2022 MLB Draft: First-Round Comps

Nathan Rode
Director, Multimedia & Scouting

Player comparisons have long been a part of scouting. Before video was so prevalent, and cross country travel so easy, comps were given in reports to help another evaluator picture the player if they didn’t have their own in-person look. Obviously, that’s not as necessary today. Some teams don’t do comps at all. There are different types of comps--physical ones simply referencing a player's size, or comps of performance expectations that are predictive of what type of player the prospect might ultimately become. We’re also talking about individuals when it comes down to it, and everybody is different. Comps are imperfect. 

But it’s also a fun exercise and makes for great conversations. So I decided to explore comps for all the first-round picks this year and conferred with Shooter Hunt, David Seifert and’s Aaron Fitt, as well as scouts and coaches around the country. Instead of simply saying, this amateur equals this big leaguer, we looked at it from multiple angles--like physicality and performance expectations--and presented multiple options most of the time. 

As with anything when it comes to the MLB Draft, time will tell! So don’t take any of this as gospel.

1 Orioles  Jackson Holliday SS Stillwater HS, OK
If you're looking simply at size and position, Gavin Lux is fair. Performance wise, he's had a solid career so far, though you'd likely want more offensive output with a 1-1 pick. If you took Lux's 2022 clip (.295/.372/.423 through 96 games) and added a tick more power, that would be a good fit for Holliday.
2 Diamondbacks  Druw Jones OF Wesleyan School, GA
Given his athleticism, elite defense and power potential, it's hard not to compare Jones to his father. Steering away from that comp, Jones is closer to former big leaguer Melvin Upton in frame and if you want athletic center fielders with pop, Torii Hunter, Adam Jones and Byron Buxton come to mind.
3 Rangers  Kumar Rocker RHP No School
In putting this together, we had a document with notes and the first for Rocker was "There is no comp for Kumar!" He's similar in size to Michael Pineda and Kenley Jansen. Obviously the Rangers hope Rocker is a frontline starter, but he's got the stuff to be a dominant, late-inning guy like Jansen has been.
4 Pirates  Termarr Johnson SS Mays HS, GA
Johnson's future position is questioned by some, which opens up the options. I've mentioned Jose Ramirez. Feedback said that was lofty, but Johnson was a top five pick and candidate to go one. Expectations are lofty anyway. When he first made an impression on scouts as an underclassmen, I heard Willie Calhoun as a kneejerk reaction. The most interesting one I heard was Wander Franco, as someone said Johnson showed better run times later in the season and shortstop is still a possibility. We've always liked his actions and arm, even if the range was limited, so he's still an asset defensively with a big bat.
5 Nationals  Elijah Green OF IMG Academy, FL
Given his five-tool potential, there are a lot of lofty options for Green. The power, swing-and-miss concerns and potential for at least average defense bring names like Mike Cameron and George Springer to mind. A couple other names that came up during conversations in season were Hanley Ramirez and Reggie Sanders.

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