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2024 MLB Draft: Revisiting First Round Preseason To-Do Lists


Image credit: Thatcher Hurd (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Back in January, we took a look at each of our top 30–ranked players and tried to find areas of improvement for each to either solidify or bolster their draft stock

Today, we’ll re-examine each of those players to see how well or how poorly they addressed their “to-do lists.”

Carter Johnson, SS, Oxford (Ala.) HS

Areas to improve: Add confidence to SS profile

Previous Rank: 30

Current Rank: 35

Johnson’s reputation as a defender seems to be largely the same as it was entering the spring. Most scouts see a shortstop who is likely to wind up at second or third base in the future. Because of that he is a bit of a polarizing player. Some scouts don’t want to buy a hit-first, non-shortstop high school player without gaudy tools from Alabama. Others are fine watching him consistently rake and don’t worry about the rest of the profile too much.

Anthony Silva, SS, TCU

Areas to improve: Contact vs. secondaries

Previous Rank: 29

Current Rank: 74

Silva has simply not had a good season. After slashing .330/.416/.471 as a freshman in 2023 he fell backwards across the board and slashed .261/.364/.386 with a strikeout rate that jumped to 18.2% from 12.5%. His defensive reputation has also regressed. The player who was named the best defensive infielder in the class on our preseason scouting director poll is now getting comments about whether or not he moves to second base. He did make more contact vs. secondaries this season but not with much quality or production. 

Thatcher Hurd, RHP, LSU

Areas to improve: Strikes consistency, improve changeup

Previous Rank: 28

Current Rank: 67

Hurd began the season as a starter but was moved to the bullpen after consistent struggles to get through a game with consistently clean innings. His strikes were marginally improved year over year—13.8% walk rate in 2023 compared to a 12.3% walk rate in 2024—but not to the degree necessary to have more conviction in his starter profile. Hurd is a pitching prospect who many scouts still can’t help but like because of his body and pure arm talent and because of that many are hopeful he winds up figuring something out in pro ball. But he’s trended in the wrong direction. 

Owen Paino, SS, Ketcham HS, Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Areas to improve: Foot speed, mash New York competition

Previous Rank: 27

Current Rank: 75

Paino has been passed by other high school shortstops in the class and some scouts wonder if he’s going to wind up on campus at Ole Miss. He has gotten solid comments on his body and strength this spring and has been scouted heavily but he is still critiqued for his lack of range and footspeed which causes many to project him to move to third base. 

Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State

Areas to improve: Contact and approach

Previous Rank: 26

Current Rank: 16

Smith has done an admirable job taking his refined approach from last summer in the Cape Cod League and replicating it this spring with Florida State. He hit .258/.326/.517 with a 28.7% strikeout rate in 2023 and in 2024 he hit .400/.484/.668 with a 17.2% strikeout rate. His pitch selection was also much better as he went from a 35%+ chase rate to a 25% chase rate. That ability to make adjustments and sustain them will surely encourage teams about his chances to hit at the next level—even if he might need some tweaks to fully unlock the raw power he has.

Caleb Lomavita, C, California

Areas to improve: Handle the inner third, continue defensive progress

Previous Rank: 25

Current Rank: 13

Lomavita entered the spring with less production against pitches on the inner third but has done a nice job with those pitch locations and has produced in each area of the zone while slashing .312/.385/.563 with 24 home runs. His strikeout rate did jump from 11.1% to 17.2% and Lomavita has one of the most aggressive approaches among first-round talents, but his bat-to-ball skills, defensive ability and athleticism could still be enough for him to be the first catcher off the board. 

Noah Franco, OF/1B/LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

Areas to improve: Rake against good prep competition, keep misses in check

Previous Rank: 24

Current Rank: 88

A number of high profile players have struggled with IMG Academy during their draft springs—Nationals outfielder James Wood is perhaps the most prominent example—and Franco is the next in line. Scouts were surprised by his play on both sides of the ball and noted that he was hitting for less impact and further down in the lineup than they would have expected, while also mentioning that his stuff on the mound has been just OK. There’s not much first round buzz with Franco at this point. 

Griff O’Ferrall, SS, Virginia

Areas to improve: Amplify toolset, show better arm strength and pop

Previous Rank: 23

Current Rank: 98

O’Ferrall has largely the same profile today as he did entering the season, which makes me think we had him over ranked to begin with. His performance has been solid and in line with what he’s done previously in his Virginia career—.329/.367/.455 with four home runs, 18 stolen bases and a 7.2% strikeout rate—but he gets more third round feedback than first which makes sense. Some scouts think he sticks at shortstop and will hit enough while others think he’s moving to second because of his arm and simply lacks the tools to be an impactful player. 

Jonathan Santucci, LHP, Duke

Areas to improve: Stay healthy, post all season

Previous Rank: 22 

Current Rank: 26

Santucci stayed healthy for most of the season—he did miss a few weeks in May with a rib injury—which was the biggest factor for him, but you could probably quibble with whether or not he posted all year. He started as hot as any pitcher in the country but control became a real issue for him early in conference play. He finished the year with a 13.7% walk rate and in particular his fastball command will make teams wonder whether he’s a starter or reliever in pro ball. Fortunately for Santucci a number of other pitchers in his range have struggled more than he has this spring.

Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Areas to improve: Sharpen secondaries

Previous Rank: 21

Current Rank: 24

There’s been no meaningful and consistent upgrade with Caminiti’s secondaries this spring, though depending on the day you saw him you might be encouraged with flashes of a better slider that he will tease. We have Caminiti roughly in the same spot today as he was entering the season because he was dominant on the mound this spring, has a potentially double-plus fastball, commands the ball well and is a strong athlete who’s extremely young for the class. I expect him to still be a bit polarizing but would not be shocked if he went towards the top of his range of outcomes on draft day. 

Bryce Rainer, SS/RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.

Areas to improve: Offensive performance against SoCal competition, innings on the mound

Previous Rank: 20

Current Rank: 11

Rainer has had a great spring with Harvard-Westlake and has himself into the top tier of high school players in this class, right beside Konnor Griffin. While some scouts still wanted to see him pitch more, Rainer has convinced many that he’s a definite hitter first who has big tools, a chance to stick at shortstop and an improved hit tool. He has big power and one of the better throwing arms in the class and has a shot to go inside the first 10 picks and be the first prep player selected.

Cade Arrambide, C, Tomball (Texas) HS

Areas to improve: Show bat-to-ball skills, receiving consistency

Previous Rank: 19

Current Rank: 108

Arrambide has tumbled down the draft board this spring and seems much more likely to make it to campus at LSU than I would have expected back in February. The defense has been solid, but Arrambide has struggled with strikeouts. He has swung and missed too frequently overall but has also raised some concerns due to his in-zone miss rates against high school competition. Arrambide still has enticing tools and huge upside as a defender at the toughest position on the diamond, but many teams are scared of the prep catching profile in general—that’ll only be amplified if his performance was lacking.

Jacob Cozart, C, NC State

Areas to improve: Contact vs. spin, production vs. 93+ velocity

Previous Rank: 18

Current Rank: 36

Cozart has had a strong season and set new single-season bests in his first 51 games with 16 homers and a career-best 17.7% walk rate. He also handled 93+ mph velocity better this spring than he had in the past—he managed a 1.269 OPS against those pitches—but still has significant contact questions against breaking balls. He hit under .300 for the second year in his career with NC State and many scouts question his pure hitting ability at the next level. His lefty power, arm strength and solid defense could make him a first-round pick for some teams, but that doesn’t seem to be the consensus and he could slip into the second. 

Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas

Areas to improve: Maintain velocity gains, refine delivery, sharpen command

Previous Rank: 17

Current Rank: 6

Smith has checked off every box we laid out for him and then some. He not only maintained his velocity jump in 2023, but he added nearly three more ticks of average fastball velocity and has averaged 95.7 mph and touched 100. His delivery looked a bit easier all season and his walk rate jumped from 13% to 9.7%. His improved fastball command and delivery add more confidence to his projection as a starter and his in-zone miss rates have been exceptional. He’s been the most dominant pitcher in the country based on ERA, opponent average and strikeout rate and has a chance to be the first pitcher selected and a potential top-five pick. 

Josh Hartle, LHP, Wake Forest

Areas to improve: Add more power

Previous Rank: 16

Current Rank: 53

Hartle entered the year as one of the best pure pitchers in the class and a high-probability first rounder thanks to his excellent command, but he didn’t add any more velocity and his command backed up a tick. Hartle’s cutter and curveball were thrown less consistently in the zone for strikes and both pitches were also less effective in terms of missing bats, which helped drop his strikeout rate from 33.4% in 2023 to just 23.4% in 2024. At this point, Hartle’s excellent 2023 season might be the outlier compared to 2022 and 2024 when he just wasn’t able to miss a high rate of bats consistently. It’s difficult to see him going in the first with a 5.58 ERA, 23.4% strikeout rate and fastball that averages 90-91.

Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa

Areas to improve: Throw more strikes

Previous Rank: 15

Current Rank: 34

Brecht has thrown more strikes this season and has made slight walk rate improvements year over year in his three seasons with Iowa. 

2022: 21.2 BB% 

2023: 18.4 BB%

2024: 15.1 BB%

That’s still an extremely high mark for a potential first-round pitcher. Brecht would shatter the upper bounds of what first round college pitchers have posted in the bonus pool era if he is selected in the first round. Per Synergy Sports, his overall strike rate this spring is just 59% with no individual pitch better than 60% and his in-zone rate is just 32.7% (406/1,240). Some teams are adamantly out on him as a first round pick because of this while others might be willing to take a shot in the back half of the first given a lack of other exciting college pitching options. 

Charlie Condon, OF, Georgia

Areas to improve: Show defensive versatility

Previous Rank: 14

Current Rank: 1

Condon took a step forward from his already excellent 2023 season and has been the best hitter in college baseball from wire to wire in 2024. On top of that he’s played five different defensive positions and shown real ability as an outfielder and third baseman. That defensive prowess and improved athleticism—mixed in with his lethal hit/power combination—has pushed him to the No. 1 rank in the class and makes him a favorite to be the Guardians pick at the top of the draft in July.

Caleb Bonemer, SS, Okemos (Mich.) HS

Areas to improve: Prove shortstop profile

Previous Rank: 13

Current Rank: 32

Bonemer has turned in great run times and hit the ball hard for scouts this spring but it doesn’t sound like there’s been a material change to his defensive profile. He reminds of a Brady House type of high school shortstop. A bigger-bodied kid with impressive athleticism and arm strength who looks good at times but ultimately just might be too big for the position and a better fit for the hot corner. Because of that he still seems to be viewed as a late-first/supplemental first/early second round type of prospect.

PJ Morlando, OF/1B, Summerville (S.C.) HS

Areas to improve: Put up huge numbers, improve athleticism

Previous Rank: 12

Current Rank: 37

Morlando has slid down boards a bit this spring because he faces a tough hit-first corner profile and will also be 19 on draft day. He didn’t blow scouts out of the water with his performance in South Carolina to lock in a consensus first round evaluation from the industry, but his hit/power combination is still quite good and it wouldn’t be surprising if a team took a shot on him in the back of the first because of that. 

Konnor Griffin, OF/SS/RHP, Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.

Areas to improve: Create confidence in swing and hit tool

Previous Rank: 11

Current Rank: 9

Griffin has been outstanding all spring and done as much as possible to solidify or boost his profile against Mississippi prep competition. He has the best odds to shoot up into the top eight picks and break up the college tier at the top of the class and it sounds unlikely he falls too far beyond the 10th overall pick. If it weren’t for so many impressive college seasons by players ranked in front he might be talked about more like a top-five pick. 

Tommy White, 3B, LSU

Areas to improve: Chase less, improve defensive reputation

Previous Rank: 10

Current Rank: 21

White started the season a bit slowly but heated up throughout conference play and now has three consecutive seasons with 20+ home runs and a 1.100 OPS or better. He’s still a bit of a free swinger who has never walked at a 10% clip, but he did lower his chase rate from 41% over his first two seasons to 35% this spring. On top of that, he has looked better as a defender at third base and has improved his chances to play the position at least to start his pro career. The fact that he’s still moved down is probably more a sign that we had him over ranked at the start of the year—in addition to a few other college hitting profiles who have surged up boards in front of him. 

Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Texas A&M

Areas to improve: Righthanded swing, contact

Previous Rank: 9

Current Rank: 5

Montgomery is still a much better hitter from the left side than the right, but in terms of overall production he’s improved each year in college. He eclipsed the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career this season and through 55 games slashed .325/.463/.769 with 26 home runs, a 20.1% strikeout rate and career-high 19% walk rate. Montgomery’s overall contact rate increased from 69% in 2022-2023 with Stanford to 74% this spring with Texas A&M. I’ll be curious to see if he ever drops the righthanded swing, but regardless he now has a chance to be a top-five pick.

Seaver King, SS/OF, Wake Forest

Areas to improve: ACC performance, defensive clarity

Previous Rank: 8

Current Rank: 14

King checked off both of these boxes this spring and through 55 games with Wake Forest slashed .319/.382/.612 with 16 home runs, 10 stolen bases and just a 12% strikeout rate. He has played center field, shortstop and third base but scouts seemed impressed with his actions while playing shortstop—enough to give him a chance at the position to start his career with a solid fallback in center field if necessary. King still could be a bit polarizing because he’s a free swinger who expands the zone a lot but the combination of his athleticism, tools, performance and up-the-middle defensive profile should make his range of outcomes more narrow than, say, Tommy White. 

Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest

Areas to improve: Flash third pitch, dominate as a starter

Previous Rank: 7

Current Rank: 4

Check and check. Burns has either been the most dominant pitcher in college baseball this year or the second-most, depending on how you view him vs. Hagen Smith. He took the ball for 14 weeks and posted consistently, going seven full innings in six of those starts and finishing with a 2.63 ERA, 49.6% strikeout rate and 169 strikeouts—the most in the country. He also flashed not one but two quality secondaries with a low-80s curveball and firm changeup around 90 that could make teams more comfortable with him as a starting pitcher moving forward. He lowered his fastball/slider pitch usage from 93% in his first two seasons to 81% this season thanks to the more frequently used curve and changeup. He’s now a potential top-five pick and could be the first arm off the board. 

Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina

Areas to improve: Make more contact

Previous Rank: 6

Current Rank: 12

Honeycutt’s 2024 season was more productive than his 2023 sophomore campaign, but not because he made more contact. He instead regressed more towards his 2022 freshman style of hitting with a 26.9% strikeout rate and 13% walk rate that also came with 22 home runs in 52 games with a .319/.418/.700 slash line. That could ultimately just be the best version of Honeycutt thanks to his power/speed combination, but it reinforces the pure hit tool and bat-to-ball concerns that scouts have with Honeycutt. There’s only so far his profile will slide on draft day thanks to his excellent center field defense and physical tools, but I would expect a decently wide range of opinions on him.

Mike Sirota, OF, Northeastern

Areas to improve: Hit the ball harder, continue CAA domination

Previous Rank: 5

Current Rank: 46

Sirota is one of the most significant “fallers” of this list, though part of that certainly seems to be because of an over-ranked position to begin with. Sirota started the season extremely slowly but climbed back to a respectable .296/.466/.516 slash line with a 19% strikeout rate and 22.3% walk rate—both career highs. He should still be a good value in the second round or so thanks to his speed, defense and batting eye, but there are concerns about his impact potential and how he’s able to handle quality stuff on the inner third.

Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida

Areas to improve: Strikes on the mound, swing decisions at the plate

Previous Rank: 4

Current Rank: 3

Caglianone’s season has solidified beliefs that his upside is greater as a hitter in pro ball compared to his potential on the mound. He remained an erratic strike thrower (15.7 BB%) and profiles as a reliever if he was a pitcher only, but he cut his strikeouts significantly and made more contact while putting together his most well-rounded offensive season yet. Caglianone slashed .413/.525/.851 with 29 home runs in 54 games with an 8.2 % strikeout rate—down from the 18.2% mark he posted in 2023—and 16% walk rate. He still chases out of the zone far too frequently, but made strides with his swing decisions in two-strike counts compared to his first two seasons. 

Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State

Areas to improve: Opposite-field pop, throwing

Previous Rank: 3

Current Rank: 2

Bazzana entered the year as a top-of-the-class player with some of the best pure hitting ability in the class and he layered on significantly more power and homered more frequently in 2024 than his first two seasons combined. Bazzana slashed .429/.587/.963 through 53 games with 26 home runs, an 11.7% strikeout rate and 25.8% walk rate—all career bests. His arm remains a bit of a question moving forward but the fact that he could simply slide to center field and be a good player there quickly mitigates that for most scouts. He’s simply taken another step forward as a hitter and has entrenched himself as a top-two player in the class because of it. 

JJ Wetherholt, 2B, West Virginia

Areas to improve: Show he can play shortstop

Previous Rank: 2

Current Rank: 8

Missing a significant portion of time this spring thanks to a hamstring injury has meant that Wetherholt has been a bit overshadowed compared to his college peers at the top of the class. He’s only played in 29 games but has been as advertised in them with a .371/.519/.701 slash line, eight home runs, a 9.8% strikeout rate and a 21.2% walk rate. Wetherholt has also played some shortstop this spring and has the most defensive upside of all the top college players in the class, but could still ultimately wind up at second base. 

Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest

Areas to improve: Maintain offensive profile, show defensive versatility

Previous Rank: 1

Current Rank: 7

Unlike Condon, Kurtz has continued to play at first base and hasn’t significantly changed his defensive reputation this season—though he should be a plus defender at the position. He started the season slow in terms of ball in play results, then was sidelined for a bit with a shoulder injury and then came back and went on a home run binge. After 49 games he’s looking at a .312/.532/.790 slash line that gives him his second straight season with a 1.300+ OPS and a 30.2% walk rate that’s the best in the country. Kurtz could have the best hit/power/patience combination in the class but his first base-only profile could be less exciting to teams compared to others like Condon, Bazzana, Montgomery and Wetherholt.

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