2024 MLB Draft: Top 500 Prospects

May 14, 2024

Building out a draft board is a complicated exercise. Our process involves meticulous detail in batted-ball data evaluation, switch decision tracking, pitch metrics, athletic testing and one-on-one interactions with the players as we work to get a feel for their makeup. We attend tournaments, showcases, scrimmages and games to watch the players in their element. The whole process is complimented by extensive conversations with scouting directors, analysts, cross-checkers and area scouts to double-check our evaluations with differing opinions to help draw more conclusive ideas.

This update includes a stock watch feature. Any player who has moved up the board by at least 15 spots (half a round) will be highlighted as such next to their name.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following rankings and evaluations by FSS PLUS are based on subjective analysis and industry sources, and do not influence, are not influenced by, or are affiliated with the opinions and reports of Future Stars Series scouting and development staff.


1. Charlie Condon, 3B/OF — Georgia
HOMETOWN: Marietta, GA
HEIGHT: 6-6
WEIGHT: 216
BAT/THROW: R-R
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Bazzana closed the gap over the last month, but at the end of the day it’s difficult to go against the guy putting up better numbers and similar metrics with seven more inches on his frame. Condon really projects physically going forward.

Condon’s emergence for the Bulldogs in 2023 came as a bit of a surprise to the college baseball world after the long, lanky outfielder redshirted in 2022 to add weight and work on his swing. It’s a similar player arch to former Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, and Condon could be following in his footsteps. Condon broke through as the regular left fielder for the Bulldogs last year and immediately provided impact with the bat. He’s moving around the field at different positions this spring, but the bat is what ultimately catches the headlines.

He’s got double-plus raw power and a hit tool that has continued to improve at the University of Georgia. The swing can get a little long at times, and there’s some questions on his ability to make enough contact on pitches outside of the strike zone to be a truly consistent pure hitter at the next level. That’s to be expected of a 6-foot-6-inch frame. The levers are long and the path to the baseball will always be more complicated than his peers. Few doubt the impact in the overall offensive profile, even if he may have some small holes in his offensive game at the next level.

Condon may only possess a solid average hit tool when all said and done, but there’s 40-homer upside.

Condon has received mixed reviews on his defensive ability, though just about everyone who’s laid eyes on him this spring agrees the glove has taken a step in the right direction. He’s received a ton of time at third base this year and has showcased at least average athleticism with strong situational awareness and some flair for the highlight reel play. It’s still a huge frame that might have trouble playing low enough to the ground to sick at the hot corner long term, but there’s a chance. His arm strength is stronger on the dirt than in the outfield receiving above average grades from scouts featuring carry across the diamond. He’s moving better than he once did, and the arm strength is plenty strong enough to warrant consideration in right field as a pro — some considering that his most likely future home.

Condon has the makings of a right-right power-hitting outfielder or third baseman. If Condon’s defensive home and athletic prowess get settled as July approaches, he’s as good a bet as anyone to go No. 1 in the Draft. There have been Kris Bryant and Nick Castellanos comps thrown on Condon this year.


2. Travis Bazzana, 2B — Oregon State
HOMETOWN: Sydney, Australia
HEIGHT: 6-0
WEIGHT: 199
BAT/THROW: L-R
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect with a better combination of pure hit tool, approach, and peak exit velocities than Travis Bazzana. An import out of Australia, Bazzana possesses plus bat-to-ball skills to go alongside his elite eye. He refuses to expand the zone and has shown a willingness to all fields. He’s also about as good as they come in terms of pummeling balls left in the strike zone. He’s one of the more decorated hitters in college baseball in terms of fighting off pitches just off the black.

A brutally difficult at-bat for opposing pitchers. Bazzana has flashed plus raw power, and he’s getting to a lot of it in games. Bazzana has also upped his efficiency and production against left-handed pitchers this season posting blistering batted-ball data and the same mature approach he showcases against right-handed pitchers. This is a reasonably complete hitter.

An import out of Sydney, Bazzana was a star in the Pac-12 immediately as a true freshman. The Aussie has some twitch and clean actions on the dirt with fringy arm strength and enough athleticism to make the plays to his right and left. He makes all the routine plays despite lacking the natural range necessary for the highlight reel plays. Some scouts want to see what it looks like over an extended period at shortstop, and whether the arm strength would play up from the left side, but that opportunity has yet to truly present itself. There are some who think his profile ends up in centerfield or left field at the next level. He projects a potential plus hitter with above-average power at the next level, all while playing a steady second base.

He also has the potential to steal upwards of 20-plus bags per season at the next level as his high IQ and above average speed should both impact the game immediately on the base paths.

Perhaps Bazzana’s greatest strength however is tireless pursuit of perfection and improvement in his game. He’s an analytic mind who welcomes developing his game through tangible numbers and data evaluation. The kid grinds. His approach toward the game is already well-suited for the next level, and many believe his game should translate quickly to professional ball. He’s got a shot at developing into someone like Jason Kipnis at the next level.


3. Braden Montgomery, OF — Texas A&M
HOMETOWN: Madison, MS
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 220
BAT/THROW: B-R
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Braden Montgomery is an absolute tool-shed with physical abilities very few in the 2024 class can match. He’s been a stud prospect since his high school days, but signing a player away from a Stanford commitment always proves difficult. He’s now at Texas A&M.

A two-way guy by nature, Montgomery likely best projects as a prototype right fielder with plus power, some calling it 70-grade raw, as well as above average athleticism both on the base paths and in the field. He’s shown tremendous barrel control, as well as a refined eye at the plate.

Montgomery is hitting the ball harder than ever before in 2024. At time of publish, Montgomery’s average exit velocity dwarfed every other college hitter projected to go on day one of this draft. His natural feel for the barrel is elite. Better still, his chops from the right side of the plate continue to develop to the point scouts believe he’s got a shot to switch-hit as a professional. The approach and bat-to-ball skills have also taken a step forward this year, though not enough to project better than a fringe-average hit tool at present. He’s cut down his swing-and-miss every year since heading to college and scouts want to see him put the ball in play with more frequency as July approaches. There are still holes in his swing, specifically on pitches outside of the zone, but his plate coverage has improved from a year ago and the bat speed should help mask what would otherwise be weak contact for most hitters. Montgomery just hits the ball so hard with such frequency that BABIP should consistently be on his side.

Montgomery might have the best outfield arm in the class, a truly elite cannon with pinpoint accuracy. On the mound, Montgomery has struggled to command the fastball, but he’s been up to 97 with a formidable cutter and a swing-and-miss breaking ball when he’s in the zone.


4. Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP — Florida
HOMETOWN: Tampa, FL
HEIGHT: 6-5
WEIGHT: 210
BAT/THROW: L-L
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Caglianone is possibly the most decorated and talented two-way player college baseball has seen in a very long time. Offensively he possesses immense hand and bat speed allowing the 6-foot-5-inch lefty to get into double-plus, possible elite raw power. He creates elite stretch and torque in the box with little to no question how the impact will translate to the next level. Most scouts see plus bat-to-ball skills here, but Caglianone can get anxious at the plate and expand the zone at an unhealthy clip at times. That hasn’t slowed his production as his adjustability allows him to get to pitches outside of the zone and make hard, solid contact. It’s remarkable the barrel awareness considering the long levers. There is still a slight hole in his swing when it comes to velocity at the top of the strike zone, and that could develop into a wart as a pro if Caglianone doesn’t become more selective.

The hands and athleticism in the box have allowed the towering left-handed slugger to hold a strikeout rate near ten-percent all season. Truly remarkable considering his approach. Caglianone is a solid average runner and is likely destined for first base as a pro, but he’s flashed above average defense at the pillow and evaluators believe he’ll be plenty comfortable at that spot full-time. He’s also a rangy defender who’s shown spacial awareness tracking balls over his shoulder into foul territory. This is an impact bat with 40-home run upside and value on the dirt.

While most don’t expect his future to be on the mound, Caglianone has been up to 101 in side sessions and 99 in games and will flash an above average slider that’s really come on of late. There’s also a changeup, though it lags a bit behind his primary two-pitch mix. Caglianone is a legitimate pitching prospect with no. 4 upside, though there is considerable reliever risk due to command concerns and his ability to repeat his operation deep into starts. He worked hard over the past twelve months to shorten his arm action and that seems to have paid dividends in his ability to control the ball. He’s still very young and has plenty of time to shore up the polish and consistency of those mechanical necessities.

There are a multitude of avenues Caglianone can take to become a valuable and productive big leaguer. Which route he’ll choose and which route scouts prefer for that matter is yet to be determined, though almost everyone points toward the offensive upside without hesitation. Caglianone has the chance to develop into one of the elite first basemen in the sport.


5. Nick Kurtz, 1B — Wake Forest
HOMETOWN: Lancaster, PA
HEIGHT: 6-5
WEIGHT: 235
BAT/THROW: L-L
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Kurtz burst onto the scene as a true freshman posting some of the most impressive batted-ball and swing-decision metrics of anyone during the 2022 college baseball season. Those metrics carried over to the 2023 season as Kurtz proved himself one of the most feared hitters in the sport. It was a slow start to the 2024 season compounded by bumps and bruises, but he’s returned from injury and once again looks like arguably the best hitter in the country as many assumed he’d be entering the spring.

Some evaluators believe Kurtz may be the best power hitter in the 2024 class, and that’s saying a lot considering some of the names he’s mentioned alongside. It’s absolutely mammoth bat speed and buggy hips from the left side. It’s every bit that of double-plus juice. Kurtz possesses above average bat-to-ball skills with an elite eye at the plate, hardly ever expanding the zone. He’s the prototype middle-of-the-order slugger.

Kurtz is an average runner underway with solid baseball instincts and the ability to impact the game on the base paths if you don’t pay attention to him. He’s a solid average glove at first base and can get by as something close to a fringy left fielder, though scouts prefer he stay on the dirt for durability’s sake. Kurtz has a chance to anchor a big league lineup for a long, long time. He reminds some of Jim Thome.


6. Hagen Smith, LHP — Arkansas
HOMETOWN: Bullard, TX
HEIGHT: 6-3
WEIGHT: 224
BAT/THROW: L-L
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Smith famously threw six no-hitters his senior year of high school, completely dominating the competition. That’s continued at Arkansas over his collegiate career, slicing and dicing up the competition with flashes of brilliance.

The book on Smith is deception and loud stuff. His delivery makes it extremely difficult to pick up his pitches out of the hand. It’s a herky-jerky, full-limbed delivery with moving parts, but that’s not to say it’s full of effort or that it isn’t repeatable. It is. It’s just unconventional with uncomfortable angles for the opposition.

Smith throws the kitchen sink. A four-seam fastball, a sinker, a slider, a split-finger and a very nascent curve. He’s primarily a fastball-slider-split guy, though there’s pitchability here and a willingness to mix it up when the opportunity calls for it. His fastball has brushed 100 mph in side sessions, however he more comfortably lives in the 94-97 range and will grab the upper-90s early in games. The real weapon is the splitter, a massive fading parachute that’s tormented hitters for the better part of three years. It flashes plus and is consistently an above average weapon though its consistecy has wavered this spring as Smith tends to go to the breaking ball more often.

Smith doesn’t spin the ball particularly well, so improving that may be a developmental goal, but he does know how to shape a slider and that pitch too will sit above average and flash plus-or-better consistently in starts. Smith projects a potential frontline lefty if he can get his control and command of the ball up to more consistent levels. If walks and control/command woes hamper his development his role could get diluted.

There’s a lot of Josh Hader in the overall profile here, and whoever drafts him may elect to throw him out of the bullpen quickly in his career and get him to the big leagues sooner rather than later. It’s quite clearly a starting pitcher profile however. The biggest narrative in draft war rooms will be the fact Smith is on year five of his second UCL after going under the knife in high school.


7. Chase Burns, RHP — Wake Forest
HOMETOWN: Gallatin, TN
HEIGHT: 6-4
WEIGHT: 215
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Burns has long been on the radar of scouts going back to his days as a bluechip prep in 2021. Primarily a two-pitch guy entering 2024, Burns added a devastating changeup and curveball to his arsenal when he can find feel for them in games. His one-two combo is almost always enough to put away the opposition, however.

Burns offers an upper 90s fastball that’s touched 101 and figures to continue tickling triple digits as he matures. It features plus carry and Wake Forest helped develop natural cut to the pitch eliminating what arm-side tail he used to feature. It’s a unicorn fastball with outlier shape and traits.

When Burns is on, and he’s had contests where his pitch charts are awfully tight, it grades out as a double-plus heater and will likely have nights where it performs like an elite pitch. Burns’ slider is thrown hard and firm, up to 92, sitting 89-90 with extreme two-plane tilt. Burns’ spin rates are high, and he’s got a track record of controlling the strike zone and overpowering the opposition. It’s every bit that of a 70-grade breaking ball. There’s a seldom-used upper-80s changeup in his arsenal as well. Its shape compliments the fastball nicely and can be a real weapon against left-handed hitters. There is a bigger curveball in there as well, a mid-80s firm hammer with more depth than sweep. The perfect tunnel off his fastball. It’s got teeth, but is often uncompetitive.

As he starts working in feel for his tertiary weapons the arsenal should continue to overwhelm hitters in ways college baseball seldom sees. The key word seems to be ‘overwhelm”. Scouts are still split on whether the strike-quality at the next level will allow Burns to overpower hitters or whether his walk rates may rise as more advanced bats step into the box and see his stuff. Despite the low walk rates throughout his collegiate career, there remains a narrative in the industry of relief risk.

Burns spent the first two years in college at Tennessee before transferring to Wake Forest for 2024. He rotated between a rotation role and a high leverage bullpen role.

The Wake Forest pitching lab should give him a leg up in understanding pitch design and how the art of the sport translates to the next level. This includes improving his overall pitchability and strategy toward going deeper into ballgames with his elite stuff. An emphasis on being more efficient out of the stretch is one area he could improve.

Burns simply looks like a front-line big league arm and could be the first arm off the board to a team that believes and trusts he’s a surefire starter going forward.


8. JJ Wetherholt, 2B/3B — West Virginia
HOMETOWN: Gibsonia, PA
HEIGHT: 5-10
WEIGHT: 190
BAT/THROW: L-R
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Wetherholt, a thick, strong-bodied infielder, has positional versatility, though most consider him a second- or third baseman in the long-term. He’ll get plenty of run at shortstop for the Mountaineers in 2024, though most scouts don’t project it his future home. It’s average arm strength and he’s sure-handed. Wetherholt can handle the routine expectations anywhere on the dirt, albeit lacking the athletic tools to make the sensational play.

The bat is exceedingly impressive here. Wetherholt can really hit with double-plus bat-to-ball skills and a willingness to go gap-to-gap and stay away from the pull-heavy approach that gets so many lefty bats in trouble. The hand speed is exceptional with a barrel that stays through the zone a long time. There’s some steepness to Wetherholt’s swing that provides natural game power. The power and bat speed here are real, comfortably plus with barrel awareness few of his peers can match.

Wetherholt consistently hits the ball hard more than just about anyone in the country. On top of his tools in the batters box, Wetherholt is also an above average runner who gets strong jumps on the base paths. He’s an aggressive, high-IQ player who figures to steal plenty of bags at the next level. While Wetherholt lacks much physical projection, his current level of play is representative of a player who could go No. 1 overall in any given draft regardless of physical upside.

Hamstring injuries have limited his ability to stay on the field at times, including through the first several weeks of the 2024 season. He returned in April and didn’t seem to miss a beat. But teams will have to consider the prolonged soft tissue woes. Considering his athleticism and track record, his resume with the bat should provide a floor inside the top ten-to-twelve picks even considering the risk associated.


9. Trey Yesavage, RHP — East Carolina
HOMETOWN: Boyertown, Pennsylvania
HEIGHT: 6-4
WEIGHT: 225
BAT/THROW: R-R

Yesavage is an extremely physical righty with a barrel chest and high, rounded shoulders. The fastball can touch 97, sitting 93-95 on most nights with elite-level carry attributes. It’ll hop over barrels at the next level. He has two breaking balls, though they melt together, each sitting 83-86 with two-plane tilt. The slider is far more prevalent than the curveball. In 2023 it was a potential plus pitch, though scouts believe it’s taken a small step backwards in 2024, now mostly average-to-solid average. It’ll occasionally flash above average depending on the contest. The splitter took a massive step forward in 2024 and now projects to be his best pitch, a potential 60-grade weapon. It features late tunnel and diving action.

Yesavage has the full menu of offerings and a track record of throwing strikes to start at the next level. He projects a future mid-rotation starter, maybe a bit more if the breaking ball value spikes back to where it was in as a sophomore.


10. Bryce Rainer, SS — Harvard-Westlake
HOMETOWN: Simi Valley, California
HEIGHT: 6-3
WEIGHT: 195
BAT/THROW: L-R
COMMITMENT: Texas
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWWatch video

Rainer is a highly-decorated two-way player with a well-leveraged left-handed swing and legitimate game power. When he’s out in front of spin, the pull-side juice is considerable. Rainer’s swing can corkscrew a bit when he over-swings, but the offensive upside here is quite high. In terms of the overall hit tool, it’s been streaky on the tournament and showcase circuit, but the impact is undeniable when he gets ahold of one with power to all fields. Rainer can get passive at times, and falling behind in counts has made things more difficult on his offensive game. Scouts would like to see him a bit more assertive in the box, punishing mistake fastballs with more consistency and eagerness, green-lighting himself more often in hitters’ counts. The bat has taken a step forward this spring and he’s shown a more aggressive approach with some added bat speed highlighted by a sterling performance at NHSI against some of the better high school arms in the country in March.

On the dirt, Rainer may ultimately grow off the shortstop position to third base, but his physical tools stand out. He’s a pure infielder with very good hands, actions, and the ability to make every play in every direction. He’s a rangy player for the time being, though the added strength and maturation of the body will test his ability to glide deep to his left and right. It’s a 70-grade arm with deliberate hands, as well as an impressive internal clock. The profile undoubtedly sticks on the left side of the infield and possesses Gold Glove upside. Regardless of his eventual position, the frame is long, the bat speed is big, and the overall ceiling is significant. He’s also an above-average runner underway. It’s an all-star profile if the hit tool realizes its ceiling.

At the time of publication, camps are split on whether to prefer Rainer as a bat or a potential pitcher where he’s been up to 97 with an upper-70s breaking ball he’s shown feel for landing in the zone. It’s got big two-plane break and tunnels the fastball well when landed glove-side. There’s also a changeup that has conviction and arm speed while lacking execution. It’s all extremely easy for Rainer. He looks as though he’s playing catch on the mound. There’s a little bit of a cross-body action to his delivery. A pro team may elect to try and work on directional stuff with his operation at the next level, but it hardly affects his ability to throw strikes and dominate right now. The frame, athlete, and pure arm strength has some believing there’s triple-digit upside with starter traits. He could be the first prep selected in 2024 and has very real early first-round buzz.


 

Joe Doyle
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