Updated: Jan 9, 2022
The normalcy that seeped back into people’s lives in 2021 was also reflected in college baseball. While some teams were forced to make due with severely curtailed schedules, most squads were able to play regular season slates totaling at least 50 games. Summer ball also returned to business as usual as most of the major leagues in all regions of the US, such as the Cape Cod League and Northwoods League, offered schedules that were either identical or very close to their normal selection of games. Though the USA Baseball College National Team forewent its traditional multi-city tour format against a host of international opponents due to the stubborn pandemic, the Stars and Stripes tour gave the nation’s top 2022 and 2023 draft-eligible players the opportunity to compete against one another in an enthralling 11-game sprint. This was followed by a short series against the Olympic silver medal-winning professional national team.
At this juncture, two things are evident about the upcoming season’s draft eligible crop. First, the 2022 crew is loaded with talent, so much so that it could rival 1995 and 2005 as the best ever draft from the college ranks. Second, as strong as the hitters are, the pitching is woefully thin. This has much to do with injuries—two of the top-rated arms, Alabama’s Connor Prielipp (ranked 10) and Connecticut’s Reggie Crawford (16) are recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t even throw a pitch this spring, while Peyton Pallette (14) was pulled from the rotation last spring then threw only one inning in Fall Ball. Even with all the uncertainty surrounding college hurlers, the talent we see this spring could be historic.
2. Brock Jones, OF, Stanford: Front-of-the-order dynamo who can draw walks, hit with power, run, and play a world-class CF.
3. Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison: Immense (6-04/230) power-hitter with strong plate discipline who proved he could play CF during a banner summer on the Cape.
4. Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech: LHH with explosive bat speed and great plate discipline. An eventual shift to 3B is not out of the question.
5. Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech: Prototype right fielder with massive power and a howitzer for an arm. His batted ball data rank among the best in the country.
6. Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU: Switch-hitting transfer from Arizona followed Coach Jay Johnstone to LSU. If the draft-eligible sophomore proves he can handle 3B, he could be a top-5 overall selection.
7. Daniel Susac, C, Arizona: Bat-first catcher with plenty of pop and elite EVs who should be able to stick behind the dish.
8. Zach Neto, SS, Campbell: Has quickly risen up draft boards despite his small-school pedigree. Is able to tap into plenty of power despite a simple, contact-based approach. Soft hands and above-average range and arm should make staying at the “6” a near certainty.
10. Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt: Electric player who displayed a massive uptick in power in 2021; however, high fastballs have been his kryptonite.
11. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama: With command of three plus pitches, he established himself as the consensus best college pitcher for 2022, but succumbed to Tommy John surgery last spring. If Cal Quantrill in 2016 is any indication, he’ll be off the board no later than the middle of the 1st round.
12. Robert Moore, 2B/SS, Arkansas: A high voltage player on both offense and defense with a penchant for big plays in the biggest moments. Likely to man 2B long-term.
13. Hayden Dunhurst, C, Ole Miss: A quiet receiver with a strong arm and quick release whose overall profile is enhanced by a keen eye and strong batted ball metrics.
15. Dylan Beavers, OF, California: Burst onto the scene in 2021 when he led the Pac-12 in HR and showcased impressive athleticism. Lefty slugger is relatively young for the class.
16. Reggie Crawford, LHP, Connecticut: Two-way star was on his way to a top-10 selection after pitching regularly in the high-90’s last summer during the Stars and Stripes tour; however, Tommy John Surgery has derailed those plans . . . albeit only slightly.
17. Peyton Graham, 3B, Oklahoma: Uber-athletic third sacker who could be a Gold Glove candidate at the hot corner or move all over the field if needed.
18. Bryce Hubbart, LHP, Florida State: Pitchability is the name of the game for throwback southpaw whose breaking stuff is equally as impressive as his low 90’s heater.
19. Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State: Mid-90’s heater and toxic slider; will shoot up this list if he refines his changeup as he transitions to weekend starter role.
20. Cade Doughty, 2B/3B, LSU: Versatile infielder who’s demonstrated an above average hit tool and burgeoning power.
21. Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida
22. Cayden Wallace, 3B/OF, Arkansas
23. Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State
24. Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State
25. Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
26. Jared McKenzie, OF, Baylor
27. Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
28. Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
29. Josh Kasevich, SS, Oregon
30. Henry Williams, RHP, Duke
31. Adam Maier, RHP, Oregon
32. Adam Stone, RHP, Harvard
33. Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, ECU
34. Victor Mederos, RHP, Oklahoma State
35. Max Rajcic, RHP, UCLA
36. Nolan McLean, 3B, Oklahoma State
37. Spencer Jones, 1B, Vanderbilt
38. Owen Diodati, OF/1B, Alabama
39. Parker Messick, LHP, Florida State
40. Ryan Ritter, SS, Kentucky
41. Sean McLain, OF, Arizona State
42. Ethan Long, 1B, Arizona State
43. Andrew Walling, LHP, Oregon State
44. Sam Highfill, RHP, NC State
45. Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
46. Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida
47. Mason Barnett, RHP, Auburn
48. Cade Horton, SS, Oklahoma
49. Tyler Locklear, 3B, Virginia Commonwealth
50. Anthony Hall, OF, Oregon