Mock: Is the best overall prospect a lock for No. 1 pick?

12:20 AM UTC

Welcome to our penultimate mock draft of 2022. And yes, we look forward to this edition every year just to use the word “penultimate.”

Jim Callis and I will have one more projection of the first 39 picks coming to you in the hours before the start of the first round on Sunday, but we didn’t want you to wait that long for another check in.

I’m sticking with the best player in the top spot for now, though there are still several players in play for the Orioles and they’ll likely wait until Sunday to make their decision.

On our most recent MLB Pipeline Podcast episode, we discussed that while there is much up in the air at the very top, there is a pretty good sense of who the industry thinks the top seven players taken will be, in some order (listed here alphabetically): Cam Collier, Elijah Green, Jackson Holliday, Termarr Johnson, Druw Jones, Brooks Lee and Kevin Parada. You’ll see those are the names I’m sticking with below.

As always, detailed scouting reports for all players can be found with MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 250 (rankings in parentheses).

1. Orioles: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Ga. (No. 1)Jones is the choice if they go with the best player, and it feels like Termarr Johnson is the best option in terms of getting a really good player and saving the most money. Jackson Holliday might be the compromise between those two, with Brooks Lee the “get there faster” college option.

2. D-backs: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater HS, Okla. (No. 2)As we’ve said, the D-backs would happily take Jones if the O’s don’t, and Holliday appears to be the leading candidate, ahead of Johnson or Lee.

3. Rangers: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6)The Rangers would take Jones or Holliday, but with them gone, the choices come down to Parada and Lee, or Elijah Green on the high school side.

4. Pirates: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)While Lee is definitely a strong consideration here, it’s been hard to ignore the talk that the Pirates will cut a deal with a young hitter they really like, save money and spread their bonus pool around more, like they did last year. That could mean a choice between Johnson and Cam Collier.

5. Nationals: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 3)With Parada and Johnson off the board, the Nats could be deciding between Lee’s advanced skills and Green’s ridiculous ceiling. As of right now, the guess is the upside wins out.

6. Marlins: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)It’s still mostly college bats we’re hearing here. In this scenario, that means Lee or someone like Jacob Berry, with Lee getting the edge.

7. Cubs: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola Junior College (No. 8)The Cubs look like they might take whoever is left from our “Magnificent Seven,” and it’s long been reported they like Collier a lot.

8. Twins: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)I’ve really only heard hitters here throughout this process, with the top choices looking like college hitters: Berry or Gavin Cross.

9. Royals: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Nev. (No. 13)If Carl’s kid doesn’t go here, he could go 11 or be more of a mid-teens type of pick. Kansas City also traded away its comp pick, shrinking its bonus pool. Whether that has an impact on what they do here remains to be seen, but they did go under slot for Frank Mozzicato last year.

10. Rockies: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 10)This makes 10 straight hitters. If the Twins take Cross, this could be where Berry lands.

11. Mets: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 12)(compensation pick for failure to sign 2021 first-rounder Kumar Rocker)This has been a pairing we’ve had for quite some time and there’s no reason to stray from it. Jace Jung is another college hitter who could go here, but — spoiler alert — he might be there for the Mets’ next pick.

12. Tigers: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS, Mich. (No. 11)Porter breaks the string of 11 straight hitters, but it’s far from a guarantee. The Tigers are also discussing college hitters like Jung, Zach Neto and Chase DeLauter and a high school bat like Cole Young. There’s also buzz they’re digging into Connor Prielipp from the (injured) college pitching side and lefty Jackson Ferris as another prep pitching option.

13. Angels: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Fla. (No. 15)It’s hard to gauge what direction the Angels are going in, but most of the buzz remains pitching. Barriera and Robby Snelling are the high school arms, with Prielipp, Cooper Hjerpe and Gabriel Hughes from the college crop.

14. Mets: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 9)Some are concerned about Jung’s injury and fade late in the season, with some thinking he could get down to the 20s in the first round. Other college bats still on the board, like DeLauter or Neto, could be in play, too.

15. Padres: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 25)We’ve written the sentence, “The Padres aren’t afraid of risk” enough times by now. Prielipp has thrown twice for scouts and is on the back end of his Tommy John journey. I still think this is a good potential landing spot for Dylan Lesko, the talented high school righty who is just starting his recovery.

16. Guardians: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS, Ga. (No. 14)If the Padres don’t take Lesko, could he find a home in Cleveland? It could happen. If they go the hitter route, Zach Neto and Cole Young are middle infielders of interest.

17. Phillies: Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma (No. 24)Horton jumped into first-round conversations with his ridiculous postseason run and I keep hearing his name rising, with him coming up in the teens now. The high school lefties, Barriera and Snelling, still come up here as well.

18. Reds: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 17)I’m feeling more bat love here, with Neto and Young as infield possibilities, and college outfielders like DeLauter or Jordan Beck possibly on the table.

19. Athletics: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 22)At this point, the A’s better take Beavers as we’ve had him in this spot for eight straight mocks. There are other college bats (DeLauter, Peyton Graham, Drew Gilbert) in play here.

20. Braves: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 26)Some feel Hughes will go higher as a healthy college arm who impressed many teams at the Draft Combine. Another college arm like Justin Campbell is being discussed as well. The Braves picked up a comp pick (No. 35) from the Royals and it will be interesting to see how they use the extra pool money.

21. Mariners: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 34)This could be the floor for Jung if he slides and the Mariners are one of many teams trying to figure out Horton and Prielipp on the college arm front. With all of them gone, the steady lefty from Oregon State could be more firmly in the mix.

22. Cardinals: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 32)Teams around this area might be looking at the same group of this tier of college bats, with Gilbert and DeLauter the strong contenders. This is one of the first spots people are hearing the name of Florida’s Sterlin Thompson.

23. Blue Jays: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison University (No. 18)DeLauter is definitely in the mix here, and if he goes ahead of this spot (and his name seems to be gaining some steam), Gilbert would come into play if the Cards don’t take him, as would Thompson. Prep bat Tucker Toman is in the mix as well.

24. Red Sox: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath HS, Tex. (No. 21)As Mr. Callis mentioned last week, Williams could go higher than this, but he might not get past here, though Boston is looking at the remaining college bats (Thompson, Beck, Jacob Melton).

25. Yankees: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Pa. (No. 20)If the Yankees wanted to go the pitching route, they might look at someone like Tennessee’s Blade Tidwell. The same group of college hitters are in the mix here, but they definitely would be interested if Young didn’t go above them.

26. White Sox: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, S.C. (No. 35)Toman is considered one of the best high school hitters in the class and the White Sox showed they were willing to change direction from previous Drafts and look at prep bats, like they did in taking Colson Montgomery last year in the first round.

27. Brewers: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Fla. (No. 19)There’s still a lot of talk about college hitters here, with Thompson or Graham a possibility — or they could look to cut a deal. But I’ll go off the board here and go the high school lefty route with Ferris, whom the Brewers like if the price is right.

28. Astros: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 29)It’s the same group of college hitters here. Thompson is one of the better pure hitters of who’s left, so he gets the nod over Melton or Beck right now.

29. Rays: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City (No. 38)The Rays could get pretty creative because they have four picks on Day 1 (65, 70, 71). Rocker is still the Draft’s biggest wild card because of his injury history, but I could see a team hoping to contend this year (Padres, Phillies, Giants, other possibilities) rolling the dice on the 22-year-old and getting him up to the big leagues in September or October as a multiple-inning leverage type of reliever.

30. Giants: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Nev. (No. 16)The Giants have been linked with a number of high-upside or risk picks, so if Lesko, Rocker or another of the arms with injuries get here, they could go in that direction. They’re also not afraid of prep arms, and Snelling is in their mix.

Supplemental first-round picks:

31. Rockies: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 23)32. Reds: Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma (No. 28)33. Orioles: Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell (No. 45)34. D-backs: Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State (No. 39)35. Braves (from Royals): Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 36)36. Pirates: Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union HS, Ohio (No. 37)37. Guardians: Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas (No. 31)38. Rockies: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 27)39. Padres: Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto HS, Calif. (No. 40)