2024 Kubota College Baseball Series - Weekend 2

MLB Draft 2024 Prospect Week 2 Review: Could Cleveland Take Hagen Smith?

MLB Draft 2024 Prospect Week 2 Review: Could Cleveland Take Hagen Smith?

Arkansas Baseball star Hagen Smith staked a claim as the best pitcher in the 2024 MLB Draft Class in Week 2. Could he go No. 1 to the Cleveland Guardians?

Feb 26, 2024 by Joe Harrington

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One of the notable themes of the 2024 MLB Draft class is that the top-10 prospects are almost all dominated by everyday hitters. While hitters like Jac Caglianone and Braden Montgomery pitch, they seems to be more regarded as hitters at the next level. 

One of the biggest questions entering the baseball season at both levels is would a pitcher make a Paul Skenes like leap and emerge as the top prospect and eventual No. 1 pick?

There are certainly candidates entering the season like Wake Forest's Chase Burns, who displays excellent "stuff" and his teammate Josh Hartle. 

But in the second weekend of the college baseball season, we may have seen the most likely candidate to emerge as the No. 1 pick out of the pitching class. 

If Hagen Smith had recorded a 17-strikeout game against any of the two other teams at the Kubota College Baseball Series, it would have been notable. 

But the fact that the Arkansas junior struckout 15 Oregon State batters in 5.0 innings before being removed due to pitch count after the sixth inning, makes the performance one of the best we may see all season. 

And it's not even March. 

Smith struggled in the cold in his first start against James Madison, lasting just an inning and allowing three runs. A week later inside Globe Life Field, his powerful 98 MPH fastball and his devastating slider stumped an offense that had scored 52 runs in their first five games. 

As soon as Smith was removed, Oregon State's bats were alive again. They scored four runs in the last two innings, giving Smith a no-decision, and then scored 19 more runs in the next two games. 

Here's a breakdown of the top prospects from Week 2. 

MLB Draft Prospect Of The Week: Hagen Smith, Arkansas Baseball

The left-hander struckout last week's top-prospect, Travis Bazzana, three times. So we'll start there. 

His upper-90s fastball and plus-slider looked like it was major league ready. 

So let's ask the question: Should Cleveland consider Hagen Smith as the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft?

Well, let's see what Smith does moving forward. 

The chilly mid-February start to begin the season shouldn't have, and didn't, damper his draft stock but it does show there could be an overreaction to his performance against the Beavers. However, as great as the SEC is, and it's the best league in the sport, Smith may not face another lineup quite as long as Oregon State's until the NCAA Tournament. They are ranked in the top-10 for a reason. 

Cleveland already has a young and deep pitching staff. But the Guardians surprisingly won the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft Lottery so perhaps they'll launch at an opportunity to take a pitcher like Smith cause they don't plan to be this high in the draft any time soon after 2024. 

The big question will be if the Cincinnati Reds, who love taking pitchers in the draft and especially ones from college, would let him slide by if Cleveland takes a hitter. 

The Reds' combo of being a small market team and playing home games in a home run ballpark means they have a better chance drafting and developing elite pitching than signing or even trading for it. The Reds took Rhett Lowder No. 7 in 2023 followed by Ty Floyd at No. 38. Nick Lodolo was a top-10 pick in 2019 and Andrew Abbott was a second round pick in 2021. 

Chase Burns and Josh Hartle have yet to face a loaded lineup this season as Wake Forest (6-1) hasn't played a Power-5 team yet, alone a ranked team. And Tennessee pitcher Drew Beam has given up 13 hits in his 10.2 innings of work. So Smith certainly has the inside track as the first pitcher-only player taken in the 2024 MLB Draft. 

Jac Caglianone And The Ridiculous Prospect Note Of the Week

After 500 words about Hagen Smith, we should probably note that Jac Caglianone made his debut last week for Florida on Feb. 25 against Columbia. 

He pitched 3.0 innings and struck out seven. But it wasn't a great outing. He allowed three runs and a home run while walking two. 

But we all know he needs to improve on the mound. It's the stuff that intrigues everyone. 

Hitting 99 on the radar is impressive for a first baseman who also had two hits and RBI in his start and hit an MLB-best 33 home runs last season. He's batting .545 in six games so far. 

If we're talking about the most likely candidate outside of the top three prospects to go No. 1, which includes the No. 15-ranked Smith, it's probably still Caglianone. 

MLB Draft 2024 Top 5 Prospects Schedules

Here's where the top prosopects are playimng this week

1. JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia Baseball

  • Statline: .308/.385/.438; 3 SB

Note: Wetherholt suffered a Grade 1 hamstring injury and didn't play last weekend. 

West Virginia plays Canisius on Tuesday and has a four-game series Western Kentucky this weekend.   

2. Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest Baseball

  • Statline: 280/.895/.440; 1 HR, 3 RBI

Kurtz plays on FloBaseball on Tuesday against North Carolina A&T on Feb. 27. Then Wake plays Binghamton, Valparaiso and Elon. 

3. Travis Bazzana, Oregon State Baseball

  • Statline: .438/1.557/1.031; 5 HR, 14 Hits, 3 SB

Oregon State opens the home schedule on Feb, 29 with four games against North Dakota State.

4. Jac Caglianone, Florida Baseball

  • Statline: .545/1.394/.727; 3.0, 9.00 ERA, 7 Ks

Florida plays Stetson on Feb. 27, Bethune-Cooman on Feb. 28 and has three games against Miami in Coral Gables this weekend. 

5. Charlie Condon. Georgia Baseball

  • Statline: ..643/1873/1.179; 3 HR, 7 RBI

Georgia plays Presbyterian on Feb. 27 and then faces Michigan State on Feb. 28 before a  a four-game series with Georgia Tech

2024 MLB Draft Prospects On FloBaseball

FloBaseball uses a composite ranking of MLB Pipeline and Baseball America's top 100 prospects.

When Is The 2024 MLB Draft?

The actual time and date of the MLB Draft hasn't been announced, but it will take place during 2024 MLB All-Star Week. MLB All-Star festivities kick off on Sunday, July 14, with the main event taking place on Tuesday, July 16.

In 2023, the draft began All-Star week on the Sunday before Tuesday's game between the National League and American League. 

The draft began at 2 p.m. EST in 2023. 

More MLB Draft 2024 Coverage 

2024 Kubota College Baseball Series Weekend 3 Schedule 

All times Eastern

Friday, March 1 

  • 3 p.m. – USC vs. TCU 
  • 7 p.m. – Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

Saturday, March 2 

  • 3 p.m. – Texas A&M vs. USC 
  • 7 p.m. – TCU vs. Arizona State

Sunday, March 3 

  • 12 p.m. – Arizona State vs. Texas A&M 
  • 4 p.m. – USC vs. TCU

FloBaseball Archived Footage

Video footage from past seasons is archived and stored in a video library for FloBaseball subscribers to watch for the duration of their subscriptions.

Watch College Baseball On FloBaseball

FloBaseball is home to thousands of college baseball games this spring, including the Shriners Children's College Showdown (formerly the College Baseball Showdown) from Feb. 16 to March 3 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

What College Baseball Tournaments Are Streaming On FloBaseball?

These tournaments will stream on FloBaseball and the FloSports app in February and March:

Watch Independent Baseball On FloBaseball 

Follow the action from around the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, Frontier League and Pioneer Baseball League, whether you’re on FloBaseball.tv, the FloSports app or FloBaseball’s social media channels for select games.

Each week during the season, we'll feature at least one “Game Of The Week” from each league and stream it directly to social media. Tune in to catch the action LIVE on FloBaseball's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

And remember, you can revisit all of your favorite moments from the season, as video footage from each league is archived and stored in a video library for FloBaseball subscribers to watch during the duration of their subscriptions. 

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