The 2022 MLB Draft is upon us. There has been preparation behind the scenes for weeks, months, if not years as scouts checked in on players around the country. As the Phillies make their picks, we’ll keep track of them here along with any scouting reports on the player that we can conjure up. All scouting reports via Fangraphs, Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
1st round - Justin Crawford, OF
Crawford has among the most extreme variance of players in this class. He played much less than his peers during the summer showcase circuit season and showed a couple of swing changes throughout the 2021 calendar year, making it harder to get a real grip on his swing. Things were more mechanically typical late in 2021 and in ‘22, and there’s now increased confidence in Crawford’s bat. He still has an abbreviated, helicopter-style finish similar to D-backs shortstop Geraldo Perdomo’s left-handed swing, and he’ll bend at the waist and throw his bottom hand at the ball to spray contact to all fields, but Crawford is adept at doing this with the fat part of the bat, and he surprises you with how much damage he can do with this style of hitting. He tracks pitches well, he can move the barrel around, he’ll occasionally flash plus rotational explosiveness when he takes a max-effort swing, and his overall athleticism and physical projection make this contact/speed/present gap power package very exciting once you start anticipating that more strength will come. Though he didn’t have quite the same showcase track record, Crawford’s report reads a lot like a more-projectable Corbin Carroll’s at the same stage.
2nd round - no pick
3rd round - Gabriel Rincones, Jr., OF
Rincones’ father, Gabriel Sr., pitched briefly in the Mariners organization. His son is a pure hitter who played for H.B. Plant, the Tampa school that produced Wade Boggs and Kyle Tucker, among others. Rincones went from high school to starring at St. Petersburg Junior College in 2020, then posted a 36-game hitting streak in 2021 and was a first-team All-American. He was drafted in the 19th round by the Padres, then moved on to Florida Atlantic in 2022, earning Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors by hitting 19 homers with a 1.110 OPS. It’s Rincones’ left-handed bat that has scouts interested. He’s always been able to hit with an advanced approach at the plate, something that continued with high walk and low strikeout rates after the move to Division I baseball. The power started really showing up this season, especially to his pull side, but he can drive the ball to all fields. He punishes fastballs with pitchers only finding success in getting him out with offspeed stuff. Rincones is going to have to hit to become a big leaguer because he is limited defensively. He has a below-average arm and doesn’t run well, meaning he’s likely either a left fielder or a first baseman. He likely has shown enough on the offensive side for teams that like college performers to consider him on Day 2 of the Draft.
4th round - Alex McFarlane, P
McFarlane moved from the U.S. Virgin Islands to attend Habersham Central High School for his senior year of high school. His athleticism and projection garnered plenty of interest, but his strong commitment to Miami led him to slide to the Cardinals in the 25th round, so he headed to pitch for the Hurricanes. He’s gotten some opportunities to start since 2020, including this spring, but has spent the bulk of his college career coming out of the Hurricanes bullpen. A right-hander who has added good strength to his athletic 6-foot-4 frame since heading to college, McFarlane succeeds largely with two very good pitches: his fastball and slider. His fastball has averaged over 95 mph this season, topping out at 99, and there’s good run on the pitch. His slider, which he’s run up to 89-90 mph, flashes plus and misses bats at a very impressive rate. He does have some feel for his mid-80s changeup as well. With that kind of potential in a three-pitch mix and an ideal durable pitcher’s frame, it might be tempting to give McFarlane another chance to start at the next level. But his long arm action in back is very tough to repeat, which has led to issues with command. Perhaps a team could try to retool his mechanics, but it might be wiser to keep him in the pen and let that fastball-slider combination carry him to the big leagues.
5th round - Orion Kerkering, P
A bit of a late bloomer, Kerkering didn’t make his Venice High School varsity team until his junior year but then helped the Florida power win back-to-back state championships as a starter. He began his career at South Florida as a reliever, scuffling a bit initially in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, then thriving as the Bulls’ closer in 2021. He moved into the Friday night starter role and opened a lot of eyes early, but after struggling, he has largely been back in a reliver role since late April. Always pitching from the stretch, Kerkering does have three pitches in his arsenal. The 6-foot-2 right-hander tops out at 97 mph with his fastball, especially in shorter stints, and has averaged around 93 mph. He hasn’t always commanded it well and it’s been squared up more than it should. His best pitch is his slider, a sharp 83-85 mph breaker that flashes plus and can be a nasty strikeout pitch at times. His mid-80s changeup isn’t as good, but it does offer some fade away from left-handed hitters. Kerkering does a nice job of hiding the ball and creating some deception with his delivery. And while his overall command needs to improve, he’s done a better job of finding the strike zone than he did in 2021. A team taking him at some point on Day 2 of the Draft might want to give him a chance to start, but there’s a pretty good chance he lands in a bullpen, where that slider could really play.
6th round - Mavis Graves, P
A projection lefthander with a quick arm, Graves is listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds and has plenty of room to add strength and muscle mass in the future. He has mostly pitched in the upper 80s and touched low 90s numbers at peak, but it’s easy to see him increasing that velocity as he adds physicality in the future. He also throws a curveball in the upper 70s that will flash solid depth and has shown some feel for a changeup in the 78-80 mph range. Graves is committed to Clemson.
7th round - Caleb Ricketts, C
Ricketts is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound catcher who makes plenty of contact and showed a massive uptick in game power this spring. After hitting just two home runs during his first three seasons with San Diego, Ricketts clobbered 16 this spring, while slashing .373/.423/.658 and was named the West Coast Conference player of the year. Most of his power came to the pull side this season, but he did manage solid average exit velocity numbers. Defensively, Ricketts will need to work on his mobility and flexibility to get down well on balls in the dirt and his size could always be a challenge in that regard. He has a below-average arm but has done a nice job improving his transfer and release to throw out 45.7% of baserunners this season. Ricketts will need to work to become a fringe-average catcher, but his production this season and positional value should get him selected at some point.
8th round - Alex Rao, P
After making four starts for Notre Dame during the 2020 coronavirus-shortened season, Rao has spent the last two years as a key member of the Irish’s bullpen. He’s looking to be a quality senior sign this year as a reliever with a plus 93-96 mph fastball that will touch 98. Rao’s four-seamer has excellent life up in the zone. He also throws a plus mid-80s split-change that pairs excellently with his fastball. If he keeps it down in the zone, it’s nearly impossible to lift. Rao doesn’t throw enough strikes and his slider is below-average, but Rao has two plus pitches that are effective to both lefties and righties because he works with a north-south approach. He should get a shot to show it can work in a pro bullpen.
9th round - Chad Castillo, OF
10th round - Gustavo Sosa, C