2022 MLB Draft: Predicting what the Top 5 will look like
In the yearly Major League Baseball Draft, it is extremely uncommon for the team with the No. 1 pick to not take the best player available due to budget restraints.
This year, the Baltimore Orioles have the top pick in the draft, and they are known to be sticklers when it comes to early-round picks. The Orioles love to spread their money out and not focus all of their budgetary space on one pick.
After the No. 1 pick goes to the Orioles, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals fill out this year’s top-five.
Druw Jones, son of potential Hall of Famer Andruw Jones, is widely expected to go first overall in this year’s draft. Will the Orioles roll with him, or will they go for a player lower on the totem pole in an effort to spread out funds?
What will the top-5 look like in this year’s MLB Draft?
#5 – Washington Nationals will select OF Elijah Green
Outfielder Elijah Green has an insane amount of potential, and the Washington Nationals are going to capitalize on his surprising availability as late as the fifth round. With just two outfielders in their pitching-heavy top-10 prospect list, Green will fit nicely in the Nationals’ future plans, potentially alongside Juan Soto.
Should Green fall all the way to the No. 5 pick in the draft, Mike Rizzo and Co. will be all over it. Green is said to have 40-homer potential down the line, paired with a plus-plus speed tool and an excellent arm in the outfield. He has the tools to stick in center field long term and shouldn’t take long to reach superstardom with his new club.
#4 – Pittsburgh Pirates will select SS Termarr Johnson
Johnson, a bat-first shortstop who will likely find a long-term home at second base, has been widely referred to as “the No. 1 hitter in this year’s draft class”. Johnson, 18, swings it from the left side and has the hand-eye coordination to reside at the top of a big league team’s lineup.
While his arm is on the lower end of where scouts would like it to be, a move to second base will take some of the defensive burden off of his shoulders as a shortstop and allow him to focus more on what he does best, and that is hit.
Johnson has received scouting grades from MLB.com of a 60-overall with a 70-grade hit tool and 60-grade power tool. That, matched with his speed on the basepaths, would make him one of the more intriguing fits atop the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup. He would form an exceptional tandem with Nick Gonzales or O’Neil Cruz, whichever one ends up at shortstop.
#3 – Texas Rangers will select C Kevin Parada
Far and away the best available catcher in this year’s draft pool, Kevin Parada will join a Texas Rangers squad that desperately needs a face of the future behind the plate. Sam Huff was supposed to be that guy, but his build puts him as a first baseman down the line, where he has already began to see time defensively.
Parada has been described as a clumsy catcher in the past, but he made some significant defensive adjustments, including adopting a one-knee catching style in an effort to raise his draft value. He has begun to routinely throw out runners from his knees, showing off his throwing arm and accuracy, and he has a strong work ethic that may allow him to stick behind the plate down the line with the proper mechanical adjustments.
Defense aside, Parada is one of the most exciting bats in the class. In 60 games with his collegiate Georgia Tech team, the slugging catcher went off at the plate, hitting 26 home runs in just 300 plate appearances, driving in 88 runs and stealing 11 bags along the way. He also struckout just 32 times while walking 30 times, putting up a batting average of .361 and an OPS of 1.162. Regardless of where his defensive home is, he is one of the very best hitters available this season.
#2 – Arizona Diamondbacks will select SS Jackson Holliday
The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Jordan Lawlar with their first pick in last year’s draft, but the Dbacks so strongly value their offense and defense up the middle that a second consecutive selection of a shortstop is not an outrageous thought.
Enter Jackson Holliday, son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday.
The younger Holliday swings the bat from the left side and has excellent bat-to-ball skills, patience at the plate, and is a strong defender as well. One of the faster available players in the draft class, he has made big defensive strides recently, suggesting that he may stick at short long-term.
With the bat, Holliday has a 60-grade hit-tool per MLB.com, paired with 55-grade power. He has an extremely high baseball IQ and will undoubtedly be a leader of whichever club he ultimately lands with.
#1 – Baltimore Orioles will select OF Druw Jones
This is the year that the Baltimore Orioles spend big on their first-round draft pick and go after Druw Jones, son of 17-year outfielder Andruw Jones. While uber-prospect Adley Rutschman signed for $8.1MM back in 2019 (the highest in that class), Jones figures to go even higher than that.
Jones is widely regarded as the best overall defender in the entire class and is said to have five-tool potential, just like his father did back in his heyday. While Druw is taller and leaner than Andruw, he projects to be every bit the player his dad was.
MLB.com gives Druw a 55-grade hit-tool with a 60-grade power-tool which already puts him as one of the better hitters in the class. Add on his 70-grade run-tool, 65-grade arm-tool and 70-grade field-tool, Jones truly does have five-tool potential and is even said to have the ability to play some shortstop as well with his strong defensive chops.