We are now less than ten days away from the 2022 MLB amateur draft. We’ve already taken a dive into the potential options for the Rockies at tenth overall in the Purple Row 2022 first-round prediction (1.0), but more information has become available since then and will continue to do so as we get closer to the day of the draft.
In that article, we polled who Rockies’ fans would like to see selected between the most common names being circulated.
Berry and Jung have remained in the conversation, while Beck now polls as an option for Colorado with their second selection (31st overall). The second wave of expert mocks (MLB.com, CBS Sports, The Athletic) peg Berry as the selection for Colorado. Baseball America has the Rockies selecting Jace Jung while the latest from MLB.com and Prospects Live tabs Colorado as selecting Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross.
Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (MLB Pipeline)
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Gavin Cross was a relatively unknown name in scouting circles in 2020, but has soared to a top-15 talent over the past two seasons. He became the first Hokies freshman to be named to the All-ACC First Team in 2021 after posting a .345/.415/.621 line and 11 HR in 51 games. He followed that up with an impressive .328/.411/.660 2022 season and an insane 49% XBH%, earning Cross consideration for the Golden Spikes Award and Baseball America First Team honors.
Cross grades well in all categories, but may not have any standout tools with MLB Pipeline noting:
“A left-hander at the plate, Cross does have the chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average power...A tick-above-solid runner, he’s played center field this spring, but is better suited for a corner outfield spot.”
Even though that elite tool may not be there like with some other prospects, that does not mean Cross can’t end up being an elite player overall. His 1.021 OPS in three seasons at the top of the Virginia Tech lineup indicates the caliber of production Cross is capable of with his whole-field approach and strong defensive profile in a corner OF position.
Joe Doyle over at Prospects Live tends to agree:
Cross has proven he can hit elite velo and punish mistakes spinning in the middle of the plate. He uses all fields with big bat speed and has shown huge power potential. His exit velos are among the best in the entire country. In the field, he’s manned right field for a majority of his career where he’s shown off a plus arm.
While there are a few names being tossed around, there is an overall theme with the group: college hitters. That seems to be the real consensus amongst draft experts when discussing Colorado’s approach. From Prospects Live:
The Rockies are almost assuredly going to take a college bat with power thanks to a model philosophy in their organization to build around the middle of the order.
Berry, Cross and Jung are all solid candidates for the tenth overall selection, and most would not be surprised if their name was called for Colorado. A few college bats — namely Cam Collier, Brooks Lee and Kevin Parada — are expected to already be off the board ahead of these three, and for good reason. So, while it would be a pleasant surprise to see Collier, Lee or Parada selected, the Rockies probably won’t get the chance.
But that same scenario could play out for one or all of Berry, Cross and Jung, too. So what then? Well, let’s look at a few college hitters further down the draft boards that could be to Colorado’s liking if their preferred bat is unavailable.
Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (MLB Pipeline, Prime Time Sports)
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
As a draft-eligible sophomore, many in the industry tab Daniel Susac as being one of the best defensive catching prospects in the draft with the potential to become an impact hitter in the professional ranks. He has a big arm behind the plate and has continued to improve his pitch-framing, but also displays plus power with the bat.
Big and physical, Susac has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields, using the gap very well during his freshman season. There’s legitimate power to tap into as well. — MLB.com
Susac posted a .352/.413/.586 line in two season with Arizona, knocking out 43 doubles and 24 home runs in 125 games. There is real chance the younger brother of MLB catcher Andrew Susac can be one of the best catching prospects drafted in recent seasons and develop into a future middle-of-the-order anchor. From Prospects Live:
Susac has more explosiveness and lateral mobility than most catchers his size do. But this guy will make his money with the bat. A potential plus hitter with plus power, Susac projects a middle-of-the-order impact bat, a run producer and an impact defender up the middle of the field. Susac’s batted-ball data surpasses that of Henry Davis from 2021
Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (MLB Pipeline)
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
One of the biggest risers of the 2022 season, Zach Neto is primed to be the first first-round selection in Campbell history. He sports a career .403/.500/.751 line in three college seasons and showed very well with a wood bat in the Cape Cod League in 2021, posting a 1.026 OPS.
His aggressive play style is his trademark in all areas of the game, boosting his value at the plate, in the field and on the bases:
He’s an aggressive hitter who extends really well and has a knack for catching the ball out in front, tapping into a lot of his raw power... It’s a rhythmic swing that relies on timing, though Neto has shown real feel for putting his body in a position to damage the baseball. — Prospects Live
This aggressive approach has helped him put together an impressive profile, but there are questions about his ability to stick at SS long-term.
Neto enhances his average speed by running the bases aggressively. He has quick hands and feet and his instincts may help him be an average defender at shortstop, though his range may be better suited for second base at the next level. — MLB.com
Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison (MLB Pipeline, )
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
A name high on may boards heading into the 2022 season, Chase DeLauter only furthered his case with a .437/.576/.828 line in 24 games before going down with a broken foot in April. All told, DeLauter has posted a 1.235 OPS in his collegiate career at mid-major James Madison and was arguably the best hitter in the 2021 Cape Cod League. Many scouts think the superb hitting DeLauter has shown to this point will translate into professional ranks.
Believers see an above average hitter with easy plus, potentially plus-plus raw power... He has a disciplined eye at the plate that should translate to pro ball well. — Prospects Live
DeLatuer’s athletic 6-foot-4, 230 pound frame leads many to rank his speed and defensive values highly. This leads many to believe there is true 5-tool potential in DeLauter but those with concerns point to his swing mechanics possibly preventing him from being able to handle higher-level pitching.
Detractors believe the swing is too unconventional (a back foot sliding mechanism) to find consistent success at the pro level. — Prospects Live
Some might question the length in his swing path and some scouts point to being overmatched against Florida State to start the season as proof that it won’t work against better pitching — MLB.com
Most of the recent mock drafts slot Neto and Cross in the same conversation with top-10 upside. Susac has generally sat just outside the top-10 while DeLauter has polled more in the mid-to-late first round discussion, generally ahead of fellow college OF Dylan Beavers, Drew Gilbert and Brock Jones.
This group generally constructs the pool of college hitters the Colorado Rockies will be able to select from with their top pick. Colorado has the fourth-largest draft pool with $13,660,700 available to hand out to their picks, so the decision on who to take could boil down more to who has the lower signing bonus demands rather than who is the best player available. But the popular opinion is whoever that player is, it will be a college hitter.
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With that in mind, who would you prefer to see the Rockies select? Let us know in the poll and comments below.
Which college hitter should the Rockies select 10th overall?
This poll is closed
Someone Else (let us know who in the comments)