The 3 biggest stories to watch at the Draft Combine

June 16th, 2022

The second annual Draft Combine is underway, running through Monday at Petco Park in San Diego, where 255 prospects are hoping to boost their stock.

Off the field, players will have the opportunity to participate in a series of medical and performance assessments and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers in professional baseball. On the field, they'll have the opportunity to participate in a pro-style showcase workout, as well as strength and performance assessments. And high school players will have the option to participate in a pair of games.

With everything going on this week, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis has identified the three biggest stories to keep an eye on over the course of the event.

1. Connor Prielipp's chance to shine

Alabama left-hander Connor Prielipp, who's MLB's No. 24 Draft prospect, likely would be in the conversation to go 1-1 on July 17 had he not had to undergo Tommy John surgery in May 2021. As smoothly as his recovery has seemingly gone, MLB organizations have had just one opportunity to see him throw this year. That changes Friday, during MLB Network's broadcast live from the Combine.

"He's a guy who could factor in the middle of the first round," Callis said, "if all goes well."

2. The biggest bats taking big cuts on the big stage

Friday will also bring a BP session featuring several of the best hitters in the 2022 Draft class. This is the spotlight teenagers Termarr Johnson (No. 4) and Cam Collier (No. 12), among others, have been waiting for, and it's an event no fan will want to miss.

"Termarr Johnson ... he's probably the best high school hitter to come out of the Draft in, it might be 20 years. Just a great swing -- you're going to see how the ball carries," Callis said. "Cam Collier ... he's still just 17. He's going to take BP. He's one of the best hitters in the Draft, too. Those guys are both potential top-10 picks."

3. Non-first-rounders dropping jaws

It's a simple fact of mathematics that not every exciting player can be a first-round pick, and there are prospects who aren't on the top of the rankings but who definitely capable of putting on a show. The Draft Combine gives them the chance to show the baseball world what they can do.

Jacob Misiorowski (No. 83), of Crowder JC, hadn't had the chance to be thoroughly scouted before this year, but he's gained a lot of attention quickly.

"He's up to 100 repeatedly, with a lot of extension," Callis said. "He's fun to watch. He's going to light up the guns."

Virginia Commonwealth corner infielder Tyler Locklear is ranked 107 among Pipeline's Draft Prospects and boasts serious power potential.

"One of the top power hitters in the college ranks," Callis said. "When we're measuring exit velocity and distance during BP on Friday, I'll bet he really puts on a show, as well."

Tennessee's Ben Joyce (No. 116), who threw a pitch at 105 mph earlier this year, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, but has opted not to.

"He throws as hard as just about anybody on a pitch-by-pitch basis," Callis said.