2022 MLB Draft stock rises for college prospects

If you want to see a lot of baseball in a short time, you can’t do much better than an NCAA conference tournament. The regionals are where the real pressure starts, but for baseball through a firehose, places like Hoover, Ala., and Charlotte, N.C., are unmatched at this time of year.

Scouts descend on these events for the opportunity to see tons of top players going up against each other, and sometimes several games per day. Here’s a look at six players who helped their Draft stock by their showings in the last weekend before the NCAA regionals get under way.

Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee: Tidwell entered the year as one of the top pitching prospects in the Draft, but he missed much of the season due to injury. Tennessee’s dominant season has made it a bit easier for the Vols to be patient while Tidwell builds back up, and his SEC Tournament start against Vanderbilt was another encouraging sign.

He went 4 1/3 innings, which may not sound like all that much, but was his second-longest outing of the year. He held the rival Commodores to a run on three hits. Tidwell remains something of an unknown as long as he’s on the comeback trail, but every effective outing helps his case more.

Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida: One of the most intriguing pitchers in the Draft, Sproat has a big-time arm but a limited performance track record. He turned in one of his best outings of the season against South Carolina in Hoover, though. Sproat allowed a run on four hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out seven against one walk. He had not lasted more than 6 2/3 innings in any previous start and had walked multiple batters in seven of his previous 10 starts.

Tyler Locklear, IF, VCU: How does 9-for-11 sound? How about getting on base 15 times in four games? Locklear absolutely went off in the Atlantic 10 tournament, bolstering his already impressive credentials at the plate.

Over the Rams’ run to the conference title, Locklear had nine hits, six walks, three homers, and six RBIs. And he made only two outs — two! The A-10 may not be the SEC, but that’s the kind of showing that will grab attention at any level. He enters the NCAA regionals with a .403/.540/.801 slash line on the year.

Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State: It’s been an up and down year for Campbell, who turned in a dominant run in March but has had a few hiccups since conference play began. After finishing the regular season with a couple of so-so starts, Campbell was dominant against Baylor in the Big XII tournament.

A borderline first-round Draft candidate, Campbell did everything he could do to end up on the right side of that line over the weekend. He struck out 10 over seven innings, allowing three hits, no walks and only an unearned run — all in a big league park in Arlington.

Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State: The Beavers limped to the finish a bit, going 4-6 over their final 10 games, but that was certainly no fault of Melton’s. He went 12-for-24 over Oregon State’s 3-2 showing in the Pac-12 tournament, tallying seven runs and six RBIs. He’s up to .375/.439/.694 on the year, helping send Oregon State to the No. 3 overall national seed.

Josh White, RHP, Cal: White tossed seven shutout innings against a very good UCLA team in the Pac-12 tournament, allowing seven hits. It may not have been enough to convince clubs he’s a starter, but it sure couldn’t have hurt. He did walk four — emphasizing one of the concerns about the right-hander — but he also struck out eight. It was especially impressive given that White had been coming out of the bullpen in recent weeks.

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