Top Five MLB Draft Prospects on the 2022 Illinois Fighting Illini


The Major League Baseball draft will be July 17th-19th, and as it stands right now, there aren’t any true, sure-fire first round prospects in the Big Ten. Not that MLB mock drafts are gospel by any means, but when you take a look at them, all you see projected in the first round are SEC and high school players.

That makes sense for the Big Ten, as the league is having a down year. Maryland was the only ranked team in the conference, at #24, entering last weekend when they took two of three at Illinois field.

That said, the Illini won game one of the set, with authority, 19-1, in a rout that was televised on BTN.

That was the first series loss in conference play for the Illini who travel to Indiana for a three games series sporting a record of (21-7, 11-4). Currently in third place in the Big Ten, Illini baseball still has conference crown ambitions.

They also have a fair amount of talent on the roster that will eventually get drafted and play pro ball, so let’s take a look at the bluest of the blue (and orange) chips on the 2022 roster.

2015-mlb-mock-draft tyler jay

LHP Cole Kirschsieper

The “Friday guy,” he’ll take to the hill to open the series in Bloomington sporting a 2.62 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with an opponents’ batting average of just .201. He’s struck out 65 batters, versus only 10 walks, in 58 1/3 innings pitched.

Baseball America and Perfect Game rank him the 4th best MLB Draft prospect in the Big Ten.

D1Baseball has him No. 5 on their list.

Shortstop Branden Comia

The cover boy of Illini baseball’s 2021 record book, the Orland Park native and Carl Sandburg high school graduate majors in business and hopes to become a financial adviser once his playing career is over. During our exclusive with him last season, we discussed how the cryptocurrency craze had swept the team.

Perfect Game ranks him the #20 overall MLB Draft prospect in the Big Ten while Baseball America has him the No. 24 INF. D1Baseball slots him the No. 20 prospect in the Big Ten.


He had a very significant hitting streak earlier this season, and so far Comia has 16 multi-hit games for the 2022 campaign. He’s got a .329/.426/.555/.981 slash line for the term. He leads the team in home runs and is second in RBIs.

C Jacob Campbell

Named to the Buster Posey Catcher of the Year Award Watch List in 2021, Campbell was selected in the 36th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

branden comia

He came back to school and worked on his versatility, as he’s played both LF and RF in his collegiate career.

Perfect Game ranks him #22 on their list of Big Ten top 2022 MLB Draft prospects.

Others to watch on this Illini baseball team include RHP Riley Gowens who is #17 and 1B Justin Janas who is #27 in the D1Baseball Big Ten top 2022 MLB Draft prospects list.

Janas has an OPS over a 1,000 this season while Gowens is 4-2 this season with 39 strikeouts in just over 39 innings.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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