MLB Pipeline has just released its initial 2022 Draft Top 100 Prospects list, so of course it's time for a look at how the first 10 picks might unfold -- even if the Draft is still seven months away.
The Orioles own the No. 1 selection for the second time since 2019, when they selected catcher Adley Rutschman, who's currently No. 1 on our Top 100 Prospects list. Since Mike Elias became Baltimore's GM three years ago, the club has used each of its top choices (all in the top five) on college position players. But as we gaze into our crystal ball, we believe the Orioles will go in a different direction this year.
In an offensive-minded Draft class, we envision hitters going with the first six picks and eight of the top 10. There are plenty of interesting bloodlines, with sons of a five-time All-Star (Druw Jones) and a two-time Pro Bowl tight end (Elijah Green), not to mention a son who plays for his dad in college (Brooks Lee) and the brother of a Top 100 Prospect (Jace Jung).
1. Orioles: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS (Atlanta)
Considered the best pure high school hitter in decades, Johnson got compared to two Hall of Famers by one scout, who sees him as a mix of Wade Boggs' plate discipline and Vladimir Guerrero Sr.'s bat-to-ball skills. He'd be the first prep middle infielder to go No. 1 since the Twins took Royce Lewis in 2017.
2. Diamondbacks: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS (Peachtree Corners, Ga.)
Jones is a taller, leaner version of his father Andruw and could have plus hitting ability and power to go with double-plus speed, arm strength and center-field defense. While Johnson has a higher floor, Jones possesses a loftier ceiling.
3. Rangers: Jacob Berry, 3B, Louisiana State
Andrew Vaughn went No. 3 overall in 2019 to the White Sox, and Berry has a similar profile as the best all-around offensive force in his college class, capable of hitting for average and power while drawing a ton of walks. As a bonus, he's a switch-hitter and has more defensive value than Vaughn.
4. Pirates: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
The best pure hitter in the college ranks, Lee won co-Big West player of the year honors in his first full college season before starring with the U.S. collegiate national team and in the Cape Cod League. He also has power from both sides of the plate and likely will fit at second or third base as a pro.
5. Nationals: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
No player in this Draft has a higher ceiling than Green, who would have been a top-10 choice in 2021 if rumors that he might reclassify had proven true. He has well above-average raw power and speed and he's a quality center fielder with a strong arm, but some swing-and-miss issues give teams a bit of pause.
6. Marlins: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
Jung was the Big 12 Conference player of the year in 2021, two years after his older brother Josh won the same award for the Red Raiders before the Rangers drafted him eighth overall. Jace has more power at the same stage of their careers, though Josh had more well-rounded tools.
7. Cubs: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
It's no secret that the Cubs need pitching and the best pitcher in this Draft is a high schooler. The first junior ever to win Gatorade's national baseball player of the year award, he has it all: three quality offerings (including the best changeup in this class), polish, athleticism, projection and makeup.
8. Twins: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
After James Madison only played a half-season last spring, DeLauter broke out by leading the Cape Cod League in homers (nine in 34 games) and slugging (.589). More than just a slugger, he's a 6-foot-4 athlete who could have at least solid tools across the board and controls the strike zone better than most.
9. Royals: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore will attend a lot of Arkansas games this spring -- his son Robert is a likely first-rounder -- and his club could come away with another Razorback. The best college pitching prospect available, Pallette elicits Walker Buehler comparisons, can reach 99 mph with his fastball and owns one of the Draft's nastiest curveballs.
10. Rockies: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
The Rockies could use a top-10 choice on an outfielder for the third straight year. Jones, who played safety on Stanford's football team in 2019 before focusing on baseball, is a center fielder with one of the best power-speed combinations available.