2022 MLB Draft: Day 1 Takeaways
July 18, 2022
Day One of the 2022 MLB draft is in the books, which means 80 picks are down and 18 rounds are left to go on Monday (3-10) and Tuesday (11-20). We saw a handful of surprises and some fascinating storylines through the first day. The PBR and D1Baseball staff break it all down below.
+The last three years, Baltimore has taken a collegiate bat with its first pick. In 2019, it was the consensus top player in C Adley Rutschman. Then the Orioles went a little further down boards with OFs Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser. They always play things close to the vest so it was anybody’s guess who would go first in 2022. There were five names in the mix and it ultimately ended up being a high school bat in SS Jackson Holliday (Stillwater HS, OK), who had a huge spring, showing improvements in all facets of his game. After picking Holliday, the O’s went with college bats in OF Dylan Beavers (California), 3B Max Wagner (Clemson) and OF Jud Fabian (Red Sox).
+ Picking in the top 10 for the third straight year, Pittsburgh got the No. 1 player on the PBR Draft Board in SS Termarr Johnson (Mays HS, GA). Johnson is the best pure hitter in the draft--the best high school bat anyone has seen in years.
+ As speculated, preps were selected with four of the top five picks, then the collegians took over with eight consecutive selections. There was another run of college picks with 10 straight in the second to Competitive Balance B rounds.
+ It was a good night to be a Volunteer, a Gator or a Sooner. Tennessee tied Florida, Oregon State and Oklahoma with three Day One selections. The highest Vol was OF Drew Gilbert to the Astros at No. 28 overall, followed by OF Jordan Beck to the Rockies at No. 38 and RHP Blade Tidwell to the Mets at No. 52. Those slot values total more than $6.1 million. As for the Gators, OF Sterlin Thompson was first off the board at No. 31 to the Rockies, LHP Hunter Barco was next at No. 44 to Pittsburgh, followed by OF Jud Fabian to Baltimore at No. 67. Oregon State had a first-rounder in ace Cooper Hjerpe (No. 22 to Cardinals), then a pair of outfielders going toward the end of Day One in Jacob Melton (No. 64 to Astros) and Justin Boyd (No. 73 to Reds). The Sooners trio of Cade Horton (No. 7 to the Cubs), LHP Jake Bennett (No. 45 Nationals) and SS Peyton Graham (No. 51 Tigers) totaled more than $8.95 million in slot value.
+ Ryan Cermak (Illinois State) was selected as a shortstop by the Rays with the 71st overall pick. If Paul DeJong, a fourth-round pick out of Illinois State in 2015 can do it, maybe Cermak can as well.
+ Of the 80 selections, there were 51 four-year selections, 26 preps, two junior college and one with no school (Rocker).
+ It wasn’t a surprise to the PBR crew, but RHP Kumar Rocker likely raised some raised eyebrows. The quick-to-the-big-leagues righty was a fit on talent, but questions on his medical and secretive September shoulder surgery left reservations within the industry.
+ There was some buzz that RHP Gabe Hughes (Gonzaga) would be the first college arm off the board, mostly because he was one of the few healthy ones available. One of the few healthy college arms. He turned out to be the second, when the Rockies took him 10th overall. The first was RHP Cade Horton (Oklahoma), who enjoyed a meteoric rise late in the season thanks to stellar postseason appearances.
+ RHP Owen Murphy (Riverdale-Brookfield HS, IL) going 20th overall to Atlanta was a bit of a surprise, but he easily could have been a first-rounder after three years at Notre Dame. A legitimate two-way player, his upside is on the mound where he runs a disappearing fastball into the mid 90s, pumps strikes and has projectable secondary stuff to go with his high-end athleticism. Atlanta got two polished, high-floor arms with plenty of upside remaining in him and RHP JR Ritchie (Bainbridge Island HS, WA), their Competitive Balance A selection.
+ Having already developed one 6-foot-7 slugger in Aaron Judge, OF Spencer Jones (Vanderbilt) was a natural fit for the New York Yankees. His selection at No. 25 overall was a little steep on our Draft Board, where he ranked No. 67, but his athleticism and power potential are obvious.
+ OF Nick Morabito (Gonzaga College Prep, MD) was the only player selected on the first day not on the PBR Draft Board, though the Virginia Tech recruit is still considered a national caliber prep with physicality and plus speed.
+ C Daniel Susac (Arizona) is a potential all-star and ranks No. 6 on our Draft Board. Fitting the mold of current A’s backstop Sean Murphy as a tall catcher with solid defensive abilities and power potential, he’s a steal for Oakland at 19th overall.
+ There were some whispers that 3B Cam Collier (Chipola JC) could go in the top five picks and he ranked No. 9 on the Draft Board. So Cincinnati getting him at 18 is good value. had some wh to Cincinnati at No. 18. A surprise more due to pre-draft industry whispers of a possible top 5 overall selection, the JC third baseman was No. 9 on our Draft Board.
+ We won’t know until terms are announced, but LHP Connor Prielipp (Alabama) landed well short of pre-draft industry whispers, which placed him somewhere in the teens. Maybe his ultimate selection at No. 48 overall to the Twins is a well-over-slot deal, or maybe not. Regardless, the Twins got a steal of a left-handed power arm in the second round.
+ RHP Brock Porter (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep, MI) is one of the top high school arms in the country with a fastball that flirts with triple digits and a plus changeup. There were several landing spots for him in the first round, but he’s the top available prospect after the first day. He very well could be an overslot pick early on Day Two, a la RHP Bubba Chandler (2021, Pittsburgh Pirates), RHP Cole Wilcox (2020, San Diego Padres) and LHP Kyle Harrison (2020, San Francisco Giants).
+Undrafted on Day One, RHP Jonathan Cannon (Georgia) is the highest ranked collegian remaining on our Draft Board. After missing a few starts in mid-spring, medical questions likely influenced his fall. At his best, Cannon pounds a mid-90s sinker down into the zone, combined with an above average slider and newly developed, plus cutter to go along with his plus command.
+Some big arms were passed over Sunday night. Although the second round can be a little rich for power relievers, top righties like Brandon Sproat (Florida), Ben Joyce (Tennessee), Jacob Watters (West Virginia), Brandon Birdsell (Texas Tech), Zach Maxwell (Georgia Tech), Nolan McLean (Oklahoma State), Jack Brannigan (Notre Dame) and Alex McFarlane (Miami) all went unselected. Expect all of them to be selected early on Day Two.
RODE: RHP Dylan Lesko (Buford HS, GA), 15th overall to San Diego. If not for Tommy John surgery, Lesko was a slam dunk top 10 pick and may have worked his way into top five consideration with a full spring. Elbow injuries aren’t as scary as they once were and when he’s healthy, Lesko pumps mid-90s fastballs by batters and spins them into the ground with a changeup that’s the best I’ve ever seen out of an amateur. The curveball was much improved from what I had seen in the past, giving him three pitches that rate as above average to plus or better. Then San Diego went and popped LHP Robby Snelling (McQueen HS, NV), a first-round-caliber arm, in the Competitive Balance A round. Nice pull for the first day.SEIF: Kumar Rocker, third overall to Texas. Ranked No. 1 on our Draft Board last year and No. 10 this year, Rocker overcame injury concerns and even some unknowns after pitching 20 innings in the Frontier League this summer. He more than made up the money he was/was not offered last summer.