The 2022 draft is coming up and the Nats have the fifth pick — their highest selection since they took Anthony Rendon 6th overall in 2011. In desperate need of position player talent — the Nationals are in luck with the top of the draft is loaded with both prep and college bats.
While there will be plenty of intriguing options on the board when the Nats go on the clock, they need to answer one question — to choose from one of the high-upside prep bats or go the safer option and take a college player.
Today we are gonna look at three prep bats that Nats should consider taking 5th overall.
Once projected to go first overall, Elijah Green has slipped due to swing and miss issues — but he showed signs of improvement in that department this season.
After striking out 34 times and drawing only 16 walks in 25 games during his junior season, he’s worked on his plate discipline. In 25 games this year, he struck out 21 times, while drawing 21 walks.
MLB Pipeline’s number two draft prospect, they raved about his offensive profile:
"A right-handed hitter, Green is capable of doing just about everything very well. He can make very loud contact and has proven he can drive the ball to all fields and hit the ball out of the park just about anywhere with at least plus raw power, and he’s done that this spring in front of a lot of decision makers."
His most impressive trait is his speed, which was given a 70 grade — allowing him to patrol centerfield with ease. Mix that with his solid arm and he projects to be above average defensively.
A high-risk high-reward prospect due to his swing and miss issues, Green has the potential to be the best player in this draft and could be a steal for the Nats.
Touted as one of the best pure-hitting prep prospects in over a decade, Termarr Johnson has an incredible ceiling. He has a 70-hit tool with some draft evaluators even believing it is an 80-grade (the highest grade a tool can receive). He’s received Hall of Fame comps comparing him to a mix of Wade Boggs’s plate discipline and Vlad Guerrero Sr’s. bat-to-ball skills.
Per MLB Pipeline:
"“Johnson’s hand-eye coordination and swing decisions make him an elite contact hitter from the left side of the plate. He isn’t fazed by mid-90s fastballs or quality breaking balls, using his quick, compact stroke to drive the ball to all fields. Though his listed 5-foot-10 height might be a bit generous, his ability to barrel balls along with his bat speed and strength could make him a 25-30 homer threat in the big leagues.”"
He projects to move to second base due to his average arm and quickness, which could lead to him being on the board at five.
Nobody has done more to help their draft stock than Jackson Holliday. The son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holiday, Jackson has shot up draft boards after hitting an absurd .685, with 17 home runs (52 extra-base hits) and 79 RBIs. He also flashed his plate discipline — drawing 33 walks, while only striking out seven times.
Holliday has an advanced approach at the plate and can barrel the ball. He has quick hands and can hit the ball to all fields. Defensively, he only committed three errors this year. He has a solid arm that projects to only get better as he ages — mix that with his quickness and he projects to be able to stay at short, something that seemed unlikely a year ago.
Some mock drafts have the Orioles taking Holliday first overall on the off-chance they want to under slot, something they have done in the past two drafts.