Top 20 High School prospects for '24 Draft

October 25th, 2023

A year ago, MLB Pipeline’s top 20 high school prospects list for the 2023 Draft was headlined by outfielders Max Clark and Walker Jenkins. Not only did that duo go in the top five of the Draft last July, they were two of nine prepsters on that list to go in the first round, with several others going later and getting over-slot deals.

We’re mentioning this not as a less-than-humble brag, but more to point out that if you want to know who the best high school players for next year’s Draft are going to be, you should pay attention to lists like these.

The following top 20 for the Class of 2024 has been generated by talking to several in the scouting industry who spent the summer evaluating this crop at several showcase events, from MLB’s PDP League to the Area Code Games, from the East Coast Professional Showcase to what’s generally thought to be the final event of the “season,” Perfect Game’s WWBA World Championship, held earlier in October.

As always, a lot can and will change with this list between now and the 2024 Draft in July. It’s generally not considered to be a great high school crop, but rest assured several of the names below will be high on Draft boards in the summer.

1. PJ Morlando, OF, Summerville HS (Summerville, S.C.)
Committed to South Carolina, Morlando has as much hitting track record as anyone in the high school class, including hitting .409 for USA Baseball’s 18U team in international competition. The left-handed hitter has bat speed, strength and power, with the only real question being where he plays defensively long-term. If you think he can play center, he could be a top 10 pick.

2. Konnor Griffin, OF/RHP, Jackson Prep (Florence, Miss.)
Griffin has perhaps the best set of all-around tools in the class. The LSU recruit has a little bit of a Kris Bryant look at the plate, a solid approach and plenty of speed to spare. His plus arm plays really well in the outfield and also plays on the mound. Scouts seem to prefer him as a position player, but they make sure to stick around to see him pitch, too, though he isn’t as much of a prospect there without a velo jump.

3. Cam Caminiti, LHP/OF, Saguaro HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Ken’s cousin reclassified to be eligible in this class (rather than 2025) and he’s already potentially the best high school arm in his new class. He’s very athletic on the mound (he also plays the outfield) with a mature body. Also committed to LSU, he’s up to 95-96 mph with his fastball now and could have three future above-average pitches, all of which he can throw for strikes.

4. Noah Franco, OF/LHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Unlike the two guys ahead of him, it’s still uncertain which way Franco will head in at the next level. He also reclassified to be eligible a year early and recently committed to Texas Christian for college. He’s a hit over power guy who can make a ton of hard contact at the plate, with plenty of pop to grow into from the left side. On the mound, he has a ton of arm strength, with projection in a fastball that’s up to 93 mph now. It gets swings-and-misses and he throws it, along with a good low-80s slider and changeup, for strikes.

5. Bryce Rainer, 3B/RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (Simi Valley, Calif.)
Committed to Texas, Rainer reminds some of former Harvard-Westlake standout Jack Flaherty. Similarly, Rainer has been known more as a position player for much of his high school career, one who has looked good on the dirt and has shown he might even be able to play center field, while swinging a strong left-handed bat. He hasn’t shown if he can start on the mound, but there’s good arm speed and a solid breaking ball in there.

6. Owen Paino, SS, Roy C. Ketcham HS (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
An Ole Miss recruit, Paino stands out more for his feel for the game than any one tool that jumps off the page. The left-handed-hitting shortstop is very steady in all facets, with average to a tick above tools across the board. All of the tools play up because of his plus instincts and slow internal clock. He’s the type who gets the ultimate compliment from scouts as being a real “baseball player.”

7. Cade Arrambide, C, Tomball HS (Tomball, Texas)
Another member of LSU’s recruiting class, Arrambide has real power at the plate and an easy double-plus arm behind it. He has a good chance to catch and while he’s not as polished a hitter as Texas prep catcher Blake Mitchell, a 2023 first-rounder, he has similarly loud tools and showed improvement over the course of the summer.

8. Caleb Bonemer, SS, Okemos HS (Mich.)
A cold-weather prospect in Michigan, Bonemer is committed to Virginia. He’s big and strong with a lot of power he already shows he can get to. He might need to slide to third eventually, but it’s the bat that’s his calling card.

9. Joey Oakie, RHP, Ankeny Centennial HS (Ia.)
There’s size and projection here, with Oakie already up to 96 mph with his fastball and plenty more in the tank. He tunnels his excellent slider with his fastball from the same arm slot, providing for a very uncomfortable at-bat. He’s committed to Iowa.

10. Derek Curiel, OF, Orange Lutheran HS (West Covina, Calif.)
Curiel has been a “famous name” for a while, hailing from SoCal powerhouse Orange Lutheran. He has excellent bat-to-ball skills in a hit-over-power package that also includes decent speed. The left-handed outfielder has a strong commitment to LSU and has reminded some of Mickey Moniak at the same age.

11. Tegan Kuhns, RHP, Gettysburg Area HS (Pa.)
Kuhns, a Tennessee recruit, has arguably the best secondary pitch in the Draft, a power breaking ball with a spin rate that routinely tops 3,000 rpm. He manipulates it well, too, with it looking like a power slider with tilt at times and a curve shape with power at others. He’s loose, athletic and projectable and he should throw harder in the future.

12. Ryan Sloan, RHP, York Community HS (Ill.)
Sloan’s arm strength keeps coming, seemingly throwing harder each time out over the summer. His fastball touched 95-96 mph and he has a slider that’s more power than break, but the 6-foot-4 Wake Forest recruit does have a starting pitcher’s look.

13. Charlie Bates, SS, Palo Alto HS (Calif.)
A left-handed hitter, Bates has a knack for finding the barrel very consistently. He has a simple swing and excellent approach and is showing the ability to turn around velocity and some extra-base authority is coming. The Stanford recruit has a good defensive clock as well.

14. Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS (Ark.)
If Caldwell were 6-foot-2, we might be talking about him at the top of the Draft. Many scouts will still look past his 5-foot-9 frame and see that he has some serious tools to go with a ton of energy on the field. A high school running back, he has more pop than you’d think. He can really, really hit and has plus speed. Committed to Ole Miss, Caldwell reminds some of Corbin Carroll.

15. Carter Johnson, SS, Oxford HS (Ala.)
A left-handed-hitting infielder from Alabama, Johnson draws some obvious comps to Gunnar Henderson. He has a simple swing with excellent bat control. Committed to stay home at Alabama for college ball, he has a good chance to stick at shortstop.

16. Anson Seibert, RHP, Blue Valley Southwest HS (Kan.)
A 6-foot-8 right-hander, Seibert already has plenty of fastball, a heater up to 96-97 mph, and he leans very heavily on the pitch. Scouts want to see more of his power slider, which flashes above average, and a changeup with armside run that he rarely uses, along with seeing if he can hold his stuff deeper into games.

17. Carson Wiggins, RHP, Roland HS (Okla.)
Wiggins has a similar build and stuff to his older brother Jaxon, the Cubs’ second-round pick out of the University of Arkansas in 2023. Also committed to pitch for the Razorbacks, Carson has been flirting with triple digits with his fastball to go along with a power breaking ball. Finding the strike zone continues to be a concern.

18. William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS (La.)
After Kuhns, Schmidt’s 12-to-6 curve might be in the running for best breaking ball in the class, a pitch he can throw for a strike at any point in the count. He showed improvement over the course of the summer velocity-wise and was up to 95 mph with his fastball by the end of the summer. He’s committed to Mississippi State.

19. Ethan Schiefelbein, LHP, Corona HS (Calif.)
The southpaw committed to UCLA was very effective all summer and for Team USA in international competition, with the chance to have a very good three-pitch mix. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but there’s hope he can add some velo to a deceptive fastball that tops out in the low 90s currently. He changes speeds on his curve well and has feel for a changeup he uses seldom.

20. Owen Hall, RHP, Edmond North HS (Okla.)
Committed to Vanderbilt, Hall was a pitchabilty-over-stuff guy who’s increased velo over the summer has raised his profile. He was 88-93 mph early on, but was touching 98 mph by the end of the showcase circuit and his slider was harder too, up to 86-87 mph. He could have an average changeup as well.