MLB Draft 2022 is approaching, so we asked three of our MLB experts to have fun by selecting their own teams consisting of the best draft prospect of 2022.
The rules were simple: Serpents Jeff Bassan, David Schoenefeld and Bradford Doolittle drafted 10 rounds (30 total selections) to compile the best possible roster for the 2022 Horizons draft.
Each roster included a full lineup: two bowlers, a catcher, a first baseman, a second baseman, a third baseman, a short, and three defenders. They were allowed to formulate situations in any order, and their strategies show the deeper – and more superficial – situations in this year’s class.
After making their 30 selections — with a healthy dose of trash talk mixed in — ESPN MLB Project Analyst Kelly McDaniel disbanded all three teams to be declared a demo duel champion.
Now let’s move on to drafts!
Draft coverage: Dummy Project 2.0 | Top 300 | Guidance for all teams 30
Watch the MLB drafts: Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
1. Drew Jones, C.F. (Dolittle)
2. Jackson Holiday, SS (pass)
3. Cam Collier, 3 B (Schoenefeld)
Schoenefeld: I’ve made three sons in a row from the previous top two leagues with the top three picks, which would be great if that really happened. Drew and Jackson were easy 1-2 choices, but I think Cam has a chance of being the better hitter of the three because he’s only 17 – which supermodels love. Think of players like Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor, who were 17 years old when they were recruited. So it looks like I’ve already won.
McDaniel: I think it’s a three-man draft and Mr. McDaniel Schoenefeld didn’t get one of the three.
4. Kevin Parada, C (Schoenefeld)
5. Termarr Johnson, 2B (pass)
6. Elijah Green, LF (Dolittle)
Doolittle: If I were to do this in real life, I would be bad — because I would be afraid of players who swing a lot and miss like Greene, and so I would lose a whole class of top level players. But you guys kind of dropped it on my lap, so I’m going to put it next to Jones and hopefully play on a big soccer field with plenty of outdoor grass to cover. – Doolittle
Bassan: If I was doing this in real life, I wouldn’t be bad… as long as you two were my rivals.
McDaniel: Some bugs were fixed here, but Jeff started early with players two and three on my board.
7. Brooks Lee, 3 b (Dolittle)
8. Jacob Berry, 1 b (pass)
9. Jess Jong, 2B (Schoenefeld)
McDaniel: We’ve now come to the “yawn, college hitters” part of the draft.
10. Justin Crawford, CF (Schoenefeld)
11. Daniel Susak, C (pass)
12. Gavin Cross, 1 b (Dolittle)
Doolittle: Humility doesn’t seem to play well with Leo Durocher in the fictitious draft room, so we’ll just focus on team building here. Winning is its own prize.
McDaniel: Schoenefeld smashed college hitters with perhaps the most electric player in the draft and Kroos dropped a few picks. Is Bassan fading out?
13. Dylan Lesko, RHP (Dolittle)
14. Brandon Barrera, LHP (pass)
15. Jett Williams, S (Schoenefeld)
Schoenefeld: Really, I’m taking a guy named Jett. He may only be 5 feet 8 feet tall, but as our guy Kelly notes, he can run, hit and field. Good luck with your high school pitchers!
McDaniel: Brad picks the 8th man on my board in the 13th pick for the biggest heist to date, while Jeff acts fast to take the next bowler on my board and dunks Dave into the “Shorter Men You Pick To Click” area of the panel. I liked.
16. Connor Prilip, LHP (Schoenefeld)
17. Chase DeLauter, LF (pass)
18. Brooke Porter, RHP (Dolittle)
Bassan: I was hoping Prilip would fall. Just go show that you can get sniped even in phantom drafts. I suppose I can take comfort in knowing that I crafted the only jug that was not currently on the shelf due to Tommy John’s surgery.
McDaniel: This is where everyone’s boards would start to be very different. Decent choices but I have college bats in my top 15 bats still on the board and Jeff skipped both to take a different one. fading!
19. Cole Young, S (Dolittle)
20. Jordan Beck, RF (pass)
21. Drew Gilbert, RF (Schoenefeld)
Schoenefeld: Turns out my guy and Bassan’s guy were teammates in Tennessee. My .362/.455/.673 hit with more walks than the K’s and my .298/.391/.595 Passan hit with 62 K and 37 walks. My man threw 93 mph like a jug, so he had Felder’s right arm. He might like poll director Jeff Beck, but his analytics guy isn’t happy at the moment.
McDaniel: Gilbert ranks 11th on my tablet and Beck ranks 25th. Bassan went from introducing a “no” to raising it in the fifth inning.
22. Sterling Thompson, LF (Schoenefeld)
23. Zach Netto, 3 B (pass)
24. Dylan Bevers, RF (Dolittle)
Bassan: I agree with the upside in round seven. Dave can go ahead and craft sterling while looking for sterling. I do, after all, prefer taking Gs with my choices. And Neto, the guy with a short-range glove who can also move at 93 mph up the hill — and in fact would use it on third base — qualifies.
McDaniel: Bassan is back! Neto ranks 12th on my tablet and has some scam posts in my top 10 picks. How did he get this far? It should be a large anti-mean bias.
25. Peyton Graham, 2B (Dolittle)
26. Kumar Rucker, RHP (pass)
27. Gabriel Hughes, RHP (Schoenefeld)
Doolittle: My entire team is roughly 6-foot-3 or 6-4 in size, so if the baseball part doesn’t work out, I’m going to dominate the Collegiate Basketball League.
Bassan: I mean, Rocker didn’t have a Tommy John, so I think what I said above still remains technically correct.
Doolittle: For a pre-disaster like Lesko, the fact that he had TJ surgery means he had a pre-disaster.
Schoenefeld: I’m calling it: Hughes Hughes, not Chet Holmgren, would be Gonzaga’s top potential project this year.
Bassan: Such an analysis makes me more comfortable with my draft.
McDaniel: Jeff may have a top player in about a month, but I’d prefer Graham and Hughes over Rocker in this spot for long-term value.
28. Tucker Tuman, 1 B (Schoenefeld)
29. Brooke Jones, CF (pass)
30. Dalton Rushing, C (Dolittle)
McDaniel: Toman is 15th on my board and I conclude my picks to click the group (Gilbert, Jett Williams, Neto) while Jones and Rushing are out of my top 45.
Why is your team the best?
Doolittle: I love balance and my team has tools across the board, plus a good mix of upside and polish. Between Jones’ speed and defense, Lee’s punch, the combination of Green’s power speed, and Lesko and Porter’s fast balls, you’ve created a virtual monopoly on this draft’s best tools. And if both Jones and Greene hit the limit, she’d have the two best players in the draft.
pass: Because with four left-handed hitters and a pair of hitters between the nine starting, my formation would destroy the right-hander. In terms of the pure stuff, none of the other pairs of shooters match mine. But mostly because of balance: strength and speed, bat and patience, left and right, prep and college. You have here and now in Rocker, Berry, and Susac. You have the future in Holiday, Johnson and Barrera. I got it all.
Schoenefeld: Well, I also like left-handed speculators. With Collier, Gilbert, and Thompson, I’ve picked three with excellent hits—the most important one, you know, because if you can’t hit, you’re not making majors (compare to say, Jones and Greene, who of you have questionable hits at this point). Additionally, Gilbert and Thompson performed at SEC and Parada at Georgia Tech, hitting .356 with 26 home runs and more walks of hits. Draft models – and the teams that use it for a reason – must love this group.
McDaniel’s final verdict
Doolittle grabbed 5 of my top 10 while Schoenefeld grabbed 8 of my top 21. He’s not a fugitive, but I give a nod to Schoenefeld.
All but one of his players are in my top 30, and the other is likely to be in my top 30 in the real draft. Love the top-down quality he was able to get by picking a Parada with his second pick so he didn’t have to reach for Musk.