By Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com Feature Writer
The clock is now down to days before the first name in the 2022 MLB Draft is called. I’ve been gathering information from around the industry to put together my final in-detail mock draft for 2022, and will have a names only one coming just prior to the draft itself on Sunday at 4pm PT.
You can read my first and only other mock for the year, Mock Draft 1.0, from HomePlateView.com from July 1, here
As noted throughout, the top pick will dictate much of the first third of the draft. No one knows what Baltimore is doing with the first pick and won’t up until the name is called. As always, enjoy...
1. Baltimore Orioles - Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS (GA)
The entire top of the draft hinges on Baltimore's selection and as record will stand, no one will know what direction Mike Elias and staff are going until just minutes before the selection or potentially even when the selection is made. There are still five names attached to this pick between Jones, Jackson Holliday, Termarr Johnson, Brooks Lee, and Kevin Parada. Everything will come down to price and value that permits them to execute the best use of their bonus surplus and set them up for their second, third, and ongoing picks through the course of the first two days of the draft. Jones is viewed, although not by consensus, as the top player in this draft and may have enough of a gap between the potential "money-saving picks" of Johnson, Lee, and Parada to still merit the top selection and allow Baltimore to swing a talent to their second and third picks at 33 and 42. I believe that if Jones is not the selection, it will be at a reduced deal with Lee, or a very slightly reduced deal with Holliday, with a target on one of the upper-tier arms that suffered injuries over the spring with their next pick.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks - Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater HS (OK)
Much less held to secrecy, Arizona's hopeful scenario is that Baltimore passes on Jones, and he is available for them. They don't view Holliday as a consolation prize though as he is seen as their second priority to Jones.
3. Texas Rangers - Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
Similar to Arizona, Texas will have hopes that Baltimore passes on Jones and Holliday with the chance one is at hand here, with Holliday being the more likely scenario. If not, it seems this pick is down to Kevin Parada and Elijah Green, who had a strong showing during a workout at Globe Life Field.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates - Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
It seems this pick is down to a trio if the top three go accordingly, with Lee, Johnson, and Cam Collier in the mix. Lee and Collier continue to gain traction here with Johnson staggering just behind though I wouldn't rule him out. An underslot deal with Cole Young has started to gain some headwind.
5. Washington Nationals - Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Once again, pending the outcome of the first pick, the third selection may dictate what happens here between Parada and Jacob Berry based upon who Texas takes and whether or not Parada is available.
6. Miami Marlins - Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS (GA)
This pick seems less likely determined by the top pick as it does by the fourth. Though college bats come up more often here and this would be the apparent floor for Parada, I still think Johnson is near the top of their board. If Pittsburgh does swing for Collier instead of Lee and neither are underslot options for the first pick, I believe Lee lands here. If Texas gets one of Jones or Holliday and Washington opts for Green or Berry over Parada, I believe this is his final outcome (I give these scenarios as alternates since the top of the draft has so many potential outcomes that intertwine together). In this scenario, neither Lee or Parada are available and that would lead to Johnson. I mentioned in my previous mock that Berry could have his ceiling here, though I see Johnson and others above him here. Another option gaining steam over the last week, though I’m not biting on the smoke, is that Miami may go down the board a bit and underslot one of the upside prep arms like Dylan Lesko.
7. Chicago Cubs - Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC (FL)
Collier and Johnson have both been long attached to Chicago, with Collier being the preference so it could be a dream scenario for Chicago to get one of their favored bats. There's always a strong chance someone does something unique in the first handful-or-so picks with underslot deals for teams who have supplemental picks, but it seems the seven mentioned here and before are going to be the first seven picks of the draft. If Collier or Johnson is gone, I could see this being the final landing spot for Lee to fill out to top seven. College bats like
8. Minnesota Twins - Jacob Berry, 1B/OF, Louisiana State
Returning quickly to the alternate scenarios, the perceived top seven talents are going in the top seven picks of this mock. By Sunday afternoon, there is just as strong a chance one of them falls out of the first seven selections as there is they all land within that range. There's no guarantee, but I would bet that someone mentioned above this will be available over the next two picks and ripe for the taking. That could leave Minnesota (and Kansas City right after this) in a holding pattern awaiting a potential faller. Back to this mock reality (fun oxymoron that I had to include), I've heard Minnesota on college bats. Berry and Gavin Cross lead the charge.
9. Kansas City Royals - Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
After trading the 35th selection in the draft, Kansas City's bonus pool fell by just over $2.2M and went from the fourth largest to their ninth. It likely won't do too much altering with their first selection but it does hinder the chance of landing one of the priority picks in they do fall far enough -- Green in particular. This is the first legitimate underslot bet I've been hearing for some time and actually believe may be a reality between Brock Porter, Brandon Barriera, and Justin Crawford, though I'm hesitant to go Crawford for the diminished bonus and a strong potential suitor with a large bonus pool in the teens (see below). It's also the first place I've heard any pitcher's name tossed in and feel they'll be the first to pull the plug.
10. Colorado Rockies - Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
I've been told for weeks by multiple industry sources that this is the floor for Berry. When one person says it, it's a poor rumor, but when multiple people say it, it has merit. There's a chance he falls here, but if he's gone, I believe it will be Cross or Porter.
11. New York Mets - Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard St Mary's HS (MI)
With two picks in the teens separated by only two picks between, the Mets have cast a wide net on potential suitors. Crawford has been attached here for a long time and I believe if they like him enough, they could swing him to either pick with their large bonus pool. The Mets have played the draft backwards in the past by taking two underslot deals early and landing their bigger fish with a later pick (i.e., 2019: Brett Baty, Josh Wolf, Matt Allan), though that was without the excess of two high picks and leads me to believe they'll play this draft more straightforward. Pending their confidence in what the Tigers and Angels will do, I see them going upside with their first pick and top of their board with the second. Jett Williams is a name of interest for either pick.
12. Detroit Tigers - Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Up until the last week, I believed this would be the floor for Jace Jung with very slight risk the Mets would take him ahead of this. Detroit was full hands-on deck for Jung late in the season and I still wouldn't rule it out. But, I have it on good authority, almost to guarantee, that Detroit has pivoted heavily towards Prielipp who impressed during scouted bullpens and at the MLB Draft Combine, and he is set to be the first college arm off the board.
13. Los Angeles Angels - Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS (FL)
As this is an Angels Community Fansite & blog, there will be more reader emphasis on the Angels selection due to its paramount readership. As a caveat, it doesn't alter anything to the entirety of the mock and will go according to the information given. I have brash confidence that the Angels will take a pitcher here. Few pitchers, if any, will be selected ahead of them which gives the Angels their most desired arm and surplus to pick from. To my understanding, they have narrowed down who they believe is the top college and prep arm to Gabriel Hughes and Brandon Barriera and will be selecting between the two. The debate of who lingers behind them tends to fall to Justin Campbell on the college side and Robby Snelling on the prep, while Cade Horton and Lesko may be enticing. Kumar Rocker has had rumors in this range, though I'm leery on the Angels being among that group based on some internal comments. It will be noted here as opposed to later: whoever takes Rocker will plausibly have a gameplan of getting him to the big leagues as a reliever by September while in the hunt for the playoffs or impending a roster spot in the postseason. Postscript: belief is that the Angels will not take twenty pitchers with twenty picks.
14. New York Mets - Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Once again going to the Mets and their creativity, this pick and the one they hold ahead of this have so much variance that plenty can alter between the two and it's a crapshoot as to trying to access what they will do. I do believe that if Crawford is available the Mets would try and swing him here as opposed to at 11 due to how the Tigers and Angels picks are being conceived, and they would target a college bat with their first pick. Instead, with him unavailable, I see them going to the top of their board with my idea being that it is a college bat and Susac being the frontrunner. One name that continues to come up around the teen picks and even prior is Lesko who was seen as the top arm in this class before having Tommy John surgery this spring. Again, there's no dead set feeling here but I could see the 11 and 14 picks being swapped multiple ways with too many players involved to feel any bit of confidence about New York.
15. San Diego Padres - Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath HS (TX)
Speaking of Lesko, everyone and their mother will believe he's a perfect fit for A.J. Preller and the Padres. I have it on good faith that San Diego is taking a hitter here, but I too am wary of Lesko being available and not being the pick. Of the hitters I've heard mentioned here, Crawford gains the most traction with Jett Williams and Cole Young right behind, with Williams getting the slight nod.
16. Cleveland Guardians - Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Cleveland shied away from their standard draft model last year with Gavin Williams, only slightly, where they focus on youth for the
class and upside. With that, I could see Crawford, Barriera, or Williams going here and gives me pause on them taking Cole Young. A late rumor I heard as of writing this mock is that Cleveland has hopes of a particular falling talent getting to them in Jung who has rumors of falling down towards the 21st pick, while also having suitors from 8-14, though I don't believe the Mets would take him with either of their picks. Drew Gilbert and Chase DeLauter also seem to be candidates. With Lesko still on the board, I'm once again wary of Cleveland passing.
17. Philadelphia Phillies - Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Another late rumor I heard while writing this mock is how deep Philadelphia ran in to see Gabriel Hughes during the late stages of the season. I've heard mixed reports on Philadelphia and while keeping things honest, don't have a strong feel for the direction they will go. My belief is that they'll take an arm here and though I'm somewhat confident in the general demographic they'll target I'm much less confident in who that will be. Plenty of teams in this range are interested in Lesko and he could even work his way into the top ten.
18. Cincinnati Reds - Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS (GA)
It might be a pipedream, but I don't think it's out of the realm for Cincinnati to get who they see as the top arm in the class. If Lesko is taken earlier and the Angels go with Hughes, I think this would be Barriera's floor. Zach Neto is also mentioned here, as well as into the late top ten.
19. Oakland Athletics - Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
College bat here with some options between DeLauter, Beavers, Drew Gilbert, and Jacob Melton; among others including previously selected.
20. Atlanta Braves - Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma
College arms are the talk with Atlanta, and they should have a reserve to pick from. Hughes -- who is believed to not make it past this pick with confidence -- and Campbell are the most common names that come up here. Running back to the trade with Kansas City, I'm curious to see what Atlanta does with the extra $2.2M+ in allotted bonus pool funds. I'm not certain it will alter this pick as much as it will their next, but with the rumors of Horton's bonus demands, it would make sense that they could be getting some extra bank for someone like him, and he seems to be solidly in their mix.
* I said it in my last mock, and I think it bears repeating: Expectation is that there will be a run of college bats that could start upwards of 19 and end somewhere around the start of the supplemental round. During that stretch, there will be players who are not college hitters taken. Mock drafts are an inexact science and are based on information granted by industry sources. At some point, you're going to be wrong while doing a mock, and I'd put big money on this run of college bats being quite different from the real outcome. After that grain-of-salt public service announcement, let's move on. *
21. Seattle Mariners - Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Another team with a broad mix of potential candidates, I'm hearing college for Seattle with no set direction on bats or arms. My best bet is Seattle sits and hopes for someone to fall, potentially Young who is still available. I believe this is the floor for Neto or Jung who could be the falling talent Seattle could be looking at. Gilbert is in play and is one of the top candidates for each of the next three picks. Other hitters here are the same as Oakland while the pitchers here are Hughes, Horton, or Connor Hjerpe.
22. St. Louis Cardinals - Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma
Sticking to my guns from the last mock. This is the first spot I've heard Graham's name attached and I was told to not be surprised by how high he goes. I also could see St. Louis taking a falling talent.
23. Toronto Blue Jays - Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
A lot of the same. Plenty of college bats in the mix, with Gilbert being the preferred.
24. Boston Red Sox - Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida
I'm going to stick with college bats here, and any of the ones ahead fit. Among this group is Jordan Beck, though I am leery to Colorado trying to swing Beck towards their supplement picks, as they do have some interest in him with their 10th overall selection.
25. New York Yankees - Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
The Yankees have been keeping up with the Jones', Brock and Spencer. It's the first landing spot I've heard for either but there seems to be real smoke that could be a fire on either here. There is some noise to the Yankees looking at Mikey Romero of Southern California for their second-round pick.
26. Chicago White Sox - Connor Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
Hjerpe is more likely destined for one of the picks ahead of this where I mentioned that it won't strictly be college bats. His range is from 18 onwards. If Chicago went with a bat, I could see it being Melton or Toman.
27. Milwaukee Brewers - Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State
We've reached the throwing darts portion of the mock. I've heard pitching with Milwaukee, and they'll have plenty to choose from.
28. Houston Astros - Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State
Sticking and probably ending with the run of college bats. No real connection here, just going with the gut.
29. Tampa Bay Rays - Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS (OH)
If you go back to my pick for the Braves, this is my secondary landing spot for Horton due to the same reasons mentioned: lots of bonus pool. There are so many directions the Rays can go, and it seems like every year they do something off the charts. Miller is the kind of arm they've shown interest in in the past, but I don't have any real connections for them either.
30. San Francisco Giants - Dylan Beavers, OF, California
San Francisco is another broad range team with their first selection, and it seems natural as we're at the end of the natural first round. They have been linked to high upside preps and solidified college hitters. I could see them taking one of the previously mentioned bats if one were to fall, or go directly to upside arms and take Snelling, Jackson Ferris, or even swing big on Rocker.
SUPPLEMENTAL ROUND A
31. Colorado Rockies – Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
32. Cincinnati Reds – Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS (NV)
33. Baltimore Orioles – Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
34. Arizona Diamondbacks – Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell
35. Atlanta Braves – Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS (SC)
36. Pittsburgh Pirates – Cole Young, SS, North Alleghany HS (PA)
37. Cleveland Guardians – Blake Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
38. Colorado Rockies – Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (Independent League)
39. San Diego Padres - Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto HS (CA)
Supplemental Notes: Colorado has some interest in Beck with their 10th pick and have the bonus pool to swing him down though I believe he'll go ahead of this. Toman, Snelling, and Young are all likely to go earlier in the first round, but someone will swing some tend talents to the supplement and second round; Young is the most interesting at Pittsburgh has a rumored under slot deal early in the draft. Rocker will go somewhere in the first round though no one seems to know where; my best bet is he files in between the college hitters.