On Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, the second annual MLB Draft Lottery will be held (live on MLB Network at 5:30 p.m. ET), with 17 teams having varying odds of getting the first pick in the 2024 draft. Six will be awarded Teams of the top six picks and the rest of the first round will be shaped.
Which players would lottery winners be interested in selecting? In the last episode of MLB Pipeline PodcastJim Kallis and Jonathan Mayo break down the top 20 college players and top 20 high school players and take their chances at making the top 10 picks of the 2024 draft. It’s a stacked college class, and among the players identified as likely to be in the top 10 In next July’s draft, nine came from that crop.
1. J. J. Weatherholt, INF, West Virginia
Mayo: “Unbelievable hitter. Won the batting title last year. Hitted nearly .450. Showed power. Stole a bunch of bases. I think he’ll come out in the spring and show he can play shortstop. He’s played mostly second base before.” “I don’t know if this might be an eye-opener over some of the other guys at the top of the college roster, but his ability to show that he can handle a premium position is what gave him a very slight edge over (the next) guy.”
2. Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest
Kallis: “The interesting thing, as a whole, is I don’t think there’s a clear No. 1 pick in this draft. If Wetherholt doesn’t commit to shortstop, a lot of the best college prospects don’t play elite positions, so it’ll be interesting to see.” How will they change. There was only one college first baseman taken No. 1 overall, and that was Spencer Torkelson. Kurtz could join him. I think he has the best combination of hitting ability and power in this draft. He struck out 24 homers when He was a sophomore while walking more than he struck out. Plays quality first base. Moves well enough [that] I think you can try it in the corner of the field. Obviously Wake was loaded last year. They finished third. They lost a tough overtime game in the semifinals to LSU, which won the national championship and had two first-rounders last year. They could have five this year. No team has ever had more than three.
3. Travis Bazana, 2B, Oregon State
Mayo: “He can really hit. There’s power and speed. He stole a bunch of bases. He hit .370 and hit .622 last year at Oregon State, then went to the Cape, won a batting title and an MVP award, and had an OPS over 1.000. He walked more From what he hit last spring. He seems to be getting better and better, and I think that combination of power and speed will continue to show at Oregon State this year and put him here in this first-round spot.
4. Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest
Callis: “He ranked third in Division I last year in strikeout rate (14.3 per nine innings). Tennessee [where Burns transferred from] They’ve had a weird year after their great year, which fell short in Omaha. They were the best team in the country in 2022. Chase Dollander and Chase Burns had weird years, and they started to kind of carry each other. They brought back the rotation later in the year and Burns came in more often in relief of Dollander, who rarely pitched five innings last year in a strange spring. Wick has labs set up. But I don’t know if they’ll make Chase Burns better, because he already has a 95-97 mph fastball that is 102 mph, and an 85-87 mph slider that, according to our friends at Synergy, created A swing-and-miss rate of 61 percent last spring. “It already has two of the best stadiums in the country.”
5. Jack Caglianoni, 1B/LHP, Florida
Mayo: “Two-way player at Florida. He’s really interesting even if we’re not sure who he is. Most people like him as a hitter. There are holes on each side. He has a lot of power, but he tends to chase a little bit. Big, big lefty. On Hill, he’s in the upper 90s and misses a lot of bats. But some command issues. We’ll see what he is. 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. He’s a lot of fun. I think it’s great that college baseball has a legit doubles player at this level, at least appreciation.
6. Charlie Condon, 1B/OFF, Georgia
Callis: “I still don’t quite understand why he won’t play at all in 2022. He redshirted, then came out last year and hit .386 with 25 at-bats and leads the SEC with a .800 percentage and ties for the lead in the US Collegiate National Team With three in 10 games. I think I’m going to get guys that combine hitting ability with power, like Nick Kurtz. I don’t think he’s the defender… It doesn’t mean we’re gearing up for base defense this early in the draft. Shoot, that means three Of our top six picks here are first basemen.But these guys can all light a fire.
7. Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa
Mayo: “I’ll roll the dice and say Brody Brecht is going to figure things out. In the draft, if a college guy who has that kind of thing starts figuring it out and feeling more, they take off. He’s very athletic. He had a scholarship as a wide receiver but focused on Baseball. Fastball is hitting triple digits. Slider is really bad. If he has some polish, I think he’ll move up. This is a bit of a risky pick, but some of the bats on your list also had some question marks.
8. Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina
Callis: “I’m going to roll the dice a little bit, too. I don’t want to take three first basemen… [Honeycutt] It’s hard to know. I think he may have the most upside of all the players on this list. He’s a potential five-tool position player. You can dream 20-20. Maybe you can dream 30-30. He is the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He’s definitely a midfielder. … He got 30 percent of the time as a freshman; He cut that down to 20% as a sophomore, so that’s good. But he also hit .257 with a .910 OPS. It didn’t do that much damage. He hit 12 homers and stole 19. There’s a lot of talent there. Bat? “I think there’s a question.”
9. B.J. Morlando, Summerville (NC) HS, OF
Mayo: “He can really hit, and he’s got a track record, probably as good as anyone in that category, if not more. He’s had good success for Team USA in international competition. Left-handed batsman. Bat speed, a lot of power. He’s a prospect.” To be a corner outfielder, but if he shows he can play center field, it helps his profile and might sneak him further into the top 10. But I think he’ll have a lot of success, and high school hitters who have that type of pitch usually tend to Profiles to do well come draft time.
10. Tommy White, 3B, LSU
Kallis: “He’ll probably end up at first base long term, so we’ve now drafted four first basemen in our top 10, which shows you how it’s a somewhat unusual draft in that regard. Tommy White is another guy Not just a masher. He can hit, [and] Strikes for power. He transferred from NC State to LSU last year and helped win the national championship. He hit the home run in the semifinal game against Wake Forest. He hit .374 with 24 homers. He led the Division I with 105 RBIs. “I just think he’s going to hit.”
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