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Early 2022 Mock Draft: Rounds 15-18

Jo Adell

Jo Adell

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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The postseason might be in full swing, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2022 MLB season. With the fantasy baseball season still fresh in our minds, we thought this was a good time to take stock of what we learned and begin to forecast what drafts might look like next spring.

Of course, with a deep and talented free agent class, opinions will evolve over time. But we wanted to give it a whirl anyway.

What you’ll see here are the results of a slow mock draft with staff members from NBC Sports EDGE. Full results will be posted over the course of the next several days.

1) Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino)

2) Seth Trachtman (@sethroto)

3) Colin Henderson (@ColDontLie)

4) Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)

5) Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams)

6) Drew Silva (@drewsilv)

7) Dave Shovein (@DaveShovein)

8) George Bissell (@GeorgeBissell)

9) Chris Crawford (@Crawford_MILB)

10) D.J. Short (@djshort)

11) Micah Henry (@FantasyCentral1)

12) Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)

We’re drafting based on 5x5 roto scoring. The mock draft consists of 23 rounds, with 14 position players and nine pitcher spots. The position player breakdown is: 2 C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, UTIL. There’s 20-game eligibility for a player to qualify at a particular position.

ROUNDS 15-18

15.169 – Camilo Doval, RP

15.170 – Myles Straw, OF

15.171 – Adley Rutschman, C

15.172 – Logan Gilbert, SP

15.173 – Lourdes Gurriel, OF

15.174 – Eugenio Suarez, SS/3B

15.175 – Amed Rosario, SS

15.176 – Aaron Ashby, RP

15.177 – Ty France, 1B/2B

15.178 – Alex Kirilloff, OF

15.179 – Brandon Crawford, SS

15.180 – Kyle Hendricks, RHP

16.181 – Scott Barlow, RP

16.182 – Josh Bell, 1B

16.183 – Keibert Ruiz, C

16.184 – Chris Taylor, 2B/SS/OF

16.185 – Kyle Seager, 3B

16.186 – Adam Wainwright, SP

16.187 – Jon Gray, SP

16.188 – Enrique Hernandez, 2B/OF

16.189 – Adolis Garcia, OF

16.190 – Ramon Laureano, OF

16.191 – Tyler Stephenson, C

16.192 – Eduardo Rodriguez, SP

17.193 – Jorge Soler, OF

17.194 – Mark Melancon, RP

17.195 – Mike Clevinger, SP

17.196 – David Bednar, RP

17.197 – Gregory Soto, RP

17.198 – Dinelson Lamet, RP/SP

17.199 – Noah Syndergaard, SP

17.200 – Vidal Brujan, 2B

17.201 – Garrett Whitlock, RP

17.202 – Paul Sewald, RP

17.203 –Yuli Gurriel, 1B

17.204 – Carlos Carrasco, SP

18. 205 - Jose Urquidy, SP

18.206 – Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP

18.207 – Tanner Houck, SP

18.208 – Jo Adell, OF

18.209 – Joe Ryan, SP

18.210 – Frank Schwindel, 1B

18.211 – Sean Manaea, SP

18.212 – Christian Vazquez, C

18.213 – Nelson Cruz, UTIL

18.214 –Raimel Tapia, OF

18.215 – Josh Donaldson, 3B

18.216 – Jeimer Candelario, 3B

We’ve reached the point in the draft where you not only are looking to fill out your rosters, but also can afford to take some risks on some prospects, some players that did not perform well in 2021 or just didn’t play at all. There were plenty of all of those in these four rounds.

I would have taken Rutschman had he reached me with my pick in round 15, and it’s not hard to see him being a steal at this point. Yes, it’s fair to say that rookie catchers are a big risk -- there are very few that have success right away -- but Rutschman’s ability to hit for average, get on base and hit for power from both sides of the plate make him likely to be an exception rather than the rule. Especially in a two-catcher league, he’s well worth a draft spot in 2022.

We’ll call Round 17 the reliever round, as six of them were taken -- although not all of them are guaranteed to be in that role next year. Melancon picked up plenty of saves for the Padres in 2021, but not many towards the end of the year, and this is not a dominant reliever who will lose value if he’s not a stopper. Still, his track record suggests he does get a gig somewhere. Sewald was one of the better hurlers for the Mariners all year, and even if he’s not a closer, the strikeout rates can help. I took Whitlock, and I think there’s a chance he can help either in the Boston rotation or as their closer. The uncertainty of his role makes him far from a steal, but I’m happy.

Syndergaard is one of the bigger enigmas going into 2022. He’s thrown all of two innings since 2019, and there’s not only health questions, there’s a question of what team he’s going to play for. A few years ago this was a legitimate top of the rotation starter. I would want to see how things look in spring training before investing early. Pick 199 seems about right.

It’s understandable why a player like Cruz falls in drafts. He’s going to turn 42 next season, he’s limited to the utility position, and like Syndergaard, there’s questions about where he’s going to play. I have little doubt in my mind he’ll be a steal again after posting an .880 OPS with 30 homers and a significant amount of RBI, because that’s what Cruz is going to do until he retires in 15 years.

A bunch of talented -- but unproven -- outfielders go in these four rounds, but again, I’m selfish, so let’s talk about Adell. While he posted just a .703 OPS in the 2021 season and it was over a small sample before his season-ending injury brought things to an end. That being said, he was much better than his awful 2020 campaign, and there were more than a few flashes of brilliance. All things considered, he’s well worth the risk at this point in the draft.

I really liked the Schwindel pick in the middle of the 18th round. The sample size was exceptionally small, and this was a player that was considered organizational depth coming into the year. He’s also a player that hit .342/.389/.613 with 13 homers in 239 plate appearances when given a chance for the Cubs this summer. Is there a chance he’s a player you cut in 2022 at some point? Of course, but there’s a chance you’re going to need to burn through much of the backend of your roster. Nothing wrong with trying to catch lightning in a bottle late in drafts.