Last month, we kicked off a draft preview series for the Colorado Rockies, diving into the prep hitter class. This time, we’re going to cover the college bats. This is easily the strongest crop of college hitters in over a decade, with a large handful of talents that would go very high in a normal year.
Fortunately for the Rockies, it’s likely that multiple names mentioned here will reach them at pick 10 come July.
These players aren’t ranked in order and nearly every player in this article has top 3 pick upside. This will simply be a year packed with draft board shakeup.
Let’s look at some college hitters who may be available for the Colorado Rockies in the 2022 MLB draft.
Jace Jung | IF | Texas Tech
His brother (Josh) might’ve gone eighth overall in 2019, but the younger Jung will almost certainly have bragging rights in a few months.
Jace Jung is a special hitter. It’s not common that you find a college player who walks more than he strikes out and who slugs about .700.
In 2021, Jung smashed 21 long balls, walked 49 times to just 45 strikeouts, and hit .337.
The left-handed hitter is immune to southpaw pitching, posting a 1.095 OPS against lefties with eight of his home runs coming against them. The only real drawback to the Red Raider’s game is his roughly average speed.
Chase DeLauter | OF | James Madison
A lesser-hyped prospect from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference, DeLauter has a case as the best hitter in this class.
The 6-foot-4 outfielder is a true 5-tool talent with few — if any — blemishes in his game. DeLauter profiles as a good to great center field defender with plus speed, great plate discipline and plate coverage, and a healthy amount of pull power.
Not facing premier college talent might create pause for some, but it’s safe to say DeLauter’s 2021 OPS of 1.231 would hold up in any conference.
Brooks Lee | SS | Cal Poly
Cal Poly’s Lee has garnered plenty of first overall pick hype as a smooth-hitting shortstop.
The switch-hitter’s extremely aggressive approach and limited speed cap his overall upside. For a high first-round hitter, an 8.1 BB% is a cause for question as that figure will likely dip in the pros.
Still, Lee owns a career .385 OBP backed by tremendous bat-to-ball skills and hit 10 home runs last season.
Jacob Berry | 3B | LSU
The best raw power among the elite college hitters in this draft belongs to Berry.
The switch-hitter crushes from both sides of the plate with little variation in his stats from each side.
Berry’s plate discipline is quality, balancing selectivity with an aggressive style.
As you might expect from a mashing corner infielder, Berry isn’t a speed threat or a great athlete which might push him into a first base/designated hitter role in professional ball. Still, the bat is remarkable.
Brock Jones | OF | Stanford
Jones, like DeLauter, brings a legit 5-tool skillset to the field.
Jones looks a tad slower than DeLauter and isn’t as ideal of a fit in center field. His fringe-average arm points to left field as his future defensive home.
Still, the Stanford stud’s bat gives him a chance to go as high as anyone in the class. His 18.3 BB% (.453 OBP) mixed with 18 home runs (.646 SLG) and reasonable strikeout total gives him the complete toolbox at the dish.
Kevin Parada | C | Georgia Tech
Parada is the latest to come out of the Georgia Tech catching factory.
In comparison to these other hitters, Parada isn’t a premium hitter and doesn’t have an abundance of power, but the backstop still has a respectable bat.
As catchers go, Parada is a solid athlete and has the potential to be a very solid defender, making him worth top 10 consideration.
Carter Young | SS | Vanderbilt
A flashy name due to Vanderbilt’s reputation and his athleticism, Young has as much upside as anyone in this class.
He also has a lot of downside for a first-round prospect because of questions surrounding his hit tool like a high chase and whiff rate. Some of those concerns can be explained by a shoulder injury he suffered at the beginning of the summer.
If Young stays healthy this year, he’ll flash his premium power and shortstop defense to potentially go along with a refined approach.
Gavin Cross | OF | Virginia Tech
Cross hits the ball really hard and with consistency. He has a remarkable all-fields approach with left-center opposite-field power and remarkable pull power to right.
The 6-foot-3 outfielder is highly aggressive and prone to chasing pitches, but his frequent hard contact allowed him to hit .345 in 2021.
Cross is athletic and can handle center field but has primarily played right field for the Hokies.
Daniel Susac | C | Arizona
Susac and Parada are about neck-and-neck for the title of the top catcher in the class. Susac performed better at the plate last season despite lower expectations, but 2022 will be telling.
Susac has easy power, makes contact at a great rate, and will more than hold his own behind the plate.
Like Cross, a big selling point with his profile is how he spreads the baseball across the field. Most of his hits are pushed to right field but his power is to the pull side.
With a strong season, Susac will be one of the higher risers relative to his preseason stock.
Cam Collier | 3B | Chipola College
Collier is a bonus inclusion to the list given that the 17-year-old is supposed to be in high school. However, the smooth swinging lefty opted to reclassify and spend a year in the JUCO ranks.
Praised for his ability to make consistent quality contact, the 6-foot-2 Collier has raw strength that could really spice his profile up if it plays in games frequently.
Despite his strong build, Collier is very quick and could potentially be a great defensive asset especially because of his low-90s capable arm.
Summing it up
To reiterate, this group of college hitters is special. If each of these players was individually in the 2021 class, it’s reasonable to say that each one would’ve been a top 10 pick.
It’s possible the Colorado Rockies opt to take the pitching route given that they’ve selected a hitter with their first pick in three consecutive drafts. We’ll cover some of the more enticing arms in our next article.
However, a transcendent college bat at pick 10 seems like a dream come true.