CARY, N.C. -- I’m down here for the PDP League, taking a moment in the run up to the 2022 Draft to get a look at the '23 high school class. So are a ton of scouts, which initially got me excited to be able to mingle and get some good mock Draft information.
Unfortunately, it seems like this week -- with so much of the industry in town to see the prepsters, as well as the College National Team -- is a bit of a pause in the action. Teams haven’t begun their national meetings yet, so my hope for good buzz was dashed.
There were a few names being bandied about, none more than Oklahoma's College World Series standout Cade Horton, who went from not being on our Draft top 200 to debuting at No. 24 on our new Top 250. Teams are definitely discussing what to do with this very late riser, and he is coming up in many first-round conversations, which is why you’ll see him in this week’s projection.
It’s still tough to figure out where the big wild cards will end up going, and this week you’ll see I found a home for Kumar Rocker, but not for Carson Whisenhunt. I also did hear a little chatter about Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones and Oklahoma lefty Jake Bennett potentially going in the late first round, but opted to leave them on the outside looking in.
1. Orioles: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Ga. (No. 1)
Back to going with the Orioles taking the best guy. It’s still the same mix of players here, but if I were to handicap it -- without any new intel -- I’d say Jones is the "best guy" pick, Termarr Johnson is the “make a deal” guy and they’re a tick ahead of Jackson Holliday and Brooks Lee, with Elijah Green behind them.
2. D-backs: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater HS, Okla. (No. 2)
The D-backs are ready to jump on Jones if the O’s don’t take him. If he’s gone, it could be a choice between the next two high school players, with Holliday getting the edge over Green.
3. Rangers: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 3)
If the top two goes like this, the Rangers likely would be looking at Green, who feels a little tough to place, as some are still wary of the swing-and-miss, or Kevin Parada if they want a college bat.
4. Pirates: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola Junior College (No. 8)
This still could very much be the home for Brooks Lee, and Johnson is a possibility, but Lou’s kid’s name keeps coming up. He’s a 17-year-old who is holding his own in the Cape Cod League after a strong spring at Chipola.
5. Nationals: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
This has been a common landing spot for Parada and might be the floor for Green, but if Lee doesn’t go in the top four, the Nats might find it tough to pass on his bat.
6. Marlins: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6)
This shake out would let the Marlins take the Georgia Tech backstop over someone like Jacob Berry on the college bat front or Johnson from the high school crop.
7. Cubs: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)
Johnson is the best pure high school hitter in the class and it’s hard to imagine him going any later than this, especially with Collier off the board.
8. Twins: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 10)
Bats remain all the talk here, and if things go like this, it’ll likely be a college one, with Cross and Berry the leading candidates.
9. Royals: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Nev. (No. 13)
This is everyone’s favorite spot for something “different” to happen, and that could be prep pitcher Brock Porter. But Carl’s son’s name is mentioned quite often in this spot, as well.
10. Rockies: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)
More college bats again here, and if the Twins go Berry, the Rockies could go Cross or Jace Jung.
11. Mets: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 12)
(compensation pick for failure to sign 2021 first-rounder Kumar Rocker)
Porter gets brought up here, as do the aforementioned college hitters, along with Zach Neto. Susac gets the nod thanks to his ability to stick behind the plate.
12. Tigers: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS, Mich. (No. 11)
He could go ahead of here -- at 9 or 11 -- but he still has a very good chance to be the first pitcher off the board if the Tigers don’t want one of the remaining college hitters.
13. Angels: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Nev. (No. 16)
While the Angels aren’t only going to take pitchers for all Drafts ever -- reminder: they only took arms last year -- those are the names that come up. It’s Snelling or Brandon Barriera on the high school side, with college arms like Connor Prielipp, Cooper Hjerpe or Gabe Hughes potentially being discussed.
14. Mets: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 9)
Jung’s name had been mentioned as a Top 10 pick along with those other college hitters -- and that could still happen -- but he tailed off late in the year, causing him to slip ever so slightly.
15. Padres: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS, Ga. (No. 14)
Lesko was the best pitcher in the class before he needed Tommy John surgery, and as we’ve said many times, the Padres are not afraid to take risks.
16. Guardians: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 17)
Neto’s hit tool fits in nicely with what the Guardians like and he’s mentioned often here along with other strong bats (Jett Williams, Cole Young).
17. Phillies: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Fla. (No. 15)
It’s mostly been arms mentioned here, with Snelling possibly landing in this spot if he doesn’t go above, while Jackson Ferris a possibility as well. Justin Campbell could be a safer college pick, with Young a bat option should they want to go in that direction.
18. Reds: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Pa. (No. 18)
The Reds like bats of all kinds and Young is a good fit for an up-the-middle player with a strong hit tool. Cincy could be interested in Neto should he still be available.
19. Athletics: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 22)
Giving the NorCal team the guy in its backyard might seem too easy, but there is interest in his power-speed combination and his name comes up here with other college hitters like Chase DeLauter and Brock Jones.
20. Braves: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 26)
Hughes was lights out for much of the year as Gonzaga’s Friday night starter. He faded a bit down the stretch, making it a little tougher to place him, even if his name is mentioned all over the round and some think he’ll be gone by here. The Braves could look at other college arms like Hjerpe or Campbell if that happens.
21. Mariners: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 34)
Hjerpe is definitely in the mix here and Campbell could be as well. The Mariners will likely be one of the teams trying to figure out Cade Horton, while also digging into Prielipp.
22. Cardinals: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath HS, Tex. (No. 21)
Williams can really hit and the Cardinals aren’t afraid to go the prep route (see Walker, Jordan and Gorman, Nolan). College bats like Peyton Graham could be in consideration as well.
23. Blue Jays: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison University (No. 18)
The Blue Jays might like for Williams to get here, but in this week’s mock, the Cards beat them to it. DeLauter has done nothing but hit wherever he’s been, typically after a slow start.
24. Red Sox: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 23)
There are several college bats in play here, with Beck and his teammate Drew Gilbert possibly leading the way, along with Stanford’s Brock Jones.
25. Yankees: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 27)
The best buzz/rumor I’ve heard lately here is Kumar Rocker in this spot. Instead, I’ll go with another arm with some injury questions. The Yankees could be in on the remaining college bats mentioned above, along with Florida’s Sterlin Thompson.
26. White Sox: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State (No. 39)
It has mostly been bats mentioned here, with the college hitters in play; Melton was as productive as any of them.
27. Brewers: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 32)
He can hit and play center and could get the edge over someone like Brock Jones, who has more swing-and-miss issues.
28. Astros: Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma (No. 24)
There’s no information saying the Astros are bearing down on Horton. This is more a pick to reflect that the postseason star for the Sooners has moved into this area of the Draft because of how dominant he was down the stretch.
29. Rays: Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS, Ohio (No. 37)
Miller’s name has been creeping up in conversations, with both Jim Callis and I putting him in the comp round without hesitation. This go-round his upside and four-pitch mix hits the first round proper.
30. Giants: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 25)
Prielipp has top of the Draft potential, and he showed in a bullpen session and then at the Draft Combine that he’s on his way back from Tommy John surgery.
31. Rockies: Payton Graham, SS, Oklahoma (No. 28)
32. Reds: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, S.C. (No. 35)
33. Orioles: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 36)
34. D-backs: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 29)
35. Royals: Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto HS, Calif. (No. 40)
36. Pirates: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 19)
37. Guardians: Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas (No. 31)
38. Rockies: Brock Jones, OF, Stanford (No. 33)
39. Padres: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (No. 38)