The start of a new college baseball season means it is time for my first 2022 (and 2023 and 2024) MLB draft rankings.
There are a few big takeaways from this year’s early edition of these lists:
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Last year, Vanderbilt aces Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker were the No. 1 story of the MLB draft. This year, it is the high-profile sons of high-profile former big leaguers. Druw Jones, the top player in my rankings, is the son of Andruw Jones. Lower down the list, Matt Holliday’s son is at No. 12, Carl Crawford’s son is at 27 and CC Sabathia’s son (Carsten) is also of draft quality.
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Secondly, there’s the toss-up at the top of the draft, with Jones and Termarr Johnson (both Atlanta-area prep products) as the current leaders. Elijah Green has been hyped as having one of the best tool packages in recent draft history and is certainly in the mix to go first overall. While a prep pitcher is unlikely to be the top pick, this year’s college crop is stronger in overall depth than high-end talent.
This year’s college class is down, with the college pitching class as weak as it has been in recent memory. It seems mostly a random occurrence rather than a real problem or the beginning of a trend. The top college pitching prospect (Carson Whisenhunt) missed opening weekend because of a suspension, three potential first-round picks (Connor Prielipp, Peyton Pallette and Reggie Crawford) are all missing the season due to Tommy John surgery, and then there’s the limbo status of Rocker — which will likely lead him to an Independent League team or extensive pre-draft workouts.
If all were healthy, Prielipp and Pallette would be the best two college arms for this list by a good margin, and Prielipp would be in the top 10, if not the top five. Scouting directors are so underwhelmed by the current Friday crop of college starters, many are opting to go to high school games to start the weekend rather than line up the best college starting pitchers.