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HomeUncategorized2024 MLB Draft: Florida State's two-way player Jac Caglianone and UNC's Vance...

2024 MLB Draft: Florida State's two-way player Jac Caglianone and UNC's Vance Honeycutt are early known names

With the 2023 MLB amateur draft looming, scouts across the league are ready to take a deep breath and, well, go back to drudgery to check out next year’s class. In this sport, the search for talent never stops for too long.

As is customary with CBS Sports, we’re highlighting five notable players today who we expect to play big roles in next year’s draft. We want to be clear that our consideration for this article is limited to college players, and we’re not necessarily saying these are the best five players in the class — just that we think they’ll be relevant next summer.

Please note: The ranking of the contestants is not in particular order.

1. Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida State

Gators have two top picks on this year’s roster, outfielders Wyatt Langford and right-hander Heston Waldrap, But it was usual, Cagliano showed incredible strength in the box and rushing, occupying the Headlines . He hit a total of 31 homers and posted a 1.046 OPS in SEC play. He also started 16 games as a pitcher, hitting 99 mph and striking out more than 10 batters every nine times. We know what you’re thinking – our advice is to keep those Shohei Ohtani comparisons in your pocket.

Scouts prefer Caglianone as a hitter, but the reality is he needs to improve his command of both sides of the strike zone. Consider the following statistics from league play: as a pitcher, he walked or struck out 41 batters in 41 innings; as a hitter, he struck out 3.5 times as many as he walked. Both were red flags that Caglianone had to correct in order to move on in order to get closer to the front of the class.

2. Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina

Despite being drafted by the Giants in high school, Honeycutt opted to go to college and had a freshman season received national attention. He hit 25 home runs and stole 29 sacks (34 attempts), while showing above-average glove at center.

Honeycutt had a mixed sophomore season. He improved his strikeout and walk rates, lowering the overall K/BB ratio from 2.20 to 1.04. Unfortunately, his conference OPS dropped from .924 to .813, and he hit just three home runs in 25 ACC games (compared to 30 in 30 games as a freshman. 10 home runs). Honeycutt is still showing athleticism and a flair for dramatic catches outfield, so he’s playing well at the bat to get back into the top spot.

3. Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa State

Brecht is a former biathlon athlete who combines the body of a linebacker with a finisher The arsenal of the attackers combined. After quitting football last season to focus on baseball, he posted a 3.74 ERA and struck out 109 batters in 77 innings.

Brecht has excellent arm strength (he’s past 100+ mph) and a swing and miss slider. The problem is that his command is still well below average. For example, more than 18 percent of the hitters he’s faced this season walk (more than 20 percent in league play). For perspective, in 2022, no MLB pitcher who has thrown more than 100 innings has hit more than 13 percent of the batters they face.

Brecht has enough arm strength to make him a top-10 candidate if he can show any improvement at his position.

4. Tommy White, 1B, LSU

You may remember White in the spring of 2022 when he won “Tommy the Tank” as a member of the NC State program nickname. He transferred to LSU and moved to third base before his sophomore season before going out and posting a higher OPS (1.193 vs. 1.179).

White will be a polarizing member of next year’s class. There’s no denying his offensive prowess or ability to hit the ball, but teams are often reluctant to spend high draft capital on a player they consider to be a right-handed first baseman. There have been exceptions in recent years — Spencer Torkelson and Andrew Vaughan have both been top-three picks — so maybe White will join that group next summer.

5. Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas

We finish with Smith, a sassy lefty with a 3.64 ERA and a strikeout rate over 2,023 35 percent of the hitters he faced that year. Consistent in SEC play (3.07 and 35.1 percent), which is something teams like to see when evaluating potential first-round picks.

Smith has a starting frame and a touchable fastball into the upper 90s. He throws from the sidearm in an unorthodox fashion that makes him especially tough against southpaws. His track record makes him one to watch in 2024, though it’s fair to say teams want to see him throw more strikes: In his first 38 college games, he walked more than five hitters per nine innings hand.



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