The 2022 MLB draft is set to begin on Sunday, July 17 with the first round starting at 4:00 PM PT.
Fans of the Gonzaga Bulldogs baseball program will want to tune in shortly after the draft begins, as right-handed pitcher Gabriel Hughes is expected to be selected in the first or second round after his dominant season with the Zags.
Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs ranked the top 125 players in the 2022 MLB draft class, and a pair of Zags cracked the list.
Hughes is first up, coming in at No. 33 overall – which would put him right on the cusp of being a first round pick.
Logenhagen gives him a 45 grade for future value (on baseball’s 20-80 scouting scale, 45 would make him an average to above-average big leaguer) and notes his velocity and size are pluses, while his unique mechanics and control make him a bit of a relief risk.
Of course, Gonzaga pitchers have defied the odds and carved out successful careers in the past – including Brandon Bailey and Eli Morgan – and Hughes has more size and raw stuff than either of them did coming out of college.
The other Zag on the list is fellow right-handed pitcher Tristan Vrieling, who came in at No. 74 overall with a 40 future value grade.
Vrieling was Gonzaga’s Saturday starter for most of the season, although he struggled a bit down the stretch. He has four distinct pitches that are all MLB or near MLB ready, with Longenhagen stating he has back-of-the-rotation stuff already, and could boost his potential if he gains a little more velocity.
Two more right-handed pitchers for Gonzaga, William Kempner and Michael Spellacy, are expected to hear their name called at some point during the MLB’s 20 round draft, although Hughes and Vrieling are almost certainly going to be the first two Zags selected.
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