The 2022 MLB draft is just around the corner, so we asked three of our own MLB experts to get in on the fun by selecting their own teams consisting of top 2022 draft prospects.
The rules were simple: Jeff Passan, David Schoenfield and Bradford Doolittle snake drafted through 10 rounds (30 total picks) to put together the best possible roster of 2022 draft prospects.
Each roster included a full lineup: Two pitchers, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and three outfielders. They were allowed to draft positions in any order and their strategies show which positions are deepest -- and most shallow -- in this year's class.
After making their 30 selections -- with a healthy dose of trash talk mixed in -- ESPN MLB draft analyst Kiley McDaniel broke down all three teams to declare a dueling mock draft champion.
Now on to the draft!
Watch MLB draft: Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
1. Druw Jones, CF (Doolittle)
2. Jackson Holliday, SS (Passan)
3. Cam Collier, 3B (Schoenfield)
Schoenfield: I made it three straight sons of former major leaguers with the top three picks, which would be pretty awesome if that actually happens. Druw and Jackson were the easy 1-2 picks, but I think Cam has a chance to be the best hitter of the three because he's only 17 -- which draft models love. Think of players like Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor, who were 17 when they were drafted. So it looks like I'm already winning.
McDaniel: I think it's a three-man draft and Mr. Schoenfield didn't get one of the three.
4. Kevin Parada, C (Schoenfield)
5. Termarr Johnson, 2B (Passan)
6. Elijah Green, LF (Doolittle)
Doolittle: If I was doing this in real life, I'd be terrible -- because I'd be scared of players with a lot of swing and miss like Green, and thus would miss out on an entire class of high-upside players. But you guys kind of dropped him in my lap, so I'll just slot him in next to Jones and hope I play in a big ballpark with plenty of outfield grass to cover. -- Doolittle
Passan: If I were doing this in real life, I wouldn't be terrible... So long as the two of you were my competitors.
McDaniel: Some wrongs were righted here, but Jeff is out to an early lead with the second and third players on my board.
7. Brooks Lee, 3B (Doolittle)
8. Jacob Berry, 1B (Passan)
9. Jace Jung, 2B (Schoenfield)
McDaniel: We've now reached the "yawn, college hitters" part of the draft.
10. Justin Crawford, CF (Schoenfield)
11. Daniel Susac, C (Passan)
12. Gavin Cross, 1B (Doolittle)
Doolittle: It appears humility doesn't play well with the Leo Durocher of the mock draft room, so we'll just focus on team building here. Winning is its own reward.
McDaniel: Schoenfield breaks up the college hitters with perhaps the most electric player in the draft and Cross slipped a few picks. Is Passan fading?
13. Dylan Lesko, RHP (Doolittle)
14. Brandon Barriera, LHP (Passan)
15. Jett Williams, SS (Schoenfield)
Schoenfield: Damn right I'm taking somebody named Jett. He might be only 5-foot-8, but as our man Kiley notes, he can run, hit and field. Good luck with your high school pitchers!
McDaniel: Brad grabs the eighth guy on my board at pick 13 for the biggest steal so far, while Jeff acts quickly to scoop up the next pitcher on my board and Dave dips in my "shorter guys who are my pick to click" area of the board. Loving it.
16. Connor Prielipp, LHP (Schoenfield)
17. Chase DeLauter, LF (Passan)
18. Brock Porter, RHP (Doolittle)
Passan: I was hoping Prielipp would fall. Just goes to show you can get sniped even in mock drafts. I suppose I can take solace in knowing I have drafted the only pitcher who isn't currently on the shelf due to Tommy John surgery.
McDaniel: This is where everyone's boards will start getting wildly different. Respectable choices but I have two college bats in my top 15 that are still on the board and Jeff skipped over them both to take a different one. Fading!
19. Cole Young, SS (Doolittle)
20. Jordan Beck, RF (Passan)
21. Drew Gilbert, RF (Schoenfield)
Schoenfield: It turns out my guy and Passan's guy were teammates at Tennessee. My guy hit .362/.455/.673 with more walks than K's and Passan's guy hit .298/.391/.595 with 62 K's and 37 walks. My guy threw 93 mph as a pitcher, so also has a right fielder's arm. Jeff's scouting director might love Beck, but his analytics guy is not a happy camper right now.
McDaniel: Gilbert is 11th on my board and Beck is 25th. Passan went from pitching a no-no to getting lifted in the fifth inning.
22. Sterlin Thompson, LF (Schoenfield)
23. Zach Neto, 3B (Passan)
24. Dylan Beavers, RF (Doolittle)
Passan: I'm OK with taking upside in the seventh round. Dave can go ahead and draft Sterlin while I hunt for sterling. I do, after all, prefer to take Gs with my picks. And Neto, a guy with a shortstop glove who also can go 93 mph off the mound -- and actually would use it at third base -- qualifies.
McDaniel: Passan is back! Neto is 12th on my board and has some sneaky buzz in the top 10 picks. How did he make it this far? Has to be an anti-mid-major bias.
25. Peyton Graham, 2B (Doolittle)
26. Kumar Rocker, RHP (Passan)
27. Gabriel Hughes, RHP (Schoenfield)
Doolittle: Pretty much my entire team is 6-foot-3 or 6-4, so if the baseball part doesn't work out, I'll dominate the intramural basketball league.
Passan: I mean, Rocker hasn't had Tommy John, so I guess what I was saying above technically remains true.
Doolittle: For a prep guy like Lesko, the fact that he has had TJ surgery just means he's been pre-disastered.
Schoenfield: I'm calling it: The best draft prospect out of Gonzaga this year will be Hughes, not Chet Holmgren.
Passan: Analysis like this makes me that much more comfortable with my draft.
McDaniel: Jeff may have a big leaguer in about a month, but I preferred Graham and Hughes to Rocker in this spot for long-term value.
28. Tucker Toman, 1B (Schoenfield)
29. Brock Jones, CF (Passan)
30. Dalton Rushing, C (Doolittle)
McDaniel: Toman is 15th on my board and wraps up my picks to click group (Gilbert, Jett Williams, Neto) while Jones and Rushing are outside my top 45.
Why is your team best?
Doolittle: I love balance and my team has tools across the board, as well as a good mix of upside and polish. Between Jones' speed and defense, Lee's hitting, Green's power-speed combo and the fastballs of Lesko and Porter, I've created a virtual monopoly of this draft's best tools. And if Jones and Green both reach their ceilings, I've got the two best players in the draft.
Passan: Because with four left-handed mashers and a pair of switch-hitters among my starting nine, my lineup will destroy right-handed pitching. In terms of pure stuff, neither of the other pitcher pairs match mine. But mostly because of the balance: power and speed, bat-to-ball and patience, lefty and righty, prep and college. You have the here and now in Rocker, Berry and Susac. You have the future in Holliday, Johnson and Barriera. You have it all.
Schoenfield: Hmm, I also LOVE left-handed batters. With Collier, Gilbert and Thompson, I picked up three with excellent hit tools -- the most important tool, you know, because if you can't hit, you're not making the majors (compare to say, Jones and Green, who have questionable hit tools at this point). Plus, Gilbert and Thompson performed in the SEC and Parada raked at Georgia Tech, hitting .356 with 26 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. The draft models -- and teams use them for a reason -- have to love this group.
McDaniel's final verdict
Doolittle grabbed five of my top 10 players while Schoenfield got 8 of my top 21. I only liked about half of Passan's picks, but he got two of my top three. It's not a runaway, but I'm giving the nod to Schoenfield.
All but one of his players are in my top 30 and the other one probably goes in the top 30 picks in the real draft. Love the top to bottom quality he was able to get by taking Parada with his second pick so he didn't have to reach for a catcher.