We are without a Cubs game again today, which left me with the afternoon to circle back to MLB Draft rankings – what else is a 2022 Cubs fan to do amirite – and I see that The Athletic’s Keith Law put out his first set of rankings for this year’s class. It’s worth perusing for a different perspective on the best prospects, and how he sees them. The thing goes 100 names deep, too, so there’s a lot to take in.
Recall, the Cubs have the 7th overall pick in the July draft, so it feels all the more tangible to be actively thinking about the top prospects in the draft, especially when Law suggests there is a clear top player and then six in the next tier. By my math, that means no matter what, the Cubs would have the opportunity to get one of Law’s top two tier prospects.
No surprise on that top prospect, by the way – high school outfielder Druw Jones is in a category of his own at this point, and it is starting to look like it would be a shock if he isn’t taken first overall by the Orioles. Then again, the Orioles have a history of occasionally doing surprising things with their early picks, so I guess we’ll see.
That next tier of hitters includes names we’ve heard before, though they come in a different order and with a guy at number two – third baseman Cam Collier – who isn’t always included in the top ten picks in mock drafts. (To be sure, this is not a mock! It’s just Law’s ranking, and he’s big on Collier, who finished high school early so that he could go play juco ball as a 17-year-old. I have to say, I love that about him.)
The names after Collier should not be a surprise at this point, because we keep hearing about them in this tier: Termarr Johnson, Elijah Green, Brooks Lee, Jackson Holliday, and Kevin Parada. It’s still a couple months until the draft, but if the Cubs wound up with any of those five – or Collier, though he’s a little more polarizing in the evaluations – I’d be thrilled. I’ve said it before, but it’s a particularly great draft to be picking in the top eight or so, with that many prospects who could, in another class, be viewed as a pretty clear top three type pick.
I could be wrong on that, by the way. In a chat attached to the list, Law remarks that the overall draft class this year is very poor compared to past years (though that’s presumably largely because the pitching has been decimated and wasn’t great to begin with), and Jones is not a “generational” type top overall pick. Indeed, Law says he’s a step down from guys like Adley Rutschman or Bobby Witt Jr., and those guys weren’t “generational” types to Law, either. So, in other words, it doesn’t seem to me like Law sees this top group of bats as exceptionally strong.
The real outlier for Law seems to be LSU’s Jacob Berry, who is typically included in the top ten group elsewhere, but is in the 20s for Law because he doesn’t see a pro position for him. If that were true and Berry is a pure DH type, then you really couldn’t justify taking him anywhere close to the top ten.