2022 MLB Draft Winners and Losers: Big League Sons Leave Early; Teams stay away from pitchers


 2022 MLB Draft Winners and Losers: Big League Sons Leave Early;  Teams stay away from pitchers

The 2022 MLB amateur draft began with the first 80 selections Sunday night. Another 536 picks are available on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Orioles had the No. 1 pick for the third time in history and used it for Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holliday. Yes, he’s the son of longtime Big Leaguer Matt Holliday. Here are all of this year’s first-round picks.

Much like the baseball season itself, evaluating the MLB draft requires a marathon mentality, not a sprint. Players drafted this weekend will disappear into the minors for a few years before reappearing, overcoming growing pains, and eventually establishing themselves as major leagues. This is not the event for instant gratification.

Of course, that doesn’t stop us from naming winners and losers. Here are some winners and losers of the 2022 MLB draft, with a focus on the winners because nobody likes to call people losers.

Winner: Sons of big leagues

For the first time in draft history, the sons of former MLB players with the #1 and #2 picks were drafted. A total of four sons of major division teams were drafted in the first round:

1. SS Jackson Holiday: Orioles (Matt’s son)
2. FROM Druw Jones: Diamondbacks (Andruw’s son)
17 FROM Justin Crawford: Phillies (Carl’s son)
19 3B Cam Necklace: Reds (Lou’s son)

Holliday is the second son of the former Major League No. 1 pick, joining Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (No. 1 pick in 1987). That’s pretty good company there. Teams place a high value on big league bloodlines and that was never more evident than in Sunday’s first round.

Winner: Kumar Rockers

A year ago, Rocker, the former Vanderbilt ace, was the No. 10 draft but the Mets didn’t sign him because something in his body scared them. Rocker had minor shoulder surgery last Septemberpushed into an independent league that spring and went 3rd-ranked Rangers in that year’s draft. Rocker going where he went was a big surpriseHe should be going somewhere in the back half of the first half but good for him. After last year’s disappointment, it worked. (Also, Rocker is reuniting with Jack Leiter, his running mate with the Commodores. Texas picked Leiter with the number 2 last summer.)

Because the Dodgers surpassed the third luxury tax bracket of $250 million last season, their first-round picks fell 10 places, leaving them with no first-round picks on Sunday. Their first pick was No. 40 overall, which they used on Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing. Los Angeles is so good at drafting and development that Rushing is likely to become a star, but not having a first-round choice is never fun. That’s especially true for fans who are watching at home (or in LA) and have to wait for their team to name a name.

Winner: The Reds

Cincinnati landed Collier at No. 18 despite being a prospective top 10 pick and sometimes even a prospective top 5 selection all spring. Collier is an intriguing prospect because he’s a 17-year-old who graduated from high school, dropped out of high school early, and enrolled in a junior college so he can enter the draft as a high school junior. Collier has a big advantage – he’s picked up some Rafael Devers comps on his racquet – and getting him with the number 18 is a big, big win for the Reds. My favorite pick of the evening.

Losers: college kids

Picking 6th overall for the Marlins, LSU masher Jacob Berry was technically the first collegiate player to be picked in this year’s draft. I say technically because Rocker, who spent two or three years at Vanderbilt, was drafted from an independent league. It’s the first time since 1971 that a college player hasn’t been included in the top 5 picks. A total of 15 four-year-old college kids were accepted in the first round, the fewest since 2018.

Winner: Cade Horton

Two months ago Horton would have looked insane as a top 10 pick. The Oklahoma ace returned from Tommy John surgery in late March and really got going in June when he dominated the Sooners’ run to the College World Series Finals. Horton’s impressive postseason performance earned him the No. 7 pick with the Cubs. He was by far the biggest draft riser this spring. The kid made himself a ton of cash in the Division I postseason.

Winner: Diversity

For the first time in draft history, four of the top five picks were black players. Baseball struggles with diversity, both on and off the field, and hopefully this year’s draft will be an indication that the tide is turning. One of the most effective ways to grow the sport and attract new audiences is to make sure every kid on the field sees someone who looks like them.

Loser: Jugs

Teams are increasingly risk-averse and it shows on Draft Day. Clubs focus on hitters because they are “safer” than pitchers, who carry such a high risk of injury. Also, so many of the top pitching prospects in the draft class were injured this spring. It was poor pitching class and as a result only seven pitchers were selected in the first round, nine if you include Owen Murphy, #20 pick, and Reggie Crawford, #30 pick, two two-way Player. Those are the fewest pitchers in the first round of this century.

Winner: Fans of two-way players

Two two-way players went into the first round! The Braves used the #20 pick on Illinois high schooler Owen Murphy, and the Giants used the #30 pick on UConn’s Reggie Crawford. Both will start their careers as two-way players. Crawford is recovering from Tommy John surgery and only pitched eight innings in college, but he’s throwing 99 mph from the left and he’s shown some promise with the bat too. The consensus is that Crawford’s future is on the mound because he throws 99mph from the left, but San Francisco intends to develop him as a two-way player. Fun!

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