Prep Baseball Report

2022 MLB Draft: Recruiting Class Risks

Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scouting

Looking ahead to the July 17-19 MLB Draft, Prep Baseball Report’s Vice President of Scouting, Shooter Hunt, dissects and discusses some of the impact that it might have on the premier recruiting classes from around the country.

When combing through the top prospects and potential impact recruiting classes, the 2022 high schoolers are heavily carried by two schools: LSU & Vanderbilt. Between the pair of power programs, 21 players are featured in PBR’s Top 100 in the 2022 class with numerous others boosting those classes to significant separation amongst peers. To be clear, the evaluation of recruiting classes, especially amongst pinnacle programs, should be viewed in three year segments. There are only so many spots on a roster, and as staffs break them down, it is necessary to view through a long term lens. For this reason, many programs can make up for surprising losses to the draft (the Transfer Portal will be discussed throughout), and overcome the obstacles that roster vacancies may present.

However, there is strong data backing the importance of maintaining the wholeness of recruiting classes, but even more so, securing top end talent. If College World Series success is the barometer, it more than proves the need to get elite talent to campus. Guys like Kevin Abel (RHP, Oregon State 2018), Kumar Rocker (RHP, Vanderbilt 2019), Will Bednar (RHP, Mississippi State 2021), Landon Sims (RHP, Mississippi State 2021), and Hunter Elliott (LHP, Ole Miss 2022) were each driving forces in national championship runs after electing to go to campus.

Therefore, a look at what to expect and hope for from some of the programs that have evaluated talent and recruited at the highest level, and in doing so must sweat out the potential of losing players to the professional ranks.


Having combined his Arizona 2022 recruiting class with the one already set in Baton Rouge (along with procuring some others), head coach Jay Johnson & Co. have put together a “super class” of high school players which will almost certainly be affected by the MLB Draft. However, the addition of IF Tommy White (NC State transfer) via the Portal already makes the Tigers the clear cut leader when looking towards future recruiting rankings. The top “free agent” on the market, White, similar to 3B Jacob Berry, will pair very nicely in the lineup next to Dylan Crews, and perhaps even more importantly, will be penciled into the lineup for two more years. Beyond White, a slew of transfers have been added to the class, and while the numbers don’t add up on paper, the likelihood of a multitude of players to sign is something that one of the nation’s premier programs cannot afford to stand by and wait for.

Of its 13 top 100 high school recruits, my gut says that seven are likely headed on to the professional ranks. Which of those seven? I’m not entirely sure, but given some recent trends and production levels, here are those that warrant early round nerves:

  • CF Paxton Kling (PA)
  • C Brady Neal (FL)
  • 3B Tucker Toman (SC)
  • SS Mikey Romero (CA)
  • OF Justin Crawford (NV)
  • LHP Robby Snelling (NV)
  • RHP Jaden Noot (CA)
  • RHP Aiden Moffett (MS)

It will be interesting to see what the recent string of transfers will do to the signability of this group, but especially Toman and Romero. That duo has superstar potential on the left side of the diamond, but also are coming off strong spring seasons, and are two of the top hitters in the prep class. The highest ranked player in the Tigers’ class, Kling (#7 overall in the high school class), showed off five-tool potential on the summer circuit the past two years, and was recently named the PBR Pennsylvania Player of the Year in a spring season that saw him hit .566 with five home runs and 9 doubles with a 1.643 OPS. There is obviously strong interest in the future center fielder from the pro ranks, so without knowledge of his signing number, there is always a chance that he gets plucked early on day one. However, Kling is a draft eligible sophomore, and given the recent success that superstar OF Dylan Crews (and even 3B Jacob Berry) has enjoyed in bolstering draft stock into the 1:1 stratosphere, a two year residency in Baton Rouge could actually earn him even more all while competing for a national title. Currently, I lean towards Kling getting to campus, but there is always the chance that buzz picks up considerably. The Nevada pair of Crawford and Snelling seem almost certainly gone thanks to elite carrying tools and exciting upside, and could definitely hear their names called within the first 25 picks. Noot, a SoCal standout, fits a pro profile as a potential starter, and has likely been seen more than most high prospects thanks to his locale in the scouting rich region. That leaves Neal and Moffett as the final two key risks. After reclassing up a year, it might have been assumed that Neal was eyeing this draft, and his unquestionable production as a consummate hitter in the nation’s top lineup (IMG Academy) cannot be ignored. However, the strong potential of stepping on campus and occupying the starting role from day one might be able to sway him to don the purple and gold. Finally, Moffett was nothing short of electric this spring, and between his 97 mph fastball and durable, 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame, one would think his high ceiling is too enticing to let get to campus for professional scouts.

That leaves six more top 100 prospects (including one in the top 10!) that I expect to make it to campus. OF Paxton Kling would be a draft eligible sophomore, and given the success that Crews has had (amongst others in the SEC), there is an easier sell for him to raise his stock into a potential 1:1 type guy after a couple big years on campus. LHP Michael Kennedy (NY) might be the most important of any of the incoming recruits based on the need for the Tigers to bolster the pitching staff. He shined last summer on the national circuit, but given some of the arms that he matches up against, and presumably their signability over his, I expect him to get to campus, and potentially serve an important role immediately. Much of where RHP Chase Shores (TX) ends up will be predicated on where he sets his number with MLB clubs, but with an upper 90s fastball and 6-foot-8 frame, there is more than enough intrigue to sway teams into selecting him. He did not have quite as loud of a spring as some had expected which might ultimately benefit LSU, and with the tutelage of Wes Johnson, Shores could definitely explode into a first rounder while on campus. Local product, RHP/SS Gavin Guidry (LA) is likely the biggest question mark. Highly touted as both a position player and pitcher, his work on the mound has sparked the most intrigue from MLB clubs, and should his signing figure fall into the right range, he could most definitely become a professional. From an outsider's view, that appears likely, but those from the state know just how powerful the allure of playing in Alex Box Stadium can be. Finally, with C Jared “Bear” Jones and OF Zeb Ruddell (LA), I expect both to make it to campus although Jones’ jaw dropping raw power from the right side is definitely enticing to some clubs.

Beyond the top 100, it is expected that RHP Micah Bucknam (BC) is likely to sign. The Canadian product currently carries a .53 ERA in the MLB Draft League in 17 innings with a WHIP of 0.76 and .145 BAA (15-5 K/BB)


Premium Content Area

This article is only available to PBRPlus Subscribers. If you wish to continue reading this article:

Login to the Subscriptions Website.
To purchase a NEW SUBSCRIPTION, please click here to go to our subscription products page.