2022 MLB Mock Draft: Druw Jones, Elijah Green go early; Blue Jays get Kumar Rocker; Rays take Crawford's son

2022 MLB Mock Draft: Druw Jones, Elijah Green go early; Blue Jays get Kumar Rocker; Rays take Crawford’s son

1

Pick: OF Druw Jones, Wesleyan School (Georgia) ($8,842,200 slot value)

With the draft 17 days away, not even the Orioles know who they’re taking with the No. 1 pick. The only safe bet is they will take a position player. Their preference list is said to be down to five players — Jones, high school shortstop Jackson Holliday (Matt’s son), high school outfielder Elijah Green, Cal Poly infielder Brooks Lee, and LSU slugger Jacob Berry — though we shouldn’t rule out other players entering the mix between now and draft day (high school second baseman Termarr Johnson is a name to watch).

For now, we’ll mock Jones to the Orioles because he is the best player in the draft class. If the O’s go for the biggest discount so they can take the portfolio approach and spend big on later picks, then Berry might be the guy, because he could fall out of the top 10 entirely if he doesn’t go No. 1. For Berry, an underslot deal at No. 1 would be more lucrative than a slot deal at No. 10. The confidence in this mock pick is low. Things are still very wide open for the O’s. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 1).

June 16 mock pick: SS Jackson Holliday, Stillwater HS (Oklahoma)

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Pick: SS Jackson Holliday, Stillwater HS (Oklahoma) ($8,185,100 slot value)

Barring an unforeseen development (always possible), the Diamondbacks are the biggest lock in the top five picks. They’ll jump on Druw Jones if the Orioles pass, and if not, they’ll take Holliday. Matt’s son broke JT Realmuto’s national high school record for hits in a season this year (89) and he shot up draft boards this spring. Arizona is likely to take whichever one of Jones or Holliday is still on the board. If both are available, they’ll take Jones. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 3)

June 16 mock pick: OF Druw Jones, Wesleyan School (Georgia) 

3

Pick: OF Elijah Green, IMG Academy (Florida) ($7,587,600 slot value)

The case can be made Green, Druw Jones, and Jackson Holliday are the three best players in the draft class. In our mock draft, the Rangers take Green, the only one of those three still on the board. Texas has taken a college player with their top pick in the last three drafts, so this would be a pivot for them, but Green is a legitimate top-three talent and fits their preference for upside. Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada is known to be of interest. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 5)

June 16 mock pick: Green

4

Pick: SS Brooks Lee, Cal Poly ($7,002,100 slot value)

The Pirates have been linked to Lee throughout the spring and he makes sense here with the top three high school players off the board. Florida junior college infielder Cam Collier, the son of former big leaguer Lou Collier, keeps playing his way up draft boards and is relatively new name linked to Pittsburgh. Right now, a college hitter appears most likely. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 2)

June 16 mock pick: Lee

5

Pick: C Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech ($6,494,300 slot value)

Nothing is certain until commissioner Rob Manfred announces the pick at the podium, but the Nationals and Parada have been the strongest and most consistent connection among the top five picks this spring. That could change if Druw Jones or Jackson Holliday falls to this pick. That doesn’t happen in our mock draft, so Parada it is. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 7)

June 16 mock pick: Parada

6

Pick: 2B Termarr Johnson, Mays HS (Georgia) ($6,034,300 slot value)

The Marlins have been loosely connected to all the top high school players this spring. Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, and Elijah Green are off the board in our mock draft, leaving Johnson as the best available prep player. It should be noted Johnson has a lot of fans in the industry and more than a few view him as the best pure hitter in the draft, if not the best player overall. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 4)

June 16 mock pick: Johnson

7

Pick: 3B Cam Collier, Chipola JC (Florida) ($5,708,000 slot value)

It is well known the Cubs covet Collier, a unique prospect as a 17-year-old who got his GED and finished high school early, and enrolled in a junior college. Collier should have been a high school junior this year and is more than holding his own against college players in the wood bat Cape Cod League (5 for 19 with six walks and six strikeouts). This is right around Collier’s range and the Cubs have been connected to him all spring. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 6)

June 16 mock pick: Collier

8

Pick: OF Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech ($5,439,500 slot value)

The Twins are another team in on Cam Collier. Since he’s not available in our mock draft, we’ll instead give them Cross, one of several college bats connected to Minnesota in recent weeks. The Twins lean on their analytical model as much as any team on draft day and models like Cross because he produces strong exit velocities and has improved his contact rates this year. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 10)

June 16 mock pick: SS Zach Neto, Campbell

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Pick: RHP Brock Porter, St. Mary’s Prep (Michigan) ($5,200,200 slot value)

The only thing we know about the Royals‘ draft plans right now is they’re the earliest a pitcher will come off the board. That doesn’t mean they will definitely take a pitcher, just that they’re the first team not exclusively in on bats. So many top pitching prospects have gotten hurt this year and Porter is the consensus best healthy pitcher in the draft class. Kansas City is a bit all over the place right now. They’re tough to pin down. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 11)

June 16 mock pick: OF Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman HS (Nevada)

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Pick: 3B/OF Jacob Berry, LSU ($4,980,400 slot value)

Berry could go No. 1 overall or he could fall out of the top 10 entirely. He’s close to a bat-only prospect and not everyone is sold on the bat. The Rockies have been connected to all the college bats going in this range and there was so much hype around Berry this spring that I have a hard timing thinking he’ll drop into the teens. It should be noted the Rockies also have the No. 31 pick, the compensation pick for losing Trevor Story to free agency, giving them a large bonus pool and the flexibility to spend should someone like Termarr Johnson slide here. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 19)

June 16 mock pick: Berry

11

Pick: SS Zach Neto, Campbell ($4,778,200 slot value)

The Mets have two first-round picks this draft: this one, which is the compensation pick for failing to sign Kumar Rocker last year, and also No. 14, their original first-rounder. If the Mets fail to sign the player they take with this pick, they will not receive another compensation pick next year, so this is a must-sign. They have been connected to a bevy of college bats in recent weeks and also high school shortstop Jett Williams a great deal. Neto is in the mix to be a top-10 pick, but he’s still on the board in our mock draft, and I like him better than other available college hitters. Whoever it ends up being, the Mets will use this pick on a player they are 100 percent certain they can sign. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 8)

June 16 mock pick: SS Jett Williams, Rockwall-Heath HS (Texas)

12

Pick: LHP Connor Prielipp, Alabama ($4,587,900 slot value)

At this point in our mock draft, the highest upside players are high school pitchers, though rumblings are the Tigers want a college player who can reach the big leagues fairly soon. Prielipp recently returned to the mound after having Tommy John surgery last May and at one point pre-surgery he was a candidate to go No. 1 overall. He offers upside and he’s completed his rehab, so Detroit can put him on the fast track (responsibly post-elbow reconstruction, of course). (CBS Sports top 30 rank: Unranked)

June 16 mock pick: OF Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech

13

Pick: LHP Brandon Barriera, American Heritage HS (Florida) ($4,410,200 slot value)

A not-so-bold prediction is the Angels will not use all 20 picks on pitchers again like last year. They are said to be in on all the top arms though, both high school and college. Connor Prielipp would be a good fit given their organizational needs. Alas, he is not available in our mock draft. Barriera and fellow prepster Robby Snelling offer the best combination of health and upside among pitchers still on the board. We’ll go Barriera over Snelling this time around. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 21)

June 16 mock pick: LHP Robby Snelling, McQueen HS (Nevada)

14

Pick: SS Jett Williams, Rockwall-Heath HS (Texas) ($4,241,600 slot value)

The second of two first-round picks, the Mets can take a bigger swing here than they can at No. 11 because this is their natural first-rounder, and they would receive a compensation pick next year should they fail to sign the player. The Mets have been connected to Williams all spring and he could be the pick at No. 11 if they can agree to a number before the draft. He’s still on the board at No. 14, so he’s the pick here. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 8)

June 16 mock pick: RHP Dylan Lesko, Buford HS (Georgia)

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Pick: RHP Dylan Lesko, Buford HS (Georgia) ($4,082,900 slot value)

Padres GM AJ Preller loves upside and is willing to take risks to get it, like when he selected Cal Quantrill with the No. 8 pick in 2016 just a few weeks after Tommy John surgery. Lesko came into the spring as the draft’s best pitching prospect, but he blew out his arm and needed Tommy John surgery in April, and won’t pitch his first full professional season until 2024. Going with a fast-moving college player who better fits San Diego’s contention window would make sense, but when in doubt, go with the Padres taking the highest upside player on the board. That’s Lesko. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 12)

June 16 mock pick: LHP Connor Prielipp, Alabama

16

Pick: LHP Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State ($3,935,500 slot value)

The case can be made Hjerpe (pronounced “Jerpy”) is the best healthy college pitcher in the country. He has been linked to just about every team in the 10-20 range (plus some others). The Guardians have long had an affinity for players who are young relatively to their draft demographic, and while that’s not Hjerpe, he is the kind of player who could get Cleveland to go against the grain. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 13)

June 16 mock pick: LHP Brandon Barriera, American Heritage HS (Florida)

17

Pick: LHP Robby Snelling, McQueen HS (Nevada) ($3,792,800 slot value)

The Phillies hit big on high school pitchers with their last two first-round picks (Mick Abel and Andrew Painter) and they’re expected to go back to the well. That’s not set in stone — it’s possible Snelling, Brock Porter, and Brandon Barriera will all be gone by time this pick comes around, at which point a college pitcher would be more appealing — but it seems likely. Snelling has rocketed up draft boards this spring. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 16)

June 16 mock pick: RHP Brock Porter, St. Mary’s Prep (Michigan) 

18

Pick: C Daniel Susac, Arizona ($3,657,900 slot value)

The Reds have the No. 32 pick (compensation for losing Nick Castellanos to free agency) and a large bonus pool, so it is no surprise they’ve been connected to Dylan Lesko in recent weeks. They’re one of the few teams that can afford to pay him a top-10 bonus this late in the first round. With Lesko off the board, we’ll go with Susac, who fits Cincinnati’s tendency to take catchers high in the draft. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 18)

June 16 mock pick: SS Cole Young, North Allegheny HS (Pennsylvania)

19

Pick: OF Dylan Beavers, Cal ($3,529,400 slot value)

The one constant with the Athletics this spring is they are connected to college players, and there are about 8-10 college prospects who could plausibly go in this range. Beavers played his college ball in the A’s backyard in Berkeley and this has been an increasingly hot rumor in recent weeks, so he gets the nod here. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 29)

June 16 mock pick: 2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech

20

Pick: LHP Carson Whisenhunt, East Carolina ($3,407,400 slot value)

Whisenhunt did not play this season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He has looked rusty in the Cape Cod League (13 runs in 11 innings), which is understandable given the long layoff, though reports on his stuff are as good. The Braves have been linked mostly to college players, both pitchers and hitters, and GM Alex Anthopoulos likes to be bold. There was a time Whisenhunt was considered a potential top-10 pick, and rarely does the defending World Series champion get access to that kind of talent on draft day. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 24)

June 16 mock pick: LHP Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State

21

Pick: SS Cole Young, North Allegheny HS (Pennsylvania) ($3,291,200 slot value)

Young has a lot of fans in front offices and there’s an outside chance he goes in the top 10, but is more likely to go in the 15-25 range somewhere. The Mariners went with a high school bat last year (Harry Ford) after taking college players with their top pick every year from 2016-20, and I don’t think that was a one-year blip. Seattle is open-minded to high school players and they are connected mostly to bats, so Young fits. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 20)

June 16 mock pick: OF Jordan Beck, Tennessee

22

Pick: 2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech ($3,180,600 slot value)

The younger brother of Rangers prospect Josh Jung, the No. 8 pick in 2019, Jace has more power but a less refined all-around game than his brother. The Cardinals like big, physical tools (think Nolan Gorman’s and Jordan Walker’s power) and Jung fits the mold, and he would be a coup at this pick. I think St. Louis would jump on Connor Prielipp should he make it this far. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 9)

June 16 mock pick: RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga

23

Pick: RHP Kumar Rocker, Tri-City ValleyCats ($3,075,300 slot value)

The fun new rumor, which was first mentioned by The Athletic, is several clubs are looking at Rocker as a candidate to pitch in their MLB bullpen this year. The White Sox did that with Garrett Crochet in 2020 (and Chris Sale in 2010) and could be a possibility. The Padres, Phillies, Red Sox, and maybe the Angels would make sense too. The stars align for the Blue Jays as well. They aren’t afraid to take risks on draft day (they used the No. 19 pick on Gunnar Hoglund last year, when he was early in his Tommy John surgery rehab), their bullpen needs help, and their World Series window is wide open. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 25)

June 16 mock pick: OF Chase DeLauter, James Madison

24

Pick: OF Drew Gilbert, Tennessee ($2,974,900 slot value)

The Red Sox have been connected to position players this spring, mostly offense over defense players. Gilbert fits the mold, as do James Madison outfielder Chase DeLauter, Florida outfielder Sterlin Thompson, Stanford outfielder Brock Jones, Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones, Oklahoma shortstop Peyton Graham, and Gilbert’s Volunteers teammate Jordan Beck. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: Unranked)

June 16 mock pick: OF Dylan Beavers, Cal

25

Pick: OF Sterlin Thompson, Florida ($2,879,300 slot value)

As is necessary when you pick late in the first round, the Yankees have cast a wide net this spring, though analytics-friendly college bats are their wheelhouse. Thompson, Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones, and James Madison’s Chase DeLauter best fit New York’s M.O. as exit velocity guys with athleticism. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: Unranked)

June 16 mock pick: RHP Jacob Miller, Liberty Union HS (Ohio)

26

Pick: RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga ($2,788,000 slot value)

The White Sox have used four of their last five first-round picks on hitters and they could simply take whichever college bat they like best here — Chase DeLauter would fit nicely as a guy with loud tools who was once expected to go in the top 10 — but a pitcher might be the better value. Hughes has tremendous power stuff and should move quickly. That would work well for a Chicago team that has never been shy about rushing top prospects up the ladder. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 23)

June 16 mock pick: OF Drew Gilbert, Tennessee

27

Pick: OF Chase DeLauter, James Madison ($2,700,500 slot value)

DeLauter and Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones are both lefty hitters with power and some swing-and-miss, but they appeal to different groups. Analytical models like DeLauter more than scouts because of his performance and exit velocities. Scouts like Jones more than analytical models because he’s a tremendous athlete and looks so natural on the field. The Brewers lean heavily on analytics and that makes DeLauter the mock pick over Jones. There’s a chance they just go with the best available college starter instead. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 23)

June 16 mock pick: RHP Blade Tidwell, Tennessee

28

Pick: 3B Max Wagner, Clemson ($2,620,400 slot value)

Wagner is a late riser and the Astros are among the clubs picking late in the first round known to have interest. Houston is not as analytically driven under James Click as they are under Jeff Luhnow, though they still lean that way, and Wagner checks those boxes thanks to his hard-hit ability. A bat seems more likely than an arm. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: Unranked)

June 16 mock pick: SS Eric Brown, Coastal Carolina

29

Pick: OF Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman HS (Nevada) ($2,547,600 slot value)

The Rays have two competitive balance round picks (their own, No. 70, and Detroit’s, No. 71, which came over in the Austin Meadows) and thus a big bonus pool. They’re poised to jump on a high upside talent who falls and that could be a high school pitcher like Brock Porter, Robby Snelling, or Brandon Barriera given the way teams have steered clear of prep pitchers in the first round the last few years. Crawford is the son of Carl Crawford, one of the greatest players in Rays history, though this would be more than a nepotism pick. Crawford could go as high as No. 9 to the Royals, and if he makes it past the Padres at No. 15, then Tampa might be the next team able to pay him a top 10-ish bonus. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: No. 17)

June 16 mock pick: 3B Tucker Toman, Hammond HS (South Carolina)

30

Pick: RHP Cade Horton, Oklahoma ($2,485,500 slot value)

No player has improved their draft stock more the last month than Horton. He set a new College World Series Finals record with 13 strikeouts this past weekend, though his rise has more to do with a great new slider he unveiled in the Big 12 tournament. Horton returned from Tommy John surgery in late March and is the draft’s biggest arrow up player right now. (CBS Sports top 30 rank: Unranked)

June 16 mock pick: OF Jacob Melton, Oregon State


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