The 2022 MLB Draft isn't until July 17th. but that won't stop several outlets from releasing their mock drafts. MLB Pipeline published their latest mock draft and believe that the Cincinnati Reds will take a flier on a rehabbing high school pitcher.
Dylan Lesko, who actually ranks very highly among draft-eligible players according to MLB Pipeline, underwent Tommy John surgery last month. Lesko was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2021.
Lesko is a Vanderbilt University commit, and following his elbow surgery, it's certainly possible that the 18-year-old could rehab his injury and attempt to bolster his draft stock. But it's unlikely that many teams will drop Lesko off their board because of an all-to-common, albeit unfortunate, surgical procedure.
MLB Pipeline predicts the Reds will select Dylan Lesko in the 2022 MLB Draft.
Dylan Lesko is a senior at Buford High School just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Lesko was money last season for the Buford Wolves with an 11-0 record and an ERA 0.35 with 112 punch outs.
Lesko's heater sits in the mid-90s and MLB Pipeline maintains that the right-hander has the best changeup in the draft. Reds fans, who love watching Luis Castillo pitch, would have to see that as good news.
Were it not for his injury, Lesko may have gone top 10, and there's still reason to believe that he could. There are scouts who believe that he has ace potential, and that's some rarefied air. There's always risk, however, when you're talking about how a pitcher responds post-surgery.
The Cincinnati Reds saw first-hand how devastating that type of injury can be. Former first-round pick Hunter Greene underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, spent the entire 2019 season rehabbing from the surgery, and then missed out on key development with the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the Reds chose to take Matt McLain with their first-round pick and the shortstop is always tearing up the competition at Double-A Chattanooga. If Dylan Lesko is Cincinnati's first pick in July's draft, don't expect such a quick acceleration through the farm system.
Not only will Lesko be rehabbing well into the winter and early next season, developing high school pitchers takes time. Lesko seems like a possibility with the 18th pick and player that most Reds fans should keep their eye on.