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2022 MLB Draft Prep: It’s been a while edition

A number of updates on draft prospects for the first and second rounds and beyond.

Dylan Lesko, who will go high in this draft despite having Tommy John surgery
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s been a while in between articles of Draft Prep. Since then and now, an entire article noted how pitchers are falling precipitously down the draft boards.

Then, this happened.

Dylan Lesko still figures to go quite early, despite the injury. Nobody was drafting him for his productivity in 2023 or 2024, either way. I doubt he reaches campus at Vanderbilt.

The Cubs second round choice (likely 47th overall) will put them in a good spot to draft a college arm that did have a good season in 2022. However, look for a hitter at 1.7 from the Cubs.

I note that No. 47 will likely go to the Cubs, as Michael Conforto is out for the season. He won’t change the draft order. However, whatever Rob Manfred decides regarding The Yankee Letter might, or might not, alter the draft order. We await developments, as is often said here.

Draft related updates

Illinois hosted Illinois State last Tuesday evening. A guy in last week’s edition led off. In this fashion.

And he plays defense. Cermak in the... fifth round? Sixth?

Brock Jones won’t go at 1.7 to the Cubs, and doesn’t figure to be around at 47. Nonetheless, if it’s going to be a bat in Round Two, here’s what it requires.

Realistically, two things emanate from the draft process this cycle.

The most important is that, with the seventh pick, the Cubs should get ”top five” quality from the seventh pick, however it shakes out. Whether you prefer the upside of outfielder Elijah Green or not, the seventh pick needs to bring rather high-end quality this cycle.

For Green, the question is the bat. His power and speed in center are given. Whether he can hit or not, is the question. In this draft, I tend to shy away from him, but many buy into his elite mix. Even as a top five in this draft. I tend to run away from the “Can’t hit” angle, but I haven’t watched him play in over a year.

Similarly, you can buy into Daniel Susac or Kevin Parada as the better catching option. I tend to run away from Susac, whose 6-5 height tends to worry me. Too much size to catch too many foul tips through too many seasons before he reaches MLB. And after.

The truth is, people smarter than I am buy into Parada my preference of the two) or Susac as top five-range selections. Whoever the Cubs believe in, and walk away with, will be a legitimate addition to a percolating pipeline.

My top seven remain:

Druw Jones, center field, Wesleyan HS (Georgia)

Termarr Johnson, third base, Mays HS (Georgia)

Brooks Lee, shortstop, Cal Irvine

Jace Jung, infield, Texas Tech

Cam Collier, third base, Chipola College

Kevin Parada, catcher, Georgia Tech

Dylan Lesko, right-handed pitcher, Buford HS (Georgia)

But if someone makes the argument for Susac, outfielder Gavin Cross...

... or Chase DeLauter, Green (from above), or Matt Holliday’s son Jackson:

... those guys will add top-end quality. Probably top-five quality at the seven spot. Because I believe in the ability of the people making the selections.

Secondly, they’re getting fairly good at drafting “outside the top 10 of the draft”, even well down the draft board. Last year’s second-rounder James Triantos looks like a heist. Brennen Davis, despite a slow start in Des Moines so far, has shown enough to be ranked in the Top 100. As has Pete Crow-Armstrong, added in the Javier Báez trade last July.

The Cubs tossed a comically low $1,000 signing bonus at Quincy University’s Riley Martin last cycle. He was named Pitcher of the Week in the Carolina League before getting promoted. Quite a few players in the pipeline are “getting things done” regardless the round, regardless the size of school, or prestige. The pipeline is where my preferences lie, regardless where anyone else’s lie, and I’m very impressed with what the pipeline is producing.

Add more this cycle?

Which they almost certainly shall, what with a bonus pool of over $10 million.

This seems an incredibly deep crop of talent to gorge from if an organization has their collective stuff in order. From a MLB Draft perspective, the Cubs ought to be well-rewarded at picks 7 and 47 and well beyond.

Here was a fun second-round potential matchup from this weekend.

Whether you’re a fan of Blade Tidwell, Ryan Ritter, or any of the other 40 guys that might legitimately be in consideration for the Cubs’ second selection, they’re worth considering there. That quality is also why I’m completely fine with the Cubs passing on Trevor Story, and not gambling on an injured Michael Conforto. The talent in the early second round ought to push through to Double-A Tennessee in rather rapid order. Helping a pipeline that is improving, to an extent that you’d only know very much about if you’re prioritizing said pipeline over a room-temperature (at best) parent club.

More from Mason McRae as he assesses the top choices in the draft from an analytics perspective.

Jordan Beck, known as a masher, sends a game to the 12th with his glove. Unfortunately, he’s another guy unlikely to be on the board when the Cubs make their second selection.