The 2022 MLB Draft will take place July 17-19 in Los Angeles, as baseball's premier amateur event will head to the West Coast.
Each of the last four No. 1 overall draft picks has come from college (Henry Davis, Spencer Torkelson, Adley Rutschmann, and Casey Mize). Will that continue this year or will a high school kid go first?
Here's a look at the top 50 college prospects (as of January 2022), courtesy of Baseball America's JJ Cooper:
1. Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
There have been three previous Yellow Jacket catchers who have been first-round picks — Jason Varitek, Matt Wieters and Joey Bart. Parada will almost assuredly be the fourth. He’s hit wherever he’s gone, but he has plenty of work to do defensively to reassure scouts who question his ability to stay behind the plate. His bat is good enough to handle a position switch.
2. Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
The star of the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2021, Lee hit .405 in the Cape and also performed with Team USA. There are concerns about whether he can stay at shortstop long term. There are not nearly as many concerns over whether he can hit in pro ball.
3. Jace Jung, 2B/3B, Texas Tech
The younger brother of Rangers third base prospect Josh Jung, Jace has a shot to be an even better prospect. He was one of the best hitters in college baseball in a breakout 2021 season. He finished tied for fourth in Division I last year with 21 home runs. With his ability to hit for average and his left-handed power, he’s a candidate to go 1-1.
4. Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
The younger brother of longtime MLB/MiLB catcher Andrew Susac, Daniel is a draft-eligible sophomore. He is coming off a dominant freshman year that saw him hit .335/.392/.591 with 12 home runs. Susac also committed only two errors behind the plate. He’ll battle with Parada for the title of the best catcher in the 2022 draft class.
5. Jacob Berry, 3B/1B, LSU
Berry was a star at Arizona in 2021. But when his coach (Jay Johnson) came to LSU, Berry decided to join him. Berry has one of the best bats in the class. He hit .352/.439/.676 with 17 home runs for Arizona and was just as good last summer with Team USA. Berry was not really playable at third base in 2021, but if he can show he’s not just a first baseman, he’ll be even more in demand.
6. Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas
Robert is the son of Royals president Dayton Moore. He’s grown up around the game, which is apparent both at the plate and in the field. He helped his draft stock significantly by showing surprising power in 2021 with 16 home runs. He’s a well-rounded second baseman who can provide value defensively.
7. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
It wouldn’t be stunning to see Prielipp climb to No. 1 by the end of the season. He’s shown a truly devastating breaking ball and a quality fastball, but he’s barely pitched in two years. His 2020 season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, and his 2021 season ended after just seven innings because of an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. He is expected to get back on the mound in 2022.
8. Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
A reliever in 2020, Pallette had an up-and-down year in the Razorbacks rotation in 2021. There’s a hefty expectation that he will step into a much bigger role in 2022. Pallette’s mid-90s fastball, curve and change give him three pitches that could all be above average or better.
9. Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
The Commodores have had nine first-round picks in the past seven drafts. Young will likely give them 10 first-rounders in eight years. Young seemed to sell out for power a little bit in 2021. It led to 16 home runs, but the hope in 2022 is that he’ll show better contact ability and a lower strikeout rate than in 2021.
10. Cayden Wallace, 3B/OF, Arkansas
Arkansas looks to be loaded again in 2022 thanks to consistent performers like Wallace. Wallace has a strong arm and plus power (he hit 14 home runs in 2021). His skill set should fit either as a third baseman or corner outfielder in pro ball.
11. Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU
A 39th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers out of high school, Doughty was viewed as a very polished performer even then. He’s lived up to those expectations at LSU. He immediately became a starter and hit .308/.368/.546 in 2021. As a productive college infielder with a lengthy track record of hitting, he’s the type of player teams love to nab at some point in the first round.
12. Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
DeLauter has been an extremely productive hitter for James Madison, but it was his ability to match that production in the Cape Cod League last summer that will help reassure scouts and front offices that his hitting ability will translate to pro ball. He doesn’t provide a lot of defensive value, but the hit tool is the most important one.
13. Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State
Sims was a lights-out reliever in 2021. He struck out 100 batters in just 56.1 innings, holding opponents to a .149 batting average. Sims is a very intriguing draft prospect as a dominating reliever with a plus-plus fastball. He’s moving to the rotation this year, and the expectation is he’ll dominate there, too.
14. Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
The only time a Virginia Tech position player was picked in the first round was way back in 1982 (Franklin Stubbs). Cross has a pretty good case to be second. He hit .345 with 11 home runs for Virginia Tech and then led USA Baseball with a .467 batting average. Cross should hit for average and power while being an adequate corner outfielder.
15. Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida
The next in the seemingly neverending run of Florida pitchers, Barco is yet another Gator with a pro starting pitcher skill set. He’s a lefthander with four pitches he can spot. None of his pitches is remarkable, but all four are solid, which makes it hard for hitters to know what’s coming next.
16. Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
A draft-eligible sophomore, Tidwell was one of the reasons the Volunteers had their best season in years in 2021. Now he should step to the front of the Vols' rotation. Tidwell has the fastball/slider combination to pile up strikeouts and the durability to be one of the better pitchers in college baseball this year.
17. Colby Halter, 2B/3B, Florida
Halter has never blown away scouts with his tools, but there’s something to be appreciated about a gamer who just hits and hits. Halter bounced between second and third base as a freshman, but it’s his ability to put together excellent at-bats that stands out to scouts.
18. Nate Savino, LHP, Virginia
Savino enrolled early at Virginia, but so far, he hasn’t been as dominating as expected thanks to modest rather than overpowering stuff. If he can add a little sharpness to his secondaries and throw a little harder in 2022, he’s still got first-round potential.
19. Victor Mederos, RHP, Oklahoma State
Mederos is another top prospect to take advantage of the ability to transfer without having to sit out a season. He showed alluring stuff but sketchy control at Miami (Fla.). Now he’s going to find out if he can gain better control of his mid-to-high 90s fastball and multiple secondaries.
20. Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State
It’s a good year for catchers, especially in the Southeastern Conference. Tanner has proven his ability to handle a pitching staff and shut down running games as the backstop for the defending national champs. His 15 home runs last year hinted at power to go with his solid receiving.
21. Reggie Crawford, LHP/1B, UConn
Figuring out where Crawford will go in the 2022 draft is a nearly impossible task. So far, he’s primarily been a hitter, but it’s his 98-99 mph fastball that he showed with USA Baseball during the summer of 2021 that fascinates teams. But after he threw just eight innings in two years for UConn, Tommy John surgery will sideline him for all of 2022.
22. Trey Faltine, SS, Texas
Faltine is one of the best defensive shortstops in the 2022 class. That by itself will get him drafted, but if Faltine can make more impact at the plate, he could turn himself into a potential first-round pick. So far, he’s been more of a bottom-of-the-order hitter.
23. Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
If Fabian, who was projected to go high in the 2021 draft, bounces back from a subpar 2021 season, he could end up climbing back into the first round in 2022. A star of the Cape Cod League in 2019, Fabian hit for power but struggled to make contact in 2021. He’s an excellent center fielder who has a chance to be a very well-rounded player if he can cut his strikeout rate and make more consistent contact.
24. Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
Whisenhunt will be trying to follow Gavin Williams’ path in 2022 as the ace of the Pirates staff. The lefty was quite effective for ECU and Team USA last year. He doesn’t really blow away hitters, but they rarely get comfortable at-bats thanks to his three-pitch mix headed by a low-90s fastball.
25. Spencer Jones, LHP/1B, Vanderbilt
Jones has only hit for Vanderbilt so far thanks to 2020 Tommy John surgery, but the hope is that he’ll go back to being a two-way player in 2022. It’s his promise on the mound that most intrigues scouts, but he does have a solid fall-back option as a first baseman/outfielder who has shown some promise.
26. Chris Newell, OF, Virginia
27. Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
28. Cade Horton, SS/RHP, Oklahoma
29. Peyton Graham, 3B, Oklahoma
30. Ethan Long, 1B, Arizona State
31. Carson Palmquist, LHP, Miami (Fla.)
32. Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
33. Max Rajcic, RHP, UCLA
34. Henry Williams, RHP, Duke
35. Sebastian Keane, RHP, Northeastern
36. Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
37. Hayden Dunhurst, C, Ole Miss
38. Dylan Beavers, OF, California
39. Jared McKenzie, OF, Baylor
40. Adam Maier, RHP, Oregon
41. Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
42. Derek Diamond, RHP, Ole Miss
43. Justin Campbell, RHP/1B, Oklahoma State
44. Clark Elliott, OF, Michigan
45. TJ McCants, OF, Ole Miss
46. Michael Curialle, SS, UCLA
47. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
48. Bryce Osmond, RHP, Oklahoma State
49. Nate Rombach, C, Dallas Baptist
50. Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
— Compiled by JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) for the Athlon Sports 2022 Baseball Annual. At 224 pages, it's the largest on the newsstand and the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy or purchase the digital edition for instant access.