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2022 MLB Draft Prep: Early round heat map

Here are a few guys to watch for next summer’s draft, ranked by how hot a prospect they are.

Carter Young of Vanderbilt during the 2021 College World Series
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

I’m a big fan of the Word of the Year. Sadly, in normal usage, the word of the year has gotten very political, so I’ll leave my two (and only two) nominees out of this article. However, if there are any words you’ve heard quite a bit more this year than in other years, feel free to toss them below, if they aren’t somehow political.

Beyond all that, there is a baseball term that has blasted off a bit the last few years, rather unsurprisingly: heat map. With video cross-sections of entire seasons of results available, we can view a player’s entire season of success in one view. And draw from that a heat map. With the concept of the heat map in the foreground, I resume my 2022 MLB Draft Prep series.

Fangraphs is becoming my go-to for quite a few things. They update on “option seasons remaining,” have a WAR value often preferable to Baseball Reference, and have far better ancillary data. Since I’m often there, anyway, I might as well buy into their Draft Prep. I still prefer Mason McRae by a bit, but that’s in part because we interact more. Fangraphs, as well as posting their Cubs prospect rankings recently, have also updated their Draft preferences.

As per usual, I’m still on the prowl. I consider college baseball worth following. While not for everyone (still waaaaaaaaaaaay too many bunts and pickoff throws and pitches called from the dugout), it has the team commitment of college football and basketball and basketball, but it’s baseball. Yeah, a 56-game regular season with double-elimination post-season is too much time commitment, but we’re looking for a holdover until MLB resumes. College is what it is.

For those of you wondering what heat maps and Fangraphs have to do with a much pooh-poohed sport, I’m running with a heat map today with three levels of heat. Hot, warm, and cold. The players involved are the college players on the Fangraphs list as of today. The rating is based on my assessment of the players, versus Fangraphs’ view. The players on the Fangraphs list will be cross-referenced with my 12-person list. The ones on both lists are considered “warm.” The ones on my list, but lagging on the Fangraphs list are considered “hot,” as I’ll be minding their results rather closely. Players on Fangraphs list, but not mine, are considered “cold,” and could use an advocate.

My list, which is exquisite in its randomness, is as follows.

Peyton Pallette, right-handed pitcher, Arkansas.
Elijah Green, outfield, IMG Academy (Florida)
Druw Jones, outfield, Wesleyan HS (Georgia)
Brooks Lee, shortstop, Cal Poly
Termarr Johnson, infield, Mays HS (Georgia)
Dylan Lesko, right-handed pitcher, Buford HS (Georgia)
Cam Collier, third base, Mount Paran HS (Georgia)
Carter Young, shortstop, Vanderbilt
Jace Jung, infield, Texas Tech
Gavin Cross, outfield, Virginia Tech
Jayson Jones, infield, Braswell HS (Texas)
Chase DeLauter, outfield, James Madison

Those 12 figure to get full coverage, particularly the college players playing in games. However, as you contemplate schools to follow on your own, a full string of players are on teams that aren’t Arkansas, Cal Poly, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, or James Madison. Or, perhaps, you’re probably following Vandy, anyway, so you might as well pot-commit to Carter Young, anyway. Below are a list of Fangraphs college names that are not on my list.

5. Peyton Graham, third base, Oklahoma
9. Robert Moore, second base, Arkansas
12. Logan Tanner, catcher, Mississippi State
15. Jacob Berry, first base, LSU
16. Carson Whisenhunt, left-handed pitcher, East Carolina
19. Brandon Sproat, right-handed pitcher, Florida
22. Blade Tidwell, right-handed pitcher, Tennessee
23. Daniel Susac, catcher, Arizona
27. Henry Williams, right-handed pitcher, Duke
28. Bryce Hubbart, left-handed pitcher, Florida State
29. Eric Brown, shortstop, Coastal Carolina
31. Josh Kasevich, left field, Oregon
33. Kevin Parada, catcher, Georgia Tech
34. Landon Sims, right-handed pitcher, Mississippi State
36. Zach Neto, shortstop, Campbell
38. Victor Mederos, right-handed pitcher, Oklahoma State

Their list goes to 67 as of now. Pick a player based on whatever you want. Be his delegate for Bleed Cubbie Blue, and post it proudly on your resume. Once the college season commences, you can be our Chief Bryce Hubbart Draft Update Correspondent. Take it as seriously as you want, or as seriously as Rob Manfred takes wage suppression. Most of all, you have a partial list of schools. If, instead, you’re “Forget that, I want Louisville,” go that way. It might be a while until MLB spring games start, and here’s a baseball thing to banter about until then that doesn’t involve gambling.

Draft questions? Fire away, below.