Whatever happens at the big league level with the lockout, it’ll have only a very small impact on the minor leagues (players on the 40-man roster might be delayed). And it’ll have no impact at all on amateur ball, where their seasons will be starting as soon as one month from this week. With the 7th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, it’s nice to be able to be way more into the top draft prospects this year than we have been in seven years. Very early mock drafts have been fun, as have been the early looks at the upcoming class.
Today, we’ve got Baseball America’s first top 100 draft prospects list of the season, as well as a deep discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s class. You get a really good sense of the prospects to be following closely this amateur season.
As we’ve seen with other discussions of the class, the top group is very heavy on bats, both prep and college. There are six bats that show up in the rankings before the first pitcher (HS OF Druw Jones, HS INF Termarr Johnson, Cal Poly SS Brooks Lee, Texas Tech 3B Jace Jung, HS OF Elijah Green, and James Madison OF Chase DeLauter). Not hard to get excited about any of those guys.
Incidentally, the first pitcher to show up, Dylan Lesko, is number seven, and has twice been mocked to the Cubs at seven. Seems like everyone is going to agree that, going into the season, Lesko is the top pitching prospect in the draft.
After Lesko, though, there are three more college bats – LSU 3B Jacob Berry, Stanford OF Brock Jones, and Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross – that I’ve also seen in discussions for this same top group. Either way, if the draft were today, the Cubs would be guaranteed one of the six best bats in the draft (kind of in a cluster), or the best pitcher in the draft (or some other guy they liked more than that group). Great scouting reports there at Baseball America on all the top prospects, too, and it tees up a lot of what you’re looking for from these prospects over the next six months.
In the VERY early going of this process, the Cubs look to be in pretty good position in the top ten of this draft. I would say the top five names are the ones you most frequently see in the top five, so you could make an early argument that the Cubs are just outside the top tier? But the thing is, so much of this is going to change as the seasons play out. There will be dramatic risers that we didn’t see coming. There will be injuries that muddy the waters. And there will probably be scheduling issues that leave you without as much information as you’d want on someone. It just happens every year. So, again, overall, I feel pretty good about this class so far as a group from which the Cubs are likely to get a very good prospect picking at number seven.
Give the rankings and the analysis article a read if you’re a BA subscriber (and if you’re a draft nerd, that is). Bryan took a very early look at the top prospects back in October, by the way, if you missed it.
Note that the precise dates for this year’s draft are still undecided, likely pending the CBA, but will probably be in July again this year.