clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2022 Draft Preview: Dark Horses

By popular request, a brief examination of some extreme long-shot candidates for the second pick in the draft.

It sure would be nice to state unequivocally that there is a less than zero chance any of these names are drafted by Arizona with the second pick of the draft. However, as has been seen time and time again over the years (even a few times by Arizona) draft day malfeasance is a thing that exists. So, here are a few of the more popular names for consideration at 1-2 should Mike Hazen decide he’s tired of being employed by Arizona.

The Prospects

Kevin Parada - C, Georgia Tech
Age: 20 (3 August 2001)
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 197 lbs.
B/T: R/R

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60

Parada is a draft-eligible sophomore who is considered one of the best college hitters in the draft class. He is also the top-ranked catcher in this year’s class. However, Parada’s fringy arm and lack of lateral movement have most convinced that his future will be somewhere other than behind the dish, likely first base or left field. At the dish, Parada has improved his strikeout rate significantly while also increasing his in-game power, this despite a rather unorthodox stance. There is little doubt that Parada’s bat will play, the real questions will surround how teams decide to develop him. Will they slow-play him and his bat, trying to develop a serviceable catcher, or will they let his bat carry him as quickly through the minors as possible, settling for playing him in the corner or even at DH?

Cam Collier - 3B, Chipola (FL) JC
Age: 17 (20 November 2004)
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 219 lbs.
B/T: L/R
Commitment: Louisville

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60

Collier is the youngest member of this year’s draft. He also just so happens to have one of the better prep bats in this draft, which has led to him having one of the biggest rises up draft boards. Like Jones and Holliday in the upper tier of prospects, Collier is a second-generation player, his father being former Major Leaguer, Lou Collier, who bounced around as a utility player for eight seasons at the turn of the century. Since moving to Chipola in order to be draft eligible this year, he has posted a triple slash of .333/.419/.537 with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 25 walks to 33 strikeouts. Collier possesses quick hands and a clean bat path paired with excellent pitch recognition and an ability to let the ball travel deep while trusting in his hands. This allows Collier to use the entire field. Collier has a wide, crouched and open setup with a low handset. From this he is capable of generating good, plus power which has been showing up increasingly in-games. However, Collier still needs to work on his timing, as he will sometimes tend to let his hands do all the work, getting his upper half around before his lower half, sapping his power, while he settles for slap-hitting the other direction. While Collier is a solid runner, he isn’t going to provide much value with his legs on the base paths. Defensively, Collier possesses more than enough arm to stick at third, though some question his lateral mobility and worry that this could result in him eventually moving across the diamond to first base.

Jace Jung - 2B , Texas Tech
Age: 21 (4 October 2000)
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 215 lbs.
B/T: L/R

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 55

While not a second-generation player, Jung is the younger brother of the Texas Rangers’ Josh Jung, who was selected eighth overall in the 2019 draft. While not as strong defensively as his older sibling, Jace is a more accomplished hitter for his age than his brother was at the time he was drafted, paving the way for the very real possibility that Jace could be selected higher than his brother was. Defensively, Jung’s high baseball IQ and good reads should allow him to stay on the dirt, mostly at second base. Though he has played a fair amount of third as well, many question whether the arm is enough to be an everyday third baseman as opposed to a top-tier back-up. The real story with Jung, same as his brother, is his bat.

A lefthanded hitter, Jung is one of the best pure bats in the college ranks. Jung brings an old-school approach to the plate in terms of hitting the ball where it’s pitched and has displayed power to all fields in his time at Texas Tech. His gap-to-gap approach should remain the same as he makes his way through the pro ranks and his home run power should translate to a wood bat without any issue as he has plenty of raw strength and a powerful build. Though his offensive setup is unique (with the bat head pointed to the backstop), after his load he is in a perfect position to strike and let his hands go to work. Like most big offensive threats, Jung does have a tendency to get “too big” or over swing trying to do too much. Despite this aggressiveness, plate discipline has not a problem in his career, as Jung walked 59 times compared to 42 strikeouts this spring and sports a career walk rate of 19.9%.

Jacob Berry - 3B, LSU/Arizona
Age: 21 (5 May 2001)
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 215 lbs.
B/T: S/R

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 45 | Field: 40 | Overall: 55

Berry is a dynamic switch-hitter who should come off the draft board relatively early on draft night. Berry produced Pac-12 dominance as a freshman at Arizona, where he posted a triple slash of .352/.439/.676 with 17 homers at Arizona, setting school first-year records and leading the Pacific-12 Conference in extra-base hits (41), total bases (167) and RBI (70). That hitting excellence has carried over to the SEC after Berry made the jump from Tucson to Baton Rouge alongside current LSU skipper, Jay Johnson. Berry has a similar stance from both sides of the plate, a semi-crouch with his hands just above his shoulders. He pairs great plate discipline (walking more than he struck out) with very efficient timing and load, setting himself up for success prior to the pitch’s arrival. Berry’s power seems to reside mostly in his left-handed swing, though he still hits the ball with authority from the right side. Still, only one of his home runs has come from the right side.

Defensively, Berry is a question mark. His most likely home in the pro ranks is not third, where he currently plays, but either at first or DH. At third, Berry stands a bit too erect and moves stiffly, both traits hurting his reaction times and movement at the hot corner despite his decent footwork. Adding to the issue is his arm, which is average at best, not suited for the long throws across the diamond.

Up next: Previewing picks 34, 43, and draft strategies