Mock: Druw Jones goes No. 1, Bucs nab college bat

June 2nd, 2022

Another week has gone by, so it's time for another mock draft.

One thing that hasn't changed is how hitting heavy it is up top. Very close to what my colleague Jim Callis did in his first-round projection last week, my first 11 picks are all position players. I've changed the order a little bit -- I wouldn't want anyone accusing me of plagiarism -- but the names at the top have largely stayed the same.

Last week, scouts were all over NCAA conference tournaments and there's no question that some players helped themselves and others likely hurt their stock. As this week's guess at the first round (and I've included the comp-round picks, 31-39, with names only) unfolds, you'll see that I tried to incorporate conference tourney performances and how they might impact specific players.

This week's mock still does not include Kumar Rocker or Carson Whisenhunt, both of whom will be in action soon. Rocker will be in Indy ball and will compete for the first time this spring in the Cape Cod League. Don't be surprised to see either or both of their names in our projections as we move forward, depending on how they perform. All players below have their ranking in our Top 200 in parentheses.

1. Orioles: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Ga. (No. 1)
This is my third mock, and I had yet to put the best player in the top spot. That changes now as I do think it's quite possible the Orioles just take the best player on the board in Jones. With absolutely no inside information on this, I get a bit of a feel that the top pick will be Jones, Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holliday or Cal Poly infielder Brooks Lee. It's not that the other players who have been mentioned to be in the mix (Elijah Green, Termarr Johnson, Jacob Berry) are completely out of the picture, but more a feeling that the other three stand slightly apart as of right now.

2. D-backs: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 2)
The D-backs seem likely to go with who they think is the best player on the board. With Jones gone, that’s Green for now, though Holliday shouldn’t be counted out.

3. Rangers: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater HS, Okla. (No. 3)
The Rangers would love Jones, obviously, but also covet Holliday. They could go the college bat route with Lee or Georgia Tech’s Kevin Parada.

4. Pirates: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
This would make three straight college bats taken with their first pick, but Lee could move quickly through the system to join Nick Gonzales and Henry Davis.

5. Nationals: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6)
In a perfect world, there would be a college arm here for the Nationals to take, but there’s not. They’ve reportedly been “all over” Parada.

6. Marlins: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)
There’s a good amount of buzz about the Marlins honing in on Georgia prep infielder Termarr Johnson, but this week we’ll play the “Well, they took a high school middle infielder last year and Kahlil Watson has struggled” card and have them go with Berry, an SEC standout before he broke his right middle finger.

7. Cubs: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)
It’s possible Johnson could go higher than this, especially if he hits well in the wood bat league he’ll be competing in this summer in the Atlanta area, but it’s hard to envision him falling much farther than this.

8. Twins: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 9)
College bats get mentioned here more often than not, with Cross and Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung brought up the most.

9. Royals: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola Junior College (No. 12)
This has been the first spot where I’ve put an arm in the past, but Collier lands here this week to reflect that his name is coming up more in Top 10 conversations. A good showing in the Cape Cod League will only enhance his stock.

10. Rockies: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 8)
It still sounds like the Rockies are hunting bats and Jung is the best college one on the board.

11. Mets: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Nev. (No. 13)
(compensation pick for failure to sign 2021 first-rounder Kumar Rocker)
Crawford and his impressive tools have definitely risen into Top 10 consideration, and I was hearing some buzz that the Mets would love it if he didn’t go then.

12. Tigers: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS, Mich. (No. 10)
The first pitcher comes off the board, with the Tigers staying in their own backyard. It’s possible they keep the hitter streak going with Arizona catcher Daniel Susac or if one of the aforementioned bats ahead gets to them.

13. Angels: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Nev. (No. 16)
All I keep hearing is pitching here and with the healthy college arms a bit of a reach as of now for me, I’m going with the strong, athletic high school lefty in Snelling, who has tons of helium.

14. Mets: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 11)
If they take Crawford at 11, they might want an arm here, but they also probably wouldn’t expect Susac, who has had a very consistent year at the plate, to still be here.

15. Padres: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS, Ga. (No. 14)
The Padres have a reputation for not being risk-averse and I’m leaning into that. Before he needed Tommy John surgery, Lesko was the best pitcher in the class.

16. Guardians: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison (No. 19)
While they do like guys who can really hit -- which is why Mr. Callis and I have had Campbell’s Zach Neto here three weeks in a row -- DeLauter has put up numbers everywhere he’s been and, at age 20, will do well for teams that weigh age in their models.

17. Phillies: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Fla. (No. 15)
This remains a spot where arms mostly come up, and if a college one has a huge postseason, they could go that route.

18. Reds: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 25)
If Cleveland takes Neto, then maybe the Reds nab DeLauter. Whatever the case, it’s looking like a bat here.

19. A’s: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 21)
It’s been a bit of an up-and-down season for Beavers, but he can hit the ball very hard with an intriguing power/speed combination.

20. Braves: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 17)
A high school arm hasn’t been the Braves’ M.O. of late, and there are some college arms who could fit here (Gabe Hughes, Justin Campbell), but Ferris is an exceptionally talented high school southpaw.

21. Mariners: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford (No. 31)
After a horrific start to the season, Jones has gotten hot and his overall numbers (.329/.464/.667) are now slightly better than last year’s production that put him on the map. He carried his hitting streak (now nine games) through the Pac-12 tournament, hitting .432 (16-for-37) during the streak.

22. Cardinals: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 32)
As one of the most consistent college starters in 2022, Hjerpe could be in play in many spots above here. His five innings of one-run ball against California in the Pac-12 Tournament gave him win No. 10.

23. Blue Jays: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath HS, Tex. (No. 26)
He can run and really hit and might be just one of several high school bats in play here.

24. Red Sox: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 22)
Beck gets compared to big league outfielder Hunter Renfroe a good amount. Guess which team drafted both Renfroe and Beck out of high school? That’s right, the Red Sox.

25. Yankees: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Pa. (No. 18)
Young’s name is all over the map, starting in the middle of the first round. It will be interesting to see how his time at the Draft Combine will help him find a landing spot.

26. White Sox: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 20)
Hughes is more than 30 innings past his career high at this point and while he’s still missing bats, there might be a little fatigue leading to less-dominant stuff and results (6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K in his West Coast Conference Tournament start last Friday), but his power repertoire still could go higher than this.

27. Brewers: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 34)
Campbell's name first comes up at around 20 with the Braves as a dependable college arm. He definitely didn’t hurt himself by being up to 96 mph in his Big 12 tourney start, when he gave up three hits and just one unearned run while striking out 10 and walking none against Baylor.

28. Astros: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State (No. 54)
Melton now has an 1.133 OPS this season, with 15 homers and 20 steals, and he can play center field. After going 12-for-24 in the Pac-12 tourney, this could be a low projection.

29. Rays: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 28)
We keep hearing about hitters here and Gilbert’s perhaps the best college one available at this point, one with a 1.173 OPS heading into Regional play after going 7-for-18 with 9 RBIs in four SEC Tournament games.

30. Giants: Andrew Dutkanych, RHP, Brebeuf Jesuit HS, Ind. (No. 30)
We’ll likely keep rotating some higher-risk, higher-upside types for this pick. Dutkanych struggled in back-to-back starts with many scouts hoping to run back in to see him this weekend if they can get away from Regional action.

31. Rockies: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, S.C. (No. 42)
32. Reds: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 27)
33. Orioles: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 23)
34: D-backs: Logan Tanner, C Mississippi State (No. 29)
35. Royals: Malcolm Moore, C, McClatchy HS, Calif. (No. 53)
36. Pirates: Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS, Ohio (No. 44)
37. Guardians: Max Wagner, 3B, Clemson (No. 63)
38. Rockies: Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma (No. 33)
39: Padres: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 24)