Mock: Prep trio kicks off first day of picks

June 23rd, 2022

The Draft is still more than three weeks away and teams haven't set their boards, so everything remains fluid. The Orioles won't make a decision until shortly before they go on the clock at 7 p.m. ET on July 17 in order to maintain as much leverage as possible in negotiations with the No. 1 overall pick. As a result, the clubs behind them won't know exactly who they'll be picking from.

There's a new No. 1 in my latest first-round projection: Georgia high school middle infielder Termarr Johnson. No player projected as a second baseman ever has gone at the very top of the Draft, but he's also the best pure hitter in this class and the best high school bat in years. If he winds up at second while hitting .300 with 20 homers per season -- and some scouts believe he'll do better than that -- then he's an All-Star.

Right-hander Kumar Rocker, who went 10th overall to the Mets last year before failing their post-Draft physical, continues to pitch well in short starts in the independent Frontier League. But teams haven't seen any medical reports to clarify the health of his shoulder and elbow, so I'm still refraining from making what would be nothing more than a dart-throw guess as to where he might go.

As always, detailed scouting reports for all players can be found with MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200 (rankings in parentheses).

1. Orioles: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Atlanta (No. 4)
The Orioles will continue to focus on five players -- believed to be the first five prospects on the Top 200 (high school outfielder Druw Jones and Elijah Green, prep shortstop Jackson Holliday, Johnson, Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee) -- and will do so up until Draft Day. Johnson would take the biggest discount among that group, though none of them will command the full pick value of $8,842,200. The Orioles also may prefer an infielder after selecting outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser with top-five choices in the previous two Drafts.

2. D-backs: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Peachtree Corners, Ga. (No. 1)
Jones to the D-backs feels like the biggest lock among the early picks. If the Orioles foil that plan, Arizona would look at Holliday, Johnson, Lee and Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada.

3. Rangers: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS (No. 3)
The Rangers wouldn't mind a shot at Jones and covet Holliday. They're also heavy on Green and Parada.

4. Pirates: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
The Pirates continue to be linked with college hitters, and Lee makes more sense than Parada after they took catcher Henry Davis No. 1 overall a year ago. They could opt for Chipola (Fla.) JC third baseman Cam Collier, who's performing well as a 17-year-old in the Cape Cod League.

5. Nationals: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 2)
Unless there's a surprise in the first four picks, the Nationals appear to be choosing between Green and Parada.

6. Marlins: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6.)
If the top four selections play out like above but the Nationals opt for Parada, the Marlins could pivot to Louisiana State third baseman/outfielder Jacob Berry, whose bat outweighs questions about his defensive home.

7. Cubs: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (No. 12)
It's no secret that the Cubs love Collier, and the Pirates might be the only team that would take him before No. 7. Alabama left-hander Connor Prielipp, who didn't pitch this season after having Tommy John surgery in May 2021, impressed at his Draft Combine workout and could factor as high as here.

8. Twins: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)
If Johnson doesn't go No. 1, this would be his probable floor, and the Twins also have interest in Collier. Among players not off the board in this projection, candidates include Berry, Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross, Nevada prep outfielder Justin Crawford, Campbell shortstop Zach Neto and Prielipp.

9. Royals: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Prep (No. 10)
The consensus among clubs is that the Royals will be the first team to pop a pitcher, and Gatorade national high school player of the year Porter is the best mound prospect available (and also comes without any health questions, a rarity in this class). If Green slides, he probably would find a home here. Crawford and Cross are two more options.

10. Rockies: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 9)
The word is college bats for the Rockies, led by Berry, Cross, Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung and Arizona catcher Daniel Susac.

11. Mets: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 11)
(compensation pick for failure to sign 2021 first-rounder Kumar Rocker)

If the Royals aren't the first team to take a pitcher, then it could be the Mets with Porter or high school left-handers Brandon Barriera and Robby Snelling. They also could use both their first-rounders on college bats, picking from a group that includes Cross, Susac, Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung and Neto.

12. Tigers: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 8)
At least one of the second-tier college position players should remain for the Tigers, most likely Jung, Susac or Neto. Homestate product Porter could be difficult to resist, however, as could Prielipp.

13. Angels: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 24)
The Angels aren't necessarily focused on a pitcher in the first round after spending all 20 of their picks on mound reinforcements last year. But they could go for a college arm with their top pick for the third straight Draft and land Prielipp, a candidate to go No. 1 overall before blowing out his elbow. Los Angeles gets mentioned with several pitchers from the high school and college ranks: Porter, Barriera, Snelling and left-handers Carson Whisenhunt (East Carolina) and Cooper Hjerpe (Oregon State).

14. Mets: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 25)
Neto would become Campbell's first-ever first-round pick and probably won't get past the Guardians and Mariners if the Mets look elsewhere. New York also could opt for one of the prep pitchers mentioned at No. 11 and might be the earliest destination for Georgia high school right-hander Dylan Lesko, who was on course to be the first arm taken until he required Tommy John surgery.

15. Padres: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (No. 13)
This may be the floor for Crawford, and the Padres' penchant for up-the-middle players also could lead them to high school shortstops Jett Williams and Cole Young. They wouldn't be afraid to gamble on Lesko and they also like left-handers, which could put Barriera, Snelling, Prielipp and Whisenhunt in play.

16. Guardians: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS (No. 26)
Any of the sweet-swinging shortstops -- Neto, Williams, Young -- could fit here, though at 18 years and 11 months Young wouldn't fit the Guardians' preference for younger prepsters.

17. Phillies: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (No. 15)
After the Phillies selected high school pitchers Mick Abel and Andrew Painter with their previous two first-rounders, they may find that demographic provides the most value once again at No. 17. They could have their pick of the best prep left-handers in Barriera, Snelling and Jackson Ferris.

18. Reds: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. (No. 18)
The Reds are tied more closely to Lesko than most clubs, but they also have the eighth-highest bonus pool ($10,794,100) and pick No. 32. They might be able to float Lesko down there and tap into the shortstop market (Neto, Williams, Young, Oklahoma's Peyton Graham) here.

19. Athletics: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 21)
There's definitely nothing certain at this point of the Draft, yet Beavers gets mentioned with the A's again and again. Other possibilities are fellow Pacific-12 Conference outfielders Brock Jones (Stanford) and Jacob Melton (Oregon State) and Oklahoma State right-hander Justin Campbell.

20. Braves: Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina (No. 36)
After a season-long NCAA suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug he said came from a supplement he bought at a national nutrition store chain, Whisenhunt has reclaimed his stuff and his first-round stock in the Cape Cod League. The Braves are linked to several of the healthy college pitchers, including Hjerpe, Campbell and right-handers Blade Tidwell (Tennessee), Gabriel Hughes (Gonzaga) and Thomas Harrington (Campbell).

21. Mariners: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 34)
Whisenhunt should kick off a run of college pitchers in the 20s that could include Campbell, Hjerpe, Tidwell and Hughes, all of whom could fit at No. 21. If the Mariners want a bat, they could go for Neto, Melton or South Carolina prep third baseman Tucker Toman.

22. Cardinals: Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma (No. 33)
After a slow start, Graham settled down his approach and swing and has been on a tear for the last two-plus months that's taking him into the first round. Riding a 14-game postseason hitting streak that includes six homers as he has led the Sooners to the College World Series finals, he's the only NCAA Division I player with 20 homers and 30 steals.

23. Blue Jays: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison (No. 19)
DeLauter's combination of tools, performance and patience could land him higher than this, though he didn't play after breaking his left foot in a sliding mishap on April 9. The Blue Jays seem to be targeting bats, including Toman, Graham and Arkansas third baseman Cayden Wallace.

24. Red Sox: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 22)
While the Red Sox would love to have Williams fall to No. 24, they'll more likely wind up with a college outfielder. They drafted Beck in the 14th round out of an Alabama high school three years ago, and also could have interest in Drew Gilbert (Tennessee), Jones and Sterlin Thompson (Florida).

25. Yankees: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 23)
Where Tidwell will go is hard to calculate because he missed the first six weeks with a shoulder injury, was kept on a tight leash and followed his best start of the year against Alabama State in the NCAA regionals by getting bombed by Notre Dame in the super-regionals. Other names to watch for the Yankees: Thompson, Beck, Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones, Hjerpe and Hughes.

26. White Sox: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C. (No. 42)
As one of the best high school hitters available, Toman could go almost anywhere in the second half of the first round. Brock Jones and Gilbert are two college outfield possibilities, while the White Sox's affinity for Indiana products and high school pitchers could lead them to Andrew Dutkanych.

27. Brewers: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 32)
Hjerpe also could go in the teens after leading NCAA Division I with 161 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings and wowing analytically minded teams with his pitch metrics. Snelling is another lefty who intrigues them, as do a group of hitters who make a lot of hard contact: Toman, Thompson, Gilbert and Melton.

28. Astros: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 27)
Picking in the first round for the first time in three years, the Astros are on the trail of several college hitters from power conferences, including Thompson, Graham, Melton, Brock and Spencer Jones and Clemson third baseman Max Wagner. As for pitchers, this may be the high-water mark for Mississippi State right-hander Landon Sims, who had Tommy John surgery in March, and Ohio high school righty Jacob Miller.

29. Rays: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Reno, Nev. (No. 16)
The Rays will pounce on someone with upside who shouldn't have lasted this long. Snelling and Toman are two obvious possibilities. This could be the peak for athletic California high school outfielder Henry Bolte.

30. Giants: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 28)
The Giants could go all-in on upside with someone like Lesko or Rocker (if his medicals check out), though the second-lowest bonus pool ($5,793,000) may be a hindrance. Gilbert, Bolte, Ferris and Wallace wouldn't stretch their budget as far.

Supplemental first-round picks
31. Rockies:
Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas (No. 37)
32. Reds: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS (No. 14)
33. Orioles: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 20)
34. Diamondbacks: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State (No. 54)
35. Royals: Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto (Calif.) HS (No. 35)
36. Pirates: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford (No. 31)
37. Guardians: Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell (No. 43)
38. Rockies: Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt (No. 74)
39. Padres: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 17)