LOS ANGELES — The 2022 MLB Draft begins on Sunday night in Los Angeles with the first two rounds and multiple Tennessee baseball stars are expected to go off the board by the end of day one.
Vol outfielders Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck were drafted before they came to Tennessee. Gilbert was a 35th-round pick by Minnesota in 2019 and Beck was chosen in the 14th round by Boston. Both players elected to play college baseball instead and are ready to reap the benefits of stellar play.
Most mock drafts have the two slotted somewhere in the mid to late first round, and there is a near-definite chance they will be picked at some point on Sunday night.
Pitcher Blade Tidwell is another Vol slotted to go in the first two rounds. Some experts predict Tidwell to go before Beck or Gilbert, while others see him going early in the second round. He missed a chunk of this past season and struggled to find consistency when he returned to the field, but it's likely that many teams see enough potential in Tidwell to make him a fairly high draft pick.
Ben Joyce is another player to watch, but probably not on day one. The Knoxville native earned plenty of publicity with his record-breaking fastball, and that's enough for teams to take a chance on him.
Third baseman Trey Lipscomb is coming off a stellar senior season, but it is tough to predict his draft position due to the fact that he didn't produce until his final season at Tennessee. His performance on both sides of the ball this year, coupled with the fact that there are 20 rounds in the 2022 draft, makes it unlikely he will go undrafted.
Incoming Tennessee transfer Reggie Crawford could also get drafted pretty high, and he is an interesting player to watch in terms of Tennessee's lineup next season. The first baseman and left-handed pitcher missed all of last season with UConn recovering from Tommy John surgery, but if he is a high enough pick, Tennessee fans will likely never see him suit up for the Vols.
Junior pitcher Will Mabrey's future in Knoxville hinges on his draft position as well. Graduating players Evan Russell and Luc Lipcius are out of collegiate eligibility but still have a chance to be selected. Jorel Ortega, Cortland Lawson and Camden Sewell could also be drafted.
The MLB Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night with the first two rounds, along with Competitive Balance Rounds A and B. The first round will be broadcast on ESPN and the following rounds will be streamed on MLB.com.
Tennessee baseball head coach will be featured on MLB Network as a guest analyst for the first round on Sunday night, starting at 8 p.m.