MLB Draft 2022: Where are they now?

Major League Baseball’s farm system is often regarded as a rather extensive and laborious machine. Amongst 121 teams across six leagues, there are over 6,000 players all fighting for their ticket to “The Show.”

Since 2019, the MLB Draft has consisted of 20 rounds, with all 30 organisations getting one pick per round. This means 600 bright-eyed hopefuls are set to start chasing their dreams.

Round 1, Pick 1: Jackson Holliday – Baltimore Orioles

One of the biggest names in Minor League Baseball right now is Jackson Holliday. This young man had all the hype around him entering the 2022 Draft, and deservedly so. The added pressure of being the son of a seven-time All-Star made zero impact on Holliday’s game as he batted .685 with 17 home runs, 79 RBIs, 29 doubles, and 30 stolen bases over 40 games in his senior year. This led to him being the top prospect and surely the first overall pick.

Since the draft, Holliday played 20 games in 2022, after receiving the largest signing bonus ever for a high school player. For the FCL Orioles Rookie-Ball team, he smashed his way to .409/.567/.591 (.AVG/.OBP/.SLG), earning a promotion to Single-A after only eight games.

The lefty-hitting shortstop closed out the 2022 campaign in Single-A, Delmarva, wherein the combined total of games across two leagues, Holliday, racked up a very impressive .297/.489/.422. slashline and only struck out 12 times in 64 at-bats.

During the 2023 season, Holliday showed no signs of slowing down. Less than 20 days after the start of the season, Holliday was promoted to High-A, Aberdeen; a .396 AVG and 16 RBI in 14 games played will do that for you.

On top of that, he’s absolutely mashed right-handed pitchers reaching base nearly half of the times he’s stepped up to the plate (.457 OBP vs RHP in 2023).

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that this dominant start to Holliday’s career will continue for a long time. It seems all the 20-year-old may need is a successful spring, and we could see his name on the Opening Day roster in 2024.

Round 1, Pick 2: Druw Jones – Arizona Diamondbacks

A similar story to what has been transcribed above. The son of a Major League legend drafted to a youthful surprise competitor. This time by the name of Druw Jones.

Jones opted to focus on playing basketball while attending Wesleyan School; however, he tried his hand at joining the baseball team during ninth grade. He joined the team as a junior in 2021, and his .445 batting average, 16 home runs and 34 RBI helped him win Gwinnett Daily Post Baseball Player of the Year.

However, carrying the legacy of a five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold-Glove winner is no easy task. That’s why I’m sure frustration shot through the roof at Chase Field when news broke that the 18-year-old prospect would require surgery on his left shoulder after suffering an injury during his very first batting practice with the organisation.

After receiving surgery in October 2022, Jones was ready to begin his career at the start of the 2023 season. He began in Single-A, Visalia and in his first game, Jones made a phenomenal Willie Mays-esque catch in centre field.

Although after another plague of injuries, Jones played only 10 games before a two-month gap and a demotion to Rookie-Ball.

There’s nothing worse than seeing someone with so much potential forced to succumb to injury and perform at a fraction of their true ability, but despite the injuries, Jones is still the 78th-ranked prospect in MLB.

In September 2023, Jones appeared to show flashes of his former self, hitting .482 in 27 at-bats. We can only hope he finds his form once again.

Round 1, Pick 3: Kumar Rocker – Texas Rangers

The third overall pick and first pitcher to be selected in the 2022 Class is no stranger to the MLB Draft. Rocker was initially selected 10th overall in the 2021 draft by the New York Mets. Rocker may have shot himself in the foot by deciding not to participate in the program making medical information available before the draft. This led to the Mets opting not to sign the Georgia native upon reviewing his medical information.

This setback did not phase Rocker. Prior to the 2022 draft, he signed with the Tri-City ValleyCats, competing in the independent Frontier League. His fastball topped out at 99 mph alongside posting a 1.35 ERA, 32 strikeouts, and just four walks through 20 innings. Rocker managed to significantly increase his draft stock and was taken by the Texas Rangers at pick number three.

Unfortunately, there is a theme here, and the injury bug would strike again. After Rocker only made six starts in 2023 for the High-A Hickory Crawdads. A 3.86 ERA and 42 strikeouts through 28 innings was all Rocker could manage before it was announced that he would require Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

As saddening as this news is, TJ is practically a right of passage in today’s baseball world and I predict he will bounce back as a closer for the Rangers in 2025.

Honourable mention: Round 1, Pick 13: Zach Neto – Los Angeles Angels

Zach Neto was the first ball player from the 2022 Draft to experience his Major League debut. Playing for the High-A and Double-A affiliates for the LA Angels in 2022, Neto swung his way to a .299 batting average through 147 at-bats. He found himself starting 2023 on the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, but not for very long. After only seven games and going 12-for-27 (a .444 batting average), Neto heard the words that every kid dreams of hearing: “You’re going to The Show.”

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kane McEvoy is the MLB Prospects and Minor League Baseball correspondent for Bat Flips & Nerds

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