The Toronto Blue Jays selected left-handed pitcher Brandon Barriera as the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft on Sunday.
Barriera was selected from the American Heritage School in Florida and was the 15th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline en route to the draft. The 18-year-old signed with Vanderbilt, but has until August 1 to decide whether to sign with the Blue Jays.
“It’s definitely something I’ll never feel again in my life,” Barriera told MLB Network after she was drafted. “Looking at those 22 teams ahead of me, they’re going to regret this and I’m going to be the best pitcher in MLB.”
Barriera has a four-pitch mix with a fastball that ranges from 90 to 95 mph to deal with a change-up, curveball, and slider.
“He’s the best pitcher we’ve ever had here,” American Heritage head coach Mike Macey said of Barriera ahead of the draft. “I’m not even going to brawl to say that. I think that’s pretty obvious. He’s the only pitcher we’ve ever had that you’d consider a first-round guy. He’s got the most hype about him to .”
Barriera said he looks up to former New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte as a model for his game and one reason he decided to learn left-handed throwing.
Alek Manoah (No. 11 in 2019), Austin Martin (No. 5 in 2020) and Gunnar Hogland (No. 19 in 2021) were Toronto’s last three first-round selections.
With the 60th overall pick, Toronto selected shortstop Josh Kasevich, who was the 67th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. In 61 games this season, Kasevich defeated .310/.383/.445 with seven homeruns and 44 RBI for Oregon.
The Blue Jays also have the 77th, 78th and 98th selections, giving the team five picks in the top 100.