The 2022 MLB Draft is under two months away as it will begin on July 17. We take a look at LSU outfielder Jacob Berry, the top college prospect in the draft and likely top 10 pick. After looking at his teammate Cade Doughty the other day, let’s continue to break down the talent on the Tigers’ squad which has a shot at making a run at the College World Series.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.
Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, LSU
Weight: 212 lbs.
2021 Stats: 63 G, .352/.439/.676, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 54 R, 33 BB, 58 K
2022 Stats: 49 G, .381/.474/.661, 15 HR, 47 RBI, 43 R, 24 BB, 19 K
After a great freshman season at Arizona last year, Berry transferred to LSU where he has continued to be a top-tier hitter. The Arizona native suffered a broken middle finger in his right hand a few weeks ago, leading him to miss time. It is likely he will return for the beginning of the Division I College Baseball Tournament. His bat alone is a top-five talent as he hits for power and average from both sides of the plate. His defensive profile leaves something to be desired as he doesn’t have a set position.
Berry controls the zone extremely well from both sides of the plate and is the most feared hitter in all of college baseball. He repeatedly makes hard contact, hammers fastballs, and can handle breaking pitches well. On top of that, the sophomore lays off pitches and works his fair share of walks. That aspect has improved even more this season as he currently has more walks (24) than strikeouts (19) in 2022. You could expect him to hit close to or above .300 while also smashing around 20 bombs a season. Collegiate Baseball’s National Co-Freshman of the Year in 2021 has a very smooth swing through the zone from the left and right side and drives the ball in the air. There are no swing-and-miss concerns with a Berry, a huge rarity these days with power hitters like him.
As good as he is with the stick, Berry is a bit of a liability in the field as he was a designated hitter for the majority of his freshman season. He played just nine of his 63 games in 2021 at third base, where he sported average arm strength and below-average speed to be a fringey man of the hot corner. The average arm strength doesn’t make him a good bet to play right field, either, so he profiles more as a DH or first baseman which fits the offensive output.
Because of the defensive questions, teams could shy away from selecting him too early, but his offensive production should outweigh his “lack of a position”. For you NFL Draft nuts, basically similar to when teams shied away from Kyle Hamilton and he fell to the 14th overall pick. Obviously, if Berry continues to put out top-notch numbers at the dish, the team who drafts him will find a spot on the field for him to play.
Pro Comparison: Andrew Vaughn
Vaughn was the best pure hitter in the 2019 draft class when he was drafted third overall by the Chicago White Sox out of the University of California. Berry holds that same title this year and they both have a very similar build. The LSU product is a little more athletic and could provide better defense when playing the field. Vaughn was drafted as a first baseman but has since transitioned to playing the outfield. His defense has still been pretty average to below average. If Berry can do with the bat what Vaughn has been able to do with the South Siders, the defense or lack thereof won’t be much of an issue. It would be even better if Berry could improve his defense and be able to play third or first base well.
Draft Projection: Chicago Cubs, Round 1, Pick 7
The Cubs last drafted a college bat in the first round when they selected Nico Hoerner out of Stanford in 2018. They have since gone college arm (Ryan Jensen), prep bat (Ed Howard), and another college arm (Jordan Wicks). There are a variety of different directions they could go with the seventh overall pick, depending on how the board falls. The Cubs lack corner infield depth in their system and could draft Berry as a first baseman. His tremendous switch-hitting ability will excite any team in the first round.
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