I’ve been fielding a lot of questions recently about my own playing career and former prospect status (I haven’t). What I’ve told people is that, unfortunately, there were no takers in the 40th round for a sub-.200 Division III college bat (this part is true). If there was ever a world where eighth-inning defensive replacements got a look, I was not around for that era. But what a truly fulfilling era that would have been. In the current landscape, it’s harder than ever to have your name called on draft day. Even with last year’s draft up to 20 rounds from five the year prior, fewer players are being drafted than 10, 20, 30 years ago. Not to mention, the quality of the talent from top to bottom is out of this world, forcing the competition for those spots to be fiercer than ever. I say this as a segue to this week’s unveiling of college prospects 6-10 in my way-too-early 2022 draft rankings. None of the players I will talk about today have hit under .200, and I’m pretty sure they all could have topped my collegiate OPS several days out of the womb. They are, however, somewhat unconventional in a draft landscape that can find a red flag in anyone. Here’s what we have: a five-foot-nine second baseman, a southpaw who allowed 13 runs to non-con competition in his first two starts last year, a catcher with 61 career games under his belt, an ACC corner outfielder (what an outlier!), and a pitching prospect that has thrown eight innings in two seasons. Bundle that all together, and you’re asking yourself why you take prospect advice from a guy named Hobbs. Or maybe you’re asking why some guy named Hobbs is openly admitting he sucked in college. Perhaps you’re even second-guessing if Hobbs is even a guy at all, and is actually a beautiful maiden from a faraway land called Miamidelphia. If you’re curious about the first two, fair. But if you’re wondering about the third, then you’re just plain weird. In which case, you’ve come to the right place. So here are college prospects six through 10 for 2022, without further adieu, just for you, and you and you and you.

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. 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.

5. 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.

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

If you’re out there, Harley Earl — this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. When I first started covering prospects for Razzball in March of 2020, Harley told me to keep an eye on then-freshman Robert Moore during a draft year that involved in-depth coverage of Razorback standouts Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin. As the son of Royals GM Dayton Moore, the passion and thirst for the game of baseball runs in his family — even if his father never played professionally. Moore nearly beat out Brooks Lee for the number five spot on this list, but a 2022 season in which he shows more of the same with a slightly-refined approach will push him into that threshold. Although MLB organizations are far-more open minded in today’s climate about what a top-draft selection should look like physically, it’s still Moore’s underwhelming size that has him on the outside looking in among the top tier of 2022 draft-eligible players. But I’m not concerned about it — Moore plays much bigger than his size. He possesses quick-twitch explosiveness and athleticism that allows him to produce in-game power up there with the best bats in college baseball, and he slugged .437 in the Northwoods League in 2020 as an 18-year old. That ability to slug saw a huge improvement during the 2021 college season, as Moore slashed .283/.384/.558 with 16 home runs and six steals across 284 plate appearances while hitting in the middle of the Arkansas lineup — the regular season consensus No. 1 team in all the land. All you need to do is watch him play one game in person to see the intangible “it” factor. This kid loves to play the game and consistently takes off his spikes at the end of the night with the dirtiest uniform on the playing field. He has an above-average ability to find the barrel from both sides of the plate, although the power appears to be more of a threat from the left side. He also could develop into a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman, as he consistently makes both the routine and sensational plays up the middle (.976 career fielding percentage). As an early college enrollee, Moore will be just 20 years old on draft day.

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

The 2022 college crop is front loaded with positional talent, but there’s an argument to be made for a handful of arms in the top five, beginning with Barco, UConn’s Reggie Crawford, Arkansas’ Peyton Pallette and Alabama’s Connor Prielipp. Barco takes the top spot here simply being the most-proven commodity of that group, but there’s also a tremendous ceiling from the left side. Barco was a top-50 draft talent as the No. 32 overall player in the 2019 class, but ultimately went in the 24th round as a result of signability and ended up making it to the University of Florida rather unexpectedly. After a sensational 1.40 ERA/0.89 WHIP with 12.1 K/9 as a freshman during the shortened-2020 season, Barco ran into some growing pains early on 2021. Thanks to a nine-start stretch during which he went 7-0 with a 2.77 ERA/.218 BAA across 52 innings, Barco finished the season with a 4.01 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 while pitching in the SEC. He has a good feel for four pitches that could all eventually develop into plus offerings across the board, featuring a low-to-mid 90s fastball and his go-to swing-and-miss pitch in his low 80s slider. His changeup already flashes plus, but it’s the curveball that’s still more of a show-me pitch and could use some development, although it’s hardly needed at the college level. Barco should be a first round lock, but his 2022 campaign will determine if that’s in the front half or closer to the comp round at the back end.

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

With only one-year of college under his belt as a player eligible for the 2022 draft due to age, Susac had a mammoth freshman campaign to put himself inside the top 10 of this list. Perhaps I’m too bullish on Arizona’s freshman phenom duo of Jacob Berry and Susac (Berry has since transferred to LSU), but the two looked the part of sure-fire pro talents competing against children for the bulk of the 2021 season. As a catcher by trade, Susac broke onto the college scene with a robust .335/.392/.591 slash line this spring, launching 12 home runs (37 XBH) with a 17.7 K% and 7.2 BB% over 265 plate appearances. Susac didn’t perform as well as the likes of Berry, Moore, Kevin Parada and Gavin Cross with the Collegiate National Team, but still managed to bat .273 in nine games. Susac is regarded as the top catching prospect in this class, although you should expect Mississippi State’s Tanner Allen to compete for that title throughout the duration of the 2022 season as well. Although Susac has more than enough arm to stick behind the dish long term, the receiving component of his game still needs development — something MLB brass will likely feel they can smooth out during his time on the farm. He should be regarded as a true catching prospect and while I’m not someone who upgrades catchers in fantasy prospect rankings, I do believe the bat will play.

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

Cross hadn’t shown us a whole lot prior to 2021, but has been a major riser since the start of the past college season and followed that up by leading the Collegiate National Team with a .455/.474/.879 batting line in 11 intrasquad games this summer. On top of that, he went 4-for-11 in a three-game series against the U.S. Olympic Team at the tail end of the USA CNT’s summer season, providing reason to believe he’ll hold his own against pro-grade arms. As a second-year player for Virginia Tech this spring, Cross batted .345/.415/.621 with 11 home runs and nine stolen bases across 234 plate appearances while striking out at a 20.5% clip. He’s going to have to learn to be more patient and draw walks more frequently, as his 6.9% walk rate definitely could use some work — but you have to like what you see from a raw-talent perspective. I like the mechanics of Cross’ swing more than what I’ve seen from James Madison’s Chase DeLauter, as there’s certainly an argument to be made that the latter should rank ahead of the former. But I’ willing to take the gamble in a way-too-early rankings list, and we’ll use the 2022 season to continuously reassess and see how Cross’ stock fluctuates over the course of the months ahead.

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

I was hesitant to include Crawford in the top 10, simply because he has pitched very little at the college level and a lot of his inclusion in rankings across the industry is solely tied to projectability. But again, as we’re looking ahead to 2022 and making our best guesses about who the top names could be, it would be a disservice to overlook Crawford’s ceiling on the mound. As it stands today, Crawford has done far more with the bat at UConn, racking up 290 plate appearances through two seasons and owning a .309/.362/.546 batting line with 14 home runs. On the pitching side, he has thrown just eight combined innings, working to a 2.25 ERA/1.25 WHIP. It’s the 17 strikeouts in 7.2 innings this past year that has scouts excited, as he has no issue missing bats thanks to a fastball that averages 96 MPH and tops out at 101. Crawford pairs that with a power slider that works into the upper 80s and a curveball that works in the low 80s — both of which he’s shown an ability to land consistently in the strike zone in the small sample size. In four innings with the College National Team, Crawford struck out eight in four innings of work while allowing just one hit and walking zero batters. This is a bit of a dart throw at this point, as Crawford is a name that could creep into top-five overall consideration, or fall out of the first round altogether if he doesn’t back up the other-worldly arsenal with a healthy amount of quality innings for the Huskies this year. Many scouting circles are viewing Crawford as an arm with front-of-the-rotation upside, but any concerns about him being destined for a relief role as a pro are certainly warranted. Could this be the next Jacob deGrom in terms of an under-utilized college arm that ultimately peaks three years down the line? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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

Outside Looking In: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas; Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama; Brock Jones, OF, Stanford; Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison; Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt; Hayden Dunhurst, C, Ole Miss; Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State; Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU; Cayden Wallace, 3B/OF, Arkansas

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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
9 months ago

Hobbs!!!!!!

You did it!!! You gave Moore his propers!!!! Glad to see you join the club!!

Moore is a very special talent. I think you spelled it out and broke it down very nicely and about as close to real life as anyone. Every time I watch this kid play, he just comes across as a natural talent. No, he’s not Aaron Judge but he’s got some Wil Clark in him. The kid knows how to hit and plays the game with heart. Glad to see you put him on this list. I literally read this story looking to see if you’d rank him. I didn’t think you would but you proved me wrong. I imagine we’ll see him pop up on some other lists in the near future!

Good work!!

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Hobbs
9 months ago

Oh, he’s going to do more than flirt with .300!!

This kid’s batting .320 this year. He’s like Roy Hobbs my friend, a Natural hitter in the Natural State!!!