Druw Jones leads strong Georgia contingent in 2022 MLB draft

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Georgia was well represented in the 2022 MLB draft, with seven picks hailing from Peach State high schools or colleges in the first round.

The night opened with a bang, with three of the top five picks having played high school baseball in Georgia.

Leading the pack was 6-foot-4 and 180-pound outfielder Druw Jones. Jones was taken with the No. 2 overall pick by the Diamondbacks. Jones, the son of former Braves slugger Andruw Jones and a Vanderbilt commit, had a monumental career at Wesleyan School, where he concluded his time with a Georgia Class A Private school state baseball championship and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia. He recorded 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and hit .570 during his senior season.

ExploreBraves’ first three picks in MLB draft: high school pitchers

The Rangers then selected pitcher Kumar Rocker as the No. 3 overall pick. The 6-5, 245-pound Rocker graduated from North Oconee High School before playing at Vanderbilt for three seasons, where he excelled on the mound. In his final year as a Commodore, Rocker was named a 2021 Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy finalist, leading the nation in wins (14) and strikeouts (179) during that season. Rocker was drafted 10th overall by the Mets in the 2021 draft. However, the Mets failed to sign him after reviewing his medical information. Rocker decided to forgo his senior year and signed with the independent Frontier League Tri-City ValleyCats in May.

With the No. 4 overall pick, the Pirates selected infielder Termarr Johnson. The left-handed hitter graduated from southwest Atlanta’s Mays High School and had committed to Arizona State. He is regarded as one of the best prep hitters available. With his 5-10 and 175 build, Johnson has solidified himself as one of the best prep hitters. According to MLB.com, the 18-year-old boasts a draft-high 70-grade hit tool and 60 power rating.

After being selected, Johnson assured Pirates fans about his playing ability. “You’re getting the best player in the draft,” Johnson said on MLB Network.

ExploreGeorgia Tech’s Kevin Parada taken 11th overall by Mets

Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada was selected by the Mets at No. 11. Parada established himself as one of college baseball’s best catchers and top hitters. Standing at 6-1, the 197-pounder posted a .360 batting average, 88 RBIs and 26 home runs last season.

“I’m extremely proud of Kevin and his night tonight,” Georgia Tech baseball coach Danny Hall said in a statement. “To be drafted by a great organization like the New York Mets and to join other Georgia Tech greats as a first-rounder is a tremendous honor.”

The Padres selected the first high school pitcher of the night in right-hander Dylan Lesko at No. 15. Hailing from Buford High School, the 6-2, 195-pound Lesko was regarded as a potential top overall pitcher in the draft until having Tommy John surgery in April. The Padres took their chance on Lesko, given his track record as a game changer. In his junior season, Lesko, who also had committed to Vanderbilt, was named the 2020-2021 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year after recording 112 strikeouts with an 11-0 record.

The Reds selected 17-year-old third baseman Cam Collier with the 18th pick. The son of former MLB player Lou Collier joins a lengthy list of other second-generation players picked in the 2022 draft. Collier is from Austell but attended Kennesaw’s Mount Paran Christian School. After graduating early, Collier competed at the junior college level with Chipola College in Florida this season. The 6-1, 220-pounder had a .333 batting average with eight home runs in his first season. After one year, Collier announced his commitment to the University of Louisville.

In the Competitive Balance Round A, right-handed pitcher Landon Sims, another Georgian, was selected by the Diamondbacks. Representing South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Sims spent the last two seasons playing for Mississippi State. As a Bulldog, Sims held a career 1.82 ERA with 123 strikeouts. He was looking to add to his stats this season, but his campaign ended early after he tore his UCL in March.

Jackson Holliday, a shortstop from Stillwater (Okla.) High School and the son of former major leaguer Matt Holliday, was the first overall pick by the Orioles.