
11. New York Mets: RHP Brock Porter, Orchard Lake St. Mary's High School (MI)
The Mets have the No. 11 overall pick as compensation for failing to sign Kumar Rocker at No. 10 overall last year, and since they are also picking at No. 14 overall, they can afford to take a risk on a high-ceiling prep player. With a 70-grade fastball that has touched triple-digits, an elite changeup and an improving slider, the 6'4", 205-pound Porter has separated himself from the rest of the high school pitching crop.
12. Detroit Tigers: C Daniel Susac, Arizona
The Tigers are thin on catching talent beyond MLB veteran Tucker Barnhart and top prospect Dillon Dingler, and they have a chance to grab a no-doubt first-round talent in Susac in this scenario. The 21-year-old is hitting .368/.434/.583 with 29 extra-base hits this spring, and while he's on the tall side for a catcher at 6'4", his defensive tools should make him an above-average backstop. Aside from his positional value, he is one of the top college hitters in the class.
13. Los Angeles Angels: SS Zach Neto, Campbell
Neto hit .405 in 213 plate appearances to win Big South Player of the Year honors last season while bouncing around the Campbell infield, and he is playing his way up draft boards this spring while settling in as the team's everyday shortstop. Aside from showing the ability to stick at shortstop, he's also showcasing a more advanced approach at the plate, and he has a chance for solid tools across the board at the next level.
14. New York Mets: OF Jordan Beck, Tennessee
Beck is walking more and striking out less this spring while continuing to show some of the most intriguing raw power in the 2022 class. The 6'3", 225-pound outfielder has raised his OPS from .859 last season to .934 this year, and he is drawing comparisons to Hunter Renfroe with the prototypical right fielder profile. If the Mets opt for a prep arm at No. 11 overall, look for them to grab a college bat with this pick.
15. San Diego Padres: RHP Dylan Lesko, Buford High School (GA)
How far will Lesko fall? He was the consensus top pitching prospect in the 2022 class when the year began but suffered an elbow injury in April and underwent Tommy John surgery, leaving his draft status in question. Prior to the injury, he showcased an upper 90s fastball, one of the best changeups in years, and a high-spin curveball, all with plus command. The Padres front office took a chance on Cal Quantrill at No. 8 overall in the 2016 draft after he required Tommy John, so they have shown a willingness to roll the dice.
16. Cleveland Guardians: OF Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman High School (NV)
Crawford has as much helium as any prep player in the 2022 draft, though his long-term profile is more about projection than present tools. He has elite speed, is a standout defender in the outfield, and shows good bat-to-ball skills, but his offensive game will hinge on how his 6'3", 175-pound frame fills out in the coming years. He has baseball bloodlines on his side as the son of four-time MLB All-Star Carl Crawford.
17. Philadelphia Phillies: LHP Brandon Barriera, American Heritage High School (FL)
With an undersized 6'1" frame, Barriera does not offer the same projectability as some of the other prep arms in the 2022 class. However, he might have the best present stuff with three above-average pitches—a mid-90s fastball, tight slider, and advanced changeup—to go along with excellent strike-throwing ability. The Phillies selected Mick Abel and Andrew Painter in recent drafts, so don't be surprised if they go to the prep pitcher well once again.
18. Cincinnati Reds: OF Chase DeLauter, James Madison
DeLauter sent his draft stock soaring last summer when he posted a .986 OPS with nine home runs and 21 walks in 146 plate appearances in the Cape Cod League. He hit .437/.576/.828 with eight home runs and 10 steals in 24 games this spring before suffering a broken foot, but with a strong 6'4", 235-pound frame and 60-grade power, his offensive upside will be enough to keep him in the top-20 conversation.
19. Oakland Athletics: RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga
With a number of top collegiate arms battling injury this spring, Hughes is climbing up draft boards thanks to a clean bill of health and a stellar junior season. The 6'4", 220-pound right-hander sits comfortably at 94-97 mph with his fastball and backs it with a wipeout slider and a quality changeup. In 12 starts, he's gone 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 77.1 innings.
20. Atlanta Braves: RHP Blade Tidwell, Tennessee
Tidwell missed the first six weeks of the 2022 season with shoulder soreness, and after working out of the bullpen upon returning he has still not pitched beyond the fifth inning since moving back into the rotation. But there is no ignoring his stuff. His fastball touches the upper 90s and is backed by three above-average offspeed pitches, including a 60-grade slider. If he can keep building up his arm and pitching deeper into games, he could climb to the top of the college crop.
21. Seattle Mariners: LHP Jackson Ferris, IMG Academy (FL)
The Mariners bucked the trend last year when they selected high school players with their first three picks after leaning heavily toward college players early in recent drafts, and picking at No. 21 they could simply go the best available route. With a projectable 6'4", 190-pound frame and the ability to carry his present plus stuff deep into games, it's easy to dream on Ferris' upside, and the Mariners have shown a knack for developing pitching talent of late.
22. St. Louis Cardinals: LHP Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State
After posting a 4.21 ERA in 77 innings as Oregon State's Saturday starter as a sophomore, Hjerpe has moved into the Friday starter role this year and sent his draft stock soaring with a breakout season. The 6'3" left-hander has gone 9-1 with a 2.42 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 78 innings while showing improved secondary stuff and also trimming his walk rate from 3.2 to 1.8 BB/9.
23. Toronto Blue Jays: SS Cole Young, North Allegheny High School (PA)
Young is part of the second tier of high school hitters in the 2022 class on the strength of a 60-grade hit tool and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop. He doesn't have the highest ceiling and might never be more than an average power hitter, but his contact skills, proven ability to handle elite velocity and defensive profile make him a good target at the end of the first round.
24. Boston Red Sox: OF Dylan Beavers, California
Beavers hit .303/.401/.630 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in 55 games in 2021, but he struggled in the Cape Cod League and didn't look great playing with Team USA over the summer. The 6'4", 206-pound outfielder is showcasing intriguing power potential once again this spring with a 1.078 OPS and 16 home runs in 50 games, and he has also trimmed his strikeout rate while raising his walk rate. The Red Sox have long shown a willingness to bet on upside, and Beavers could be one of the better power bats in the class.
25. New York Yankees: RHP Kumar Rocker, Tri-City ValleyCats
The Mets backed out of a $6 million deal with Rocker as the No. 10 overall pick in last year's draft after concerns arose over his elbow and shoulder in his post-draft physical, and he opted against returning to Vanderbilt where he racked up 321 strikeouts in 236.2 innings while showing overpowering stuff and sporadic inconsistency. He just signed with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League, and he'll have a chance to pitch in front of scouts. As long as he looks healthy, there's no reason to believe he can't be a first-round pick once again.
26. Chicago White Sox: LHP Noah Schultz, Oswego East High School (IL)
With a lanky 6'9" frame and a deceptive three-quarters arm slot, Schultz has tremendous upside, and he repeats his delivery well for a pitcher his size. He missed a significant part of his senior season recovering from mononucleosis, and he has a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, but his upside should be enough for someone toward the back of the first round to lure him away from campus. Who better than the in-state White Sox?
27. Milwaukee Brewers: OF Sterlin Thompson, Florida
Following a solid freshman season, Thompson has played his way into the first-round conversation this spring by hitting .354/.447/.569 with 22 extra-base hits and 30 walks in 235 plate appearances. He has a smooth left-handed swing with room to add strength to his 6'4", 200-pound frame as he continues to grow into his raw power potential. He shares some similarities with 2020 first-round pick Garrett Mitchell.
28. Houston Astros: RHP Andrew Dutkanych, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep (IN)
It might take a significant above-slot bonus to sign Dutkanych away from his commitment to Vanderbilt if he falls this far, but the Astros have shown a knack for manipulating their bonus pool to maximize their talent haul. The 6'3" right-hander has a solid present four-pitch repertoire, and there is still room for further projection in his frame. He could go as high as the teens, but in this mock scenario, the Astros scoop him up with their first first-round pick since 2019.
29. Tampa Bay Rays: LHP Robby Snelling, McQueen High School (NV)
A 4-star football recruit who had a chance to play both sports at the collegiate level, Snelling has enough helium during his senior season that it will likely be a moot point. The 6'3", 210-pound southpaw can touch 97 mph with his fastball and he spins a plus curveball. Picking this late, the Rays could reach for a prospect on the rise to add to their collection of young pitching talent.
30. San Francisco Giants: 2B Cade Doughty, LSU
Scouts have seen plenty of Doughty this spring playing alongside potential top-10 pick Jacob Berry, and he fits the versatile mold that Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi has valued over the years. He has seen time at second base, third base and shortstop at LSU, and he has a .912 OPS with 18 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 51 games this spring. He's more floor than ceiling but should move quickly toward a role as a starting second baseman or an offensive-minded utility player.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday's games.