ESPN drafts where 4 Tennessee baseball players will be drafted

A byproduct of the Tennessee Vols’ success this season is that they are expected to have multiple players selected in the 2022 MLB Draft in July.

Four players, in particular, could be drafted in the early rounds of the draft.

Earlier this week, MLB insider Kiley McDaniel of ESPN revealed his first MLB 2022 mock draft. McDaniel has three Vols selected from the top 41 picks and he believes another player from Tennessee will be drafted in the first 80 draft picks.

McDaniel asks the Colorado Rockies to select outfielder Jordan Back with the 10th overall pick in the draft.

From ESPN:

Colorado has been linked with Beck all spring, and the Rockies have attacked him in the SEC Tournament – ​​although he has a wide range of possible landing spots throughout the round since teams have ratings very different from him. Since the consensus is starting to break down here, the predicted mixes of players the teams are on are also less reliable as they still change their minds as bonus asking prices become clearer.

Tennessee right fielder Jordan Beck (27) drives up the baseline after hitting a two-run brace against Vanderbilt in the fifth inning at Hawkins Field on Friday, April 1, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
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McDaniel then asks the Chicago White Sox to select outfielder Drew Gilbert with the 26th overall pick. He describes Gilbert as one of the “safest picks in the draft” before suggesting that Gilbert could be the first non-relief in this draft class to reach the major leagues.

The White Sox tend to take varsity bats with their first pick and then get bolder with later picks, and that’s exactly what the board is giving them here. Gilbert is one of the safest picks in the draft and could be the first non-relief to make the major leagues in this class. He also plays in his late teens.

Tennessee outfielder/pitcher Drew Gilbert (1) at bat during the NCAA baseball game between Auburn and Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
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The last Tennessee player that McDaniel has in the top 41 (which is basically the first round, including compensation picks and competitive balance picks) is right-handed pitcher Blake Tidwell.

Tidwell appeared late as a high school player in the COVID-shortened 2020 spring by pitching in the 90s and could have been paid out of high school with a normally scheduled spring. He was solid last season for the Vols and then missed the first game of this season with shoulder pain. Tidwell flashed the top 10 talent this spring but comes with concerns and numbers to work around that range, although some teams prefer the more stable type of college pitcher while Tidwell is more boom/bust.

The other Vol McDaniel has raised in the draft is right-handed pitcher Ben Joyce, the flamethrower who can hit 105 MPH with his fastball.

McDaniel noted that most scouts see Joyce as a third-round talent.

I think Joyce will go all 80 picks, but he’s unlikely to sneak into the 41 picks I’m including in this projection. Most scouts think he belongs in round three on talent, so he’d probably be below the slot when/if he moves up to round two.

Joyce obviously has a ton of potential, but MLB teams aren’t sure if he’ll be a next-level starter. And teams generally don’t use high draft picks on relief pitchers. Joyce’s speed is dazzling, but one wonders what kind of pitcher he’ll be in the big leagues.

Featured Image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK

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