Each team's most interesting Day 2 & 3 Draft picks

July 20th, 2022

Not every star is taken in the first few rounds of the MLB Draft. Plenty of talent has come from later rounds, including Albert Pujols, Wade Boggs, Nolan Ryan and Mike Piazza, just to name a few. With the 2022 Draft now complete, here is the most compelling pick for every team from days two and three, which included rounds 4-20.

AL East

BLUE JAYS: C Sammy Hernandez, 14th round, Lakeland Senior HS (Fla.)
After going heavy on college picks, and particularly seniors, through the middle rounds, the Blue Jays took a couple of swings on high school prospects in the latter rounds including catcher Sammy Hernandez. The 18-year-old has lived in Florida for four years, moving from Puerto Rico with his family when he was just 14 years old, but baseball has helped the young catcher adapt to his new home as he found immediate success. A growing defender with an impressive bat, Hernandez is committed to play NCAA ball at Houston, but he could be another exciting project for the Blue Jays’ player development staff, who have had some massive success stories lately at catcher with Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno.

ORIOLES: LHP Jared Beck, 13th round (377th overall), Saint Leo University
Never in recorded Major League history has there been a 7-foot player. Beck has a chance to be the first. The lanky left-hander was the Orioles’ 13th-round pick out of Division II Saint Leo University, adding a new “Big Unit” to their growing farm system. Beck is said to have ramped up his velocity to 95 mph over the last season, striking out 105 batters in 68 1/3 innings after spending the prior summer with the viral Savannah Bananas. Only twice has there been a 6-foot-11 player to appear in the Majors -- one (Sean Hjelle) debuted for the Dodgers this season -- but never anyone as tall as Beck. He’s said his favorite pitcher is Randy Johnson. Well, Beck already has two inches on the famously tall Hall of Famer.

RAYS: C Dominic Keegan, fourth round, Vanderbilt
The backup behind the plate for Vanderbilt’s 2019 championship team, Keegan really only became a full-time player last year (mostly at first base) and a regular catcher this spring. MLB Pipeline’s No. 97 Draft prospect led the Commodores this year with a .371/.458/.646 slash line, 14 homers and 67 RBIs, creating an interesting profile as a potential power-hitting catcher. It hasn’t been a great season for the Rays’ top catching prospects, but Keegan -- who turns 22 on Aug. 1, the Draft signing deadline -- brings an intriguing mix of skills beyond just what senior director of amateur scouting Rob Metzler described as a “very powerful” swing.

RED SOX: C Brooks Brannon, ninth round, Randleman (N.C.) High School
Ranked at No. 158 on MLB’s Draft prospects list, Brannon was the one big splash by the Red Sox on Day 2. A quick look at his raw power potential and jaw-dropping senior numbers justify the risk. The 18-year-old batted .609 with a 1.974 OPS and a state-record 91 RBIs. His 20 home runs also matched a state record, held by none other than his father, Chris. There are questions as to whether Brannon will stick at catcher in the long term, but the Red Sox defy that notion, according to amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, who believes Brannon possesses the mental and physical traits to succeed.

YANKEES: 3B Beau Brewer, 19th round, Paris Junior College (TX)
I feel the need, the need for speed!” How could you not love this amazing video of Brewer, in aviator sunglasses with Kenny Loggins blasting behind him, striding confidently to home plate for the Savannah Bananas? It’s clear that Brewer has some acting chops, as he showed with those fun-loving Bananas, but the big-swinging infielder also owns the talent to crack a lineup. He batted .411 with 25 doubles, six homers, 74 RBIs and 12 stolen bases this past season in JUCO ball. Brewer may just write some checks that his body can cash.

AL Central

GUARDIANS: LHP Adam Tulloch, 15th round, Arizona State
Tulloch almost threw in the towel. After going through three different schools in high school to try to get the best opportunities to play baseball at the highest level of competition to be seen, he received just one offer from a Division II school. Instead of giving up on his dream like he considered, he ended up taking the offer and transferring three more times during his collegiate career to finally make his dream come true of reaching professional baseball when the Guardians selected him in the 15th round of the MLB Draft.

ROYALS: SS/RHP Austin Charles, 20th round, Stockton (Calif.) High School
The Royals concluded Tuesday afternoon with the club making franchise history by taking 17 college players to begin the Draft. But perhaps the most intriguing picks were in the prep players taken near the end, especially in two-way player Austin Charles, whom the Royals drafted in the 20th round to wrap up their selections. A 6-foot-6 shortstop and right-handed pitcher, Charles flashed dominance in his senior season at Stockton (Calif.) High School, hitting .483 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs -- and posting a 1.36 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.

TIGERS: LHP Joe Miller, 11th round, University of Pennsylvania
Miller has a fascinating background. He not only pitched at Penn, he was admitted to the Wharton Business of School there. When the Cape Cod League was delayed last year, he played summer ball in the Coastal Plains League with the Savannah Bananas -- yes, those Savannah Bananas -- and won the league’s Pitcher of the Year honors, going 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 42 innings. He isn’t overpowering with a fastball in the low 90s, but he complements it with a slider and curveball. He’s the second Penn product the Tigers have drafted in six years, following righty reliever Billy Lescher.

TWINS: RHP Cory Lewis, 9th round, UC Santa Barbara
Twins scouting director Sean Johnson described Lewis’ pitch mix as “the kitchen sink,” and he meant it. First, there’s the high-spin, high-extension four-seam fastball that has been the right-hander’s bread and butter throughout his collegiate days and made him an analytical darling on the Twins’ draft board. Then, there’s the big, north-to-south curveball that has been his primary secondary pitch. Moving past the slider and the changeup, you get to… the knuckleball. Really. It’s no gimmick, either, as Johnson described the knuckler as “impressive” (though he’d rarely had to seriously evaluate a knuckleball before, he said), and Lewis has been using it as a change-of-pace, offspeed offering since he was 10 years old. It’s worked for him at every level -- and he simply never got rid of it.

WHITE SOX: 1B Tim Elko, 10th round, University of Mississippi
The White Sox had some interest in Elko during Day 3 of the 2021 Draft, but the right-handed-hitting University of Mississippi first baseman decided to come back to school and play one more season for the Rebels. Count that move as one of the best decisions made in recent memory in relation to baseball. In his third season as captain for Ole Miss, Elko set a single-season school record with 24 home runs, drove home 75, batted .300 and posted a 1.049 OPS. Oh, and there’s the little matter of Elko being named to the Men’s College World Series All-Tournament Team in leading the program to its first NCAA baseball championship. The White Sox selected Elko with pick No. 311 after working on getting him on board for a couple of rounds, according to director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley. So, it’s been quite a month for the 23-year-old from Lutz, Fla.

AL West

ANGELS: RHP Caden Dana, 11th round, Don Bosco Prep HS (NJ) and OF Casey Dana, 16th round, Connecticut
The draft has featured many picks with family ties, but none like the Angels, who drafted a pair of brothers to their organization on Day 2. Caden, the No. 119 prospect in the Draft according to MLB Pipeline, was the first brother taken and he has drawn comparisons to Angels starter Noah Syndergaard, both in terms of his physicality and his flowing locks. The 6-foot-5 pitcher was up to 95 mph consistently, and has shown the ability to hold his velocity deep into outings. Casey's calling card is his productive bat, as hit .313 with 21 doubles and 12 home runs in 2022 for the Huskies. The duo joins their oldest brother Cullen, who was selected by the Padres in 2018 during the 30th-round, as MLB draftees.

ASTROS: OF Ryan Clifford, 11th round, Crossroad Flex High School in Cary, N.C.
Clifford, a 6-foot-3 left-handed-hitting outfielder, was ranked as the 92nd best Draft prospect by MLB.com and has a commitment to play at Vanderbilt. The Astros will likely try to use the bonus money they will save from signing some of the college seniors they drafted to sign Clifford. A mainstay on U.S. national teams since he was 12, Clifford has the tools to be one of the better all-round hitters in the Draft, according to MLB.com Draft expert Jim Callis. Clifford has a good left-handed swing that’s equipped to hit for power with an advanced approach at the plate. He can drive balls from gap to gap and rarely chases pitches outside of the zone. Scouts compare him to former Astros draft pick Seth Beer, but with more athleticism. Clifford has fringy speed, but he has a good enough arm to play right field. He’s also played some first base with Team USA.

ATHLETICS: RHP Vince Reilly, 18th round, Grand Canyon University
Oakland is set for a reunion after selecting another Thousand Oaks High School alumnus. Reilly was drafted by the Athletics a year after the club picked up his former teammate, Max Muncy, in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Reilly and his twin brother, Blake, both played alongside Muncy -- the organization’s No. 4 prospect -- at Thousand Oaks in 2019 while leading the team to their first league championship in over a decade. Vince spent a season pitching for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa before joining his brother at Grand Canyon University, where he posted a 7-1 record with 14 saves out of the bullpen.

MARINERS: RHP Walter Ford, Competitive Balance Round B, Pace (Fla.) High School
How could we not go with the self-described “Vanilla Missile,” who is already a hit with Mariners fans on social media? The uber-confident Ford has been meme’ing his tail off with Mariners content while interacting with fans since being selected by Seattle on Day 1, generating buzz well beyond the 97 mph fastball that he throws. As for the baseball, there is plenty of intrigue in the 6-foot-2 righty, who reclassified high schools in order to be Draft eligible this year. At just 17 years old, he’s ready to get to work. The Mariners like him so much that they’re probably going to have to overpay slot value in order to sign him, but they indicated that shouldn’t be an issue.

RANGERS: SS/OF Chandler Pollard, fifth round, Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.)
This is mostly an interesting pick following the Rangers’ big splashes in the first and second rounds, with Kumar Rock and Brock Porter likely commanding most of the club’s bonus pool. Pollard -- who comes out of the same high school as former Rangers Delino DeShields -- was ranked No. 110 on MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 250, but fell to Texas at No. 139. Director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said Pollard took a dramatic jump from last summer to this spring, when he broke out by batting .521 (49-for-94) with 11 home runs, four triples, 12 doubles and 36 RBIs. He also ranked sixth in the nation among high schoolers with 59 steals in 61 attempts.

Pollard just turned 18 and is by no means a finished product, but he has a strong enough arm to play third base, shortstop or center field. The Rangers have a plethora of middle infield prospects -- some of which may be on the trade block come Deadline time -- so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Pollard move to the outfield quickly, despite his overall lack of experience. It’s unclear how much he will command to pry him away from his Washington State commitment, but general manager Chris Young said, “We intend to sign everyone we drafted."

NL East

BRAVES: C Drake Baldwin, 3rd round, Missouri State
Baldwin was one of the best catchers available from an offensive perspective and his stock rose as he improved defensively this year. The left-handed slugger has tremendous power and his compact swing should help him be consistent at the pro level. The former high school hockey star’s athleticism should help him continue to improve behind the plate. If he doesn’t stick as a catcher, his power may be significant for him to be used as a DH.

MARLINS: 1B Torin Montgomery, 14th round, University of Missouri
The Marlins originally selected Montgomery in the 35th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, Wash. Since then, he has attended Boise State and the University of Missouri. This season, he led the Tigers with a .365 average and 49 RBIs. This marks the first time since joining the Marlins that senior director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik has picked a player twice.

METS: RHP Zebulon Vermillion, 10th round, University of Arkansas
What’s in a name? For this college reliever, quite a bit. As Vermillion recently explained on “The Hog Pod” podcast, his full name is Zebulon Cassis Vermillion. He was born in Vail, Colo., and named after Zebulon Pike, the American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak is named. Vermillion’s middle name is a nod to his mother’s favorite city in France. His mom is trilingual, and Zebulon has picked up some of that himself, speaking “a little bit of a lot of languages,” including Russian. On the mound, his language is power, with a mid-90s fastball that allowed him to strike out 28 batters in 26 1/3 innings as a fifth-year senior.

NATIONALS: RHP Marquis Grissom Jr., 13th round, Georgia Tech
The Nationals added a familiar name to their Draft class by selecting Grissom, the son of former outfielder, two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner Marquis Grissom. Unlike his father, Grissom makes his mark on the mound. The 6-foot-2, 202 pound right-hander went 4-5 with a 5.75 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) this season for the Yellow Jackets. He also recorded 57 strikeouts in 61 frames. Adding to the excitement of being drafted, it happened on an already-special day for Grissom: his 21st birthday.

PHILLIES: OF Gabriel Rincones Jr., third round, Florida Atlantic
The Phillies were thrilled to nab Rincones in the third round. He is a big, left-handed-hitting corner outfielder with power and an advanced approach at the plate. Rincones, according to some publications, does not grade well as a runner or defender, but Rincones and the Phillies dispute that. “This is a kid that played center field at times this year at FAU,” Phillies amateur scouting director Brian Barber said. “He’s not a slug. He’s a guy that has a chance to be a really good defender. Where he ends up, I wouldn’t project him as a center fielder in the big leagues … but he’s a better defender than people have given him credit for and he’s a better mover than people have given him credit for. Maybe some of the power and hit has even been undersold with him, too.”

NL Central

BREWERS: Jurrangelo Cijntje, 18th round, Champagnat Catholic School (Fla.)
The Brewers’ vaunted pitching lab helped turn Corbin Burnes into a two-time All-Star, but this could be its coolest test yet: A switch-pitcher. Cijntje is a 19-year-old who was born in the Netherlands, raised in Curaçao and just graduated high school in the Miami area. He is a left-handed pitcher. He is also a right-handed pitcher. And that made him one of the most fascinating players in this year’s Draft class. The Brewers presumably face a tough sign so late in the Draft, since Cijntje (pronounced SAIN-ja) has a scholarship waiting at Mississippi State. But they took a shot on a pitcher who garnered significant notice at MLB’s recent Draft combine, where he pitched with a 94-96 mph fastball and a 79-80 mph breaking ball with 2,600 rpm from the right side, and an 88-92 mph heater and a 75-76 mph breaker with 2,400 rpm from the left, according to MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis.

In that story, Callis detailed Cijntje’s unique baseball story. He is naturally left-handed but began throwing right-handed as early as 6 years old to mimic his father, Mechangelo, who played professionally in the Netherlands. Mechangelo hammered nails into baseballs and had Jurrangelo throw at a tire to try to get the ball to stick, a drill designed to improve his arm strength and accuracy. He first gained notoriety for his switch-pitching when he played for Curaçao at the 2016 Little League World Series.

CARDINALS: CF Victor Scott II, fifth round, West Virginia University
Scott proved to be especially appealing to the Cardinals because of his rare blend of speed and power. Scott, a Powder Springs, Ga., native, was successful on 38 of 45 stolen base attempts this past season for the Mountaineers. Also, the 21-year-old hit .278 with six home runs and 47 RBIs this past season with the Mountaineers. His OPS soared to .851, while his slugging percentage was an impressive .454. The knock, however, is that Scott struck out 53 times and had far too many instances where he came out of his hitting approach while trying to hit long balls. He said he’ll need to correct that at the professional level so that he can put his speed to use more on the basepaths.

“I’m still young and I’m still maturing in that aspect,” Scott said with a laugh. “Sometimes I may come out of my approach at the plate, because I’m like, ‘Woooo, I can hit a home run right now off this guy!’ But that’s not necessarily my game. I have to stick to that line-drive game, hitting the ball into the gaps and getting on base for the real power guys to come up and drive me in. But I can still show flashes of power here and there.”

CUBS: RHP Nazier Mule, fourth round, Passaic County Technical Institute (New Jersey)
The 17-year-old Mule was ranked No. 94 on MLB Pipeline’s list of Draft prospects and was a standout prep bat during the 2022 season. What’s interesting is that the Cubs announced him as a pitcher in the Draft. That is the initial plan, but Cubs vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz said the club will be “open-minded” about the possibility of trying Mule as a two-way player. Said Kantrovitz: “Our focus is initially going to be evaluating him on the mound and kind of see where that takes us.” Mule has topped 100 mph with his fastball on the mound and has produced 100 plus mph exit velocities in the batter’s box. In his senior year, he hit .427 with eight home runs in 103 at-bats as a shortstop, while racking up 29 strikeouts in 13 innings as a pitcher. Besides a fastball, Mule has featured a slider and changeup. “We have some scouts that are really excited about him offensively, too,” Kantrovitz said. “He’s just a dynamic, exceptional athlete.”

PIRATES: RHP K.C. Hunt, 12th round, Mississippi State
Hunt’s name sounds like it has no relation to Pittsburgh, right? Heck, his last name is the name of the infamous ketchup brand that stands in opposition to the Steel City’s own Heinz brand. But inside the initials is a relationship of great significance: K.C. stands for Kyle Clemente. Hunt’s dad, Mickey, named his youngest son after “The Great One” -- his favorite player -- with no pushback from his wife. K.C. Hunt told northjersey.com of having the legendary name: “I think it's cool and I've learned a lot about him over the years and it helps inspire me.'' Hunt will have a lot of work ahead of him to reach Clemente’s playing ground, but his riding fastball and whiff-heavy curveball may help him achieve that goal in the coming years, and some scouts believe he has the traits to be a starter.

REDS: RHP Ben Brutti, 11th round, South Kingstown H.S., Rhode Island
Brutti is a high school player with a commitment to the University of South Florida, which could make him tougher to sign. But the organization was optimistic it could happen. Their scouts saw the 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander touching 97 mph with a plus-slider while pitching from a lower, three-quarters slot. While his delivery has brought some skeptics, scouts also like that it’s been repeatable and that Brutti throws strikes. Another high school selection, outfielder Mason Neville in the 19th round from Nevada, is also interesting because he’s the No. 102-ranked prospect by MLB.com. But Neville has a commitment to the University of Arkansas, which could make his signing a little more difficult. The Reds felt it was worth the risk to pick both high school players on Day 3.

NL West

D-BACKS: RHP Malachi Witherspoon, 12th round, Fletcher High School (Fla.)
The D-backs were intrigued by the 17-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., particularly with his ability to spin the curveball. There was consensus on Witherspoon from both their scouts and their data analysts, which made the D-backs decide to bet on his upside. Witherspoon wasn’t necessarily on a lot of team’s radars when his senior year started, but as his velocity climbed, so did his Draft stock and teams were left scrambling to see him this spring. His curveball has registered spin rates up around 3,000 rpm while his fastball is up to 95 mph and sits around 92-93 mph.

DODGERS: OF Chris Newell, 13th round, Virginia
Day 3 was all about legacy picks for the Dodgers, who selected Baylor outfielder Kyle Nevin (son of Angels interim manager Phil, and brother of Orioles third baseman Tyler) in the 11th round and UCLA righty Jared Karros (son of Dodger great Eric Karros) in the 16th. But from a prospect standpoint, their most intriguing selection was probably Newell, who was a Top 100 prospect coming out of the Pennsylvania prep ranks before honoring his commitment to Virginia. Newell’s big raw tools didn’t always show up in games in college, but plus power potential and enough speed to stick in center field keeps the profile enticing. He was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 190 Draft prospect heading into the week, and the Dodgers rolled the dice to grab him with pick No. 405.

GIANTS: 1B Ethan Long, 20th round, Arizona State
After going heavy on pitching in the first 10 rounds of the 2022 Draft, the Giants selected position players with seven of the club's 10 picks on the final day. Among the position players is Long, who was selected as a first baseman with the final pick of the Draft. Long, 21, was ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 232 Draft prospect entering the event. The right-handed slugger had a big season in his freshman year, slashing .340/.417/.704 for an eye-popping 1.121 OPS. Long's 16 home runs as a freshman are the second-most ever by an ASU freshman, surpassing none other than Giants legend Barry Bonds. Long missed time with a wrist injury in his sophomore season and underwent a small decline, but the Giants may have gotten a steal late in the game.

PADRES: LHP Andrew Vail, 20th round, Rowan University
The Padres started the Draft by selecting a pitcher rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Dylan Lesko. They started Day 2 with another Tommy John patient, Henry Williams. So why not end Day 3 with another on the road to recovery? Vail, 21, never actually pitched at Rowan. His college career was limited to 44 innings across three seasons with Maryland and Missouri. Vail is further along in his rehab than the others, 13 months post-surgery. The Padres took a look at him in a recent regional workout. “He was 94-96 [mph],” said Chris Kemp, the Padres’ amateur scouting director. “Really special arm, we thought.”

ROCKIES: SS Ryan Ritter, 4th round, University of Kentucky
When assessing the Rockies, it’s easy to focus on pitching (which can be extremely tough at Coors Field) and hitting (which, conversely, can be a rewarding proposition in the home park). But successful Rockies teams have had impact fielders, and shortstop has been a focal point from the franchise’s beginning. The selection of Ritter, who won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at the collegiate level, fits right with this. VP and assistant GM of scouting Danny Montgomery watched him during the fall, and senior director of scouting operations Marc Gustafson took a close look at Ritter in the Cape Cod League right before the Draft. The Rockies were convinced that if Ritter continues the offensive improvement that was seen in the Cape Cod League, he could be an impact player -- mainly because of his special glove.