Two months after releasing my first 2022 MLB draft rankings, it’s time for an update. Now that both college and high school teams are well into their season, scouts and analysts have more to go off of, so I have expanded from my initial top 50 to a ranking of the top 150 prospects.
Here are a few big-picture takeaways about the 2022 MLB draft class before we get to the rankings:
Druw Jones still stands at the top of the class, where I had him two months ago. The three best players (and four of the top five) in the class are prep position players. With the hard-capping of the draft, increased leverage of high school players vs. college players and model-driven decisions by clubs, that does not mean the top three picks will necessarily be the top three players on my board.
Baltimore is picking first and GM Mike Elias has taken non-consensus players with an eye toward savings for future picks (Carlos Correa in 2012 when running the draft for Houston) and particularly college hitters (Heston Kjerstad in 2020 and Colton Cowser in 2021) while with the Orioles. In 2019, he did take the consensus best player when Adley Rutschman was a clear No. 1 draft prospect. Given that history, rumors persist that one of the three best college bats (Brooks Lee mostly, but Jacob Berry gets mentioned and Kevin Parada could elbow his way into that group) could be Baltimore’s pick, along with the other elite family history prep-position player, Jackson Holliday (son of Matt).
Overall, this draft class is not as good as last year. I have nine players at 45+ FV or better grades, and last year I had 16. I could see this class expanding that number a bit, but it won’t get to 16. The unique aspect this year is the plethora of bats: 25 of my top 32 players are hitters. Of those seven pitchers, Dylan Lesko’s arm injury ended up requiring Tommy John surgery, but did not drop him far on my list. (he is the top pitcher in the draft by a good margin), and Blade Tidwell is just getting stretched out after a shoulder injury. Just outside of the top 32 prospects, there are several pitchers currently at various stages of Tommy John surgery and recovery.
This means that beauty is in the eye of the beholder on the pitching side, with most of these prep pitchers having long histories and data while team opinions about Tommy John surgeries vary. The vast majority of the league will take a hitter with the first pick, and then look to the glut of pitching in the second round – possibly going over slot for one who is hurt or unexpectedly slides down the board. This draft class has long been touted as having an elite group of prep pitchers, and the depth through the top two rounds is excellent.
One of the other stories of this draft is Tennessee rocket-armed reliever Ben Joyce, who is regularly sitting at 100 mph. Given that Arkansas RHP Kevin Kopps, a lesser prospect, went 99th overall last year, Joyce should go ahead of that, but he comes with an injury history and command / consistency questions. Most scouts are guessing late second or early third round for Joyce, which is close to the ceiling for a relief-only prospect.
This list is the order in which I would pick the players. It will shuffle as the draft approaches. You can find more on the future value (FV) system in my most recent minor league Top 100 prospects list, but in short, look at the headers of each tier to see where each player would slot among MLB’s best prospects.