Draft prospects with the best tools

July 13th, 2022

It's no coincidence that the three position players with the best all-around tools in the 2022 Draft also could be the first three selections.

Georgia high school outfielder Druw Jones is the consensus top talent available and reminiscent of his father, five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner Andruw Jones. Potential five-tool shortstop Jackson Holliday, an Oklahoma prepster who set a national record for hits this spring, is the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday. Florida high schooler Elijah Green has more physical ability than either and the highest ceiling in the Draft, and he's the son of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green.

(If you're intrigued by family connections, this Draft is loaded with them, and we detail several more here.)

In our annual breakdown of the best tools on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 250, Green stands out as the best power hitter and Jones was an easy choice as the most outstanding defender. With health questions surrounding many of the top mound prospects, it's interesting that the signature fastball, curveball, slider and changeup all belong to pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery.

Best hitter: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS (Atlanta)
Scouts consider Johnson the best high school hitter in years, with one saying he has Wade Boggs' plate discipline with Vladimir Guerrero Sr.'s bat-to-ball skills. He combines a pretty left-handed swing, elite hand-eye coordination and mature swing decisions, and he also has enough pop in his compact frame to elicit some Robinson Canó comparisons.

Also in the discussion: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly; Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State; Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS

Best power: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Green's combination of size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), strength, bat speed and loft and leverage in his right-handed swing give him at least double-plus raw power, and he can hit balls harder and farther than just about anyone in this Draft -- as an 18-year-old. He's also has plus-plus speed to go with plus arm strength and defensive ability, and he has done a better job of making contact this spring while facing quality competition at IMG Academy.

Also in the discussion: Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas; Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech; Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State

Fastest runner: Jeric Curtis, OF, Tomball (Texas) Memorial HS
A true 80 runner on the 20-80 scale, Curtis turned in a 6.22-second 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase last summer and also produced the two fastest 30-yard dashes at the Draft Combine this June, clocking in at 3.55 and 3.56 seconds. Also a track star, he makes good use of his quickness on the bases and in center field.

Also in the discussion: Chandler Simpson, SS, Georgia Tech; Emaarion Boyd, OF, South Panola HS (Batesville, Miss.); Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS (Las Vegas)

Strongest arm: Nolan McLean, 3B/RHP, Oklahoma State
Scouts are split as to whether McLean's future is brighter as a slugging third baseman with a rocket arm or as a right-hander who can reach 98 mph with his fastball and back it up with a downer curveball and power slider. His arm also made him a standout quarterback in high school, and he originally attended Oklahoma State with the idea of playing two sports.

Also in the discussion: Nazier Mule, RHP/SS, Passaic Tech (Wayne, N.J.); Adonys Guzman, C, Brunswick (Conn.) School; Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State

Best defender: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS (Peachtree Corners, Ga.)
It's an obvious comparison, but Jones reminds scouts of his father at the same age, especially with how he patrols center field with well-above-average speed and arm strength. He looks like a lock to win Gold Gloves in the future -- and he's also an advanced hitter with 30-homer potential.

Also in the discussion: Silas Ardoin, C, Texas; Jordan Sprinkle, SS, UC Santa Barbara; Adonys Guzman, C, Brunswick (Conn.) School

Best fastball: Ben Joyce, RHP, Tennessee
Joyce famously hit 105.5 mph with his fastball against Auburn on May 1 and averaged 101.3 mph this spring, making a full recovery from Tommy John surgery in October 2020 that sidelined him for all of last season. Besides its sheer velocity, his heater arrives on a flat approach angle from a low arm slot that makes it almost impossible to catch up to when he works up in the strike zone.

Also in the discussion: Jacob Misiorowski, RHP, Crowder (Mo.) JC; Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary's Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.); Cole Phillips, RHP, Boerne (Texas) HS

Best curveball: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Pallette often gets compared to Walker Buehler for his wiry 6-foot-1 build and quality repertoire, which is highlighted by a hammer curveball that ranges from 78-83 mph with high spin rates and quality depth. His 2021 season ended prematurely with elbow problems in May and though he tried to rehab the injury, he was diagnosed with a torn ligament this January and required Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2022.

Also in the discussion: Jackson Cox, RHP, Toutle Lake HS (Toutle, Wash.); Riley Kelly, RHP, Tustin (Calif.) HS; Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS (Reno, Nev.)

Best slider: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
A potential candidate to go No. 1 overall before he had his elbow reconstructed in May 2021, Prielipp has a devastating slider that parks in the mid-80s and reaches 90 mph with nasty two-plane break. Though he didn't pitch this season at Alabama, he showed his stuff had returned at the Draft Combine by snapping off some 85-87 mph sliders and posting the second-highest maximum breaking ball spin rate at 3,045 rpm.

Also in the discussion: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (Frontier League); Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State; Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma

Best changeup: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS
Lesko became the first junior ever named Gatorade national baseball player of the year in 2021 and continued to dominate this spring, putting himself in position to be the first pitcher drafted until he had Tommy John surgery in April. Extremely advanced for an amateur, he has a 92-97 mph fastball and a high-spin curveball, but his signature pitch is a plus-plus changeup in the low 80s that scoots sideways and also features some sink.

Also in the discussion: Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina; Drew Thorpe, RHP, Cal Poly; Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary's Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)

Best control: Trey Dombroski, LHP, Monmouth
A classic crafty southpaw, Dombroski makes the most of fringy to average stuff by repeating his simple delivery well and locating his four pitches with absolute precision. He won Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year honors last summer after setting a league mark with a 45/2 K/BB ratio, then ranked sixth in NCAA Division I in that category this spring with a school-record 120 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 95 innings.

Also in the discussion: Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia; Pete Hansen, LHP, Texas; Parker Messick, LHP, Florida State