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2022 MLB Draft Prep: Eight high school and eight college players to watch

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And an update on exactly where the Cubs might draft.

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

College baseball games resume in earnest in mid-to-late February 2022. Whether you dig college baseball or not, with the Cubs looking ready to settle in to the seventh draft spot, a few questions seem pertinent. Which players might make sense for the Cubs at seven? Why do those players make sense? If I decide I want to champion a specific player, how can that even be done? Also, how confident is the No. 7 projection with a week left in the MLB season? While I will look at all of these questions, I’ll start with the final one.

Six teams are in line for the seventh spot, potentially. However, the likelihoods are based on current records and remaining schedules. From Tankathon.com, here are the standings for the top 10 picks in 2022, through Monday’s games:

For Cubs and the teams surrounding them, here are the best and worst winning percentages they can wind up with:

Nationals: Best, .432. Worst, .395
Marlins: Best, .438. Worst, .395
Cubs: Best, .451. Worst, .414
Twins: Best, .463. Worst, .426
Royals: Best, .475. Worst, .438
Rockies: Best: .475. Worst, .438

The Nationals can draft no later than eighth. If the Cubs and Twins tie, the Cubs choose first. The Nationals and Rockies started a three-game set Monday (the Nats won), and the Royals and Twins have three remaining against each other. Barring someone running the table, the spots look kind of safe.

As for the draft spending angle, the spending slot for the No. 7 pick last year was $5,432,400. I don’t know where exactly the Cubs will select in the second round yet, because the Mets get overall pick 11, the Red Sox get overall pick 41 and the Dodgers figure to get dinged ten spots in the draft for being significantly over the luxury tax.

Some potentially applicable ranges for to mind for 2022 are (based on 2021 slot values):

Choices 43-45: $1,729,800 to $1,650,200
Choices 77-79: $805,600 to $780,400
Choices 106-108: $549,000 to $528,200

Depending upon the new Collective Bargaining agreement, who signs where, and for what, and other factors, the Cubs may draft in those ranges. Or not. (I doubt Jed Hoyer will add a free agent that will cost him their second choice.)

I’m going with two lists of eight players, below. The draft is relatively stacked for teams drafting in the top fifteen. The two lists will be of players that might be “the one.” Both lists include video. The first list is of high school players. The second list, of college players, will tell you which ones might be more rewarding follows.

List one: High school players

Elijah Green, IMG Academy (FL)

Green will not slip to the seventh spot, barring an unlikely calamity. Nonetheless, he’s a legitimate draft option, until he isn’t.

2. Druw Jones, center field, Wesleyan HS (GA)

Andruw Jones’ son. He is developing his inherited skills.

3. Termarr Johnson, infield, Mays HS (GA)

Small in stature. His bat, though:

Tristan Smith, lefthanded pitcher, Boiling Springs HS (NC)

If you kinda like lefty pitchers....

Dylan Lesko, righthanded pitcher, Buford HS (GA)

If you kinda like righthanded pitchers. Velocity plus secondaries with a side of a smooth delivery.

From a while ago:

Jackson Ferris, left-handed pitcher, IMG Academy (FL)

Yes. He’s from the same school as Green, from above.

Cam Collier, third base, Mt. Parian HS (GA)

Brock Porter, righthanded pitcher, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS (MI)

List two is for the college players. Not only because they’re college players, but because you can regularly track them against quality college foes. Most major college programs provide at least free streaming audio. Sometimes, you can stumble into games on video, as well. While highlights are useful, hearing a quality pitcher against a good offense provides a barometer of where the pitcher is. An impressive hitter against a Friday night guy that’s in consideration for a first-day selection? That shows evidence if the hitter is ready for professional pitching.

Brooks Lee, shortstop, Cal Poly

I’m not sure if I’ve listened to or watched a Cal Poly game, but I think I have. Getting a pulse on Lee will be about essential, even though he isn’t likely to slip to seven.

This past summer, on the Cape:

Carter Young, shortstop, Vanderbilt

A true shortstop, probably, at an elite college program. And he hits. Vanderbilt is easy to follow, on the TV screen, or on audio.

Chase DeLauter, outfield, James Madison

James Madison hasn’t announced anything, yet. No schedule. No baseball network. Nothing. DeLauter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he can hit.

Jace Jung, infield, Texas A&M

Jung probably doesn’t have an ideal body, but he can hit. He’s probably my bauble, in that if everything goes wrong, Jung might be the Cubs choice at seven. This is a deep draft, and Texas A&M has a great audio stream squad.

Robert Moore, infield, Arkansas

Moore’s father is Dayton Moore, the Kansas City Royals’ Baseball Operations guy. I, for one, wonder if Moore the elder will opt to select his son in the first round. Arkansas’ radio squad is fun, and got me hyped about Christian Franklin and Casey Opitz, who the Cubs would eventually draft.

Connor Prielipp, lefthanded pitcher, Alabama

Alabama closes the regular season against Arkansas, but misses Vanderbilt. In other words, Prielipp versus Moore is more likely than Prielipp versus Carter Young.

Jacob Berry, infielder, LSU

LSU gets Alabama and Arkansas late in the season. LSU has a fantastic audio stream. He transferred from Arizona to stay with his coach, and bat next to Dylan Crews.

Gavin Cross, outfield, Virginia Tech

The value here is the bat, with the ability to play a reasonably good right field. Virginia Tech audio streams.

If MLB’s labor negotiations go haywire (or even if they don’t), feel free to prioritize any of these 16 (or scores of others) during 2021. Which ones work for you?