The 2022 MLB First Year Player Draft is coming up. In just a couple of short weeks, your favorite Major League team will be adding the next batch of young talent to their farm systems. There is always hope this time of year that teams are getting the next superstar for their rosters and the next core of players that will lead to a World Series. We’ve already seen some top prospects called up in 2022 as they start their major league careers, lets's preview some of the key names we’ll see in the early rounds of the upcoming MLB Draft that starts July 17th.
First, let’s quickly go over the MLB Draft order set by the inverse of records from the 2021 MLB season.
The image above shows the order for the first round of the draft. The Dodgers’ first-round pick got moved from 30th to 40th for exceeding competitive balance tax thresholds.
This year there is a consensus number one prospect in the class, but after that things could unfold in a variety of ways. One thing that’s certain is that there is a lack of top-flight arms in this year’s class. Some pitchers that would’ve been in the top of the first round got injured this Spring and so it’ll take a team that isn’t highly risk-averse to take a shot on them earlier than that. Let’s start analyzing the top-15 draft prospects in this week’s prospect report. Also, as a side note, next week will dig a bit deeper in some more of the later first-round potential picks.
Top 15 Prospects for the MLB Draft
Druw Jones — OF
Wesleyan HS, GA
Who else spelled their name with a “u” in Andruw? That’s right, Druw Jones’ dad Andruw Jones, the 17-year MLB player and border-line hall of famer. His son is now entering the 2022 MLB Draft as the consensus top player in the class with a plethora of plus tools at his disposal. Arguably his worst tool is his 55-grade power tool. The only reason for the grade is his frame and inconsistent swing at the moment. When he fills out and gets consistent with his swing, to match is plus bat-to-ball skills, he’ll rank in the plus power ranks. Elite speed and defense are his calling cards along with one of the most advanced approaches at the plate for a prep school hitter. He’s a lock to play center field at the highest level and the bat he possesses should produce a .280 or better average with 30 homers and the speed to swipe 40 or more bags a year. If all works out, he should rival his dad’s career.
Jackson Holliday — SS
Stillwater HS, OK
From one former All-Stars son to another. Matt Holliday had a great career between Colorado and St. Louis, now his son is looking like a bona fide top-five pick. Like all of the top-five pick candidates, Holliday has five plus tools to his benefit even if they don’t all show that way all the time. He’s gotten stronger this Spring, as is typical for seniors in high school, and that’s led to more natural power occurring as well as more speed. The bat-to-ball skills are impressive and he broke J.T. Realmuto’s national record for hits with those skills. The power is burgeoning on plus and will only grow when he learns he doesn’t have to sell out to hit for power. That happened in the Summer Showcase circuit last year which temporarily concerned scouts. Long-term he should stay at shortstop and be a two-hole type hitter in a major league lineup.
Elijah Green — OF
IMG Academy, FL
A lot of scouts are salivating over Elijah Green’s tool set and some even wished he had reclassified for last year’s draft. He has at least an average hit tool with 65-grade raw power and 70-grade speed. When you throw in the 70-grade arm you have a very well-rounded center-field prospect whose only question mark is just what he can do in terms of average. He’ll swipe bags with ease at every level and can provide Gold Glove caliber defense in centerfield, just like Druw Jones, however, the bat-to-ball skills are a step or two behind Jones’. Catching up to elevated fastballs and reading, and adjusting to, breaking pitches will be key for him to hit his ceiling. If he can make those improvements with pro coaching, he could very well be the best player in the draft class. Oh, and by the way, he’s also the son of an All-Star, well Pro Bowler that is tight end Eric Green.
Brooks Lee — SS
The previously drafted Lee, in the 35th round three years ago, was a good prospect in the California prep ranks before attending Cal Poly. It was simply him wanting to play for his father, the coach at Cal Poly, that kept him from being drafted higher in 2019. The switch-hitter is the best college bat in the class in terms of the overall package. He’s shown to be a well over-.300 hitter in college and then again with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League over the last couple of summers. He should hit for a .300 average in the majors with burgeoning 25-plus home run power as well. He’s not the most fleet of foot at short but has a better-than-average arm which many, including me, believe will lead him down a path of playing third base in the pro ranks. Given the polish in his game already and his high baseball IQ, he should be a fast-mover through whatever system he gets drafted into.
Termarr Johnson — SS
Mays HS, GA
There is a very good chance that we see Termarr Johnson go off the board as the number one overall pick. His bat skills are that good. The last player to get an 80-grade hit tool grade across the board was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — until Johnson that is. He has, in my opinion, the absolute best bat-to-ball skills in the entire class and is the most advanced high school hitter we’ve seen in a very long time. The power is plus as well, playing up a bit due to the pure contact he makes, which is impressive out of a 5’8”, 194-pound frame. The rest of the tools are at least average and certainly aren’t a hindrance to his upside. While he will be listed as a shortstop before being drafted, the size and defense, and arm profile better at the Keystone. He profiles as a number-two or top-of-the-order hitter with Mike Trout or Vlad Jr.’s batting average upside and 25-30 homer pop.
Kevin Parada — C
There is a long lineage of catchers from Georgia Tech being very good pros at the position. Jason Varitek, Matt Wieters, and Joey Bart have all come out of the program since the mid-90s and now Parada has a good shot to be the next in that line. He has double-combo of plus-hit and plus-power, for any hitter, let alone catchers. He came in as a preseason All-American and lived up to that billing. His power took a big jump, from nine HRs in his freshman year to 26 in his sophomore campaign, while his strikeout rate dropped and the walk rate improved. The bad news here is that he’s not a very good defensive backstop…at all. He threw out just 12 percent of would-be base stealers in his freshman campaign and had to add muscle and strength before sophomore year to keep from tiring out later in the season. Given the bat, teams will give him a shot to stick at catcher but don’t be shocked if he gets moved to DH or first base down the road while still producing a .280 average and 30 homers.
Jacob Berry — 3B/OF
After a dominating freshman year at Arizona, Berry played follow-the-leader and moved with his coach to LSU for 2022 where he continued to start for the Tigers. He is a bat-first prospect without a doubt. Think of him as a switch-hitting Riley Greene comp offensively. The power and hit tools are both plus, if not better, and he has no problem with handling heat or breaking or off-speed offerings. The problem for Berry is the defense. He’s, saying it kindly, stiff at most positions and lacks the overall speed, quickness, and arm strength to stick at the hot corner or even right field. The most likely profile is at left field or first base for him where he can be a middle-of-the-order hitter and run-producer without negating his value defensively. If the defense wasn’t such a question mark, we’d be looking at him being the top pick in the class.
Jace Jung — 2B
Does the last name sound familiar? Yes, his brother is Josh Jung, the top prospect for the Texas Rangers who also played college ball in Lubbock at Texas Tech. The younger Jung has more pop and arguably better contact skills than his older brother at this point, however, he’s worse defensively. While he originally played third at Texas Tech, he moved to second base for the last two years and that’s where he’ll fit best in the pros as well. He’ll be adequate at the Keystone while the bat takes him to his upside as a player. There is legitimate hope for a .290 average and 28-33 home runs a year from him but not much in the way of steals with 40-grade, or well-below-average, speed making him a likely number-five hitter in a lineup. The defense might make him slip a bit, as second basemen haven’t historically been drafted better than just inside the top-10.
Gavin Cross — OF
Cross is quite the interesting prospect in this class. He’s a very consistent college bat with solid-to-plus skills all around. Is there a “but” coming? It feels like a “but” should be coming. Oh yep, here’s the but…he’s got very little projection left in his game. He’s pretty close to a finished product at this point. The Virginia Tech outfielder never hit below .300 for the Hokies while improving his home run and extra-base hit totals each year. However, the overall profile, as well as physical profile, has basically no more maturing left. As he goes through the pro ranks, he’ll fit better in the corner outfield with his average speed likely precluding him from playing center. His patience at the plate has also improved each year as he learns how to best use his skills and his 6’3”, 210-pound frame from the left-handed batter’s box. Andrew Benintendi is a pretty good comp to Cross, though Cross has more consistent pop.
Cam Collier — 3B
Chipola JC, FL
A young lefty with a very smooth swing is what makes Collier one of the wild cards of the early first round. At 17 years old, he’s easily one of, if not the, youngest prospects in this draft class after reclassifying for the 2022 draft class to go to Chipola Junior College. The natural bat speed in the stroke allows him to keep up with even the best of velocities he’s seen to this point and also improves the power he’s given credit for. Unlike young hitters, Collier isn’t pull-happy which makes him a bigger threat offensively as well. He should have no trouble staying at third base long-term with at least average defense and a plus arm while he profiles as a middle-of-the-order high-contact, high-power bat.
Brock Porter — RHP
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, MI
Holy cow, are we just getting to the first pitcher in the class? Checking notes…yep…we are. I said at the beginning of the piece that it is a class that is top-heavy with bats. That being said though, Porter is still a great pitching prospect. He features four pitches which range in grade from 70 to 55 meaning all are at least above-average with the hope of all being plus before long. The fastball has a very good arm side run in the mid-to-upper-90s long into starts while the changeup is his second-best pitch in the low-80s and very good fade. The slider and curveball are two distinct breaking pitches with the slider being ahead of the curve right now in feel and effectiveness. All he needs to do is to keep throwing the pitches to improve their feel and use of them. If he stays healthy, there’s a legitimate number one starter upside with Porter.
Daniel Susac — C
There is a chance, though a small one, that Susac goes ahead of Kevin Parada in the draft. Why’s that? Well, while the offensive skills are a bit behind Parada’s at this point, and might well stay behind him, the defense is far better. Susac played quarterback in high school making him quite athletic as well as honing a strong and accurate arm. The arm is plus and the defense is at least above-average. Susac’s bat is very good as well with a career .350 average at Arizona and 24 homers in his two years. However, he needs to be a bit more patient in his approach and the power does mainly come to the pull-side. The overall package is likely slightly better than Parada for real-life catchers but Parada still has better fantasy upside.
Dylan Lesko — RHP
Buford HS, GA
The only reason that Lesko is listed as my second-best pitcher in the class is that he recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Otherwise, he’d be in the discussion for the top overall pick. The three-pitch mix is as polished as any high schooler has offered since MacKenzie Gore a few years ago and Lesko, like Gore, won the Gatorade National Player of the Year. When healthy, the changeup is his best pitch, and grades as close to an 80 as you can get without giving it an 80. He can triple-up on the pitch to either handedness of the hitter and still get swings and misses on each one. The fastball sits in the upper-90s with life and only gets better up in the zone. Lesko’s third pitch, and his “worst” one, is his curveball that grades as a 60-grade offering, or you know still plus, with tight spin and can change shape when he needs. All he needs to do is come back healthy from Tommy John and then build the innings up and he’ll be at the front of a Major League rotation in due time. If the injury doesn’t make him slip, the Vanderbilt commitment might.
Justin Crawford — OF
Bishop Gorman HS, NV
You thought we were done with the sons of former All-Stars huh? Well not quite since Carl Crawford’s son is next. Coming out of what has become a baseball hotbed in Las Vegas, Crawford has a very intriguing combination of contact and speed that make him tough to get out. Swinging from the left-handed side of the plate, the slap-type swing plays well as he peppers balls into the gaps and then uses his 70-grade speed to leg out extra-base hits. Once on base, he can be a menace in the run game as well. There is still hope that power could yet develop above the 40-grade he currently shows given that there’s still room to add strength to his 6’3”, 175-pound frame which should improve the pop given the bat-to-ball skills he already has. Crawford profiles as a similar player to his dad or think of a current Trea Turner with less pop.
Cole Young — SS
North Allegheny HS, PA
The hit tool is what will carry Young into the first round. He’s got perhaps the best hit tool at the position outside of Termarr Johnson and is in the top-five hit tools regardless of position. That being said, the power is well-below-average along with average speed and slightly above-average defense. Coming out of the Pittsburgh area, he reminds me a lot of a former Pirate in Adam Frazier. He is perhaps a better overall player for real-life than a fantasy package, but we all need high-contact guys who can add 10-15 steals in a year in the middle infield. Young will stay at short long-term with no questions about his defense. If he’s being used near the top of an MLB lineup, there is a profile for Young that brings high-average, high-OBP, runs scored, and double-digit steals for you while playing every day up the middle.
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Related MLB Links:
- 2022 MLB Fantasy Baseball Prospect Reports
- 2022 Fantasy Baseball June Player Rankings
- 2022 Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch Week 12 Risers & Fallers: Alejandro Kirk Keeps Hitting
- MLB Top 300 Fantasy Baseball Prospects