What to expect for Alabama baseball, Connor Prielipp in the 2022 MLB Draft

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama baseball probably wouldn't mind having an MLB Draft similar to 2021. 

The Crimson Tide had four players selected in the first six rounds last year, the most in the history of the program. That also tied the 1983 team with the most picks through the first 10 rounds of a draft. 

Reaching that number again this year might be difficult, but the Crimson Tide could still have a solid showing in the draft, set for July 17-19 in Los Angeles. Rounds 1-2 are set for 6 p.m. CT Sunday on ESPN, then MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will go Monday starting at 1 p.m. The final rounds, 11-20, will begin at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday. Days 2 and 3 of the draft can be viewed on MLB.com. 

Alabama is also expected to continue its streak of having a player selected for a 44th consecutive year. It enters this year having a player selected in 50 of the 56 possible drafts. 

The frontrunner is left-handed pitcher Connor Prielipp. 

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Had he stayed healthy, he could have been in the discussion to be the top overall selection. But injuries have slowed him down. 

He had Tommy John surgery in May 2021, dashing the hopes Alabama had for him.During his freshman season of 2020, Prielipp finished with a 0.00 ERA. Over 21 innings, Prielipp allowed only five hits, six walks and no runs. Meanwhile, he struck out 35 batters. He finished 3-0 in four starts. 

He only pitched in three games in 2021 and didn't play in 2022 as he recovered from surgery. 

He is still expected to be selected in the first or second round. MLB.com lists Prielipp as the No. 25 overall prospect. 

He's the only Alabama player whom MLB.com has in its top 250 prospect rankings, but others could certainly hear their names called. 

Some players to watch are outfielder Andrew Pinckney, shortstop Jim Jarvis, righthanded pitchers Garrett McMillan and Dylan Ray. There could be others drafted, too. Then comes the decision whether to go pro or stay in Tuscaloosa. 

The Crimson Tide also has a handful of signees who will likely have to make a similar decision. 

MLB.com ranks right-handed pitchers Walter Ford (53) and Jake Madden (93) among its top 250 prospects. Some of the others to watch are infielder Mason Swinney, pitcher Brock Blatter and infielder Colby Shelton. 

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly