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Friday, May 20, 2022
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Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft


College prospect coverage is officially back like cardigans and leather. Those are hip again, right? This is coming from a guy who had to ask a coworker what it meant last week when she said the staff taco bar was ‘bussin’, so you’ll have to pardon my mid-life cluelessness. Fortunately, one thing I’m not clueless about is the 2022 college draft class. After posting way-too-early top-10 rankings in September, I have reworked my original top 10 and added five new names to create the first installment in Razzball’s college rankings for the 2022 MLB Draft. As I’ve done here the last two years, I will expand upon this initial top 15 in the months leading up to July, culminating with a Complete College Top 100 prior to draft day. This year’s top 15 features three stud catching prospects, but only three right-handed hitters and three pitchers. It’s a draft class loaded with left-handed and switch-hitting position players, and everyone I’ll go over today should immediately be on your radar in dynasty formats and any league utilizing a first-year player draft. Once you have your lilac cardigan on with some trendy leather pants, click the button below and we’ll get started on the top 15.

1. Jacob Berry | 1B / 3B | LSU | S / R | 6-0 | 212

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

2. Jace Jung | 2B / 3B | Texas Tech | L / R | 6-0 | 200

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

3. Kevin Parada | C | Georgia Tech | R / R | 6-1 | 197

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

4. Brooks Lee | SS | Cal Poly | S / R | 6-2 | 195

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

5. Robert Moore | 2B | Arkansas | S / R | 5-9 | 170

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

6. Daniel Susac | C | Arizona | S / R | 6-3 | 205

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

7. Jud Fabian | OF | Florida | R / R | 6-1 | 180

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

8. Gavin Cross | OF | Virginia Tech | L / L | 6-3 | 215

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

9. Brock Jones | OF | Stanford | L / L | 6-1 | 185

It’s BJ time! As a Bring yo Jockstrap, Brock Jones is joining the party. Looking back at my way-too-early rankings, Jones and fellow NCAA outfielder Chase DeLauter probably should have made the cut – but they’re called “way too” early for a reason (more on DeLauter in a minute). Jones arrived at Stanford as a two-sport athlete, previously holding status as a safety on the Cardinal football team and seeing time as a freshman in 2020 on special teams. He has since transitioned to being a one-sport athlete, which did wonders for his bottom-line production as a sophomore in 2021. After slashing .228 / .323 / .316 in his debut campaign, Jones rebounded in a major way to hit .311 / .453 / .646 with 18 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 62 RBI, 56 runs, and 14 stolen bases as a second-year player. He struck out 22.0% of the time but also walked at an 18.3% clip. The swing-and-miss component to his game is certainly a concern, but the walk rate paints a picture of a young hitter who already knows when to pick and choose his opportunities to drive the ball. During an 11-game cameo with the USA Collegiate National Team over the summer, he posted a .242 / .306 / .576 batting line while being one of three players to leave the yard on multiple occasions (Gavin Cross, Jacob Berry – 4 ), finishing with three home runs. He has a simple and compact load, with a controlled hover step taking him to the connection point. My primary concern is that he pulls off the ball a bit and does not drive through each offering enough to be truly special with the wood – but that’s a relatively easy fix. MLB Pipeline’s ranking of Jones as the No. 7 overall prospect for the 2022 MLB Draft seems overly bullish given his body of work, but the upside is there, and he’s a top-15 college talent until he gives us reason to believe otherwise. BJ out!

10. Hunter Barco | LHP | Florida | L / L | 6-4 | 205

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

11. Chase DeLauter | OF | James Madison | L / L | 6-4 | 235

In MLB Pipeline’s top-100 draft rankings, DeLauter sits right behind Brock Jones at No. 8 overalls. Although I like DeLauter as a top-15 college talent, I do not view DeLauter as a top-10 talent overall. There are certainly things to like about DeLauter’s game, but the swing itself does not warrant a ranking as high as he’s been given in my own personal assessment. That being said, the left-handed swinging outfielder has posted a .385 / .488 / .657 slash line with seven home runs and 14 steals across 42 career college games with an 11.7 K% and 16.6 BB%. However, it was his performance in the Cape Cod League this past summer that has him rocketing up draft boards. In 34 games swinging with the wood, he slashed .298 / .397 / .589 and swatted nine home runs in 146 PAs – three more than he hit with metal in 128 PAs during the 2021 college season. Scouts believe his raw power is plus at the very minimum, and that appears to be a relatively fair assessment given his CCBL output in that department. With that profile comes more career walks (34) than strikeouts (24), but one has to remember that DeLauter comes from a conference less equipped with pitching talent than the likes of the SEC, Big12, etc. Grade him out as a first-round talent, but not a top-10 name. If you need evidence of that, perhaps you missed the 2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Even so, he has a track record of performing against some of the nation’s top collegiate arms and while I see him going in the second round as it stands today, another strong season could easily propel him into the top-30 picks. Tanner is primed to be another value selection in FYPDs as long as his 2022 campaign does not elevate the price tag too much.

12. Landon Sims | RHP | Mississippi State | R / R | 6-2 | 235

Sims 3: SP. Coming in February 2022. After working exclusively as a reliever his first two seasons in Starkville, Sims is transitioning from renowned relief ace to Friday night starter this year. And when I say relief ace – I mean it. Sims was arguably the nation’s second-most dominant reliever in 2021 behind Golden Spikes Award winner Kevin Kopps, but with a projectable arsenal that scouts drool over. Last year, he pitched 56.1 innings with a 1.44 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 16.0 K / 9, 2.4 BB / 9, and 0.3 HR / 9. He wields a 65-grade, high-spin rate fastball that works up to 98 MPH, which he paired excellently out of the pen with a 70-grade slider that works in the mid-80s with tight spin. Much will be made of his introduction of the changeup to the arsenal as a starter this year, as he did not use it in his relief role – currently holds a 45-grade but I do not think much can be made of that. There’s a lot of comparisons here to Max Meyer in terms of the arsenal and transition into the rotation, as Sims is moving from a highly successful, two-pitch closer into the rotation, with scouts waiting to see if he can establish a true third offering and make a pro career as a starter. Monitor Sims ‘performance starting games in 2022, but his floor is that of a formidable MLB closer – and he has a taste for the big moments after the Bulldogs’ 2021 CWS title run.

13. Dylan Beavers | OF | Cal | L / R | 6-4 | 200

Dylan beavers. That is, literally, a complete sentence. Not the intel you were looking for? Try this. A .303 / .401 / .630 hitter as a true sophomore at Cal last season, Beavers launched 18 home runs and 31 extra-base hits, finishing with 49 RBI, 44 runs and 10 steals in 55 games. The bat was undoubtedly impressive, but the results were less impressive over the summer with wood in the CCBL: .233 / .286 / .300 with zero homers and just two extra-base knocks in 35 plate appearances. It’s a sample size small enough that we should not put much stock into it as we set up our first-year player draft boards, but it should not be written off altogether – it’s still part of the complete picture. That being said, Beavers reminds me A LOT of Christian Yelich at this point in his career, albeit a college version. Meaning, I see his mechanics as basically being at the same stage now as Yelich’s was at age 19 – roughly a year and a half younger than beavers is today. You can observe the mechanics below, in which Beavers brings his hands in tighter as he loads from a low beginning position, utilizing a similar hover step to Yelich. I do not think he’ll develop into the same caliber of offensive player, but very few do. As a matter of fact, MLB Pipeline has similar thoughts as my own, writing that He reminded some scouts of Christian Yelich as a left-handed hitter who makes good swing decisions and hard contact in the strike zone. ” Although he comes equipped with a 45-hit tool, 55-power, and 55-legs, I think the hit tool is a bit stronger than that, and that line of thinking is reflected in the below Tweet from Joe Doyle of Prospects Live. I’m expecting to see significant improvement this season from last year’s 21.0 K%, and if Beavers is able to show the ability to adjust and cut that rate below 20%, he’s likely to be a first-round pick in July and worthwhile value selection in the next round of FYPDs.

14. Logan Tanner | C | Mississippi State | R / R | 6-0 | 230

As I’ve stated many times, catchers do not receive a boost in any of my fantasy rankings due to their positional eligibility. That does very little for us in the fantasy realm and when it comes to prospects, we do not even know if a particular player will be moved off the position to give them increased long-term value. As for Tanner, this is solely about the bat – although he does have a real chance to stick behind the dish thanks to a 70-grade arm and receiving skills that should develop into being above average as he works through the farm. At the end of the day, Tanner’s bat should be capable of 25+ homers in the big leagues. He hit .287 / .383 / .525 last season after having just 41 ABs as a freshman in 2020, leading the NCAA champion Bulldogs with 15 home runs while also tallying 13 doubles. With that came a 16.8% strikeout rate and 13.7 walk rate – numbers you have to feel good about for a prospect with 81 college games on his resume. Like most catchers, he’ll be a lost cause in the stolen bases department. But the swing is advanced for a prospect of his age, and I have no doubt that it will play at the professional level.

15. Reggie Crawford | LHP / 1B | UConn | L / L | 6-4 | 230

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft. UPDATE: Crawford underwent Tommy John Surgery in the fall and will be sidelined for all of the 2022 season. His absurd upside keeps him in the top-15 – for now.

That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.





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