With the college baseball season getting underway today, now is as good a time as any to start to look at some of the top prospects who will be in the upcoming 2022 MLB Draft. Especially when this could be the only baseball fans get to watch on television for the next few months due to the current labor contract negotiations.
The 2022 MLB Draft looks solid overall, though it is more of a mixed college crop. The hitters are a quality group, though the pitching isn’t deep at the top and many of the top names have some question marks surrounding them heading into the spring.
Note that Kumar Rocker isn’t being mentioned here due to the fact he is no longer a college player, following the failed contract negotiations after the Mets selected him in the first round last year.
This article will break down the top eight arms and bats who are eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft. The players will be listed in alphabetical order and at the end, there will be a list of some other names who were also considered for this list.
Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU
The National Freshman of the Year at Arizona followed his coach to LSU this past summer and the is one of the biggest bats in the class as a draft eligible sophomore after hitting 17 homers with a 1.115 OPS in his college debut. He will be tested this year with the move to the SEC and there are some questions about his future defensive home, but the bat plays at first base if he had to move there and outfield isn’t out of the question for a switch hitter with plus hit and power grades on his scouting card.
Cam Collier, 3B, Florida JUCO
Originally a high school member of the 2023 MLB Draft class, Cam Collier reclassified into the 2022 draft then went to college early to put himself in a better position to showcase himself. That shouldn’t be an issue as I watched him in person back in the fall of 2020 against some of the top players in the 2021 MLB Draft class from the prep side and he more than held his own during the Future Stars Series event. Collier is a very advanced, fundamental player with a real feel for hitting, significant lefty power and a huge arm. The arm is good enough that he would be a pitching prospect if not for his bat being so special.
Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
A two-way player at a small school, Chase DeLauter emerged as one of the elite names in the 2022 class during the 2021 season and further solidified his spot with a strong showing at the Cape Cod League. He hit .386/.508/.723 with almost double the walks to strikeouts while showing flashes of power and speed last spring. He’s 6’4”, 235 so a move to right field to take advantage of his strong arm is a real possibility in the future.
Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
It feels like it’s been a bit since Stanford produced a premier bat for the draft, but after hitting 18 homers and stealing 14 bases last spring, Brock Jones has put himself into that category. He may strike out a little more than you’d like, but he will also draw plenty of walks to go with his power and speed combo. Mix in quality defense and a potentially average arm and he checks off every box as a lefty bat.
Jace Jung, INF, Texas Tech
The younger brother of former Texas Tech star and 2019’s 8th overall selection Josh Jung, Jace Jung is following in his brothers footsteps as a power hitting infielder after hitting 21 homers last spring. While they aren’t exactly the same player, Jace has a chance to follow a similar path as Josh as a potential Top 10 pick while ranking highly on pro prospect lists because of the bat.
Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
Brooks Lee passed up being a first day pick in the 2019 MLB Draft to head to Cal Poly and play for his father. Things got off to a slow start as he had just two at-bats during the COVID shortened 2020 due to injury, but Lee made quite the impact last spring to put himself right back in the mix as a potential high pick. Lee is easily the top shortstop in the college class and is well rounded with a plus hit tool as a switch hitter with average to above grades on his power, speed, glove, and arm. Basically there isn’t a real flaw to his game at a key position.
Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Kevin Parada could have been a first rounder in 2020, but chose to go to Georgia Tech instead. Things have worked out well for the draft eligible sophomore, who starred at the plate in his debut last spring and is firmly in the mix to be a first-round pick this summer. Parada’s biggest question is the defense which is still a work in progress still but not surprising considering he was a bat first true freshman who missed the bulk of his senior year in high school due to the pandemic.
Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Daniel Susac is the younger brother of former big league catcher Andrew Susac and helped to form the best freshman duo of bats in the country along with Jacob Berry last spring before a coaching change led Berry to Baton Rouge. Susac’s bat projects a little off what Parada’s does, but with a plus arm while showing above average defense at times last year, he has a chance to be the first college catcher off the board in July.
Reggie Crawford, LHP, UConn
A two-way star as a power hitting first baseman, Crawford really took the next step on the mound over the summer. Crawford has only thrown eight career innings, but he has the stuff, frame, and makeup to really be an intriguing talent from the left side with a 100 MPH fastball and plus slider. He hurt his arm over the summer and required Tommy John surgery, complicating his status even more when you consider the lack of innings under his belt. If you recall we wrote up Crawford as a sleeper in the spring of 2019, and he has only made gains from there considering he was a projectable, cold weather arm who was initially focused on another sport before turning to baseball full time. The other benefit to him is that if things don’t work out on the mound, he has the fall back option of being a power hitting lefty bat.
Bryce Hubbart, LHP, Florida State
Bryce Hubbart struggled a bit during a very brief look in 2020, but came back a different pitcher that summer. Things carried over to last spring where he became the Seminoles’ top arm before a dominant six start stint in the Cape last summer. He is more about pitchability, but does have a fastball that can touch plus grades and knows how to get the most out of what he has to offer.
Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
A big framed power pitcher from the Northwest, Gabriel Hughes had a solid but brief debut in 2020 before building on that last spring for Gonzaga. He possesses an upper 90s fastball and potentially plus slider. The big right-hander has some command questions but does throw strikes. His impressive stuff, which will draw interest from teams, along with the fact that there may still be more in the tank for him.
Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Connor Prielipp wasn’t a well known player coming into college as a projectable arm from Wisconsin, but he was absolutely dominant in 2020 as a true freshman before the shutdown. He only got a handful of starts last spring and went down with Tommy John surgery, but prior to the injury, he was in the conversation for going first overall in this draft. His medicals will play a big role in where he goes this summer, but Prielipp has the mix of stuff and pitchability to really be something thanks to a mid 90s fastball and arguably the top secondary pitch in the college class with his double plus slider.
Dylan Ross, RHP, Georgia
This is the same Dylan Ross who was talked about a lot last July before the draft coming out of a Florida JUCO. The kid with the nearly 100 MPH fastball turned down the chance to go pro in order to help anchor the Bulldogs pitching staff. With his stuff, a strong season in the SEC would be enough to push him very high up the list before July.
Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Landon Sims put up video game numbers out of the bullpen for Mississippi State last spring, striking out 16.0 per nine over 56.1 innings in 25 appearances. He’s got the 98 MPH fastball, a plus slider and good results against top competition, but he hasn’t made a single college start to this point. He is set to open the year in the Bulldogs rotation and with a strong showing, will move very high up the list. Another issue is we just haven’t seen the third pitch out of him due to him pitching out of the pen and having such a dominant pair of pitches, so that also bares watching this spring.
Blake Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
A strong true freshman season by Blake Tidwell put him on the list of top arms as a draft eligible sophomore this summer. He brings a fastball that can touch 99 MPH with a potential plus slider and at least average pitches in his change and curve with solid command.
Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Another year, another highly touted East Carolina pitcher. Following Alec Burleson (who ended up a hitter in the pros after a two-way college career) and Gavin Williams from the last two drafts will be Carson Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt is a left-hander with projection on his frame and has the ability to miss bats at a high rate. He is one of the top arms in this class. While Whisenhunt has big strikeout numbers, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. His fastball and curve are both more average, but he has a potential plus plus change that racks up swings and misses. Add in the solid command and the feel for pitching, and you’ve got a solid but not spectacular arm to watch.
More names to know
- Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
- Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
- Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas
- Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
- Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State
- Cayden Wallace, OF, Arkansas
- Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
Of note, Robert Moore is the son of Royals general manager and former Braves front office exec Dayton Moore. Jud Fabian is the player who turned down an overslot bonus from the Red Sox in the second round last year. Peyton Pallette would have made the first list, but just had Tommy John surgery in late January that will complicate his status.