There was some consistency atop the MLB draft lately: Groups are extra snug with faculty baseball gamers on the high of their draft board.
The 2022 draft bucked that development. Led by Jackson Holliday out of Stillwater Excessive College (Okla.) chosen by the Baltimore Orioles with the primary total decide, 4 of the primary 5 gamers had been highschool athletes. It took till the sixth decide total for somebody who performed at college final season to be chosen.
It was a development actually intensified by the shortage of visibility highschool gamers had through the COVID-19 pandemic, however it didn’t begin with the 2020 draft. During the last 4 seasons, a mixed 4 complete excessive schoolers had been picked within the high 5. That quantity was matched on Sunday night time.
After the Orioles chosen Holliday, the Arizona Diamondbacks took outfielder Druw Jones of Wesleyan Excessive College (Ga.) at No. 2. Kumar Rocker, who was chosen 10th total in 2021 however didn’t signal with the New York Mets, went No. three to the Texas Rangers. Termarr Johnson of Mays Excessive College (Ga.) and Elijah Inexperienced of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) rounded out the highest 5.
To discover a draft this top-heavy of excessive schoolers, one should go all the best way again to 2002, when 4 of the highest 5 gamers — and 7 of the highest eight — had been picked out of highschool. Following the Pittsburgh Pirates’ collection of Ball College pitcher Bryan Bullington at No. 1, seven consecutive prep gamers had been picked, a gaggle that included B.J. Upton (2), Zack Greinke (6) and Prince Fielder (7).
The latest time through which three highschool athletes had been chosen within the high 5 was in 2017, when the draft kicked off with Royce Lewis, Hunter Greene and MacKenzie Gore going one, two and three, respectively.
With COVID restrictions within the rear-view, gamers and scouts can journey extra. Maybe these 4 drafts from 2018-21 had been merely a blip as a substitute of a broader shift in mindset.