A lot has changed since my last mock draft was released. Many of the top college pitchers slid down boards due to season-ending injuries and some former first-round talent just haven’t lived up to the hype. Some intriguing players rose, however, including a ton of prep bats that have a ton of upside.
1. Baltimore Orioles – SS Brooks Lee, Cal Poly
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 205 lbs. | B-T: S-R | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: The son of Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee, Brooks features an exciting set of tools across the board. An athletic switch-hitter, Lee has slashed .387/.491/.669 with seven homers so far this season. Along with his impressive track record of hitting, Lee has the skillset to stick at shortstop but could move to third base in the future.
Pick Explanation: The Orioles have gone under slot in the past two drafts, including taking Sam Houston outfielder Colton Cowser with the fifth selection last summer and Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad in 2020. While Kjerstad and Cowser weren’t viewed as the best players in their respective drafts, some evaluators believe that Lee is, and could help Baltimore later in the draft.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks – OF Druw Jones, Wesleyan (GA)
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 180 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Vanderbilt
Scouting Report: The son of Andruw Jones, Druw features an exciting combination of speed, athleticism, and bat-to-ball skills. Like his father, Jones is a premium defender in the outfield, profiling as a center fielder long-term. After some swing adjustments, Jones looks to be driving the ball further than before, making him a premium talent in this draft.
Pick Explanation: In the past five years, Arizona has selected a prep bat three times. Two of those are Corbin Carroll and Jordan Lawler, whose reviews have been stellar to this point. Though it will cost them close to slot, the Diamondbacks scoop up arguably the best player in the draft.
3. Texas Rangers – SS Termarr Johnson, Mays (GA)
Height: 5-8 | Weight: 194 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: None
Scouting Report: Possibly the best pure hitter in years, Johnson’s hit tool carries his game, and rightfully so. The ball jumps off of his bat, supported by unreal bat speed and a smooth swing from the left side. While he plays shortstop now, Termarr profiles as a second baseman long-term. Johnson already possesses power at the dish, with more to come as he progresses.
Pick Explanation: The Rangers are in an interesting spot. It looked like they would go with a tear-down rebuild but surprisingly signed both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to long-term deals. With the current state of their farm system, Texas needs to go with the best player available in Johnson. In the future, the Rangers could move Semien to DH to open a spot for Johnson.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates – OF Elijah Green, IMG Academy (FL)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 214 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Miami
Scouting Report: The son of a former NFL tight end, Green arguably has the most power in this draft. Despite his size, Green has shown his running ability, posting impressive 60-yard dash times in the past. At one time, Green was projected as the first overall pick industry-wide, but his swing-and-miss cause some concern. He projects as an above-average defender in a corner outfield spot.
Pick Explanation: While Pittsburgh has selected a college bat in each of the past three years, their goal for this rebuild is to acquire an abundance of high-upside talent and hope that some hit. Green may have the most upside of any player in the class and the Pirates won’t let him fall any further.
5. Washington Nationals – C Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 210 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Parada is the hottest hitter in college baseball, propelling him up draft boards industry-wide. He currently holds an impressive .383/.474/.772 slash with 18 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. While there may be questions about his ability to stick behind the plate, Parada’s bat makes a possible move to a corner spot less detrimental.
Pick Explanation: With one of the thinnest farm systems in baseball, the top college hitter on the board makes sense for Washington. Throughout his time as a high schooler and college career, Parada has shown his ability to hit, with a position on the field to be figured out later. Whether he sticks at catcher or not, the Nationals may have their next franchise cornerstone.
6. Miami Marlins – 2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 215 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Regarded as one of the best college power bats in the nation, Jung’s pop doesn’t come with a ton of swing-and-miss. Jung has almost double as many walks than strikeouts, along with 11 homers and 16 doubles. Due to an average arm and defensive ability, he profiles as a second baseman long-term.
Pick Explanation: Outside of Kahlil Watson and some risky mid-level bats, the Marlins system is extremely pitcher heavy. Not only do the Marlins lack talent in the infield, but they also need a low-risk bat, with Jung filling both boxes.
7. Chicago Cubs – SS Jackson Holliday, Stillwater (OK)
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 176 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Oklahoma State
Scouting Report: No one has more helium in this draft than Matt Holliday’s son Jackson. Now viewed as the best prep shortstop not named Termarr Johnson, Holliday has good tools across the board. Maybe his best is the feel to hit, along with growing power that he has only tapped into recently. In the field, Holliday has a strong arm and actions that have many thinking he will stick at shortstop long-term.
Pick Explanation: The Cubs are another team going through a rebuilding phase that need high upside talent. As the 2020 Ed Howard pick hasn’t exactly worked out to this point, Chicago has another chance to add quality talent to a middle-of-the-pack farm system.
8. Minnesota Twins – RHP Dylan Lesko, Buford (GA)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 195 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Vanderbilt
Scouting Report: Easily the best pitcher in the class, Lesko’s pitch mix includes a mid-90s fastball, high-spin curveball, and a changeup that has been regarded as his best offering. While his curveball is still developing, the fastball/changeup combo will generate a ton of swings-and-misses at the next level. Lesko’s best tool may be his command throughout his repertoire, surely making him a starter long-term. Lesko’s recent Tommy John surgery won’t affect his draft stock much, as he is still viewed as the best arm in the draft.
Pick Explanation: The Twins selected prep right-hander Chase Petty with last year’s first round selection but he was later traded to the Reds in the Sonny Gray deal. While Lesko’s surgery won’t immensely impact his draft stock, the Twins make a lot of sense here, an organization that already has a solid core of young right-handed pitching.
9. Kansas City Royals – OF Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 210 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Gavin Cross broke out for the Hokies in 2021 and followed that up with a huge summer for Team USA. He is a power over contact type of bat, along with defensive skills that will likely land him in a corner long term. Cross is an average runner with some swing-and-miss in his game. Through 40 games this spring, Cross has slugged ten homers and holds a 1.083 OPS.
Pick Explanation: Cross would give Kansas City a much-needed bump to their next wave of talent, who has a long track record of selecting college pitching. When thinking about the Royals, I can’t help but compare Cross to a young Andrew Benintendi, despite the height difference.
10. Colorado Rockies – 1B/3B Jacob Berry, LSU
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 212 lbs. | B-T: S-R | Age: 20 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: After a freshman All-American season at Arizona, Berry transferred to LSU, following head coach Jay Johnson. Berry’s calling card is the offense, spraying hits to all fields along with an advanced approach, walking more than he strikes out. Defensively, he doesn’t really have a position, bouncing from the corner infield to the outfield on occasion. Berry has slugged 15 homers to this point and should easily break 20 this season, all while hitting over .370. He is a below-average runner.
Pick Explanation: A switch-hitting power guy at Coors Field? Seems like a good fit. The Rockies have selected bats in the last three years, and with the lack of pitching in this draft, it seems likely they will take another. Berry fits a similar profile to Michael Toglia, both being power-over-contact switch-hitters. With the designated hitter being added to the National League, the Rockies shouldn’t worry about the defensive questions.
11. New York Mets – OF Jordan Beck, Tennessee
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 225 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: Jordan Beck has moved up draft boards industry-wide due to his performance so far this year. Through 47 games, Beck holds a .314/.388/.584 slash-line with 12 homers and 41 RBIs. His tremendous power upside saw him hit 15 home runs last spring and will likely blow through that number soon. Some evaluators are concerned with the swing-and-miss, with a tendency to chase. Beck’s strong arm and frame profiles best in right field.
Pick Explanation: The lack of remaining bats and Chase DeLauter’s status may force the Mets to take Beck here. New York isn’t known for taking college hitters, but with no prep players fitting here, they may do just that. Beck certainly has enough upside and tools to be a top 15 pick.
12. Detroit Tigers – RHP Brock Porter, St. Mary’s Prep (MI)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 188 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Clemson
Scouting Report: Some scouts compare Porter to the class’s top arm, Dylan Lesko. The Clemson commit’s changeup is his best pitch, also featuring a mid-90s fastball and two breaking balls. Porter is still very projectable and could add velocity with added strength. He has been praised for his command of all four pitches.
Pick Explanation: The Tigers selected Jackson Jobe, another prep righty, with the third overall pick last year. Porter fits a similar profile and many believe he is the second-best pitcher in this depleted class. Porter would add to a quality core of pitchers in the Tigers organization, including Jobe and Ty Madden.
13. Los Angeles Angels – C Daniel Susac, Arizona
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 218 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Susac ditched switch-hitting this spring, opting to use his right-handed stroke full time. It’s safe to say he hasn’t disappointed, putting up video game numbers so far this season. Coming out of high school, Susac was a power-over-contact hitter but has since proved that he has the bat-to-ball skills to do both at a high level. Behind the plate, despite his big frame, Susac is athletic and has a strong arm.
Pick Explanation: After selecting pitchers with each selection in 2021, the Angels could find their catcher of the future this year. Susac is easily the best catcher remaining in the class and some scouts still prefer him over Kevin Parada. Los Angeles has selected a college player in the past three first rounds.
14. New York Mets – LHP Jackson Ferris, IMG Academy (FL)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 199 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 18 | Commitment: Mississippi
Scouting Report: Ferris is the top pitcher out of IMG Academy, who consistently produces top-end draft talent every year. He is the definition of projectability in his 6’3″ frame and has already reached 97 on his fastball. Both of Ferris’ secondary offerings could become above-average pitches, with a mid-70s curveball and changeup that both produce whiffs. Many scouts compare Ferris to a young Tim Lincecum due to his abnormal delivery and repertoire.
Pick Explanation: New York needs to add some quality pitching talent to a hitter-heavy farm system. The Mets haven’t signed a pitcher out of the first round since David Peterson in 2017, but that may change this summer. In a thin draft for pitchers, watch for the Mets to take a prep arm with one of their selections.
15. San Diego Padres – 3B Cam Collier, Chipola JC
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 219 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 17 | Commitment: Louisville
Scouting Report: Despite his age, Collier has dominated the JuCo level, and will continue to face top-end talent this summer in the Cape Cod League. A lefty-swinging third-baseman, Collier showcases a line drive approach to all fields and power that is only beginning to develop. Many evaluators believe that Collier can stick at third base due to his arm strength but could move to first later down the road.
Pick Explanation: The Padres have a long history of drafting high upside prep bats in the first round. While Collier plays at a junior college, he is just 17, matching the timetable of most prep players. With the lack of pitching depth in this class, San Diego should continue to draft players that fit their recent past.
16. Cleveland Guardians – RHP Walter Ford, Pace (FL)
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 193 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 17 | Commitment: Alabama
Scouting Report: Ford was previously a top arm in the 2023 class but reclassified for this summer. The Alabama commit has triple-digits written all over him and will likely get there soon. Currently, Ford’s fastball gets up to 97 and he partners it with a good slider. His place in the draft may depend on how much a team loves his profile. Ford commands both of his pitches well and will likely further his changeup development wherever he lands.
Pick Explanation: The Guardians have a knack for developing pitching and Ford’s raw stuff and command feel like a good fit for them. Although they usually opt to go with college arms, their last prep pitcher was Daniel Espino, who looks like a star in the making. With Cleveland’s hitter-heavy organization, another prep arm gives the next Guardians rotation some high-end talent.
17. Philadelphia Phillies – OF Chase DeLauter, James Madison
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 235 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 20 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Scouting Report: DeLauter was thrown into the first-round discussion after a breakout summer in the Cape Cod League. Before that, the redshirt sophomore put up a huge season at James Madison, producing a 1.231 OPS in 26 games. DeLauter had an unreal start to this season, hitting .437 with eight homers, but broke his foot in early April. Best said this could be one of the best picks in the draft if all goes as planned. DeLauter has shown his pure hitting ability against high-end talent, silencing the concerns over James Madison’s competition. He is a good runner and should end up at a corner spot due to his arm strength and build.
Pick Explanation: If DeLauter lives up to the hype, this could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. Other than the selections of prep arms Mick Abel and Andrew Painter, the Phillies are known to go after college bats. More recently, Bryson Stott, Adam Haseley, and Alec Bohm were selected by Philadelphia in the first round. DeLauter could end up being the best of the bunch among this group of college outfielders.
18. Cincinnati Reds – OF Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman (NV)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 175 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Louisiana State
Scouting Report: The son of long-time outfielder Carl Crawford, Justin possesses a strong mix of speed, contact skills, and athleticism that will likely land him in center field long term. A 6-3 lefty-swinger, Crawford’s improving frame could allow him to grow into more power. In term of pure speed, Crawford may be the fastest runner in this class.
Pick Explanation: In recent history, the Reds have drafted a good mix of college and prep talent early in drafts. Crawford gives the Reds an exciting mix of tools and upside, fitting in well with what they may be looking for during this rebuild.
19. Oakland Athletics – SS Cole Young, North Allegheny (PA)
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 179 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Duke
Scouting Report: Young was once discussed as a top-10 selection, but due to some early risers, it looks like he will go in the middle of round one. The Pennsylvania product has an advanced approach at the dish and top-end bat-to-ball skills. Young is almost a sure bet to stick at shortstop, with above-average speed and a good arm. Due to Duke’s track record of getting prospects to campus, Young is a very real candidate to go to school.
Pick Explanation: The Oakland A’s picked up another prep shortstop last year, drafting Max Muncy 25th overall. They could end up replicating Cleveland’s approach, stockpiling middle infield talent and hoping that some hit. The Athletics also have a recent track record of taking prep talent in the first round of previous drafts.
20. Atlanta Braves – LHP Brandon Barriera, American Heritage (FL)
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 171 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 17 | Commitment: Vanderbilt
Scouting Report: Despite his stature, Brandon Barriera has some electric stuff, including his fastball that reaches the mid-90s. Barriera’s slider may be his best pitch, showcasing depth and two-plane break. The Vanderbilt commit hasn’t needed a changeup to this point, so it’s development is lacking behind his first two offerings.
Pick Explanation: This one breaks the mold a bit, as the Braves have an extremely college-heavy draft philosophy. However, Barriera may be one of the top three prep pitchers in this class, and the Braves shouldn’t let him fall any further.
21. Seattle Mariners – 3B Cade Doughty, LSU
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 195 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 21 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Scouting Report: Doughty may be the definition of a safe college bat. The redshirt sophomore turned in a nice season for the Tigers last year and is following it up with a 1.003 OPS and ten homers to this point. Doughty has an advanced approach at the plate, only striking out 35 times so far. He could turn in 15 home run seasons professionally, but is mainly a hit-over-power bat. Defensively, Doughty will be an average to below glove at either second or third base.
Pick Explanation: The Mariners have gone college pitcher heavy recently, with their last college bat being Evan White in 2017. Doughty gives Seattle a close-to-finished bat that may be able to contribute in the next few seasons.
22. St. Louis Cardinals – SS/OF Jett Williams, Rockwall-Heath (TX)
Height: 5-7 | Weight: 160 lbs. | B-T: S-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Mississippi State
Scouting Report: Jett Williams is in the conversation for the best overall prep hit tool in this class. Despite his size, many scouts are impressed with his batting practice, and more importantly how that swing translates to games. Williams has always performed well versus high-end velocity with surprising power. The Mississippi State commit is very athletic and quick, making both shortstop and center field end-goal possibilities.
Pick Explanation: The Cardinals are known to go after prep bats with interesting profiles. Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn are two prime examples from the 2020 class. Williams has a ton of athleticism and is one of the best pure hitters in this class, giving St. Louis a fun project.
23. Toronto Blue Jays – RHP Andrew Dutkanych, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep (IN)
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 212 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Vanderbilt
Scouting Report: Andrew Dutkanych is one of the nastiest pitchers in the class. His mid-to-high 90s fastball has excellent riding life, along with two breaking balls that get a ton of movement and depth. More specifically, some think that his slider is the best breaking ball in the prep class. Dutkanych’s changeup is still coming along, but his success versus good competition has mainly been carried by his other three offerings.
Pick Explanation: The Blue Jays have a recent history of drafting college pitching, but Dutkanych may be too good to pass up. After dealing some pitching this offseason, Toronto may look to balance out the organization with an arm at this pick.
24. Boston Red Sox – RHP Landon Sims, Mississippi State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 227 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 21 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: Sims was separating himself as the best pitcher in the draft before having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Despite coming out of the bullpen for his first two years at Mississippi State, Sims became a starter this spring. His fastball is electric, reaching the upper 90s consistently, with one of the best sliders in college baseball. Despite his long-term home, Sims can have success starting or relieving.
Pick Explanation: With a relatively thin farm system, the Red Sox need to hit on a safe option. Sims fits that, possibly being big league ready in the next two seasons. Boston has selected prep bats with their past three first-round picks, however, Sims would give them a much-needed boost to their pitching depth.
25. New York Yankees – RHP Blade Tidwell, Tennessee
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 200 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Tidwell and Landon Sims are very similar profiles, with some preferring Blade. On top of a high-90s fastball and wipeout slider, Tidwell also throws a changeup that some believe could develop into an above-average pitch. He, like many other college pitchers in the class, was shutdown with arm issues earlier this spring. Tidwell has since returned, turning in some good starts for the Volunteers.
Pick Explanation: The Yankees are slowly emerging as a top pitching development organization in MLB. Although they have been selecting bats recently, Tidwell’s pitch mix and projectability give New York a lot to work with.
26. Chicago White Sox – LHP Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 200 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Hjerpe won’t blow up the radar gun, despite reaching 95 at times, but his deception makes the fastball one of the hardest to hit among college pitchers. Hjerpe’s recent performance has seen him shoot up draft boards. His changeup works well off of the fastball, along with a mid-80s wipeout slider that may be his best offering.
Pick Explanation: Hjerpe makes a lot of sense for the White Sox. First, he can be in the big leagues soon, immediately impacting a talented roster. Second, Hjerpe possesses all of the traits to be a starter, extremely valuable to a team in Chicago’s situation. If you prefer teams to go with the best overall player, Hjerpe may be that, with a chance for him to be the best college arm in this class.
27. Milwaukee Brewers – LHP Noah Schultz, Oswego East (IL)
Height: 6-9 | Weight: 225 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 18 | Commitment: Vanderbilt
Scouting Report: Although he is 6’9″, Noah Schultz brings it from a low-three-quarters slot with a good amount of deception. The Vanderbilt commit creates uncomfortable at-bats with a low-90s fastball and a deep, sweeping slider. Both pitches have high spin rates, along with a vertical changeup. Schultz knows how to throw strikes, with no control or command concerns.
Pick Explanation: The Brewers have quietly become one of the better pitcher development systems in baseball and Schultz could be the next best arm. Schultz is one of the more interesting profiles in this class, with his tremendous upside being discovered.
28. Houston Astros – OF Dylan Beavers, California
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 206 lbs. | B-T: L-R | Age: 20 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: Despite concerns over his production versus high-end talent, Beavers came out slugging this spring at Cal. The junior outfielder has already accumulated 15 homers, but many want to see his batting average rise, currently sitting around .280. His advanced approach is showcased by a .425 on-base percentage and an improving strikeout rate. Many evaluators believe he will be an above-average defender in a corner outfield spot.
Pick Explanation: Historically, the Astros have had tremendous success when drafting college hitters. Alex Bregman and George Springer come to mind. Beavers would fit nicely in Houston, giving a much-needed boost to the bats in this farm system.
29. Tampa Bay Rays – LHP Carson Whisenhunt, East Carolina
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 205 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: Whisenhunt seemed poised to be one of the best college arms in this class before testing positive for steroids, effectively ending his season. Despite his off-the-field issues, Whisenhunt will attempt to improve his stock by pitching in the Cape Cod League this summer. His mid-90s fastball is complimented by an above-average changeup, and good curveball. Whisenhunt is a pretty safe option for teams and has some room to fill out.
Pick Explanation: Other than Oregon State’s Connor Hjerpe, Whisenhunt could have the most eye-popping data among college pitchers in the draft. Of course, this will be very attractive to the Rays, who are known for developing and acquiring high-spin pitchers.
30. San Francisco Giants – SS Zach Neto, Campbell
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 185 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 21 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Scouting Report: Zach Neto may have the craziest career stat line among hitters this year. Through 78 career games, Neto is hitting .389/.487/.712 with 18 homers and just 43 strikeouts. He runs well and has a strong arm, upping the chances of him sticking at shortstop long-term. While he isn’t seen as much of a prospect on the mound, Neto has logged 26 innings as a pitcher for the Fighting Camels. If a team believes in his hit tool, watch for someone to take Neto relatively early.
Pick Explanation: San Francisco is an extremely college-heavy team when it comes to drafting, so Neto’s profile makes a ton of sense. All this guy does is hit, and despite Campbell’s lack of talented opponents, Neto has shown he can handle good pitching.
31. Colorado Rockies – 3B Tucker Toman, Hammond (SC)
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 183 lbs. | B-T: S-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Louisiana State
Scouting Report: An offense-first corner infielder, Toman impressed evaluators with his raw talent at past events. His impressive bat speed and pop give teams a lot to work with, although his swing-and-miss causes some concern. Due to an average-to-above arm, Toman will probably end up at third base. He is a candidate to make it to campus.
Pick Explanation: In recent memory, the Rockies have targeted prep hitters in the first round. While other outlets have him as a day two selection, a team will fall in love with Toman’s profile. A switch-hitting power bat, Toman reminds many of LSU’s Jacob Berry (Mocked to Colorado at 10).
32. Cincinnati Reds – LHP Hunter Barco, Florida
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 210 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 21 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: In a thin pitching class, it seems to be the year of college lefties and Barco could be the best of the bunch. Before going down with Tommy John surgery, Barco was widely considered for the middle of the first round. The southpaw features a low 90s fastball, changeup, and slider that many believe is his best pitch. Maybe Barco’s most impressive attribute is his pinpoint command and ability to throw quality strikes.
Pick Explanation: Cincinnati tends to go after Barco’s profile, so this seems like the perfect fit. Barco reminds many of Reds’ top prospect Nick Lodolo due to his pitch mix and build. College lefties are usually a pretty safe option, with the Reds consistently targeting them.
Competitive Balance Round A
33. Baltimore Orioles – OF Cayden Wallace, Arkansas
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Sophomore
Scouting Report: After a 2021 season where Wallace slugged 14 homers, he performed well in the Cape Cod League, owning a .279/.369/.500 slash. Despite some swing-and-miss, Wallace has legit power potential and has hit well this season. Although he has played all outfield positions and third base for Arkansas, Wallace will likely land in a corner spot as a professional.
Pick Explanation: Baltimore doesn’t usually draft prep players early, so another low-risk bat may be the selection here. The Orioles have gone after guys like Wallace in the past, especially recently. Another route they could go is one of the lasting injured college arms.
34. Arizona Diamondbacks – RHP JR Ritchie, Bainbridge (WA)
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 183 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: UCLA
Scouting Report: Ritchie’s repertoire and profile could lead to some teams taking a chance on him in the late first round. With a mid-90s fastball and good slider, Ritchie excels at throwing strikes, making him a top prep arm in this draft. He also throws a changeup, which could develop into an above-average offering.
Pick Explanation: The Diamondbacks seem to target a lot of high school talent earlier in drafts, but when it comes to pitchers, they seem to prefer college guys. Other than Blake Walston, most of their prospects are college arms, but that may change with Ritchie. An advanced pitcher, someone like Arizona could scoop him up in this range.
35. Kansas City Royals – RHP Peyton Pallette, Arkansas
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 180 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: Coming into the season, many thought that Pallette could be the first pitcher off of the board. He required Tommy John surgery, being yet another top college arm being shutdown. When on the mound, Pallette is dominant, showcasing eye-popping spin rates and velocity. His fastball consistently sits in the high 90s and the curveball averages over 3,000 rpm. Pallette also throws a good changeup, paving the path as a starter in the future.
Pick Explanation: Kansas City is a team that takes college pitching often in drafts. Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, and Kris Bubic all come to mind. Out of that group, Pallette may be the best, and makes sense for the Royals.
36. Pittsburgh Pirates – LHP Connor Prielipp, Alabama
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 205 lbs. | B-T: L-L | Age: 21 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: Prielipp is yet another top college pitcher that will spend 2022 injured. The junior southpaw rarely allows walks and strikes out a ton of hitters. Prielipp’s sweeping slider is regarded as his best pitch, but his fastball can get into the mid-90s and be used as a weapon. He also throws a changeup.
Pick Explanation: The Pirates don’t usually do this, but they may select a college pitcher. With a great farm system and some room for error, one of these risky injured college arms could be appealing.
37. Cleveland Guardians – RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 220 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 20 | Class: Junior
Scouting Report: An early riser in this class, Hughes features an electric fastball and and good curveball that should produce whiffs at the next level. His pitch mix is rounded out with an average changeup, but some believe it has room for development. Hughes is pretty much filled out, being pretty physically imposing at 6’4″, 220 pounds. His control needs improvement.
Pick Explanation: Cleveland has a history of drafting northwest talent, especially at Gonzaga, Eli Morgan’s alma mater. While Morgan and Hughes are very different, the Guardians’ pitching development has a lot to work with here.
38. Colorado Rockies – RHP Kumar Rocker, No School
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 245 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 21 | Class: Graduated
Scouting Report: One of the most polarizing prospects of the past decade, Rocker was drafted 10th overall by the Mets last year but did not sign. Many questions surround him, including some shaky medical reports received after the draft. There is no doubt, however, that when Rocker is on the mound, it is hard to find anyone better. The Vanderbilt product’s fastball can reach the high-90s and he compliments it with one of the best sliders in the country. Rocker’s cutter and changeup are average offerings.
Pick Explanation: The Rockies selected Rocker in the late rounds out of high school and with three picks in the first round, they could try again. Of course, Rocker is one of the riskiest players in this draft, but the Rockies may take the risk given their position.
39. San Diego Padres – OF Henry Bolte, Palo Alto (CA)
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 198 lbs. | B-T: R-R | Age: 18 | Commitment: Texas
Scouting Report: Bolte has some of the more electric tools and athleticism in the entire draft, giving him huge upside. The Texas commit is very projectable and could grow into more power. His approach will need some refinement, but Bolte’s power/speed combo give him superstar potential. Look for him to possibly be one of the best picks of this draft.
Pick Explanation: The Padres, much like their divisional opponent Diamondbacks, tend to target a lot of prep bats early. Bolte gives them an exciting mix of tools, and while he may take longer to develop, San Diego usually takes these profiles.