Updated 2022 MLB Draft Rankings: 1-15

This is the 10th and final article I’ll be writing about the upcoming 2022 MLB Draft. The goal is to give you an idea of some guys who could be available for Kansas City with the 9th overall pick in the draft. Here are the links to the first nine that I wrote:

The next written piece of MLB Draft content that you’ll see from me will be in the 2022 RFR Draft Guide. We’ll continue covering the draft on the podcast through July, but I won’t be writing about it too much anymore until that draft guide is out. My goal is for the guide to be out July 1st so you have a couple weeks to read it before the draft begins on July 17th. We’ll probably price it at $3.99…but I’m not entirely sure yet. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Without further ado, here is my updated personal top-15 list. The final ranking we run in the draft guide will be an accumulation of everyone who contributes lists.

15. Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego East High School (IL)

  • ++ Fastball
  • ++ Slider

I honestly cannot figure out why Schultz isn’t higher on more boards. He’s going to be pretty much impossible for lefties to hit and I think his changeup and slider will ultimately keep righties at bay as well. There aren’t many 6′ 9″ LHP in the world and I don’t blame you if the kid’s delivery reminds you a bit of Randy Johnson. If the Royals really wanted to get creative in the draft and take a prep pitcher at #9, this is where I’d go.

14. Dylan Beavers, OF, California

  • ++ Raw power
  • + Athlete
  • + Defender in RF
  • Average hit tool

Beavers hit 18 home runs and stole 12 bases for Cal last spring and while he did strike out a bit, the contact rates were in good shape and it’s probably more a result of being TOO patient at the plate. I think Beavers can be really good in RF long-term and the bat profiles as one that will move quickly through a farm system. Beavers doesn’t exactly have a ton of ceiling, but he has one of the safer floors in the draft in my opinion and I really think he’s capable of being a Trevor Larnach type of steal in this year’s draft.

13. Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee

  • + Fastball
  • + Slider
  • Above average curveball
  • Above average changeup
  • Above average command

Tidwell was inured at the beginning of the season and didn’t pitch much until recently, but he sure does look healthy and worthy of being one of the first two or three pitchers taken in this draft class. I’d really like the Royals to take a bat at #9, but Tidwell would be my choice of arm if the Royals decided to go that route.

12. Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee

  • + Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • ++ Approach
  • + Athlete
  • Probably sticks in CF long-term

The more I watch Drew Gilbert swing the bat, the more I wonder if the Royals shouldn’t try to under-slot Gilbert at #9 and hope he can be their CF of the future. Gilbert posted a 1.160 OPS this season at Tennessee with 36 XBH, 33 BB, and just 32 K. He doesn’t have 20+ HR type of power, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he could consistently hit 12-15 HR in the big leagues with 40+ doubles on occasion. It’s great bat speed with a great approach and I really think Gilbert might wind up being the steal of the draft if he falls further than 20 or so.

11. Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech

  • + Runner
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • + Defender in the COF

Cross has been mocked to the Royals at #9 a couple of times by Baseball America, and while it wouldn’t be my *favorite* pick at the moment, there’s certainly a ton to like about the 6′ 3″ lefty. Cross’ exit velocities are among the very best in the entire draft class, and he’s cut way down on his strikeouts this spring with just a 9.7% K% in 30 games for the Hokies this spring. He’s got more XBH than strikeouts and while he’s not a great runner or anything, he’s got four stolen bases and actually projects to be an above average defender in RF with good enough wheels and a great arm. I don’t really know what his absolute ceiling is, but I think he presents enough of a floor and some upside left to grow into to justify taking with the 9th overall pick.

10. Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison

  • + Runner
  • ++ Arm
  • ++ Raw power
  • + Hit tool
  • Chance to stick in CF

DeLauter was the best hitter in the Cape Cod Summer League last summer, leading the best college summer league in home runs. He hits for a ton of raw power and has one of the best swings you’ll see for the modern game of throwing lots of four-seamers at the top of the strike zone. DeLauter currently has a 1.404 OPS at James Madison with with a 4:3 BB:K ratio and 17 XBH in 24 games. He’s probably a corner outfielder long-term, but he runs well and projects as a good defender in the corners. I’m not entirely sure he’ll still be there for Kansas City anymore, but he’d be a steal at #9 if he falls that far.

9. Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech

  • ++ Raw power
  • + Approach
  • + Defender behind the plate

I’m not really a fan of the idea of the Royals drafting a catcher with the 9th overall pick…but crazier things have happened.

8. Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (FL)

  • +++ Raw power
  • ++ Athlete
  • Potential swing-and-miss issues

Elijah Green is the best prep power hitters to enter the MLB Draft since Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019. He’s got legitimately 60-grade raw power right now and could easily grow into 70-grade raw power before he reaches the big leagues, and an outside chance to reach that rare Seuly Matias range of 80-grade raw power. With that power comes some concerns about his hit tool, and there are some legitimate questions about his contact rate long-term, but we saw a lot of this with Bobby Witt Jr. as well during his draft cycle. How much of these concerns are legitimate and how much of them are just over analyzing remains to be seen, but if this kid hits, anyone who passes on him will feel really dumb in about two years. If he doesn’t…someone could be left holding the next Jason Heyward type of prospect (without the Gold Glove defense).

7. Jacob Berry, OF/1B, LSU

  • ++ Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • Great approach
  • Not much of a defender

Berry isn’t much of a defender, which may affect his draft stock more than I’m giving it credit at the moment, but he is one hell of a hitter and the Royals probably shouldn’t overthink it if he’s the one who falls to #9. Berry is currently hitting .370 with a 1.101 OPS for the Bayou Bengals, with a 1:1 BB:K ratio in the heart of SEC play. He’s got 10 HR and 7 doubles at the moment, though there are some who question the legitimacy of his raw power. For me, the hit tool is so advanced and the approach is so clean that even if he’s Alex Gordon and just hits 20 HR with 40+ doubles at his peak, you can live with that given his approach and feel to hit. There’s not a ton of upside in terms of a guy that could potentially hit 40 HR in the big leagues or anything, but he’s got such a high floor that you can realistically bank on him being a productive big league hitter in some capacity, which is pretty good for the 9th overall pick.

6. Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater High School (OK)

  • ++ Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • + Athlete
  • + Defender at SS

I totally whiffed on not having Holliday on my original top-10 list. He’s one of the best overall athletes in this draft class and he’s got some of the most offensive upside as well. There’s a 0% chance he’s still available at #9, I wouldn’t be surprised if he even went #1, but he’s certainly deserving of this ranking.

5. Druw Jones, CF, Wesleyan High School (GA)

  • + Hit tool
  • + Raw Power
  • ++ Athlete
  • ++ Defender in CF

Much has been made about Druw Jones in this draft cycle, and the son of the should-be MLB Hall of Famer resembles his father in a lot of what he does on the field. He hits for a ton of power and is one of the most polished defensive center fielders that you’ll ever see at the high school level. I’m not quite as bought in on the hit tool as some, which is why I don’t have him #1 like a lot of places will, but there are so many tools here that there’s really no reason he should drop to the Royals at #9. If he does, he’d be a slam dunk pick and immediately becomes the Royals center fielder of the future with real 20-20 potential.

4. Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola College (FL)

  • ++ Raw power
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Athlete
  • Chance to be good at 3B

If you wanted to take the college hitter with the most upside remaining, Collier might be your guy. He’s still just 17 years old and has about as much ceiling left as any hitter in this draft not named Elijah Green. There are some four-year college standouts that provide a little bit of a safer pick, which would behoove the Royals in plenty of ways considering where they are in their rebuild, but Collier would be a ton of fun to add to the lower portion of a farm system that already contains the likes of Carter Jensen, Ben Kudrna, Darryl Collins, Frank Mozzicato, Erick Pena, etc.

3. Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays High School (GA)

  • ++ Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • + Athlete
  • + Defender at 2B

Termarr Johnson has one of the best combinations of hit tool and power potential you’ll ever see on a left-handed prep prospect. My goodness gracious can this kid hit. He hits bombs like Druw Jones and Elijah Green and then turns around and shows off what might be the most projectable hit tool in the entire class. I’ve got him below a couple of college bats here because I prefer the known commodities to the prep bats, but I really don’t think there’s much difference between prospects one and four on this list. Johnson may be able to play SS for a while, but I think he’ll be a great defender at second base long-term and hit plenty to be an All-Star caliber player for a long time. I absolutely love this kid and wish like hell you could trade draft picks in baseball, because he’d be worth moving up for.

2. Jace Jung, 2B/3B/LF (?), Texas Tech

  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Approach
  • ++ Raw Power
  • Not a great defender

The amount of love that I have for Termarr Johnson ought to tell you quite a bit how much I like these next two guys. I gave the bump at #1 to Lee because of his defensive profile long-term, but I actually think that Jung is the best pure hitter in this entire draft class. He’s currently slashing .379/.527/.714/1.241 with 10 HR and 26 total XBH for the Red Raiders with 42 BB and just 24 K. I get it, he isn’t the greatest defender in the world, but teams would be outside their minds to let him fall to #9. Jung was actually mocked to the Royals in the latest Baseball America mock draft, so I guess it’s not totally out of the question, but for the life of me I cannot imagine why eight teams would pass up on him right now.

1. Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly

  • ++ Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • Switch hitter
  • Might have to move to 3B long-term

Brooks Lee is probably the most polished college hitting prospect to come out of the draft since Adley Rutschman in 2019. His floor is probably that of a replacement level big leaguer and his ceiling is that of a perennial All-Star. He may not have 40 HR power, or be able to steal 30 bases, or play Gold Glove defense at SS, but there isn’t anything he does poorly. He’s got 25 XBH, 30 BB, and just 10 K in 35 games at Cal Poly this spring, with an OPS of 1.196. You could probably slot the kid into AA as soon as he’s drafted (the team that gets him won’t, but I think you could) and he’d find a way to be successful. Lee has no chance of being available at #9, unlike just about anyone else on this list, and will probably be the first player from this draft class to debut in the big leagues. Good year to have the top pick.

4 thoughts on “Updated 2022 MLB Draft Rankings: 1-15

  1. So would you be upset if the Royals draft Dylan Lesko at #9? Best pitcher in the draft and they wouldn’t have a shot at him if not for the TJ surgery?

    Like

    • I think there was always a chance he’d be there at #9 regardless. Yes, if they gave him full slot after TJS I’d be concerned.

      Like

  2. Pingback: 2022 MLB Draft: Ten names to watch after the first round | Royals Farm Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s