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The Top 15 Hitters in the 2024 MLB Draft Class

Jac Caglianone playing for Florida; CC by License 2.0

The Drummey Angle is back continuing our coverage of the 2024 MLB draft. Earlier this week, we released our top 15 pitchers in this class, and today we’ll be dropping our top 15 hitters. The class is dominated by college talent at the top, with only 2 prep hitters cracking our list this year. On the list, you’ll find names like Travis Bazzana, Charlie Condon, and Braden Montgomery who make up our top 3. Milan Prevander and Perry Nadreau are here to provide full reports on all 15 hitters as the draft is now officially less than a week away.

  1. Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State, 6’0” 199lbs

This year is unlike most in that there is truly no clear cut top prospect. While there are a lot of enticing players, none of them are complete enough to warrant the hype that number-one picks have received in past years. Bazzana, an Australian native, appears to be the most popular option and is who we are going with here. Bazzana did everything you could’ve hoped for and more this season in Corvallis, hitting to the tune of a .572 OBP and .608 wOBA. The offensive profile is about as advanced as you could hope for a college hitter. Bazzana is one of very few amateur players I’d be comfortable assigning a 60 to for both hit tool and power. Travis has shown astronomically better plate discipline than his peers at the top of this class leading major league scouts to have faith in the ability of his skillset to translate to the pro level. His approach allows him to get himself into good counts and hunt fastballs, where he’s been able to do damage. He has proven the ability to make pitchers and make himself an extremely difficult out. Bazzana chases pitches outside of the zone at a 13% rate and only whiffs in the zone at an 11.4% clip, both well above average. He has a very quick and efficient swing, allowing him to put the ball in play and hit the ball hard. Through the college season, Bazzana’s average exit velocity was 95.9 mph (95 mph is considered hard hit). In a draft with a lot of boom or bust players, Bazzana offers a really high floor. He might not blossom into the star that he is capable of being, but there is little reason to doubt that even in the worst-case scenario, he’ll be an everyday guy in the big leagues. There’s certainly nothing to be blown away defensively, but Bazzana can play a reasonable second base and should be able to be an average defender there for years. Despite the lackluster defensive profile, he’s worth a top selection for the advanced approach and offensive potential. Bazzana should be on a fast track to the big leagues and could be a regular by Opening Day, 2026.

  1. Charlie Condon, UGA, 3B/OF, 6’6” 216lbs

Condon burst onto the scene in 2023 and followed that campaign up with a historical season this past year. The Golden Spikes Award winner, SEC player of the year, and new BBCOR era home run leader is now ready to bring his explosive offensive toolset to professional baseball. Condon’s record-breaking year featured a video game triple slash line of .441/.531/1.014 and 37 HRs. The underlying metrics and batted-ball data are just as impressive. While the exit velocities are guaranteed to come down a few ticks as he makes the shift over to using a wood bat, there is no denying that Condon hits the ball very hard, often. He posted a 90th percentile exit velocity of 111.9 mph, with a max of 118.2. It’s comfortably 70-grade raw power, and it has a chance to be an 80-grade tool when all is said and done. He’s able to get to this power consistently in games, as shown by his 67% hard-hit rate. He could stand to raise his launch angles a bit, as his average is 14.7 degrees and his average on hard-hit balls is 15.8 degrees. Even with the slightly below optimal launch angles, he was still able to post an impressive .586 xWOBAcon and a .801 xSLG, showing the ability he has to consistently produce and do damage at the plate. As with most guys with his immense raw power, Condon has some discipline issues, chasing pitches at a 23% clip. However, there’s not a ton of swing and miss in the profile, as his in-zone whiff percentage was only 10.4% this year. I’d grade the hit tool out as a 60 at present. There’s also some defensive versatility present here, as he’s spent time at third base and the corner outfield, even getting some reps in center field during the season. He may end up a first baseman in the long run, but the offensive toolset should provide plenty enough value to make up for the defensive value. Regardless of what position he ends up playing, the bat will be the calling card. I have it as a fairly high floor with a really high ceiling. For me, he projects as an everyday middle-of-the-order bat in his 50th percentile outcome, with all-star and MVP-caliber seasons as his 90th percentile outcome. He’ll enter pro ball ranked near the top of prospect rankings, and I expect him to live up to the expectations. 

  1. Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M, 6’2” 220lbs

Montgomery has been the center of many debates throughout the entirety of this draft cycle. He’s a top-tier athlete who has one of the higher ceilings in the class, but occasional swing-and-miss woes have scared some scouts away entirely. Among college hitters with over 200 plate appearances, Montgomery ranks first in average exit velocity, coming in at an impressive 98.5 mph. To add to that, his 90th percentile exit velocity is 110.8 and he had 69% of his hits register as “hard hit balls” (at least 95 mph). He’s among the best in the sport in all of these categories proving that the power potential is real. I’d grade his power as a 65 right now, but it could work its way up to a 70 if he continues on an upward trajectory. After transferring from Stanford to Texas A&M prior to the 2024 season, many scouts were interested to see if there would be any growing pains adjusting from PAC-12 to SEC pitching. Montgomery quickly proved any doubters wrong and was a massive part of the Aggie's success this year. While Montgomery’s 20.9% strikeout rate wouldn’t be concerning at the professional level, some will question if that could be an indicator of future offensive problems. While some concern is reasonable, Montgomery’s 17.2% walk rate, .419 ISO, and .561 xwOBAcon limit concern. These stats prove that his approach at the plate is average at worst, he has the ability to be a true power threat, and he generates very impressive results when he makes contact with the ball. Defensively, Montgomery will likely spend the majority of his time in right field where he has average range. The former pitcher’s arm is plus plus and he has the ability to keep runners honest with throws coming in the mid-90s from the outfield. While there is some risk associated with the profile, the upside is too exciting for Montgomery to possibly fall out of the first ten selections.

  1. JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia, MIF, 5’10” 190lbs

Wetherholt entered the year seen by many as the slam-dunk 1.1 pick in this year’s draft. Unfortunately, he dealt with some hamstring issues and missed time, causing him to slide a bit down draft boards. He came back towards the end of the season and put up some solid numbers, cementing his place again as one of the top players in the class with a shot still to be selected with the first overall pick. In 36 games played, he posted a triple slash of .331/.449/.589 with 8 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. Under the hood, the metrics and batted ball data all look pretty solid as well. He posted a max exit velocity of 110.9, but his 90th percentile exit velocity was 108.2. It’s at least above-average raw power, and I would place it at a 55 grade currently, though I am strongly encouraged by the minimal separation between the 90th percentile and the max when it comes to exit velocities. He hit the ball hard at a 57% clip last season. His launch angles are a light yellow flag for me, as he hit the ball at 10.6 degrees on average, with that number jumping to 15.6 degrees on his hard-hit balls, which is certainly an encouraging sign. Wetherholt certainly profiles as a hit over power type player, though I do think there is more power here than some people may think. Nevertheless, the hit tool is certainly impressive and a 70-grade tool for me. He has impressive bat-to-ball skills, as he posted a 15.3 whiff percentage on the year. His approach and plate discipline are also excellent, as he only chased at a 14.10% rate last season. I would bet that whichever organization drafts him will make a concerted effort to get him to hit the ball in the air a bit more consistently, but the pure hitting ability and bat-to-ball skills will certainly entice teams close to the top of the draft. On the defensive side of things, he has more of a shot at sticking at shortstop than his top-of-the-board middle-infield peer Travis Bazzana. West Virginia made a concerted effort to give him looks at short after he returned from his injury, and he made a few impressive plays at the position. Wetherholt offers premiere hitting ability with sneaky raw power and a chance to stick at one of the most valuable positions on the field, and he will certainly be in contention for the first overall pick.

  1. Jac Caglianone, 1B, Florida, 6’5” 250lbs

While the “Jactani” moniker may be an aggressive parallel, Caglianone has been one of the most impressive and exciting college athletes throughout the last few years. Not to put too fine a point on it, Caglianone’s approach at the plate is reckless. He chases at a 38.3% rate at the college level, a stat that could make him unplayable at the next level if he doesn’t get it under control. With that being said, there’s a reason Caglianone finds himself in the top 5 on every draft board. When he hits the ball, he mashes. I wish there was a better, more sophisticated word I could use, but there’s really no other way to describe it. Jac puts all of his 250 pounds behind his swing to generate a 111.7 90th percentile exit velocity and 122 max exit velocity. He battled Charlie Condon all year for the home run crown, and while he fell short, he still hit 35 homers through the course of the season. I feel pretty confident calling this a 70-grade power profile. Another encouraging thing about the profile is that despite the concerning chase rate, Caglianone does a good job of making contact with pitches in the zone, only whiffing at a 7.8% clip. Furthermore, he only strikes out 8% of the time, reducing concerns about the chase rate. If he can improve his plate discipline and cut down on his 53% swing percentage, Caglianone could end up being the best player in this class. He’ll be a fine defender at first base, but as with almost all first basemen, you aren’t drafting Jac for his defense. He has a rifle for an arm and has been up to triple digits, although that will likely be rendered useless at first base. Caglianone hits from an open stance which is conducive to a pull-heavy approach and causes him to be slightly susceptible to offspeed low and away. Look for him to make some adjustments in that department as he moves up the rank. Although there is still a fairly long developmental journey, Caglianone’s raw potential solidifies him as one of the better players in the class.

  1. Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest, 1B, 6’5” 235lbs

Kurtz has one of the more exciting and explosive offensive toolsets in the entire class, though he lacks the positional versatility and defensive value as some of the other guys on this list as he seems to be pretty locked in as a first baseman. However, there should be enough offensive value for Kurtz to be a valuable middle-of-the-order bat at the professional level. He struggled a bit this year at Wake Forest, as he was pitched around a bit and struggled to find a groove. However, that didn’t last long, as he went on a torrid stretch in the middle of the year and showed all of the offensive tools that had him placed so high on boards going into the year. This season, he slashed .310/.522/.772 with 22 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. He flashes comfortable 70-grade raw power, with a max exit velocity of 114.6 and a 90th percentile of 110.4. He accesses it frequently in games, working the ball around the park while posting an average launch angle of 22 degrees and an average launch angle of 24.4 degrees on his hard-hit balls. Kurtz also doesn’t swing and miss a much, as he posted a 20% whiff rate on the year, with a 12.8 in zone whiff percentage as well. He also rarely expands the zone, chasing at only a 13.5% clip this year. The ability to not expand the zone will serve him well as he enters pro ball, and even if the swing-and-miss jumps up, he should be able to hit the ball hard and in the air enough to continue to be a mainstay in the middle of the lineup. It’s a mature approach with a 55-grade hit tool and 70-grade power for me at present, and even though he will be a first baseman at the next level, the offensive toolset and high-level power projection should be enough for him to be taken in the top 10 of this year’s draft.

  1. Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard Westlake (CA), 6’3” 195lbs

In my eyes, Rainer is the top prep prospect in this draft class. He is also one of the few players in the entire class who deserves to be spoken about as a potential five-tool prospect. There are few glaring holes in Rainer’s game, and while the 19 year old will certainly need time to develop, it’s easy to get excited about the tools he possesses. He makes contact at a solid clip and is probably a 55-grade hitter. Furthermore, Rainer was impressive on the showcase circuit last summer, posting top-tier exit velocities that showed his power potential. While he’s probably only at a 55-power grade right now, I could easily see him getting up to 65-power grade soon. After getting on a big league strength regimen, I’d imagine Rainer adds 15-20 pounds allowing him to tap into his raw power and turn some of his potential into actual game value. Defensively, it’s too early to tell where Rainer will end up, although I think he has as good of a chance as anyone to stick at shortstop. The actions are advanced and the arm will certainly play from short. If he eventually moves away from shortstop, the California prep product could use his plus arm to play third or anywhere in the outfield. Rainer will likely get a massive bonus thrown his way within the first ten picks in an attempt to encourage him to forgo his commitment to Texas.

  1. Konnor Griffin, Prep (LSU recruit), MIF/OF, 6’4” 210lbs

Griffin possesses one of the most tantalizing profiles in the entire class, with loud tools across the board. At just 18.2, Griffin is fairly young for the prep class, but his game has been advanced beyond his age for a few years now. On the defensive side of the ball, Griffin has a chance to play multiple premium positions at a high level, as he has played both shortstop and center field effectively. I would bet on him being a center fielder long term, where his 6.36 speed and 96 mph arm will allow him to be a plus defender at the highest level. At the plate, he shows really impressive raw power, with some question marks around the hit tool. I’d place him in the same category as Vance Honeycutt, with both having explosive tools and some lingering concerning traits. Griffin hasn’t been tested against high-quality pitching as much as Honeycutt, so the hit tool could very well not be as big of an issue as Honeycutt’s, but the slight hitch in Griffin’s swing is at least mildly concerning for me at present. Again, however, he’s still only 18 and the abundance of athleticism, twitch, and power-speed combination should see him taken early in this year’s draft. Griffin has some of the most exciting potential and highest ceilings in the class, though the floor may be a bit lower than fellow prep hitter Bryce Rainer. 

  1. James Tibbs, OF, Florida State, 6’0” 200lbs

Tibbs is one of the more consistent performers in this draft class, and therefore one of the least talked about. After a solid campaign for the Seminoles in 2023, he was one of the top performers on the Cape last summer, putting him on the map and building momentum for a strong 2024 season. Tibbs made the most of that momentum and continued to rake in the 2024 season with a .379/.481/.818 slash line. There isn’t anything particularly exciting about his profile, but he’s a solid player that will more than likely be a solid major-league player. The Florida State product has an impressive approach, walking at a 15% clip while only striking out 9.8% of the time. His contact quality is very good as he averages a 93.3 mph exit velocity and has an average launch of angle at 15 degrees meaning that he hits a lot of line drives. He can hit the ball to all fields, and despite hunting the fastball, has shown growth in his ability to handle spin. Tibbs is a below-average athlete who will be a below-average defender anywhere on the field and will likely end up as a corner outfield option who also rotates in at first base and designated hitter. If Tibbs’ consistency over the last few years is any indication of what is to come, the organization that drafts him is looking at a guy who is on a fast track and will be able to anchor a lineup for years to come.

  1. Cam Smith, Florida State, 3B, 6’3” 229lbs

Cam Smith joins fellow Florida State teammate James Tibbs III as one of our top 15 hitters in this draft class. Smith really burst onto the scene in the Cape Cod league last summer, and this success really carried over into his 2024 campaign at Florida State where he posted a slash line of .384/.483/.653 with 16 home runs and a 1.39 K/BB ratio. He has a smooth, albeit lengthy, swing that provides some real impact when he gets it on the barrel. The batted ball data was really solid this year, with a max exit velocity of 115.7 and a 90th percentile of 111.3. The raw power is certainly plus here, but he has a hard time accessing it in-game due to sub-optimal launch angles. He hit the ball on the ground 52% of the time last season, with an average launch angle of 4.8 degrees on average. His average launch angle on balls that he hit hard was slightly better at 10.9 degrees, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in this area. The organization that selects him will almost certainly make a strong effort to get Smith to lift the ball a good bit more to allow the raw power to play more frequently in the game. This might cause some struggles early on in his professional career, but he’s still only a sophomore and there is plenty of time for him to figure that out and have a solid career at the next level. All of the tools are there for him to be a real power threat at the next level, and the hit tool is at least above average as well. He doesn’t have much swing and miss in the profile, as he only whiffed at a 17% clip last season. He’ll provide value over at third base, but the offensive profile will be the carrying tool for Smith as he enters professional baseball. All of the tools are present for him to have a successful career as a power-hitting third baseman with an above-average hit tool, he will just need to lift the ball more consistently to really tap into his big-time power projection.

  1.  Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee, 6’1” 210lbs

One of the key pieces to Tony Vitello’s championship squad, Moore doesn’t fit the typical second baseman mold. His high-energy approach to the game and raw power helped propel the Vols to their best season in school history. Despite his compact build, Moore was one of the better power hitters in the country, hitting 34 bombs throughout the 2024 season. He slashed .383/.449/.782 for the Volunteers, good for a 1.231 OPS. He’s aggressive at the plate, especially in the zone, swinging at in-zone pitches at a 75% rate. The approach wasn’t detrimental to Moore’s success this year, largely due to his 65% hard-hit rate. He’ll probably end up at second base but might be able to play left field as well. Moore grades out as an average runner and fielder so will have to hit to make himself a major league mainstay. The swing is explosive and Moore’s hands are incredibly quick, however, he tends to have a longer bat path in an attempt to make harder contact. This sacrifice is more reasonable at the college level but will leave him vulnerable to high velocity at the next level. The team that drafts Christian will likely look to simplify the swing and optimize it to generate the most power in the most efficient way. With some polishing and a refined approach, Moore could end up being a .270 hitter that has true 25 home run power.

  1. Vance Honeycutt, UNC, OF, 6’3” 205lbs

Honeycutt possesses some of the most explosive tools in this year’s draft, with 4 of the 5 tools at above-average or plus. He’s a great runner, a lockdown defender in center field, has a solid arm, and shows some real raw power. The hit tool, however, is comfortably below average and a real cause for concern. This past season, Honeycutt put all of his tools on display, slashing .311/.403/.689 with 26 home runs and 28 stolen bases. It’s a really solid power-speed toolset that could blossom into an elite offensive profile if he can reduce the chase and whiff rates. The batted ball data shows Honeycutt’s impressive raw power, as he posted a max exit velocity of 115.5 and a 90th percentile of 109.4. When he does make contact, he’s tapping into his raw power effectively, with a spray chart showing heavy action to the pull-side in the air. His launch angles can attest to this, as his average was 17.7 degrees and his average on hard-hit balls was a solid 24.8 degrees. While it is great that Honeycutt has shown the ability to do damage when he is making contact, I’m concerned that he simply won’t make enough contact to provide much offensive value. He posted an in-zone contact rate of 79% with a 32.1% whiff rate and a 26% chase rate. These holes are only going to get more exploited as he begins his professional career. The combination of all of his other tools will certainly be enough for him to be selected early on day 1, but I am very interested in monitoring his progression in the minor leagues. If an organization can identify a mechanical tweak that they want to make and hopefully increase the bat-to-ball skills, Honeycutt could be an incredibly dangerous player. He has one of the higher ceilings in the class, but also a lower floor. Either way, he should be a plus defender in center field with plus power and speed, the only question is if he will hit enough to provide positive value.

  1. Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State, 6’1” 185lbs

Benge is kind of a jack-of-all-trades type of guy, with a profile that usually ends up being very successful in the long run. The Oklahoma State product isn’t particularly flashy, but he’s a solid player who has produced for the Cowboys throughout his college career. There isn’t anything concerning about Benge’s profile, the biggest question is how will he differentiate himself from other similar prospects while rising through the farm system. Benge walked and struck out at a 16% rate showing his advanced plate discipline. He worked counts all year long and only swung at 64% of pitches in the zone, significantly lower than most. The patient approach paid off as he was able to take walks and put himself into favorable counts. The biggest thing I can nitpick is his 8-degree average launch angle which means that he is hitting ground balls at a rate higher than most organizations would prefer. Despite that, his launch angle on hard hit balls is 15.6 degrees meaning that when he hits the ball hard it is often on a line. Benge is a prototypical mid-first-round pick and will likely find himself coming off the board in that range.

  1.  Ryan Waldschmidt, Kentucky, OF, 6’2” 205lbs

Waldschmidt has risen steadily up boards throughout the 2024 campaign, showcasing a solid all-around offensive toolset with minimal big-time flaws to his game. This year at Kentucky, he slashed .330/.467/.608 with 14 home runs, 25 stolen bases, and a 1.12 K/BB ratio. Under the hood, his batted ball data and underlying metrics are solid as well. He posted a max exit velocity of 112.4, with a 90th percentile of 108.8. It’s not 80-grade power by any means, but it’s comfortably an above-average tool for me. He’s also able to tap into it consistently, with an average launch angle of 14.7, a hard-hit launch angle of 15.3, and a spray chart that shows lots of fly balls to the pull-side. He shows a solid approach as well, with only a 17.3% chase rate, an 88.1 in-zone contact rate, and a 19.9% whiff rate on the year. He hits the ball hard 58% of the time, and he posted a .454 xWOBAcon in 2024. None of the tools are going to jump off of the page and wow you, but he’s been a solid SEC performer, has very minimal holes to his game, and has above-average hit and power tools. He’ll provide some defensive value in a corner outfield spot moving forward, but his offensive production will lead the way. 

  1. Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State, 6’0” 220lbs

Jordan is surely the biggest wild card out of this group but is one of my personal favorites. That’s not necessarily an endorsement, I just find his profile fascinating and am very interested in seeing how his career plays out. Dakota initially decided to head to Starkville as both a baseball and football player, which could easily be guessed after looking at his massive build and seeing his incredible raw athleticism. Jordan’s exit velocities are right on pace with Montgomery’s and in the top 5 of all of NCAA with a 97.2 average exit velocity and 64% hard-hit rate. His xwOBAcon is an impressive .513 so it’s clear that when he’s making contact he is a threat. I feel that “when he’s making contact” is a great lead into this next section, where it should become clear that “when” was the operative word of that statement. Dakota Jordan’s strikeout rate through 259 2024 college plate appearances was 29.3%. There are a lot of scouts who will look at that number and stop reading the rest of the report. Jordan whiffs on 35.1% of the pitches he sees. Both of these statistics are going to need to change for him to even make it out of A ball. Additionally, Dakota’s 8.1 launch angle will need to be adjusted so he can elevate the ball more and better tap into his 65-grade raw power. To me, Jordan still looks like a football player trying to play baseball. He isn’t great in the field but has the speed and the arm to eventually be a solid center fielder or plus right fielder. The freak athleticism is clear, and the potential is clear. He just needs time to continue to develop to realize that potential As of right now, you’re probably looking at a 4-year developmental path here at the bare minimum, but if Jordan can quickly and effectively implement the changes his organization wants to see, his path could be accelerated. Despite all the work that needs to be done, there’s reason to believe that Jordan will be able to rise to the occasion. He’s improved immensely over the last few years and has the athleticism to continue doing so.


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