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Today marks the beginning of a new college baseball season. That can mean only one thing as far as we here at CBS Sports are concerned: it's time to rank the upcoming Major League Baseball's draft prospects. As is tradition, below you'll find the 30 players we consider at this point -- five months before the Cleveland Guardians make the first No. 1 pick in franchise history -- to be the best in the class.

These rankings were informed by several components, including conversations with scouts and other front-office types; firsthand statistical and video analysis; and historical precedent. Every individual has their own biases and preferences with respect to skill sets and risk tolerance. That's one reason this list might differ greatly from others in publication. Another reason is that our rankings are a combination of talent and expected landing spot. We'll explain the disparity in cases where there's a great disparity either way between our impression of a player and their expected range.

Before we get to the rankings, we wanted to offer two big-picture observations.

Foremost, this isn't a great class on paper. Scouts were quick to offer reservations and caveats on even the top players in the class. It's a noticeable step down from last year, when four of the eventual top five picks were clear from the onset and the class was further improved by Paul Skenes' ascent. These things can change in a hurry. Back in April 2006, a team executive told Kevin Goldstein: "It's now appalling how bad this draft is. It's that extreme." The first round alone then produced Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, and Andrew Miller, among others. 

Additionally, and perhaps relatedly, it's a college-heavy group. There hasn't been a draft in modern MLB history (defined here as since the league expanded to 30 teams) that didn't feature multiple prep players going in the top 10. Yet that streak would be in danger if the teams started picking players today.

With that out of the way, let's get to the rankings.

1. JJ Wetherholt, SS/2B, West Virginia

The short story: More like Wetherhits.

Wetherholt, the nation's reigning batting champion, stands a great chance of becoming the first Mountaineer ever drafted in the top 10. (Alek Manoah and Chris Enochs were both selected 11th.) Predictably, he's a polished left-handed hitter who always feels in control. He seldom chases or whiffs, and he's performed well against both velocity and Big 12-quality of competition. He didn't just walk more than he struck out last season, he also recorded more doubles and stolen bases than punchouts. Is it any wonder why Wetherholt has received 70-grade hit-tool projections? 

Alas, there are aspects to his game that could cap his ceiling. He's moving to shortstop this spring, but the scouts we spoke to were skeptical he would stick there as a professional; a return to second or third base, the positions he's manned in the past, seems more likely. Wetherholt also features worse slugging indicators than his peers at the top of the class, including fellow second baseman Travis Bazzana, making it difficult for evaluators to project more than 50-grade power. Jeff McNeil and Nico Hoerner, among others, have made fine careers out of somewhat similar profiles. There's no reason Wetherholt can't do the same.

2. Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest

The short story: Athletic first baseman with cleanup hitter upside.

You might wonder how Kurtz compares to former teammate Brock Wilken, selected 18th by the Brewers last summer following a 31-homer campaign. For our money, he's the superior prospect. Kurtz finished second (behind Wilken) in home runs on the Demon Deacons, launching 24 of those bad boys while walking more than he struck out. He's a more fluid athlete than his size (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) indicates, and one can envision his future employer auditioning him in a corner-outfield spot. Even if they don't, there are few players in this class who can match Kurtz's combination of in-game power, contact, and plate discipline. The one plausible snag here is that he might be too patient for his own good. Kurtz is a low-volume swinger, to the extent that scouts have expressed concern on how fully his game will port to the pro ranks; become too passive against big-league pitchers and you'll find yourself in a lot of negative counts. We'll note that George Springer faced similar charges coming out of UConn. Things seemed to work out all right for him.

3. Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State

The short story: The early favorite to go No. 1 can also really hit.

With the caveat that a lot can and will change over the ensuing five months, multiple sources identified Bazzana as the preseason favorite to go No. 1. The Guardians are believed to be particularly enamored with his makeup -- one source said, in the parlance of today's young and cool, that they think he's "built different." Be that as it may be, a scouting director noted that these things are dictated by 11th-hour bonus demands, not springtime deliberations. But enough about the process stuff. What about Bazzana's game? He's another polished left-handed hitter who boasts a double major in Swing Decisions and Barrel Feel. 

Bazzana doesn't chase; he doesn't whiff; and he almost always squares-up. There's likely to be a disconnect between how his power is viewed by model-heavy teams (like, ahem, the Guardians) and more traditional clubs. His slugging indicators are superior to Wetherholt's, but, as one scout observed, he may already be optimized in that respect, making it unwise to project much growth. Wherever one lands on the matter, Bazzana should be a defensible choice if he does indeed stay atop Cleveland's board.

4. Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina

The short story: No. 1 upside, but can he put it all together?

Honeycutt could finish the draft cycle as the No. 1 prospect on the board. He's super athletic. He plays a premium position (and plays it well). He has power. He sliced his strikeout rate by nearly 10 percentage points from his freshman to his sophomore seasons, and so on. He's a five-tool player, at least in the sense that each grades as average or better, if everything clicks into place. Will it? There's no telling. Honeycutt ranked just fifth on the Tar Heels in OPS last season after his dipped by 171 points year to year. Scouts have reservations about his ability to recognize breaking balls, a flaw that could limit his effectiveness at the next level if it remains unaddressed. Honeycutt's defense and speed will carry him a long way on their own, but if he wants to reach the pinnacle he'll need his bat to do its part.

5. Konnor Griffin, CF, Jackson Prep HS (MS)

The short story: The best prep player on the board.

Griffin reclassified from 2025 draft's class, where he would've been rivaled by Ethan Holliday (the son of Matt and brother of Jackson, the No. 1 prospect in the minors) for the title of top prepster, to this year's class, where he's clearly the best. That should prove to be a wise business decision. Griffin is tall and strong and receives high marks for his makeup. While he's currently a two-way player, he's expected to only hit in the pros. His most ardent boosters see him as a candidate to post 30-30 seasons at his peak while also sticking in center field. Griffin is coming off an uneven summer that saw him struggle early on, and scouts want to see this spring if he can reduce the amount of swing and miss in his game. His ceiling is such that he seems highly likely to go in the top 10 picks, keeping him away from LSU.

6. Mike Sirota, CF, Northeastern 

The short story: Big swing from a small school.

It's the world's laziest comparison, but think of Sirota as this year's version of Chase DeLauter. Both were outfielders from the Colonial Athletic Association with top-10 upside (DeLauter slipped to No. 16 in 2022) and unorthodox swings (DeLauter's, complete with leg scissoring, takes the cake in that respect). Sirota is an angular athlete who runs well and should be an asset in center field. At the plate, he's shown a great command of the strike zone and burgeoning power. If history is any indication, Sirota will continue to face questions about his quality of competition. He did perform well in 26 combined Cape Cod League games over the last two summers, however, and a big opening weekend against Arizona -- a tougher opponent than he's accustomed to facing -- could help him solidify a top-five selection. 

7. Seaver King, SS, Wake Forest

The short story: Division II transfer has a chance to fly.

Put a star next to King's name for future reference. The only thing separating him from potentially ranking higher is validation -- as in, validation that he can hang against top competition. He spent his first two seasons at Wingate, thrashing Division II pitching en route to landing a spot at Wake Forest. King made the most of 16 Cape Cod League games last summer, more than holding his own with a .424/.479/.542 slash line. Scouts are enamored with his fast bat and set of wheels, and they're encouraged by his output on the Cape. They do want to see more than three weeks' worth of games against quality foes before they fully buy in. Plan on a summertime coronation if King rules the ACC.

8. Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest

The short story: Big arm is in the right place to make big strides.

Here's an equation worth pondering: can Burns, plus Wake Forest's genius pitching development crew (led by biomechanist Dr. Kristen Nicholson), equal this year's Paul Skenes? Bear in mind that Burns, like Skenes, is a transfer with elite arm strength (he was clocked up to 102 mph last summer) and a ferocious swing-and-miss slider. He struggled with consistency in two seasons at Tennessee, resulting in a demotion to the bullpen last summer. Burns needs to improve his command and his fastball shape to maximize his arsenal. His stock will skyrocket if he can leverage Wake's pitching lab to make those gains.

9. Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida

The short story: In the great wide open between Micah Owings and Shohei Ohtani.

Caglianone is Gainesville's most impressive two-way talent since singer-songwriter Tom Petty. He launched 33 home runs and averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings last season (each from the left side), dominating headlines on a Gators team that featured two first-round picks in outfielder Wyatt Langford and right-hander Hurston Waldrep. Caglianone's profile is built around prodigious strength. He hits the ball extremely hard, and he's able to touch into the upper 90s on the bump. While there's no denying his immense physical gifts, he has zone-control issues on both sides that will require adjustments. Caglianone swings at everything, over the plate or otherwise, and he compiled more than three strikeouts per walk. As a pitcher, he issued free passes to more than 16% of the batters he faced, which would have led MLB starters by nearly 3 percentage points. If you're looking for a reason for optimism, Caglianone has since reworked his mechanics and put more distance between himself and Tommy John surgery. We'll see what, if any difference it makes, or if the vast gap between his entertainment value and his projected value remains in place. He enters the spring rumored to be a candidate to go as early as No. 3.

10. Tommy White, 3B/1B, LSU

The short story: Another SEC-vetted bat-first prospect.

"Tommy Tanks" has asserted himself as one of college baseball's premier sluggers the last two years, launching 51 home runs and driving in 179 runs despite playing with a compromised shoulder for most of 2023. White reliably smokes the ball, and his contact skills are comparable to those displayed by Nick Kurtz. There are a few notable differences between the two: White bats right-handed and doesn't move as well as Kurtz does. Most importantly, he's the yin to Kurtz's yang from an approach perspective because he swings at everything.

To White's credit, his feel for the barrel is such that it hasn't impacted his output. It's a skill set that might give teams at the top pause, however, since it comes in the form of a short right-right first baseman. 

11. Braden Montgomery, RF, Texas A&M

The short story: Slugging corner outfielder with a big arm.

Montgomery is technically a two-way player, but you can forgive us for fading his chances of pitching as a professional. (Last season, he surrendered 20 runs on 20 hits and 11 walks in 14 innings.) He'll instead make his money as a slugging, switch-hitting outfielder who notched 17 home runs and a 1.036 OPS at Stanford. Montgomery also has a good feel for the zone and a strong arm that should enhance his defense. His swing-and-miss issues and limited athleticism are causes for concern. How he takes to the SEC will dictate if he becomes the fifth Aggie in school history to earn a top-10 selection.

12. Caleb Lomavita, C, California

The short story: Well-rounded backstop with upside.

Lomavita, a Hawaii native, is a strong candidate to be the first catcher chosen in July thanks to above-average offensive and defensive projections. He followed up a 16-homer regular season with a nifty run in the Cape Cod League that saw him hit .329/.374/.494 in 22 contests. The one blemish from that stretch was an unkempt 3-to-16 walk-to-strikeout rate. Consider that a microcosm of his game as a whole. While Lomavita makes a good amount of contact and has real juice in his right-handed stick, he needs to develop a firmer grasp on the strike zone. Defensively, he possesses a strong arm and good instincts; he's a good athlete for the position, too, having swiped 28 bases in his last 152 regular season and summer ball games. The scouts who spoke to us consider him a given to stick behind the dish for the long haul, giving him some intriguing right-tail potential outcomes.

13. Luke Holman, RHP, LSU

The short story: Physical righty hopes to maintain summer momentum.

Holman, a transfer from Alabama, had an impressive summer as a member of Team U.S.A. He threw eight shutout innings across two appearances, including one against Japan, striking out 15 batters and surrendering just two walks in the process. Holman projects as an average or so starter in the pro ranks thanks to a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a solid shape and two really good breaking balls. He did walk more than 11% of the batters he faced in conference play last season. Perhaps being on the other side of the LSU lineup will help. Keep an eye on him. He could make a leap.

14. Michael Massey, RHP, Wake Forest

The short story: Electric arm who just needs to prove he can start.

Massey spent last season in the Demon Deacons bullpen after transferring from Tulane. He made mincemeat out of the opposition, compiling a 2.59 ERA and striking out 47.2% of the batters he faced in 41 2/3 innings. (For reference: Paul Skenes, last year's top pick, had a 45% strikeout rate.) Massey has a punk rock arm stroke, short and aggressive, and a pair of pitches that grade as 70 offerings through an analytical lens: a fastball that can get into the upper 90s and a slider. The only thing he needs to do to ensure a high selection is prove he can start. Easy enough, right? We're giving Massey -- and, really, the outstanding Wake Forest pitching lab -- the benefit of the doubt that he'll get the job done.

15. Charlie Condon, 1B/OF, Georgia

The short story: SEC-vetted bat-first prospect.

It's no secret that MLB clubs use the SEC as a proving grounds for draft prospects. Consider that a good thing for Condon, one of last season's most productive hitters in the conference. That statement is true of both his overall and his in-conference play, with him leading the way in home runs when matched up with his SEC peers. (He also finished second in OPS, just ahead of last year's top-five picks Dylan Crews and Wyatt Langford.) Condon has real power and grades OK from contact and plate-discipline perspectives. He is a limited defender and a right-handed hitter, however, meaning he'll have to prove himself again at the plate if he wants to go in the top 10 picks come July.

16. Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford

The short story: Offensive ability overshadows defensive questions.

Moore may have an unusual left-handed swing, but scouts don't seem concerned. His innate strength and ability to reliably find the barrel have resulted in above-average offensive projections. One veteran evaluator remarked that Moore always seems to take his "A" swing, putting him in position to maximize his output even if he didn't stand out from an exit-velocity perspective. He does have some flaws worth noting. He's on the older side (he'll turn 21 shortly after the draft); his performance slipped mightily against conference opponents (he struck out 24.5% of the time and slugged just .468); and, though he's fared better behind the plate than anticipated, he would be doing well to provide scratch defense. There's at least a chance that Moore's employer moves him to the cold corner, if only in an effort to free up his mind, body, and offensive capabilities.

17. Josh Hartle, LHP, Wake Forest

The short story: Command and control lefty with full arsenal.

Hartle is your stereotypical collegiate southpaw with a foundation built upon location rather than pure stuff. His repertoire includes a 90 mph sinker (though he's said to have added oomph over the winter), a cutter, and a pair of breaking balls. He has above-average control and command thanks to what amounts to a low-effort approximation of Andrew Heaney's delivery. Wake Forest is better at optimizing pitchers than most pro organizations, suggesting he's close to being a final product. 

One source identified Hartle as the collegiate pitcher they'd most want on the mound if they had to win a game, which speaks volumes about how the industry feels about him, even if they still regard him as a No. 4 starter type at the game's highest level. 

18. William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS (LA)

The short story: Projectable righty with dominant curveball.

Schmidt, an LSU commit, should benefit from his proximity to the Tigers since scouts can check him out on Thursdays before heading to campus for the weekend. He has a lanky frame he's already added muscle to, with room for more over the coming years. That's a scary proposition for opponents. Schmidt is already capable of touching into the mid 90s with his fastball, and generating swing and misses with a high-spin curveball that is one of the top individual pitches among prep arms in the class. Schmidt will need to fill out his arsenal in due time; he'll also need to become more consistent in staying behind his fastball rather than getting to the side. His long arm action, meanwhile, sees his elbow creep toward his shoulder line, a negative indicator for command. His mid-rotation upside should keep him off campus.

19. Joey Oakie, RHP, Ankeny Centennial HS (IA)

The short story: Young arm with mid-rotation starter upside.

Oakie, an Iowa commit, already has a promising one-two punch despite not celebrating his 18th birthday until May. His fastball earns plus projections, while his slider could venture into double-plus territory. Oakie does have an elaborate arm stroke that could limit his command and control. His resulting flat release point, on the other hand, should register as a good thing. Oakie has the chance to develop into an average or better starter at the highest level.

20. Carter Johnson, SS, Oxford HS (AL) 

The short story: Promising middle infielder without a carrying tool.

Johnson, listed at 6-foot-2, has elicited comparisons to Gunnar Henderson, Walker Martin, Colt Emerson, and other recent left-handed middle infielders with taller frames. Scouts aren't sure if Johnson will remain at the six for the long term, even if they feel confident he'll stick on the dirt in some capacity. Additionally, they think he can grow into an above-average hitter with solid contact chops and power output. He has a commitment to Alabama that he seems unlikely to honor provided he has as good of a spring as expected.

21. PJ Morlando, 1B/OF, Summerville HS (SC)

The short story: Overage bat-first prepster.

Morlando has a chance to become the first South Carolina prepster in more than a decade to be selected within the first round. He's a large, sturdy left-handed hitter with a wide setup and a fast bat. Morlando's top selling points are his plus or better power potential and his feel for contact. He does have various factors working against him, including defensive limitations and a 19th birthday that falls two months ahead of draft night. Those could drive him down some boards, but we suspect that he'll go high enough -- perhaps even within the top 20 selections -- to forego an outstanding commitment to South Carolina.

22. Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas

The short story: Starter's arsenal, reliever's command.

Every starting pitcher in this class has some kind of concern -- be it health, ceiling, or command. The last one is Smith's poison. He's a well-built lefty with a good repertoire, led by a fastball that can touch into the upper 90s. His abrupt arm action and low three-quarters release point can be described fairly as disruptive, both to batters and himself, with the effect on the latter manifesting in a career walk rate over 13.4%. If Smith shows any growth in that area this spring, he may wind up being the first arm taken in July.

23. Noah Franco, OF/LHP, IMG Academy (FL)

The short story: Legit two-way talent.

Franco, like his peer Griffin, reclassified from the 2025 draft to the 2024 class. In turn, he won't celebrate his 18th birthday until about two months before the draft, putting him on the younger side. Franco is a two-way player who boasts a lot of average or better grades on both sides of the ball. The scouts we spoke to tended to favor him as a lefty hitter thanks to the possibility of him adding more strength as he matures, but it's possible that his well-rounded nature makes it more likely he remains a two-way player as a team attempts to maximize his output. Barring a tougher spring than expected, there's no reason to think he'll end up attending TCU.

24. Ben Hess, RHP, Alabama

The short story: Just add innings.

Hess is a hoss, a physical right-hander listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, with a mature arsenal full of average or better offerings and an understanding of how to pitch. Last season, he tallied a 3.22 ERA and a 6.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The catch, as you probably guessed, is that he hasn't been able to stay on the mound for long. He was limited to 33 innings his freshman season and he completed only 36 innings as a sophomore before a flexor strain parked him. Will he again be fortune's fool? We hope not. There's a lot to like about Hess's game, and we sense that a hearty and hale year should solidify him as a top-15 pick.

25. Jonathan Santucci, LHP, Duke

The short story: Has the talent, needs the innings.

Santucci is an athletic southpaw with some history as a two-way player. He has a promising arsenal led by a fastball and slider that each grade well analytically. Perhaps that was evident given that he struck out 50 batters in 29 1/3 innings last year before succumbing to season-ending elbow surgery. Santucci has thrown fewer than 100 total innings in college, even including summer-league stints. Teams would like to see him prove his durability this year. If he does, he should find himself coming off the board in the first round.

26. Drew Beam, RHP, Tennessee

The short story: Contact manager with contested forecast.

Beam has excelled in two seasons on campus, compiling a 3.20 ERA and a 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Last year, he was the most consistent member of a Volunteers rotation that may have included two other first-round picks in Chase Dollander and Chase Burns. Beam doesn't receive as much attention as either Chase because he's more apt to miss barrels than bats with a repertoire full of 50- and 55-grade offerings. 

It doesn't help that his strikeout percentage in 2023 during conference play was the fifth-worst among qualifiers. As a result, while there's no denying how well Beam has pitched for the Volunteers, it is fair to wonder if he'll ascend beyond No. 4 status as a professional.

27. Cam Caminiti, LHP/OF, Saguaro HS (AZ)

The short story: Two-way talent with questions to answer.

First things first: yes, Cam is related to the late Ken Caminiti, the 1996 National League Most Valuable Player Award recipient and a three-time All Star. They're cousins. The younger Caminiti is an interesting two-way talent with massive upside. As a pitcher, he's prone to pumping in 95 mph sinkers and showing some feel for spinning the ball. He's by no means a finished product, and he'll be only 17 years old on draft day. Some of the things he needs to work on include his fastball's dead zone characteristics and the quality and consistency of his breaking balls. The LSU commit is a good athlete and a promising hitter. It's to be seen if the team that drafts him believes in his bat enough to allow him to continue to do the two-way thing, or if they'll task him with focusing all his energy on developing as a pitcher.

28. Slade Caldwell, CF, Valley View HS (AR)

The short story: Undersized outfielder with some loud tools.

One defining characteristic of the Diamondbacks' front office is their willingness to draft short outfielders. Be it Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Dominic Fletcher, and so on  … the D-backs have been rewarded for disregarding height provided the player checks off enough other, more meaningful boxes. Keep that in mind when it comes to Caldwell, a 5-foot-8 Mississippi commit who one scout compared to a young Thomas. Caldwell has a fast bat and a simple swing that allows him to make good contact. He's also a fast runner who should remain in center and contribute stolen bases. There's a chance here for a well-rounded player, albeit one unlikely to produce big-time power numbers, and that should land him somewhere in the middle of the first.

29. Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State

The short story: On the rise, or a small-sample mirage?

Smith struggled to control the zone and make reliable contact during his freshman year at FSU, resulting in a 28.7% strikeout rate. His .843 OPS ranked third among regulars on a losing squad. Nonetheless, he salvaged his stock with a splendid stint in the Cape Cod League. Smith hit .347/.407/.575 with six home runs in 44 games, turning heads and making evaluators reconsider his stock. The question that now faces him is whether or not he'll maintain those improvements. If so, Smith could serve as this year's version of Matt Shaw or Tommy Troy, each of whom used the Cape as a launching pad. 

30. Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa

The short story: Upside, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder.

Natsume Sōseki once wrote: "Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the current. Give free rein to your desires, and you become uncomfortably confined. It is not a very agreeable place to live, this world of ours." That is to say: Brecht is the most polarizing prospect in the class. Ask around and you'll find some who fixate on his starter's frame and impressive fastball-slider combination (he's been clocked up to 104 mph). Others will dismiss him as a first-round prospect on the basis of his walk rate (nearly eight per nine) in a weaker conference. For now, we lean toward the latter camp. Remember, Hurston Waldrep had undeniable big-time stuff last summer, and he still slipped to the end of the first round after walking five batters per nine innings. Brecht is an even more extreme case, making it difficult for us to put him higher than 30th.