The MLB Draft began on Sunday, and there were five African-American players chosen in the top 18 picks. Kumar Rocker (Rangers), Termarr Johnson (Pirates), Elijah Green (Nationals), Justin Crawford (Phillies), Cam Collier (Reds). That’s a huge shot in the arm for MLB baseball, where less than 7.7 percent of its players are African-American.
Rocker Taken At No.3 Is A Huge Surprise:
Heading into Sunday’s draft, Kumar Rocker was the 38th-ranked prospect. After being chosen No.10 in last year’s draft by the Mets, Rocker and the team couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract. Instead of returning to Vanderbilt, Rocker opted to work out and prepare for this year’s draft. Safe to say; betting on himself and not returning to college was the right move. Now Rocker will be the projected future “ACE,” of the Texas Rangers’ staff.
Pirates Take Termarr Johnson: They Have Coveted Him
With the No.4 pick the Pittsburgh Pirates opted for the smooth hitting infielder Termarr Johnson, an 18-year-old from Mays H.S. in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Pirates were long rumored to be high on Johnson and many believed the struggling franchise would take him if he was available with the fourth pick. Well, that happened and Johnson’s value as a hitter is what makes him a top prospect. That along with his supreme confidence.
Pirates GM Ben Cherington had this to say about Johnson:
“He’s a confident young man. He should be. He’s talented. He’s the fourth overall pick in the country. He should be confident. He needs to be confident to be a big leaguer. This is someone who worked really hard, too. He’s humble, he wants to get better every day. So it’s a nice combination.”
Nationals Land Elijah Green At No.5: Will They Be Able To Keep This Homegrown Talent?
The Nationals have had many of their homegrown stars depart, first it was Bryce Harper, then it was Anthony Rendon. Now with superstar Juan Soto rejecting a 15-year, $440 million deal, rumors are he’ll be traded.
Enter Elijah Green, a player who could be a generational talent like Harper and Soto. Green the IMG Academy prospect has all the tools to be a superstar. Standing 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he’s got great speed and power. Despite his larger frame, Green projects as a center fielder.
An excited Green had this to say via zoom call.
“This was always one of the goals of my life. To be called by the Washington Nationals is truly a blessing. I’m going to go out there, work hard and hopefully bring a championship back to Washington.”
Phillies Get Justin Crawford: He Has MLB Pedigree
The Philadelphia Phillies went with Bishop Gorman star Justin Crawford with the No.17 pick. Crawford is a blend of speed and strength, just like his dad, former MLB outfielder Carl Crawford.
Phillies scouting director, Brian Barber was excited to land Crawford in that spot, but was also quick to acknowledge that the younger Crawford is more advanced at this stage of his development than dad was.
“There are a lot of differences in their game. Justin Crawford is more advanced defensively at this stage than his father as well.
“No doubt I think he’s going to be an elite defensive center fielder in the future.”
Cam Collier To The Reds: Are He And Hunter Greene The Future In Cincy?
Originally a class of 2023 prospect, Cam Collier reclassified to the class of 2022. Collier stands 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. He’s a freak of nature by athletic standards. Collier is just 17 years old and should be a high school junior as of now, he’s the youngest hitter in the draft.
“He should be a high school junior right now. He reclassified to go to junior college and really challenge himself. We haven’t seen someone of his age do that since Bryce Harper did. A really advanced hitter, who’s been around the game his whole life.”
Collier is the son of former major league leader Lou Collier and he’s the first junior college bat taken in the first round since the Chicago White Sox Tim Anderson. Collier will join Reds pitcher Hunter Greene as the future cornerstone pieces in Cincy.