Best Draft prospects at each position

Best Draft prospects at each position

We broke them down by tools. We broke them down by state. Now, what would it look like if we had all of the best talents on the same field?

Let’s look at the best 2022 Draft prospects at each position. The first team is relatively balanced with six high-school names (including both pitchers) and four from the college ranks. The top seven prospects on MLB Pipeline’s Top 250 ranking are included below, with No. 8 Cam Collier relegated to the second team because of the presence of No. 7 Jacob Berry at the hot corner.

We may never see this exact squad on the field together, but it is fun to dream up how many All-Star appearances, year-end awards and World Series titles will be represented on this list in the decades ahead.

C: Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech (No. 6)
There have been some good catchers to come through Georgia Tech over the years like Jason Varitek, Matt Wieters and Joey Bart. Parada very much belongs on the list and could become the second Yellow Jackets backstop (Bart) to go in the top five overall picks Sunday. The right-handed slugger set a school record with 26 homers this spring and finished with a .361/.453/.709 slash line over 60 games on his way to winning both the Johnny Bench and Buster Posey National Catcher of the Year Awards. He might end up being just average defensively when it comes to receiving and throwing, but the bat is so good that he could be a quick mover through the Minor Leagues.

Second team: Daniel Susac, Arizona (No. 12)

1B: Dominic Keegan, Vanderbilt (No. 97)
There’s a chance a team could ask Keegan to be a catcher, where he played 25 games this spring, but the majority of his reps have come at first, making him eligible here. Keegan has been the Vandy Boys’ most productive hitter the last two seasons and most recently slashed .371/.458/.646 with 14 homers in 62 games this past season. His in-game power from an easy right-handed swing plays to all fields, and he should show enough pop and overall hitting ability to provide value at such a bat-first position, should he stay at first in pro ball.

Second team: Ivan Melendez, Texas (No. 99)

2B: Termarr Johnson, Mays (GA) HS (No. 4)
The book is very much out on the 5-foot-10 middle infielder. Throughout the Draft process, Johnson has been considered the class’s best overall hitter, and some believe he has the best pre-Draft hit tool in decades. The combination of hand-eye coordination and pitch selection makes the Georgia native elite from the left side, and he shows more power than his frame alone would suggest, thanks to his bat speed and strength. Average speed and arm strength will likely see him shift from short to second on the pro side, but there’s little doubt he could be an offensive asset from anywhere on the dirt.

Second team: Jace Jung, Texas Tech (No. 9)

3B: Jacob Berry, LSU (No. 7)
Berry slashed .352/.439/.676 with 17 homers as a freshman at Arizona before transferring to LSU. His results with the Tigers were just as impressive: .370/.464/.630, 15 homers. The switch-hitter is another bat-first prospect on this list because he lacks the foot speed and arm strength to be more than just an adequate third baseman. But the bat — led by his ability to handle all sorts of pitches with a strong approach and 65-grade power — is so good that Berry’s chances of going early Sunday can’t be overlooked.

Second team: Cam Collier, Chipola JC (No. 8)

SS: Jackson Holliday, Stillwater (OK) HS (No. 2)
Being the top shortstop in the class carries a lot of weight, and Holliday — son of seven-time All-Star Matt — has the profile to carry that. First, the 18-year-old has an approach beyond his years that helps him put the barrel on the ball regularly. He’s added strength this spring as well, and he now projects for above-average power. While some lose their wheels as they bulk up, the Oklahoma native has improved his speed leading up to this July, and when he adds in above-average arm strength, he makes for a quality defender as well. He should go within the top three picks of the first round as he begins his journey of making a name for himself.

Second team: Brooks Lee, Cal Poly (No. 5)

OF: Druw Jones, Wesleyan (GA) HS (No. 1)
Holliday isn’t the only player with an impressive family tree on this list. Jones — son of 10-time Gold Glover Andruw — is the top name in this year’s Draft with above-average to elite-level tools across the board. He uses 70-grade speed to become a similarly plus-plus defender in the middle of the grass, and his 65-grade arm gives him another weapon at his disposal from the field. A right-handed hitter, he uses a 6-foot-4 frame to generate plus power, and there could be more in the tank as he matures. Some remaining swing work is the only quibble. Otherwise, Jones is the standout five-tool talent in this year’s Draft.

OF: Elijah Green, IMG Academy (FL) (No. 3)
Green gives this list two extremely tooled-up outfielders. The right-handed slugger’s raw pop has long been a standout on the showcase circuit and it continued to play at IMG Academy in the spring. His 70-grade speed might be an even better tool than the power, and with a strong arm on top of that, he’s close to rivaling Jones as the best defensive outfielder in the class. There are concerns about how much he’ll swing and miss at the next level, particularly against high heaters and breaking stuff, but even if the hit tool is just average, Green has a superstar ceiling.

OF: Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech (No. 10)
Cross provides a different brand of prospect in the final outfield spot. The 21-year-old is solid, if not spectacular, across the board. His left-handed swing helped him produce a .328/.411/.660 slash line with 17 homers in 2022, and it marked the second straight collegiate season in which he finished with an OPS above 1.000. He can be an above-average overall hitter with similar 55-grade power — both of which are useful since he is likely to be a corner outfielder in the Majors due to average speed.

Second team: Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman (NV) HS (No. 13); Chase DeLauter, James Madison (No. 18); Dylan Beavers, California (No. 22)

LHP: Brandon Barriera, America Heritage (FL) HS (No. 15)
The 6-foot-2 southpaw can attack hitters in multiple ways. His fastball already sits in the low-90s and touches as high as 96 mph before he’s even faced his first Minor League batter. Barriera’s low-80s slider can also evade bats, while his above-average changeup is advanced beyond those of typical prep arms because of the way he sells it out of his hand. The Vandy recruit pumps said pitches in the zone, locking in the belief that he’ll start at every level moving forward. Durability, given his size, will be the biggest point to prove.

Second team: Robby Snelling, McQueen (NV) HS (No. 16)

RHP: Brock Porter, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (MI) HS (No. 11)
All the pieces are there to make Porter the standout arm of this year’s crop. There’s the performance — a 0.41 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 58 innings on his way to being named Gatorade National Player of the Year. There’s the stuff, led by a mid-90s fastball that can touch 100 mph, along with a plus changeup and developing hard slider. There’s some projection remaining in his 6-foot-4 frame too, giving clubs even more on which to dream.

Second team: Dylan Lesko, Buford (GA) HS (No. 14)

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