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.
Source: Lesko had successful Tommy John surgery yesterday with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) April 27, 2022
He was clearly the best pitcher in the 2022 Draft before this and still may end up going first among pitchers despite the surgery. Ranked 8th on today’s updated list.
Video from his last start https://t.co/Um1hTRotKF
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?
Here’s the catch I mentioned, simply incredible https://t.co/H5UmuScWed— Patrick Ebert (@PatrickEbert44) April 19, 2022
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.
Impressive day for JR OF Brock Jones (@StanfordBSB) at the plate— Dan Jurik (@PBR_DanJurik) April 30, 2022
2-2 with a 3B, 1B & BB. Premium athlete w/ speed & power. Seeing the ball well. Deep drive to RCF in 1st then shot a single down LF line w/ 2 strikes@DSeifertD1PBR | @PBR_DraftHQ | @NathanRode #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/PiYBp1wOQS
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
Brooks Lee is in my opinion the best college player in the draft, he’s got the perfect combination of: Contact Quality, Swing Decisions, Bat to Ball skills, Barrel Accuracy, and Defensive Value. pic.twitter.com/ugwrSFmiqS— (@mason_mcrae) April 24, 2022
Jace Jung, infield, Texas Tech
Jace Jung has had some of the worst luck amongst college hitters this spring, and he’s still one of the best hitters in the country. It’s an easy eval, he’s a stud. pic.twitter.com/3KF7Cug7fK— (@mason_mcrae) May 3, 2022
Cam Collier, third base, Chipola College
Kevin Parada, catcher, Georgia Tech
Dylan Lesko, right-handed pitcher, Buford HS (Georgia)
Little over 2 months away from the 2022 #MLBDraft.— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) May 5, 2022
What’s a hill you’re standing on with confidence right now?
I’ll start, Roman Anthony is a first round pick and Dylan Lesko doesn’t make it out of the first 7 picks.
Quote or comment if you have your own!
But if someone makes the argument for Susac, outfielder Gavin Cross...
After a sluggish start plagued by knickknack injuries, Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross has been on a tear the last month and a half. Here's home run no. 10. Almost as many walks as homers. Up to .341 with 12 doubles too. 12.9% K-rate. Likely a day one lock.pic.twitter.com/Eu7aZqt9ae— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) May 1, 2022
... or Chase DeLauter, Green (from above), or Matt Holliday’s son Jackson:
2022 SS @JHolliday2022 (@OSUBaseball commit) isn’t done yet sending a no doubter on one of the hardest balls we’ve seen hit all year to take the 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th— PBR Oklahoma (@PBR_Oklahoma) May 7, 2022
@ShooterHunt @NathanRode pic.twitter.com/xeZFEOc9QK
... 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.