The best MLB Draft prospects in the Big 12

The Big 12 appears poised to be well-represented in this year’s draft, particularly on Day 1, a contrast to last year when TCU star 3B Brayden Taylor (Rays, No. 19) was the conference’s lone selection in the top 88 picks.

The 2024 class projects as many as four Big 12 talents in Round 1, with an outside shot at five, including a potential Top-10 pick.


DOYLE: Top 600 MLB Draft Prospects


1. JJ Wetherholt, SS — West Virginia

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.331 .472 .589 8 30 17

Entering the season, Wetherholt was the consensus top player in this Draft. He still lines up toe-to-toe with the best players in this Draft, but a recurring hamstring injury may have damaged his draft stock. But Wetherholt is arguably the best pure hitter in the class, with plus contact and pitch selection, combined with above-average power projecting to 20-plus homers.

Wetherholt also played shortstop for the first time in his collegiate career this spring, and he’s got a shot there, though not a certainty to stick. Even at second or third, the bat should play.

Booth: Scouting Wetherholt among a dozen draft prospects


2. Carson Benge, OF — Oklahoma State

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.335 .444 .665 18 49 51

Benge is an incredibly dynamic player who should go high on Day 1. He’s a bit of a five-tool player, with offensive, defensive, and athletic tools worthy of excitement.

He’s a wiry athlete with a shot to be a plus defender in a corner with a 70-grade shotgun. He’s shown enough range and instincts a club could stick him in center field initially, too.

At the plate, it’s a plus feel to hit with a sound approach and plus raw power.

There are concerns with the swing that may bring to question his power production in pro ball, but the tools are otherwise polished yet with room to grow into impact.


3. Kaelen Culpepper, SS — Kansas State

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.328 .419 .574 11 35 41

Culpepper is a natural athlete and a certain shortstop with an ab0ve-average arm and smooth actions on the dirt. He’s hit during the spring and during the summer with wood for Team USA. He’s got electric bat speed and has flashed power over the last two seasons.

Culpepper is aggressive in the box, and thanks to plus bat speed and ability to lift the ball to his pull-side with consistency he’s close to maxing out his power potential. This kind of profile — power, speed, defense at a premium position — always goes high and Culpepper should be no different.


MOCK DRAFT 6.0


4. Payton Tolle, LHP — TCU

G IP ERA SO BB
14 81.1 3.21 125 37

Tolle is an intriguing southpaw with fascinating traits. A physical lefty who drives off the back leg and gets monster extension, Tolle attacks from an extremely low-release height, particularly for a 6-foot-6 athlete, while creating deception.

He relies heavily on his fastball, which hops at the top of the zone, and misses tons of bats despite sitting in the low 90s. He throws a slider that plays well when he catches hitters cheating. Fastballs accounted for 75% of his pitches this year, and there was little to no third pitch in his arsenal.

Tolle seems like a guy who gets into a player development system, adds a couple of ticks, develops a third pitch, and explodes, a la Andrew Abbott.


5. Jared Thomas, 1B/OF — Texas

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.349 .435 .635 16 31 60

Thomas has been confined to first base for his collegiate career, but he’s a good outfielder who has a shot in center field if given the opportunity.

A sophomore-eligible prospect, Thomas is a lefty stick with some hitter-ish characteristics, and he was able to tap into some power this year, potentially above-average in that department.

While the strikeout rate was a bit high this year, he did plenty of damage and there are no underlying red flags for future contact.


6. Kevin Bazzell, C/3B — Texas Tech

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.307 .401 .473 6 22 22

Bazzell’s long-term position is uncertain, but some scouts believe he has a chance thanks to good actions and a strong arm.

Despite a chance at plus pull power, he’s line-drive-oriented with good contact rates in school. He may fit in a corner if he keeps his ‘hit’ while getting to most of his raw power.


7. Jalin Flores, SS/3B — Texas

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.340 .408 .656 18 21 56

Flores is another sophomore eligible from Texas who struggled freshman season but had a breakout 2024 to shoot him up draft boards this spring.

He possesses plus power and a plus arm that projects best at third base long-term. He has a penchant for being an aggressive hitter, but the loud tools suggest a prototypical third-base profile.


8. Anthony Silva, SS — TCU

AVG OBP SLG HR BB SO
.268 .369 .384 4 26 42

Silva is a solid athlete, an above-average shortstop with smooth actions and instincts, and a tendency to make the highlight reel.

Silva’s more of a contact-oriented hitter with some rough edges, but the tools are there and the glove and athleticism give him margin for error.


9. Jaxon Jelkin, RHP — Houston

G IP ERA SO BB
7 34.1 3.41 46 10

Jelkin is an interesting cat, a lean, athletic right-hander who had opportunities in 2023 coming out of the JUCO ranks but went to Houston instead. He’s ultra-projectable with a legit four-pitch mix and mid-rotation upside.

Jelkin throws a sinker and four-seam fastball greeting 97 MPH, sitting mostly low-90s with arm-side run. There’s potential for more consistent mid-90s velocity as he matures, but the shapes are fairly ordinary, and neither projects as much more than an average fastball.

His secondaries include a low-80s slider/curveball whose shapes and velocities tend to blend together. Nevertheless, they’re both of the high-spin variety and he throws both with conviction. He also throws a changeup with massive fading life, projecting above-average.

It’s a balanced profile suggesting a reliable floor to go with some upside.


10. Aidan Major, RHP — West Virginia

G IP ERA SO BB
14 66 5.59 77 35

Major is an undersized righty who attacks from a low release, and his entire arsenal is rather metrically appealing.

It’s a low-to-mid-90s fastball with riding life through the zone. It hasn’t missed bats yet. His primary secondary is a potential plus power changeup with darting action to his arm side, and he’ll throw it to righties, too.

Major will mix in a cutter and slider that blend together sometimes, though he has a better feel for the former.


Photo of JJ Wetherholt courtesy of WVU Athletics
Photo of Carson Benge courtesy of Oklahoma State University Athletics
Photo of Kaelen Culpepper courtesy of K-State Athletics
Photo of Payton Tolle courtesy of TCU Athletics
Photo of Jared Thomas courtesy of University of Texas Athletics
Photo of Kevin Bazzell courtesy of Texas Tech Athletics
Photo of Jalin Flores courtesy of University of Texas Athletics
Photo of Anthony Silva courtesy of TCU Athletics
Photo of Jaxon Jelkin courtesy of University of Houston Athletics
Photo of Aidan Major courtesy of WVU Athletics

Oliver Boctor

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