2024 College World Series: MLB draft prospects to watch including Jac Caglianone, Ryan Waldschmidt and more (2024)

The 2024 NCAA Men's College World Series will get underway this afternoon. Eight teams, including the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers, will compete in Omaha, Nebraska after advancing beyond Regionals and Super Regionals. The last team left standing will be crowned this year's national champion. (You can find the tournament's full schedule and results by clicking here.)

While the Men's College World Series is a compelling event in its own right, Major League Baseball fans have added incentive to check out the tournament. That's because Omaha often serves as an introduction to players who will soon become professionals -- and by soon, we meant that the 2024 MLB Draft is literally a month away, with the Cleveland Guardians scheduled to make the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history come Sunday, July 14.

Chief among those pro prospects is University of Florida two-way star Jac Caglianone. You may have heard of him -- he's been nationally relevant dating back to last season when he stole headlines from first-round picks Wyatt Langford and Hurston Waldrep.

CAGS supplies the LEAD! đź’Ł#GoGators // đź“ş ESPN pic.twitter.com/ZQTbGJrPfo

— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) June 8, 2024

With the College World Series kicking off, we've decided to highlight at least one player per team who, like Caglione, has a chance to become an early selection in next month's draft.

1. Jac Caglianone, Florida

If, somehow, you have avoided the Caglianone hype, just know he's an accomplished lefty hitter and pitcher. He homered more than 60 times over the last two seasons, all the while showing the ability to throw his fastball into the upper-90s. We here at CBS Sports consider him to be one of the top handful of prospects in this year's class, albeit exclusively as a hitter and not without reservation about how his game will transfer because of zone-management issues. For as strong and as skilled as Caglianone is at putting the bat on the ball (he struck out in 8% of his plate appearances), he has a nasty tendency to swing at everything. Will he be able to find as much success at the next level as he has collegiately?

2. James Tibbs III, Florida State

The Seminoles could see two of their hitters go within the first round. Outfielder James Tibbs III has improved in consecutive seasons, and has been identified by scouts as someone who could go higher than expected to a team looking to cut a deal -- perhaps even within the top 10 picks. Tibbs offers a nice foundation of strength and discipline, making him an interesting corner-outfield prospect regardless of the financial implications. Third baseman Cameron Smith, meanwhile, has shown that last summer's breakout in the Cape Cod League was legitimate. He has big-time power and a strong arm, though not everyone is convinced that he'll remain at third base for the long haul.

Sheeeeshh 🥶️

Tibbs' 6th HR of the year goes 419' to dead center field

B3 | FSU 4, ILL 0 pic.twitter.com/rzBBGaG2NH

— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 3, 2024

3. Ryan Waldschmidt, Kentucky

Outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt is the name to know here. He began the spring as an analytics favorite thanks to his batted-ball quality and zone-management skills. Scouts have since warmed up to him as they've come to better appreciate his sneaky athleticism -- he stole more than 20 bases this season, and he profiles as a solid to good defender in a corner slot. Waldschmidt is entering the home stretch with helium, and it's possible that he will go as early as the top half of the first round.

4. Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina

The Tar Heels roster includes one of the biggest wild cards in the draft. Center fielder Vance Honeycutt has, at times, looked like a potential top-10 pick thanks to his outstanding glove in center field and his above-average pop. Unfortunately, Honeycutt's swing-and-miss tendencies resulted in a 28% strikeout rate this season that made teams uneasy about his hit-tool projection. A club convinced that they can help Honeycutt find his star upside could take him in the first round.

Vance Honeycutt First Pitch pic.twitter.com/DxOAu8DP8b

— Tar Heel Tapes (@TarHeelTapes) June 9, 2024

5. Jacob Cozart, North Carolina State

The top professional prospect on this Wolfpack team is catcher Jacob Cozart. He's a promising defender who hit .300/.430/.604 with 19 home runs this season. It's notable that Cozart saw his production tail off mightily during conference play (he posted a .774 OPS against ACC foes). Teams put additional weight on conference play, at least for those players stationed in power conferences, as a proxy of sorts for how the player performs against top competition. As such, Cozart is likely to be penalized for that drop-off and could find himself as the fourth or fifth college backstop drafted.

6. Christian Moore, Tennessee

As with Florida State, the Volunteers have two potential first-round picks in their lineup. Second baseman Christian Moore is considered to be the better of the two. He's coming off a 29-homer campaign that has scouts overlooking some deficiencies in his game, including his defense at the keystone. Third baseman Billy Amick would also find his way into the first round, depending on how sweet teams are on his chances of sticking at the hot corner. Amick hit .310/.394/.667 with 21 home runs, but, in addition to the aforementioned positional questions, he also posted a rough strikeout-to-walk ratio during SEC play that might cause him to slip to the supplemental round.

— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) June 9, 2024

7. Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M

Switch-hitting outfielder Braden Montgomery was a potential top-five pick in this year's draft thanks to his well-above-average power. Alas, he suffered an injured ankle during Super Regionals play when he slid awkwardly into home plate, which will prevent him from playing in the Men's College World Series. Anyone tuning in to an Aggies game hoping to see a top pick in action can instead check out fellow outfielder Jace Laviolette -- he's expected to enter next spring in contention for a top-five selection following a 28-homer campaign.

8. Griff O'Ferrall, Virginia

The Cavaliers' best professional prospect is shortstop Griff O'Ferrall. He's a contact hitter who homered just eight times in his collegiate career and doesn't have loud tools. Switch-hitting catcher Ethan Anderson, who previously had to play first base out of deference to Kyle Teel(a first-round pick last summer), also merits mention. To Anderson's credit, he hit .333/.438/.517 with eight home runs and nine more walks than strikeouts this season. To his debit, he had a miserable showing in last summer's Cape Cod League, batting just .195/.253/.293 across 22 games. He seems highly unlikely to go in the first round.

2024 College World Series: MLB draft prospects to watch including Jac Caglianone, Ryan Waldschmidt and more (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Last Updated:

Views: 6197

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Birthday: 2001-01-17

Address: Suite 769 2454 Marsha Coves, Debbieton, MS 95002

Phone: +813077629322

Job: Real-Estate Executive

Hobby: Archery, Metal detecting, Kitesurfing, Genealogy, Kitesurfing, Calligraphy, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Gov. Deandrea McKenzie, I am a spotless, clean, glamorous, sparkling, adventurous, nice, brainy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.