The dust is still settling from the 2021 MLB Draft, but teams like the Detroit Tigers are already hard at work scouting for next year’s draft. There was even a high-school all-star game in Denver last weekend, though with MLB’s muddled schedule of events, you can be forgiven for missing it.
If the season ended today, the Detroit Tigers would have the 8th pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. They could collapse down the stretch and pick as high as 3rd or 4th, but if they continue on their pace over the past two months, they might pick somewhere in the teens.
So it’s obviously too early to know who the Tigers might draft. Things can change pretty drastically in a year — players get hurt or struggle, while others pop up from seemingly nowhere. And we don’t even know for sure what the 2022 draft will look like. It seems possible, if not probable, Major League Baseball will institute a new hard-slotting system and draft picks will be tradable.
But we can at least look at the some of the top names who figure to be available. Next year’s class seems to be a bit light on established college pitching — traditionally an indicator of the strength of a draft class — but the talent is there, and every other position group looks strong. Let’s dig in.
Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Options – College Pitchers
Hunter Barco was a highly ranked prospect in the 2019 class but he made it to Florida, where he was one of the Gators’ most consistent performers in 2021. Justin Campbell has been a two-way player for the Cowboys, but his future is on the mound. Barco and Campbell are both still waiting for a velo jump, but they’ve proven to be effective pitchers in the low-90s, with Campbell throwing a no-hitter against Kansas in May. Reggie Crawford may have the highest ceiling among all the college arms next year, with a fastball that has touched triple digits. He’s also a first baseman with plus raw power.
Jonathan Cannon was a potential top-3 round pick in this year’s class, but he went undrafted and will almost certainly serve as Georgia’s Friday night starter next year. Parker Messick doesn’t have the ideal frame or arm action of a starter, but he was outstanding for the Seminoles this year. Bryce Osmond has first-round stuff, but he’s had a hard time harnessing it, and his career college ERA is an ugly 6.90 over 73 innings.
Peyton Pallette has spectacular raw stuff, but he barely pitched as a freshman, his effectiveness waned this season, and then he suffered an unspecified arm injury. Connor Prielipp was considered a potential 1-1 pick in 2022 until he went down with Tommy John surgery in May. Landon Sims was absolutely electric out of the bullpen all season for Mississippi State, but he hasn’t started a game in college. Carson Whisenhunt is a polished lefty with a solid fastball and an excellent changeup.
Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Options – College Infielders
The 2022 class looks like an all-timer in terms of college catching, with Hayden Dunhurst one of four different backstops with a good chance to go in the first round. He’s a strong defender with a terrific arm and some power potential. Jace Jung is the younger brother of the Rangers’ 2019 first rounder Josh Jung, and he was one of the best hitters in college baseball this year, batting .337 with 21 home runs. Brooks Lee was a potential early round pick in 2019, but decided to play for his dad at Cal Poly. He shows an intriguing mix of defense, hitting ability, and pop, but isn’t without his warts.
Kevin Parada could have been taken in the first round in 2020, but he made it to Georgia Tech and had an excellent offensive season, though he tailed off down the stretch. Daniel Susac comes from a baseball family and had a tremendous freshman year, batting .335 with 12 home runs and 24 doubles. And then there’s Logan Tanner, an excellent defender who drew 39 walks and smacked 15 homers for the national champions. Carter Young isn’t a catcher, but he has a strong chance to be the #1 overall pick as a switch-hitter with pop who could be an above-average defender at shortstop.
Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Options – College Outfielders
Dylan Beavers is tall lefty bat with impressive power and good speed. He’s also very young for the class, not turning 21 until after the draft. Gavin Cross is a lefty corner outfielder with hitting ability, power, and a strong arm. Drew Gilbert is a bit like the Sal Frelick of the 2022 draft, as undersized-but-muscular 5’9 with some speed and surprising pop. Brock Jones had a spectacular season for Stanford, hitting .311/.453/.646 with 18 home runs, 14 steals, and the squarest jaw you’ve ever seen.
Ethan Long is the next great Arizona State power hitter, and he’s probably a first baseman in pro ball, but there’s a chance he can stick in a corner outfield spot. Jared McKenzie is a lefty stick with good pop who has manned center field for Baylor for two seasons, but his speed is just average and he projects more to left field in pro ball. Sean McLain is the younger brother of 2021 first rounder Matt. He hit well while playing mostly second base this year, but he could fit in the outfield in pro ball. Chris Newell had a monster few weeks for the Cavaliers in 2020, but he was very disappointing for most of 2021. He looked good in regional play, though, and could play himself back into the first round next year.
Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Options – High School Pitchers
This is just scratching the surface of a deep and talented crop of high-school arms, and there will certainly be more prep pitchers who rise over the next year. Brandon Barriera is on the smaller side, but the Vanderbilt commit has excellent arm speed and has already been into the mid-90s from the left side with a good changeup. Dylan Lesko is the most famous arm in the class, with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and impressive command of his secondary offerings. Nazier Mule is a talented two-way player, but he may move to the mound full time after sitting 96-99 and striking out the side to close out last week’s High School All-American Game.
Brock Porter looks like one of the best prep arms to come out of Michigan in decades, with a fastball that can reach the upper 90s and a changeup with plus potential. Ian Ritchie also hits the upper 90s and he shows two other strong offerings with solid control. Noah Schultz was another standout in the HS All-American Game, standing 6’8 and showing a low-90s fastball and slider from the left side with excellent spin rates. Tristan Smith is another southpaw with impressive spin rates, though his fastball has already reached the mid-90s.
Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Options – High School Position Players
Elijah Green has been the favorite to go first overall in the draft class for some time now, thanks to elite power/speed tools that earn him lofty comps like Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton. Termarr Johnson is another famous member of the ’22 prep class thanks to his advanced hitting ability and surprising pop for his size. A five-tool talent, Andruw Jones is the son of the former Atlanta Braves great of the same name. Yes, you are old. Jayson Jones is a well-built Arkansas commit who shows power potential and the defensive actions for the left side of the infield.
Mikey Romero is the younger brother of University of Michigan softball icon Sierra Romero, and he looks like a high-level middle infielder with smooth defensive actions and an impressive left-handed swing. Nolan Schubart offers some of the best power power potential in the prep class thanks to long levers and good bat speed. Tucker Toman is a switch-hitting third baseman with some of the best bat speed in the class, and Cole Young is an athletic shortstop with an advanced feel for hitting.