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Pirates’ Pick #9, Ohio Teams Cash In

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of MLB.com.


One year after winning the MLB lottery and selecting a generational starting pitcher in Paul Skenes, the Pirates weren’t quite as lucky this time around. Slotted as #8 before the lottery began, the Pirates ultimately slipped down 1 spot to #9 overall.


The state of Ohio had all the luck in this year’s selection process, having two teams jump up to the top of the draft board. The Reds had a 0.9 % chance of winning the lottery and settled in as the #2 overall pick. The winner of the lottery was the Cleveland Guardians who only had a 2% chance of coming out on top, and Lady Luck was in their corner.


Who will be there for the Guardians and Reds when they select? Here is an early look by Draft 412 of the top prospects in the 2024 MLB Draft.


1- 2B/3B- J.J. Wetherholt, West Virginia


West Virginia has never had a player drafted higher than 11th overall in an MLB Draft (Alex Manoah-2019, Chris Enochs-1997). The odds of that changing in 2024 are just about a guarantee.


J.J. Wetherholt led the nation this past season as a sophomore, hitting .449 with 16 home runs and striking out only 8.2% of the time. He plays stellar defense at either second or third base, and there is a chance the Mountaineers can move him to shortstop in 2024. He is an all-around player and the best hitter in this class.


For fans of the Pirates, Wetherholt is from Mars High School in Pittsburgh. Yes, the same high school that has produced Pirate RP David Bednar and his brother Will Bednar, the 2021 first round pick of the San Francisco Giants.


2- RHP- Chase Burns, Wake Forest


Chase Burns entered the transfer portal after his sophomore season at Tennessee and will lead the Wake Forest Demon Deacons into battle in 2024. He is a 6’4”, 195 lbs. prospect with a consistent fastball sitting in the high 90’s (which has been known to reach 102 mph). He was 3rd nationally in strikeouts per 9 innings with 14.3. He only started 8 games for the Volunteers last season, but did work out of the bullpen 10 times and went 5-3 with a 4.25 ERA.


Wake Forest plans to have Burns start in the hopes he can fill in for the loss of Rhett Lowder, who went 7th overall to Cincinnati in this past year’s draft.


3- LHP/OF- Cam Caminiti, Saguaro H.S. (Scottsdale, Arizona)


Cam Caminiti recently reclassified from 2025 at the beginning of the summer and has shot up the 2024 draft board. A cousin of late big leaguer Ken Caminiti, he is an LSU recruit who wants to play as a two-way player as long as he can.


It will be interesting to see what teams think is his best position in the pros. He has a power bat and can play a corner outfield position. He has a cannon for an arm and has the potential to be the best left-handed pitcher in the 2024 class. He throws a consistent mid-high 90’s fastball with two quality breaking balls (curveball, changeup).


4- OF/RHP- Konnor Griffin, Jackson Prep (Florence, Mississippi)


Griffin is a five-tool position player who reclassified from the Class of 2025 and is another LSU recruit. He is 6’4” and has tremendous bat control from the right side of the plate. He has plus speed and a laser beam for an arm. He hits mid 90’s off the mound but is seen as an outfielder in the professional ranks.


5- LHP/1B- Jac Caglianone, Florida


Caglianone, just coming off Tommy John surgery, had an amazing two-way season for the Gators. He hit 33 homers to lead the nation at the plate and as a pitcher, struck out 10.5 per nine innings. He can hit 99 mph from the mound and has a solid slider and changeup. Scouts prefer him at the plate, but if he’s to stay on the mound, he has to improve his command of the strike zone.


6- OF- P.J. Morlando, Summerville H.S. (Summerville, South Carolina)


Fresh off winning the High School Home Run Derby in Seattle during the All-Star break, Morlando uses a simple approach at the plate, which produces powerful results. At 6 '3'' 200 lbs., the left-handed hitter produces plus power with a quick stroke. He is projected as a corner outfielder who has an above average arm.


7- RHP- Brody Brecht, Iowa


Brody Brecht, a former wide receiver at Iowa, has recently dropped football to focus only on baseball, which may help him reach that next level of performance. He has a fastball that hits triple digits and a nasty slider but needs to improve his control with both. If he can, he can be one of the first starting pitchers selected.


8- 1B- Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest


Nick Kurtz is a big, powerful, left handed hitting first baseman, tallying 15 homers as a freshman. But for a young prospect, he’s got strong plate discipline, walking more than he struck out (48-38). In his sophomore year, he put up even better numbers, hitting 24 home runs while walking 63 times, and only striking out 50 times. The 6’5” 235 lbs. first baseman can possibly become a top pick in this draft class.


9- 3B- Tommy White, LSU


Tommy White hit 27 homers and had a slugging percentage of .757 as a freshman at North Carolina State. He transferred to LSU following the season and didn’t lose his rhythm. He hit 24 home runs and led the nation in runs batted in with 105 at LSU. He was a big reason the Tigers won the College World Series and looks to record another stellar season in 2024.


10- SS/RHP- Bryce Rainer, Harvard Westlake H.S. (Simi Valley, California)


In a class with a bunch of two-way players, Rainer may be the best of them all. He has good hitting mechanics and has a quick, easy swing that generates plenty of power. He’s an athletic and fluid shortstop with a major league arm which will help him make all the throws at the next level. He is also an intriguing pitcher with strong command of all of his pitches, and his fastball consistently hits the mid-90’s with big movement.


Check us out on www.draft412.com for more profiles of each player in the 2024 MLB class.


Here is the final draft order for the 2024 MLB Draft.


1- Cleveland

2- Cincinnati

3- Colorado

4- Oakland

5- CHI White Sox

6- Kansas City

7- St. Louis

8- LA Angels

9- Pittsburgh

10- Washington

11- Detroit

12- Boston

13- San Francisco

14- CHI Cubs

15- Seattle

16- Miami

17- Milwaukee

18- Tampa Bay

19- NY Mets

20- Toronto

21- Minnesota

22- Baltimore

23- LA Dodgers

24- Atlanta

25- San Diego

26- NY Yankees

27- Philadelphia

28- Houston

29- Arizona

30- Texas

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