Over the past few weeks, we have been gradually building up to the top-25 college prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft, a process that will finally reach completion today. *giggles* These 25 names will stay in place as I provide regular Collegiate Corner updates throughout the season before releasing the Complete College Top 100 as your pre-draft guide this summer. Today, we’ll cap everything off with three more college position players, one right-handed pitcher, and one southpaw. It’s an installation I like to call “Young Pallettes Love Sprinkles,” a concept we all know to be true. The youths of today and yesteryear love those little balls of corn syrup, sugar, cornstarch, and wax mixed with artificial flavors and coloring. Wax — how delicious! Hopefully, you find reading about prospects No. 21-25 just as appetizing and digestible as sprinkles, because you won’t want to write off these final five names. A lot is going to shift in these rankings over the next five months, and any one of these players could potentially vault into the top 10. Let’s finish this thing off in style, with the 2022 college season set to officially open on Friday.

1. Jacob Berry | 1B/3B | LSU | S/R | 6-0 | 212

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

2. Jace Jung | 2B/3B | Texas Tech | L/R | 6-0 | 200

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

3. Kevin Parada | C | Georgia Tech | R/R | 6-1 | 197

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

4. Brooks Lee | SS | Cal Poly | S/R | 6-2 | 195

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

5. Robert Moore | 2B | Arkansas | S/R | 5-9 | 170

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

6. Daniel Susac | C | Arizona | S/R | 6-3 | 205

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

7. Jud Fabian | OF | Florida | R/R | 6-1 | 180

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top Five College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

8. Gavin Cross | OF | Virginia Tech | L/L | 6-3 | 215

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

9. Brock Jones | OF | Stanford | L/L | 6-1 | 185

Already went over him in my Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

10. Hunter Barco | LHP | Florida | L/L | 6-4 | 205

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

11. Chase DeLauter | OF | James Madison | L/L | 6-4 | 235

Already went over him in my Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

12. Landon Sims | RHP | Mississippi State | R/R | 6-2 | 235

Already went over him in my Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

13. Dylan Beavers | OF | Cal | L/R | 6-4 | 200

Already went over him in my Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

14. Logan Tanner | C | Mississippi State | R/R | 6-0 | 230

Already went over him in my Top 15 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

15. Reggie Crawford | LHP/1B | UConn | L/L | 6-4 | 230

Already went over him in my Way-Too-Early Top 10 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft. UPDATE: Crawford underwent Tommy John Surgery in the fall and will be sidelined for all of the 2022 season. His absurd upside keeps him in the top-15 — for now.

16. Connor Prielipp | LHP | Alabama | L/L | 6-2 | 170

Already went over him in my Top 20 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

17. Carson Whisenhunt | LHP | East Carolina | L/L | 6-3 | 205

Already went over him in my Top 20 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

18. Cayden Wallace | 3B | Arkansas | R/R | 6-0 | 205

Already went over him in my Top 20 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

19. Jordan Beck | OF | Tennessee | R/R | 6-3 | 215

Already went over him in my Top 20 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

20. Blade Tidwell | RHP | Tennessee | R/R | 6-4 | 200

Already went over him in my Top 20 College Prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft.

21. Peyton Pallette | RHP | Arkansas | R/R | 6-1 | 175

Womp womp womp. And so it continues. Like Prielipp, Pallette won’t pitch at all in 2022 after a January elbow ligament injury that will require Tommy John surgery. If he were healthy and his status for the 2022 MLB Draft wasn’t up in the air, he would be a lock for the top 10 and rivaling Hunter Barco for the top pitching prospect out of the college ranks. He utilizes a three-pitch mix (FB, CB, CH) highlighted by a pair of plus offerings in his heater (60) and curve (65).  The fastest typically works in the mid-90s, settling in at 92-96 MPH and topping out at 99. But the scouts love the deuce more than Joey Chestnut’s digestive track on Independence Day. It’s a high-spin rate (3000+ RPMs) hammer curve that I’ve seen work around 78-81 MPH with the ability to serve as a true put-away pitch to hitters on both sides of the plate. With that arsenal, the results have been respectable for Pallette in the college ranks, as he pitched to a 3.79 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP in his first two seasons at Arkansas. In 61.2 career frames, he owns a 10.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 0.4 BB/9. When paired with the three-pitch mix, you can see why ‘perts believe he has the makings of a potential No. 2 starter in the big leagues. Unfortunately, he’ll have to stay healthy for more than three-quarters of a season to make that happen and the injury history has been the real downfall of Pallette as a prospect. I wouldn’t be shocked if he returns to Fayetteville to play one last season in front of that electric crowd, but odds are he goes into the draft with a discounted price tag and ends up as a late first-rounder or second-rounder. Ole Miss’ Gunnar Hoglund had Tommy John last May prior to the draft and still went No. 19 overall to the Blue Jays.

22. Carter Young | SS | Vanderbilt | S/R | 6-0 | 185

Young has been a polarizing case for me since I began scouting him, much like another prominent player in this draft class. Just for fun, take a look at the two stat lines below from the 2021 season:

Player A) .252/.341/.559

Player B ) .249/.364/.560

Both play premier defensive positions in top SEC programs.

Both hit for a relatively weak batting average.

Both get on base at a respectable clip.

Both slug at an elite rate.

But both have a strikeout problem.

Player A is Carter Young. Player B is Jud Fabian. Just let that marinate for a moment. Across 347 career plate appearances his first two seasons at Vanderbilt, Young has struck out at a 29.1% clip including a 30.1 strikeout rate as a sophomore last season. He did manage to hit 16 home runs, five triples, and 15 doubles in that 2021 campaign, but his elevated strikeout rate will be what holds him back from being a first-round pick, just like his fellow SEC standout. If he makes the adjustment in his third season to moderately cut down on the Ks and improve upon his .252 average, he could be a top-20 overall pick. Young also has enough speed to be five-category relevant, having stolen 10 bags in 79 career games. His 55-grade glove and arm give him the potential to stick up the middle long term, but it’s the sweet stroke from both sides of the plate that set him apart as a prospect.

23. Parker Messick | LHP | Florida State | L/L | 6-0 | 225

In a way, having Messick all the way down at No. 23 doesn’t sit right with me — meaning these rankings have far more in common with a fried chicken sandwich topped with aioli and bacon jam than I originally thought. What I’m saying is that Messick has a legitimate case as the top pitcher in all of college baseball, yet isn’t a top-20 prospect on this list and sits at No. 48 overall in MLB Pipeline’s rankings. If you ask me, Messick will be ranked higher than this when the Complete College Top 100 rankings roll around, as another strong campaign will make it hard for pundits to overlook him as a first-round talent. This brings me to my biggest pet peeve in pitching prospect analysis, where industry pundits like to say a player with a track record of performing at an elite level in college doesn’t have a high ceiling, or projects as a No. 3-4 major league starter at best, and so on. Messick pitches in the ACC, a highly-competitive conference, and has been nothing short of stellar in his first two seasons, pitching out of the bullpen in 2020 before transitioning to Friday night starter in 2021.

Here are Messick’s 2020 statistics in a relief role: 1-1, 11.2 IP, 0.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 14.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9

And here is his 2021 performance: 8-2, 90.0 IP, 3.10 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9

So how does a six-foot southpaw with that level of output not project as anything more than a mid-to-back of the rotation starter? He doesn’t, and anyone who writes such is wrong. I’ll try not to be too redundant here, but left-handers with advanced changeups and above-average command represent relatively safe prospect commodities and tend to reach the big leagues more quickly. Messick is one such player, utilizing a fourth-pitch arsenal of a 50-fastball, 55-change, 50-slider, and 45-curve. As detailed in the clip below, the change is one of the better pitches in the collegiate realm. The fastball tends to hover in the low 90s and peaks at 94-95 MPH, but who’s to say he can’t add a tick or two with pro instruction? Add in advanced pitchability, and it’s pretty obvious that Messick is being undervalued as a prospect. Target him in first-year player drafts as one of the top value sleeper selections — unless the 2022 campaign elevates him into prospect stardom.

24. Jordan Sprinkle | SS | UC Santa Barbara | R/R | 5-11 | 180

Considered a potential first-rounder entering the 2022 campaign, Sprinkle broke out in a big way as a second-year player one season ago. After having just two plate appearances in the shortened 2020 season, he broke out with a .353/.402/.536 slash line while racking up seven home runs, two triples, 18 doubles, and 26 stolen bases. While respectable, the Big West doesn’t have the same caliber and depth of pitching as an elite Power 5 conference like the SEC, but even when baking that in with these Sprinkles it’s hard to overlook some of the numbers. The Gauchos shortstop also posted a 14.9 K%, but he doesn’t walk often, evidenced by a 5.3 BB%. If he hits to the same degree that he did last year, chances are he ends up in the back end of the first round, but I have Sprinkle graded as more of a second-round talent due to his size and his in-game pop being such an uncertain commodity. He did slug .536 in 2021, but 18 of his 27 extra-base hits were doubles, and he slugged just .250 across 33 games in the Cape Cod League over the summer with zero extra-base hits. Given that he has a great shot at sticking at short long term, Sprinkle is still a worthwhile player to own in dynasty leagues. However, I likely won’t own any shares as his stock will warrant a FYPD pick earlier than I’m willing to go. Assess his progress during the upcoming season, but as of right now, he’s slightly overvalued in industry circles.

25. Cade Doughty | INF | LSU | R/R | 6-1 | 195

This will serve as the preseason cut-off for the top college prospect rankings, although I’ll continue to cover these prospects throughout the season via regular Collegiate Corner updates leading up to the Complete College Top 100 prior to the 2022 MLB Draft. No. 25 was a three-way battle between Doughty, Oklahoma’s Peyton Graham, and Ole Miss’ Hayden Dunhurst — but the final spot ultimately went to Doughty. He’s solid all-around, sporting average-to-above average tools in every category: 55-hit, 50-power, 50-legs, 55-arm, and 50-glove. After batting .278/.365/.407 in his first year at LSU, he proceeded to slash .308/.368/.546 in his second season, resulting in a .139 increase in his slugging. In 2021, Doughty swatted 13 home runs, two triples, and 11 doubles while striking out just 12.4% of the time with an 8.5 BB%. Doughty has always been an excellent contact hitter, but the emergence of the power further elevates his stock as he has continued to add muscle to his 6-1 frame. He has the ability to play second or third base at the next level, although he may ultimately wind up at the former. LSU has a track record of producing high-caliber MLB talents, and while Doughty may be overshadowed in Baton Rouge by the likes of Jacob Berry, Dylan Crews, and Tre’ Morgan — he’s an underrated prospect with a real chance to develop into a regular at the next level.

That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.

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TarmanGotHim
TarmanGotHim
7 months ago

You’re not as high on Chase DeLauter I see? I see a lot of Mocks have him going in the top 10, some in the top 5, I’ve even seen a cuppa have him number 1. This upcoming draft is stacked!