The 2022 MLB draft features a solid and deep group of college hitters. While James Madison’s Chase DeLauter is arguably the best outfielder in this year’s class, numerous players are right behind him.
With DeLautor potentially out the rest of the season due to a broken left foot, Tennessee’s Jordan Beck and Virginia Tech’s Gavin Cross have a chance to surpass DeLauter as the top college outfielder in this year’s draft class.
Below are scouting reports of Beck and Cross, with detailed information on why scouts are eager about both their skills and potential.
Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
Beck is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound outfielder who is a notable athlete with five-tool potential. He is a strong, physical player who hits for above-average power to all fields due to his strength and bat speed. Scouts rave about Beck’s offensive skill set.
Defensively, Beck profiles as an above-average right fielder due to his solid speed and above-average arm strength.
The one knock on Beck is his plate discipline. He made mechanical adjustments in the offseason, but he needs to do better against off-speed pitches. He has struggled in that area throughout his collegiate career, including this season, as he’s tallied 29 strikeouts and 14 walks.
Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
Cross is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-handed hitting outfielder who drives the ball to all parts of the field. He also hits for plenty of power. Cross might have the best hit tool in the college class.
After tallying 48 strikeouts and 17 walks, Cross has improved his plate discipline this year. He has posted 15 walks compared to 13 walks in 29 games this season.
Defensively, Cross has mostly played right field at Virginia Tech. He will stick in right field long-term, as he has above-average arm strength and athleticism.
Both players are highly talented outfielders who have five-tool potential. Looking at both players closely, Beck has a stronger arm while Cross features better bat-to-ball skills. Cross has a slightly higher floor due to his ability to hit for a higher average.
Scouts are split on which player they prefer over the other. Teams will nitpick both players leading up to the draft because they do feature numerous similarities. Regardless, Beck and Cross will hear their names called in the top 15 picks of this year’s draft.
I personally would take Cross over Beck. While I like both players, Cross has a higher floor, hits from the left side and shows better plate discipline with an ability to hit for a higher average.
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.