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Who Are the Top Prospects in the 2024 MLB Draft?


Florida LHP/1B Jac Caglianone; Photo via NCAA Championships

In the world of amateur scouting, the start of a new year kicks off the months-long marathon leading up to the MLB draft. With college and high school baseball right around the corner, most front offices have an initial board set and are planning trips to get live looks at some of their favorite prospects. The 2024 class is significantly weaker than the last draft class and, in my opinion, doesn't have a single player that has the same upside as anyone in last year’s big five (Dylan Crews, Paul Skenes, Wyatt Langford, Walker Jenkins, and Max Clark). Despite this, the ‘24 class features a two-way star, some exciting arms, high-floor bats, good defense, and solid depth. Here’s a look at my current top 10. For the first time, I’ve included comps for all the players. Please remember that these comps are based on similar skill sets and are to be taken with a grain of salt.


1) Travis Bazzana: 2B, Oregon State

Bazzana is a consensus top 5 player in the class, but I’m probably in the minority by putting him in the top spot. Bazzana grew up in Australia and was completely unknown as he entered college in the States. When people use the term “gamer”, they’re describing a player like Travis Bazzana. Watching him play, it’s easy to see that he’s a guy who will give the pitcher a battle in every at-bat. He’s quick and is always looking to take an extra base, both of which scouts love to see. The offensive side of his profile is about as complete and polished as you could hope for from a college bat. He has the best plate discipline in the class, can spray the ball all over the field, and flashes more pop than you’d expect from his 6’0 frame. I think of him as a more polished, higher-floor version of Matt Shaw, the Maryland product from last year’s draft class who the Cubs picked 13th overall. Similarly to Shaw, Bazzana decimated Cape Cod League pitching, showing that he can compete with the most elite talent college baseball offers. He put up a .456 OBP while walking and striking out at an equal rate. Another solid showing in Pac-12 play should lock Travis in as a top 5 pick.

Comp: Jose Altuve


2) Vance Honeycutt: OF, North Carolina

Honeycutt doesn’t have the pro-ready skills that a lot of other names at the top of this class have, but he has the tools to end up being the best player in this class. Some scouts have labeled Honeycutt as a “risky” player, but I completely disagree with that. His game isn’t polished, but if he gets three years in the minor leagues to develop, I have full confidence that he’ll be a major-league-caliber player in the absolute worst-case scenario. Honeycutt’s hit tool isn’t great and probably never will be, but with the direction baseball is trending, that has little significance. His other 4 tools are outstanding. The Salisbury, North Carolina native slugged at a .672 clip and hit 25 home runs as a freshman at The University of North Carolina. His sophomore campaign wasn’t quite as dominant but still flashed his immense upside. Defensively, Honeycutt has one of the better gloves in the draft, raising his overall floor significantly. He could patrol center field for a lot of MLB teams right now and likely won’t have to make many adjustments to his frame, allowing him to keep his 70-grade speed. Vance decreased his strikeouts drastically from his freshman to sophomore year, showing improvement in the plate discipline department. If he can continue that trend and return to his freshman-year power output, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a candidate for first overall pick by June.

Comp: Luis Robert


3) Chase Burns: RHP, Wake Forest

I think it’s completely fair to say that Chase Burns is the most talented player in this draft class. Long-time baseball fans will remember the hype that Hunter Greene had as a flamethrowing high schooler before eventually being taken 2nd overall in 2017. Burns deserves every bit of that hype, if not more. In fact, Chase Burns profiles very similarly to what Hunter Greene is today. Burns can run the fastball up to triple digits with consistency, his slider is a reliable secondary that generates a lot of whiffs, and his changeup is a useful third pitch. It’s a closer’s arsenal that opposing teams have to face for 6 innings. Most SEC hitters were outmatched last year, as Burns struck out 114 batters in his 72 innings of work, good for 14.3 K/9. Chase will likely get a lot of the pushback that Paul Skenes faced last year, as the underlying metrics on his fastball aren’t very impressive. While there are some valid concerns, the high velocity paired with very effective tunneling off the slider limits my doubts. Here’s where it gets scary… after two years at Tennessee, Burns will play for Wake Forest this year. Wake Forest is famous for their “pitching lab” and pitching development. They’ve transformed players with a quarter of Burns’ natural talent into big-league-caliber arms. If they can improve his fastball shape and turn his changeup into a true weapon, Burns could be an MLB All-Star within two years.

Comp: Hunter Greene


4) JJ Wetherholt: 2B, West Virginia

The Arraez comp is going to be heard many times throughout the draft cycle, as Wetherholt possesses truly incredible contact skills. However, he might be a more complete player than Arraez. He’s a base-stealing threat and will have above-average defense at second base. Wetherholt hit for a .449 batting average at West Virginia last year and could end up being a perennial .300 hitter in the majors. He doesn’t whiff much and has the unique ability of being able to hit pitches out of the zone. He won’t put many balls over the fence, but he has gap-to-gap power that will lead to a fair amount of doubles. In watching his film, it’s clear that Wetherholt is extremely good in 2-strike counts. He fights off pitches well and will often slap hits to the opposite field. If he makes it to the Rockies at the third overall pick, it’s hard to envision them passing on him. He’s an old-school leadoff hitter, which perfectly matches the Rockies’ organizational philosophy, for better or for worse.

Comp: Luis Arraez


5) Nick Kurtz: 1B, Wake Forest

Every few years, the MLB draft seems to feature a first baseman who is such a good hitter who, despite playing a non-premium position, winds up being a top 5 pick. Kurtz will likely be one of those guys this year. I’m so impressed with Kurtz offensively, there are few athletes strong enough to hit home runs to the opposite field consistently, and even fewer who can pair that power with above-average bat-to-ball skills. The raw talent translated very well into in-game success, as Kurtz posted a .353/.527/.784 slash line for Wake Forest last season, good for a 1.311 OPS. The offensive talent is undeniable and should play at any level. If I had to bet on the first player from the 2024 draft class to reach the majors, I’d put money on Kurtz. He can be anchoring an MLB lineup by April of 2025. With another strong showing as Wake Forest fights for a national championship, Kurtz could play his way into the 1.1 conversation.

Comp: Freddie Freeman


6) Braden Montgomery: OF, Texas A&M

Montgomery entered the 2021 draft cycle as a popular prospect out of high school, but his Stanford commitment scared teams away, as the school has a track record for getting the vast majority of their signees to campus. He won the starting right field job in Palo Alto as a true freshman and ran with it. He posted a .957 OPS as a freshman, catching the attention of every MLB scout. Following that scorching start, Montgomery posted an even better sophomore season and two impressive stints at the Cape Cod League. His track record led to him being one of the most highly-sought players in the transfer portal before eventually committing to Texas A&M. He’s spent time as a two-way player but it’s become increasingly clear that he will be a position player in the long term. Montgomery has a very typical right fielder profile: 60-grade power and some struggles with plate discipline but is still a threat every time he’s at the plate. Defensively, he’s a very good athlete but might not be quick enough to play center field. His arm is a difference-maker as he can run throws from the outfield up to triple digits. Montgomery is one of the riskiest profiles within the top tier of prospects, but his upside is high enough for a team to take a gamble on him early.

Comp: George Springer


7) Mike Sirota: OF, Northeastern

In the NFL draft, you can always expect the top prospects to come out of schools like Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State. In the NBA draft, the top draft picks will likely be from Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas. In the MLB draft, you have absolutely no idea where the top prospects are going to come from. Sirota, a Northeastern product, is next in a long line of top picks from unknown baseball schools. Mike Sorota might be the most complete player in this class. He’s a high-floor guy with five solid tools and no glaring holes in his game. Sirota hit 18 bombs last year while slugging at an astonishing .678 clip. He also walked 44 times while striking out only 49 times, both of which are impressive numbers. I don’t see his draft stock changing too much throughout the season and would bet on him being picked in the 5-15 range as a guy who can move through a farm system fairly quickly.

Comp: Cody Bellinger


8) Konnor Griffin: OF, Jackson Prep

The lone high schooler on this list, Griffin has the physicality of athletes years older than him and has enough talent to be a top-10 pick. The Jackson Prep product was originally slated to be in the 2025 draft class but reclassified, making him one of the younger options in this year’s class. He’s 6’4”, 205lbs,  and is closer to a five-tool player than any other high schooler in this draft. Griffin’s profile is quite similar to Vance Honeycutt’s, as he has Gold-Glove upside in center field and well above-average power combined with an average hit tool. In Griffin’s case, this might be less concerning to MLB front offices, as he’ll be only 18 when he’s drafted and has plenty of time to work out his hit tool. It’s hard to judge plate discipline with high school prospects, as they don’t often face elite talent. From what I’ve seen, Griffin’s discipline is above average. The biggest flaw I can find is that he occasionally gets too pull-heavy, which has worked out well against high school pitching but will need to be straightened out in the pros. He might not have the same pedigree that Max Clark did coming out of high school last year, but he’s certainly in a similar tier.

Comp: Luis Robert



9) Jac Caglianone: 1B/LHP, Florida

“Jactani” became a sensation at last year’s College World Series and has garnered more national media attention than the rest of this class combined. While the hype is warranted, the comparisons to Ohtani shouldn’t be taken seriously. Caglianone is a physically imposing figure, standing at 6’5’ and weighing in at 245 pounds. He led all of college baseball in home runs last season, breaking the single-season home run record in the BBCOR era, and flashed a fastball that can reach 100 miles an hour. Those two things alone make him a surefire first-round pick and generate great headlines. What’s been lost in the majority of coverage about Caglianone is the uncertainty around the rest of his game. His plate discipline leaves a lot to be desired, and he gives up way too many walks on the mound. Granted, neither of those will drop him out of the first 15 picks, but it should be noted that there are some concerns. He’ll likely enter pro ball as a two-way player but could end up as a one-way player on either side. Right now, his offense is more impressive than his pitching, but if he can continue to develop better offspeed pitches while finding the strike zone more consistently, there’s a chance that he can boost his stock even higher.

Comp: N/A


10) Brody Brecht: RHP, Iowa

I hope to have a college Stuff+ leaderboard posted at some point this season. If and when this happens, Brecht’s name will almost certainly be at the top of the list. Similarly to Burns and Caglianone, Brecht’s fastball sits comfortably in the upper 90s and touches triple digits regularly. His slider is his signature pitch and the best offspeed offering in the draft. There is an emerging trend where the top college pitching prospects are starting to have reliever arsenals with higher velocity, more break, and fewer pitches in their mix. Brecht has a splitter but only needs the fastball and slider to be effective. He stifled Big 10 opponents and struck out almost 13 batters per 9 innings last year. While it’s really early to start guessing who will be the first overall pick, with the Guardians' track record of developing pitching and their likely willingness to go under slot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brecht go first overall.

Comp: Dylan Cease


 

We’re over 7 months out from the draft and a lot can change over the next 3 or 4 months. For right now, however, these guys are among the most impressive in the country. In most draft cycles, high schoolers tend to jump up the board as we get closer to the draft (e.g. Jackson Holliday). If nothing else, this should give you a list of players to track as the college season gets underway. I’ll be updating my top 10 regularly and will post a full first-round mock draft within the next month.



"Jac Caglianone Florida interview" via NCAA Championships licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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