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)
11 hours at the park today and we ended it with some Elijah Green BP pic.twitter.com/D8p2Y4Alte— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 17, 2021
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.
After beginning his day with an RBI groundout, Druw Jones shot the oppo gap and turned on the jets for a 2-run triple on Saturday, he was named the game's MVP as a result with 3 RBIs in a win for the National team, @VandyBoys recruit@jones_druw | @BaseballFactory pic.twitter.com/lSoZJYZ48w— Patrick Ebert (@PatrickEbert44) September 26, 2021
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....
2022 LHP Tristan Smith from South Carolina just finished a dominant outing at PG National. Struck out all 6 batters he faced, ran his fastball into the mid-90s. Clemson commit. pic.twitter.com/fhWQEo8cMl— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 17, 2021
Good morning, good afternoon, good night. Jackson Ferris gave up a leadoff blooper to Mason Neville, but three straight K's in the first. FB 94-96 and all strikes, very good mid-70's CB, flashed mid-80's CH. He abused Riley Stanford here. #PGNational pic.twitter.com/JOevmnB3m2— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) July 16, 2021
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:
Dylan Lesko (2022 GA) is just a soph, albeit No. 1, but he’s firmly placed himself among the best arms in the country regardless of class. 91-94 (92) thru 2, pinpoint command, great frame/proj, CB has solid shape/spin, CH devilish at times. Here’s FB-CB-CH #PGHSShowdown pic.twitter.com/uVxvE2opyJ— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) March 6, 2020
Jackson Ferris, left-handed pitcher, IMG Academy (FL)
Yes. He’s from the same school as Green, from above.
Jackson Ferris (2022 Mount Airy, NC) was out standing sitting 92-94 early, settling low-90s and never dropping below it through 6IP. Dropped the CB at will in the 2300-2575 range, struck out 10 w/ a metric ton of S/M! #UBC pic.twitter.com/D5HeLY3wYa— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) June 22, 2021
Cam Collier, third base, Mt. Parian HS (GA)
Cam Collier (‘23, GA) gets the scoring started in the championship with a three-run missile to right field. Sat back in his load and unleashed. Pretty lefty swing from the #Louisville commit. #WWBA pic.twitter.com/KAHqnWsnEs— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) July 13, 2021
Brock Porter, righthanded pitcher, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS (MI)
Not sure what you're meant to do against the parachute CH that Brock Porter has. He's been 91-95 T96 on the heater, CH 75-77 with excellent sink and fade, plus a breaking ball in the upper-70's. pic.twitter.com/DOUOviYojl— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) July 25, 2021
Got more of Brock Porter, albeit just one inning. Casually sat 95-97 with big life, did flash a tight breaker at 81. Gets Gavin Guidry on this demon 95 FB here. pic.twitter.com/PIQOaEme8p— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) July 29, 2021
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.
Oh hey, Brooks Lee with another hit. This one 96 off the bat. pic.twitter.com/QRdh3pCouI— Nathan Rode (@NathanRode) August 9, 2018
What a throw from Brooks Lee, one of the best SS in the country pic.twitter.com/sQ11c2OLd5— College Baseball Nation (@CollegeBallNat) April 3, 2021
This past summer, on the Cape:
Brooks Lee (2022) @calpolystangs @YD_RedSox returned to the Cape from @USABaseballCNT earlier this week. A switch-hitting infielder w/power, here’s a look at open face swings from each side. #PGCape pic.twitter.com/lKQziOYPO7— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) July 25, 2021
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.
Vanderbilt shortstop Carter Young gets his arms extended and squares this one up for a solo HR to tie the game at 1-1. pic.twitter.com/oKth63yXxP— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) March 6, 2021
I am becoming very much in on Vanderbilt SS Carter Young.— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) March 31, 2021
Plus glove at SS with above average bat that’s quickly finding his power stroke. Here’s HR #5 this season after hitting 0 in 18 games in 2020. Name to watch for the 2022 draft. pic.twitter.com/ZYgpYmqBfp
Brooks Lee, Hayden Dunhurst, Kevin Parada, Dylan Brewer, Peyton Graham, Cayden Wallace, Jace Jung, this dude and so many more college hitters. The 2022 Draft is going to be a fun one.pic.twitter.com/5cyNVDm1DP— (@mason_mcrae) May 8, 2021
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.
Chase DeLauter @JMUBaseball @FirebirdsCCBL continues to impress on the Cape, here he takes a ball to the wall in right field Wednesday for a Triple, followed by a single and a near 400 foot fly out. Plus bat speed from the left, feel to hit, plus power, and OF skills #PGCape pic.twitter.com/KfKi0rujcb— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) July 24, 2021
Chase DeLauter (James Madison, 2022) pulling his hands in to pull a fastball down the 1B line for a double in the 6th, and getting his arms extended to make a hard luck groundout to end the 7th. Also added an outfield assist from CF in the 8th to cut down a runner headed to 3B. pic.twitter.com/XNopxFWVdu— Will Hoefer (@whoeferbaseball) July 17, 2021
James Madison University R-FR OF/LHP Chase Delauter (@Chase_DeLauter1) connected for 2 HRs last night to lead the Broadway Bruins to 12-2 win over New Market. Here’s the first one:— ValleyBaseballScout (@valleybsblscout) July 27, 2020
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.
Don’t let him get hot again. Jace Jung touches one to RCF for an early lead. pic.twitter.com/sD4VoSBGjG— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) June 6, 2021
Jace Jung appreciation tweet.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 13, 2021
He’s hitting .405/.504/.865 with 15 homers already.
He has *two* games this year with three homers.
More here: https://t.co/3aal6Ry7Fq
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.
two HRs today for Robert Moore (son of Royals GM Dayton), including a go-ahead 2-run HR in the 8th, to help #1 Arkansas come back and avoid the upset vs. Murray State@RazorbackBSB now 8-0 this season pic.twitter.com/N8T2JEyA0W— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) March 6, 2021
Robert Moore is a 17-year-old freshman for Arkansas & is raking.— Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) February 28, 2020
He just turned on a slider & hit a game tying two run HR in a major league ballpark vs a future big league pitcher. That excitement can’t be matched.
He can’t even buy tobacco products. pic.twitter.com/5sYUEBEL0u
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.
Welcome back, Connor Prielipp— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) May 16, 2021
94 on the black to get Tre’ Morgan, who was hitting .432 against LHP.
FB 93-94, SL 87-89 and flashed the CH. Allows a 2-R HR to Doughty but strikes out the side. pic.twitter.com/9ku5oaR28C
Seriously impressed by @AlabamaBSB freshman Connor Prielipp. Phenomenal poise and confidence on the bump. Sitting 93-94, touched 95 and has breezed through his outing so far. Lights out breaker down. @PGCollegeBall pic.twitter.com/aPaFQhfvdm— Connor Spencer (@ccspencer33) February 21, 2020
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.
JACOB BERRY IS A BAD BAD MAN WHO JUST PIECED ONE TO DEAD CENTER 444 FEET TO GIVE ARIZONA A 5-3 LEAD pic.twitter.com/opQAKMCp80— 11Point7: The College Baseball Podcast (@11point7) June 12, 2021
Arizona DH Jacob Berry absolutely DESTROYS this baseball deep to RCF for the two-run shot to pull the Wildcats out front. Utilizes simple stroke to find barrel often. Has ability to hit for a high average w/ above-average power@ArizonaBaseball @PGCollegeBall @PG_Scouting pic.twitter.com/ExqQH0mslt— Perfect Game Four Corners (@PG_FourCorners) June 12, 2021
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.
Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross is having a WEEK.— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) April 11, 2021
Hitting .510 across his last 20 ABs including 4 HR and 11 RBI.
This includes hitting for the cycle against ETSU and also a HR in 4 straight games. Stock rising for the 2022 class. pic.twitter.com/R4SZLWm8M8
Only player w/ more balls > 110 mph than Dylan Crews in ‘21 was Gavin Cross. Great point of contact, able to lift balls w/ flat path. But swing decisions aren’t great, whiffs are up relative to path and chasing. Still had best collection of batted balls in the country last year. pic.twitter.com/cDiAjekSoG— (@mason_mcrae) August 5, 2021
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?