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LSU Signee Derek Curiel Withdraws From 2024 MLB Draft


Image credit: Derek Curiel (Bill Mitchell)

California high school outfielder Derek Curiel has withdrawn from the 2024 draft. He announced his decision to opt out of the draft and enroll at Louisiana State this summer on social media Monday afternoon.

Curiel’s decision is the first prominent withdrawal from the 2024 draft as we approach draft day, though it has become more common for a select few high school players to make that decision before the draft takes place. Notably, 2023 second overall pick Dylan Crews made the same decision before the 2020 draft, which also benefited LSU. 

Like Crews, Curiel was a highly-touted high school prospect who developed a reputation as one of the best players in his respective draft class at a young age. His swing as a sophomore was perhaps the best on an Orange (Calif.) Lutheran team that also included 2022 first-rounder Mikey Romero. Scouts were consistently impressed with Curiel’s mature, patient approach at the plate and high IQ baseball skills as a defender and base runner. 

Also like Crews, Curiel had a disappointing summer showcase circuit by his lofty standards. He began to slide a bit down draft boards in the fall and throughout the spring, though he was currently ranked as the No. 78 prospect in the class at the time of his announcement. If signable, Curiel could have expected to be a top-three round draft pick but he’s opting to pass on the chance in 2024 and attempt to bolster his draft stock by performing in the SEC. 

If Curiel performs up to his expectations and talent with the Tigers, he could be with the team for just two seasons, as he’ll be a draft-eligible sophomore for the 2026 class. Below you can see Curiel’s updated scouting report with tool grades.

Derek Curiel Scouting Report

BA Grade: 50/Extreme

Hit: 55. Power: 40. Run: 55. Field: 55. Arm: 50.

Curiel is an advanced pure hitter whose instincts for the game and sweet lefthanded swing have made him a prospect to know since his freshman season. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound outfielder had arguably the best swing on an Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High team that also included 2022 first-rounder Mikey Romero, but Curiel has also struggled to add physicality throughout his high school career. Curiel has one of the more advanced approaches in the class, with excellent vision, swing decisions and pitch recognition that could help him become a plus hitter.

His lefty swing is calm, balanced and fluid to the ball, but scouts have wondered if he is overly passive at times and also aren’t sure about impact. He can drive balls with natural backspin in batting practice, but might be more of a line-drive singles hitter without adding more strength. Curiel is advanced defensively as well. He’s an instinctual center fielder who has better jumps and route-running ability than faster players and a chance for above-average defense with an average, accurate throwing arm. He’s turned in plus run times in the past but has more consistently turned in above-average times. Curiel is committed to LSU and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2026 if he makes it to campus. 

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