MLB Pipeline released its top 150 prospects list for the 2022 MLB Draft on Tuesday morning, and the No. 1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores are well represented.
The Vols have four total players ranked with three in the top 27, including outfielders Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert plus pitcher Blade Tidwell.
Beck ranks second on the Vols in runs scored (39) and hits (50), and he’s third in RBIs (32), while Gilbert ranks second in RBIs (38) and third in batting average (.346). Beck is also one of just two Vols starters without an error in the field this year.
Although Tidwell has started just three games while battling an injury at the start of the year, he’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 20 strikeouts. He has the lowest ERA of any Vols pitcher to start three or more games and he leads the team with 16.36 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Vanderbilt has three players ranked in the top 150 — Spencer Jones, Dominic Keegan and Carter Young — and while Kumar Rocker is no longer a part of the Commodores’ program, he did spend three seasons leading the VU pitching staff.
Keegan ranks top 20 nationally with a .407 batting average, and he leads the team with 59 hits, 7 home runs, and 40 RBIs. Jones ranks second on the team in average (.365), runs scored (36), hits (50), home runs (6) and RBIs (34).
Listed below are the rankings for each player as well as a full scouting report, according to MLB Pipeline:
No. 21 - Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
“Beck uses his bat speed, strength and the leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame to create well above-average raw power to all fields. He gets too aggressive at the plate, however, and he struggled to make contact and drive the ball with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. Beck runs very well for his size, displaying solid speed and the ability to steal an occasional base. His plus arm strength adds to his profile in right field, where he's a better-than-average defender.”
No. 22 - Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
“Tidwell can light up radar guns with a fastball that parks at 93-96 mph and tops out at 99 with some arm-side run, though it also straightens out and gets hit when he doesn't work up in the strike zone. He has a full array of secondary pitches. His sinking low-80s changeup generated the best swing-and-miss rate (39 percent) of any of his offerings in 2021. Tidwell does a good job of maintaining his stuff deep into games, and he still has room to add some more strength. He throws strikes but needs to improve the consistency and command of his pitches.”
No. 27 - Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
“Gilbert has an aggressive approach but also the hand-eye coordination to regularly barrel balls. His left-handed swing can get big when he gets too concerned with home runs, and he'd be a better hitter if he focused more on making quality contact. His bat speed and strength give him enough raw pop to hit 15-20 homers per season without selling out. While he's not a true burner, his quickness and instincts allow him to run down balls from gap to gap in center field. His plus arm strength would allow him to play anywhere in the outfield.”
No. 31 - Kumar Rocker, RHP (Vanderbilt 2019-21)
“Rocker is this Draft's biggest enigma despite two spectacular full seasons at Vanderbilt. The Mets selected him 10th overall in July and agreed to a $6 million bonus, but they walked away from the deal after a post-Draft physical created unspecified concerns about his shoulder and elbow. He's a physical right-hander who throws strikes but possesses just average command. It won't be clear where he'll fit into the 2022 Draft until teams get more details about his health, and he opted not to return to Vanderbilt. Clubs expect him to pitch in a few controlled outings this spring in an independent or college league.”
No. 87 - Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
“Jones has the potential to hit for average while producing solid power, but he also swings and misses frequently against non-fastballs. He generates plenty of bat speed and has impressive strength and leverage in his 6-foot-7 frame, but his size also creates a naturally long left-handed swing. He uses the opposite field almost to a fault, rarely turning on pitches, and there are concerns about whether he'll be able to handle quality fastballs on the inner half. He covers ground in right field and has regained average arm strength.”
No. 89 - Dominic Keegan, C, Vanderbilt
“Keegan is exceedingly strong and the ball jumps off his bat to all fields despite what looks like an effortless right-handed swing. His ease of operation allows him to provide consistent hard contact and he has made adjustments to do much more damage against breaking balls this year than he has in the past. Keegan has helped his cause by improving his defense and showing he can be an adequate catcher. He's an average defender at first base and moves well enough to perhaps play left field.”
No. 111 - Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
“To realize his 20-homer potential in pro ball, he'll need to tone down his stroke and stop chasing pitches out of the strike zone. Young plays quicker than his average speed thanks to his advanced instincts on the bases and in the field. He covers ground at shortstop, where his hands, strong arm and internal clock make him a solid and reliable defender. If he doesn't hit enough to be a regular, he has the versatility and skills to fill a utility role.”
No. 125 - Ben Joyce, RHP, Tennessee
“Joyce has averaged 101 mph and touched 104 this spring, with his fastball arriving on a flat approach angle from a low slot that makes it extremely difficult to catch up to when he works up in the zone. He gets some ugly swings-and-misses with his mid-80s slider when batters gear up for his fastball, though he struggles to throw it over the plate, and he dabbles with a low-90s changeup that features nice fade at its best. He has a strong 6-foot-5 frame but still has to prove that he's durable and can keep his delivery in sync.”
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