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6 Hitters the Twins Could Target in the 2022 MLB Draft


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The Twins have the number eight pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. As draft coverage at Twins Daily ramps up, read up on six hitters the Twins might target in the first round.

 

The dust has finally settled on the college baseball season. On Sunday, Ole Miss wrapped up their first-ever NCAA Baseball National Championship, keeping the championship in-state (Mississippi State won in 2021). Now, it’s MLB Draft season. Jeremy Nygaard has had you covered brilliantly throughout the spring. Over the next three weeks at Twins Daily, there will be daily coverage of names to know, player profiles, mock drafts, and more. To kick things off this week, I’ll be dropping an overview of some hitters to know and some pitchers to know heading into the first round on July 17th. 

A few notes before we begin. I mostly focused these two ‘overview’ pieces on who the Twins might take a number eight overall (as opposed to focusing on later picks). Additionally, I won’t go in-depth on players who the consensus believes will be gone by the time the Twins pick (I know, a dangerous game). Lastly, I’ll profile these players in alphabetical order, there's no preference here. So, essentially, who are some names the Twins might take at number eight, who are likely to still be around?

Assumptions
I’m going to assume the following players are off the board by the time the Twins pick at eight: Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Brooks Lee, Elijah Green, and Temarr Johnson (who the Twins are apparently high on). It’s also true that there are usually a few, outlandishly huge wrenches thrown into the draft works right from the jump resulting in some unexpected names being in play on draft night. Anyone on this list falling to eight would be an enormous boon for the Twins.

Jacob Berry, CI, LSU
Berry hasn’t moved much from a top ten spot on most big boards and in most mock drafts since the beginning of the college baseball season, a testament to his consistency. Berry played at LSU this season after transferring from Arizona. He’s a switch-hitting corner infield with 60-grade hit and power tools, although he has been more effective from the left side of the plate in his young career. There are questions about Berry’s long-term defensive home (likely to be first base). Berry has been extremely productive in two of the best conferences in the country. He should be a top twelve pick and move quickly through the minor leagues.

Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC
Collier is one of the most exciting players in this draft class and has joined an impressive class of high-school-aged hitters that includes Jones, Johnson, and Green. Collier will be just 17 on draft day (he left high school after his sophomore year), and spent this year playing for Chipola JC in Florida (former home of current Twins prospect Andrew Bechtold). Collier slugged .537 at Chipola to go with eight home runs and 12 walks. Collier shows good defense at third base with a strong arm. Collier projects to stay at third base and has a ton of projectability given his age. It’s likely he is off the board by the time the Twins pick and is trending closer to the top five picks as the draft approaches.

Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Cross, an outfielder from Virginia Tech, is one of the players most consistently linked with the Minnesota Twins from start to finish in the pre-draft process. Simply put, he does everything well. In 2022, he slugged .627 for the Hokies with 14 home runs and 11 stolen bases. Cross profiles as a power outfield bat, despite also possessing a strong hit tool. In 2022, he cut his K% from 20% to 14% and upped his BB% by close to five points. Cross projects to be an excellent defensive corner outfielder, despite playing center field for Virginia Tech. His only offensive weakness is a high propensity to swing and miss against breaking pitches, a trait he must curtail to be successful at the major league level.

Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Jace’s older brother, Josh, was a first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2019. Jung put together an impressive season at Texas Tech on the back of 60-grade hit and power tools. In 2022, Jung slugged 14 home runs but perhaps more impressively, managed a 20% BB%. Jung, like Berry, is another name that has consistently appeared in the top half of the first round since the beginning of the season. There’s a good chance he’s still on the board when the Twins pick at eight.

Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Neto to the Twins is a connection that has really gained traction in the last few weeks. A late riser in the draft process, he’s scattered a little more over mock drafts and big boards than some other prospects. Neto has a unique profile compared to other hitters the Twins might draft. Neto was a two-way player at Campbell, pumping a 93 mph fastball as a relief pitcher, and playing all over the infield, primarily as a shortstop in 2022. He will be drafted as an infielder, however, with the athleticism, defensive chops, and arm to stick at short. Neto clubbed 15 home runs in 2022 and is also a plus base runner, going 28-33 in his college career. Neto is predicted to go in the teens in the first round. Speculatively, I wonder if the Twins consider taking Neto, saving some money against his slot to add to their offer for their next pick at number 48 overall.

Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
I couldn’t skip Kevin Parada, even though he will likely be off the board by the time the Twins pick at eight overall, due to a personal obsession. Parada had a season for the ages in 2022, blasting 26 home runs and driving in 88 runs in just 59 games. Parada has work to do defensively to be a strong presence behind the plate, but his elite offensive toolset makes him likely to go in the top five picks.

Honorable Mentions
Arizona catcher Daniel Susac had a tremendous 2022 season, slugging .598 with 12 home runs, 19 doubles, and elite exit velocities to go along with an improving defensive skillset and excellent athleticism. The Twins have been increasingly linked to Pennsylvania prep shortstop Cole Young in recent weeks. The 18-year-old shortstop has an elite hit tool to go with a strong all-round game. Tennessee outfielder Jordan Beck was linked to the Twins earlier in the pre-draft process, and star center fielder Drew Gilbert (a Stillwater, MN, native) is predicted to go in the 15-25 range in the first round. Could he be a fit for the Twins? Finally, the Twins have been connected with Nevada prep outfielder Justin Crawford in recent weeks (son of former Rays’ speedster Carl Crawford).

If the Twins take a hitter at number eight overall, who would you like to see them draft and why?

 

 


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19 minutes ago, Jeremy Nygaard said:

I don't think the Twins pass on Collier. But I think there are three other teams thinking they won't pass on him either.

Absolutely agree. He's been mocked in the 4-7 range a ton in the last few weeks. I think the Twins is the floor for him now, which is disappointing.

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If Collier or Parada are there I would take them but I don't think they will be there.

I like Berry I really do and I think he will be a Major league talent.  His being a switch hitter is a big plus for a power hitter and he should be a fast mover.  The thing is the Twins have a lot of guys to play 1st base including Kirilloff who is likely plus defensively there.  Also spending a top 8 pick on a 1st Base, DH guy seems like a bad move given in most drafts you can find that type of player in the lower end of the first round,  Unless they think that bat is absolutely elite I would skip.

I just don't care for Jace Jung or the profile.  We have a ton of second base type players with good plate discipline and some pop in the bat. His limitations defensively do not appeal to me at number 8 and in the end I don't see the bat as "that" special.

I think Cross is an OK pick but haven't we seen this profile play out poorly for us more often than not.  Rooker and Sabato had issues with breaking balls and neither player appears to have fixed that issue.  We have a pretty full outfield right now with Wallner coming up making it even more full.  While there isn't a ton of depth behind Wallner and the team is very thin on Centerfield depth I still don't love the Cross pick but would be OK with it.  To be honest I think Emmanual Rodriguez might be the better play than Cross in the end anyway.

I am torn on Daniel Susac.  Is the bat really going to work out?  He is big for a catcher as well.  I just don't know enough about him but I think he could be a good pick on an under slot deal at eight.  He doesn't have the Buzz some of the other players have but good offensive catchers are hard to find and he looks like he would be worth the risk if the Twins wanted to go that route.

I still like Neto the best though.  He can stay at short and he has Arraez type bat to ball skills. He can steal bases and the best all around player the Twins could take at number 8 IMO.  Finding good up the middle talent is really hard and when the opportunity is there I think you have to take it.  Quality Shortstop and Centerfielders are always gone at the top of the draft.  Given how this team looks we won't be picking this high for a while.  If none of the other top 7 players fall then Neto would be my pick.  He could be a fast mover at a  position of almost perpetual scarcity in the Twins system.  I think if he is there the Twins will pick him.

 

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Best Player Available, of course, but I'm tired of corner players whose bats can't miss, except they do miss and turn out to be just average (or less). Up the middle is more valuable if they turn out to be just average too. Or of course pitching if the front office isn't scared off by the negatives of each candidate. I don't want a catcher with a top pick.  I really don't know whom I'd pick if one of the consensus top five or so doesn't unexpectedly fall to me. The argument made here for Neto looks good.  Corner bat remains the "safe" pick so as to not be accused of a "reach".

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38 minutes ago, Dman said:

If Collier or Parada are there I would take them but I don't think they will be there.

I like Berry I really do and I think he will be a Major league talent.  His being a switch hitter is a big plus for a power hitter and he should be a fast mover.  The thing is the Twins have a lot of guys to play 1st base including Kirilloff who is likely plus defensively there.  Also spending a top 8 pick on a 1st Base, DH guy seems like a bad move given in most drafts you can find that type of player in the lower end of the first round,  Unless they think that bat is absolutely elite I would skip.

I just don't care for Jace Jung or the profile.  We have a ton of second base type players with good plate discipline and some pop in the bat. His limitations defensively do not appeal to me at number 8 and in the end I don't see the bat as "that" special.

I think Cross is an OK pick but haven't we seen this profile play out poorly for us more often than not.  Rooker and Sabato had issues with breaking balls and neither player appears to have fixed that issue.  We have a pretty full outfield right now with Wallner coming up making it even more full.  While there isn't a ton of depth behind Wallner and the team is very thin on Centerfield depth I still don't love the Cross pick but would be OK with it.  To be honest I think Emmanual Rodriguez might the better play than Cross in the end anyway.

I am torn on Daniel Susac.  Is the bat really going to work out?  He is big for a catcher as well.  I just don't know enough about him but I think he could be a good pick on an under slot deal at eight.  He doesn't have the Buzz some of the other players have but good offensive catchers are hard to find and he looks like he would be worth the risk if the Twins wanted to go that route.

I still like Neto the best though.  He can stay at short and he has Arraez type bat to ball skills. He can steal bases and the best all around player the Twins could take at number 8 IMO.  Finding good up the middle talent is really hard and when the opportunity is there I think you have to take it.  Quality Shortstop and Centerfielders are always gone at the top of the draft.  Given how this team looks we won't be picking this high for a while.  If none of the other top 7 players fall then Neto would be my pick.  He could be a fast mover at a  position of almost perpetual scarcity in the Twins system.  I think if he is there the Twins will pick him.

 

I knew you would have thoughts!

Agree with most of what you said. I do think it's important to differentiate Berry from a Sabato type, his hit and power tools both match (60 grade), not that case when Sabato came out.

I think they're trending towards Neto also

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Hey Jamie, just wanted to point out a small correction before continuing on reading the story ;) :) .  It's Ole Miss.  NOT Mississippi.  No one says that.  Ever.  Especially down here.  This concludes your Southern Manners and Etiquette lesson for the week ;).

  • "The dust has finally settled on the college baseball season. On Sunday, Mississippi wrapped up their first-ever NCAA Baseball National Championship"
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1 hour ago, ashbury said:

Best Player Available...

Yes Sir. 

Still think this is the best way to approach it from this high of a pick (Top 10).  At #8, while some of the "obvious" and "can't miss" ;) prospects may be selected already with 1-7, it allows a team to have a pretty good chance to select a player they really like and who has lots of talent and potential upside (arm or bat).

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40 minutes ago, MN_ExPat said:

Hey Jamie, just wanted to point out a small correction before continuing on reading the story ;) :) .  It's Ole Miss.  NOT Mississippi.  No one says that.  Ever.  Especially down here.  This concludes your Southern Manners and Etiquette lesson for the week ;).

  • "The dust has finally settled on the college baseball season. On Sunday, Mississippi wrapped up their first-ever NCAA Baseball National Championship"

Appreciate you! Texas did not rub off on me enough I guess lol. I updated it!

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In Kiley McDaniel's recent mock on ESPN, he had Berry going at 5 to Washington. That pushed Brooks Lee, Termarr Johnson, and Elijah Green all down the board. Lee and Johnson went 6 and 7, but McDaniel still had the Twins selecting Cross over Green. I would love any of those 3 over Cross. As other's have mentioned, I am not a fan of drafting prospects  this high that have holes in their approach like Cross seems to have with breaking stuff. I get that Green may have similar swing and miss issues, but he is also younger with that ever-tempting "potential" tag attached to him.

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1 hour ago, MN_ExPat said:

it allows a team to have a pretty good chance to select a player they really like and who has lots of talent and potential upside (arm or bat).

Balancing against that is I want a player that other teams may "really like".  In the trade market, up-the-middle talent rules.  Note that the sheen is off our trade acquisition Austin Martin now that it looks questionable he will stick at SS or CF.

I don't believe in totally building by trade, so picking "a player they really like" can be a sound strategy.

Just so long as they don't sour on their shiny new corner bat and then find he has zero trade value at all.

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High 5er to Dman for stealing my exact thoughts. Great post!

If the stars line up just right, Collier or Parada for me and I'm very happy.

Assuming those 2 are gone, everything about Neto just scream "pick me". He just seems to have a great balance in all areas athleticly. 

Not going to be disappointed in Susac as a nice consolation prize for missing out on Parada, and I've come around a bit on Berry. I don't like a 1B that high, but if he reaches projections, he could be an All Star hammer for years to come. That's worth a #8 selection, 1B or not.

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Great thought piece, Jamie.  If what you say about the top five is true, and I would agree wholeheartedly they are the top 5 (with Collier, just maybe, comprising a top 6), and you add Parada to make it a top 7, then it only requires one team ahead of the Twins to make an "unusual" pick for the Twins to get one of the top 7.  If that were to happen, I would expect the Twins to choose whichever player drops down unexpectedly.  If the top 7 go as predicted, then I would agree with Dman and look carefully at Neto, or maybe Young.  I think the future of baseball is going to involve more contact, especially if shifts are banned or restricted.  I agree with Law that Berry has no position in the bigs, and while it looks like Lesko could be special, I don't think they will go with a HS righthander coming off Tommy John.  Generally, I would look for toolsy players with the defensive chops to be a good big league defender at whatever position he plays.

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5 hours ago, NorthernAggression said:

In Kiley McDaniel's recent mock on ESPN, he had Berry going at 5 to Washington. That pushed Brooks Lee, Termarr Johnson, and Elijah Green all down the board. Lee and Johnson went 6 and 7, but McDaniel still had the Twins selecting Cross over Green. I would love any of those 3 over Cross. As other's have mentioned, I am not a fan of drafting prospects  this high that have holes in their approach like Cross seems to have with breaking stuff. I get that Green may have similar swing and miss issues, but he is also younger with that ever-tempting "potential" tag attached to him.

I saw that too. I'd have a really difficult time passing on Green, His athleticism is unbelievable.

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4 hours ago, RJA said:

Great thought piece, Jamie.  If what you say about the top five is true, and I would agree wholeheartedly they are the top 5 (with Collier, just maybe, comprising a top 6), and you add Parada to make it a top 7, then it only requires one team ahead of the Twins to make an "unusual" pick for the Twins to get one of the top 7.  If that were to happen, I would expect the Twins to choose whichever player drops down unexpectedly.  If the top 7 go as predicted, then I would agree with Dman and look carefully at Neto, or maybe Young.  I think the future of baseball is going to involve more contact, especially if shifts are banned or restricted.  I agree with Law that Berry has no position in the bigs, and while it looks like Lesko could be special, I don't think they will go with a HS righthander coming off Tommy John.  Generally, I would look for toolsy players with the defensive chops to be a good big league defender at whatever position he plays.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with all your major points. My one add is, someone pretty much always makes an unusual pick, Fingers crossed for that outcome.

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10 hours ago, Dman said:

If Collier or Parada are there I would take them but I don't think they will be there.

I like Berry I really do and I think he will be a Major league talent.  His being a switch hitter is a big plus for a power hitter and he should be a fast mover.  The thing is the Twins have a lot of guys to play 1st base including Kirilloff who is likely plus defensively there.  Also spending a top 8 pick on a 1st Base, DH guy seems like a bad move given in most drafts you can find that type of player in the lower end of the first round,  Unless they think that bat is absolutely elite I would skip.

I just don't care for Jace Jung or the profile.  We have a ton of second base type players with good plate discipline and some pop in the bat. His limitations defensively do not appeal to me at number 8 and in the end I don't see the bat as "that" special.

I think Cross is an OK pick but haven't we seen this profile play out poorly for us more often than not.  Rooker and Sabato had issues with breaking balls and neither player appears to have fixed that issue.  We have a pretty full outfield right now with Wallner coming up making it even more full.  While there isn't a ton of depth behind Wallner and the team is very thin on Centerfield depth I still don't love the Cross pick but would be OK with it.  To be honest I think Emmanual Rodriguez might be the better play than Cross in the end anyway.

I am torn on Daniel Susac.  Is the bat really going to work out?  He is big for a catcher as well.  I just don't know enough about him but I think he could be a good pick on an under slot deal at eight.  He doesn't have the Buzz some of the other players have but good offensive catchers are hard to find and he looks like he would be worth the risk if the Twins wanted to go that route.

I still like Neto the best though.  He can stay at short and he has Arraez type bat to ball skills. He can steal bases and the best all around player the Twins could take at number 8 IMO.  Finding good up the middle talent is really hard and when the opportunity is there I think you have to take it.  Quality Shortstop and Centerfielders are always gone at the top of the draft.  Given how this team looks we won't be picking this high for a while.  If none of the other top 7 players fall then Neto would be my pick.  He could be a fast mover at a  position of almost perpetual scarcity in the Twins system.  I think if he is there the Twins will pick him.

 

I agree with you on pretty much all of this. Berry’s bat is enticing, but they’ve drafted numerous guys like him over the past few years. Cross would be unexciting to me—basically another Larnach but taken 15 or so spots higher. I would be okay with Susac, but agree his bat is a concern. Joey Bart is apparently a comp some scouts like, which to me isn’t in his favor. 
 

If Collier or Parada are there at 8, they’ve gotta run to the podium and take one of them.
 

Ultimately I think it will be Neto, and I think that would be a really nice pick. He has some stuff to clean up with his hitting mechanics, but the hit tool is there, he can run, and the glove is legit. He’s maybe a little like Nick Gordon in that none of his tools are elite, but he does everything well. Unlike Gordon, he seems like a decent bet to stick at short and develop some real game power. Honestly he strikes me as a player the Dodgers would take. 

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12 minutes ago, prouster said:

I agree with you on pretty much all of this. Berry’s bat is enticing, but they’ve drafted numerous guys like him over the past few years. Cross would be unexciting to me—basically another Larnach but taken 15 or so spots higher. I would be okay with Susac, but agree his bat is a concern. Joey Bart is apparently a comp some scouts like, which to me isn’t in his favor. 
 

If Collier or Parada are there at 8, they’ve gotta run to the podium and take one of them.
 

Ultimately I think it will be Neto, and I think that would be a really nice pick. He has some stuff to clean up with his hitting mechanics, but the hit tool is there, he can run, and the glove is legit. He’s maybe a little like Nick Gordon in that none of his tools are elite, but he does everything well. Unlike Gordon, he seems like a decent bet to stick at short and develop some real game power. Honestly he strikes me as a player the Dodgers would take. 

Yeah Law see's him as someone who likely is plus defensively with a plus hit tool and arm.  I still think he can grow into plus power but that might be a but too high of an expectation.  I really think he could be a solid four tool guy in time.  Ultimately he will not be plus runner but still likely above average. 

His ceiling is very close to a five tool player IMO. His Floor is Nick Gorden with better defense at short which is a little scary.  I think he has a better eye at the plate and can be more patient than Gordon and I think he will have more power as well but who knows. Wood bats can change things.  Still his skillset and ability to be a fast mover intrigue me and having a plus bat that can stick at short would be huge for the system so I think Neto at 8 is a solid pick.

I like everyone in the top 7 a bit more but Neto is my pick for 8 if those are all taken.  

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You asked which hitter and I prefer Lesko, but if the Twins as is likely take a batter they should make it someone who use a glove skillfully. Of the names the post mentions, Collier and Neto qualify.

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