Top 5 High School Players in the 2024 MLB Draft

The college baseball season is coming to an end, which means draft season is just about in full swing. I’ve discussed the college class a lot to this point, so it’s time to talk about this year’s high school class. 2024 is unique in that the draft is really dominated by the college class. The college game continues to become more and more advanced, which speaks to why teams are fast-tracking their college draft picks through the minor leagues more often nowadays. With high school players being a few years younger than college players, the draft always seems to favor the high school athletes at the top end of the draft, due to to teams wanting to get these players into their systems early.

That has not been the case this year. The highest-ranked high school player is ranked 9th overall, and there are only nine among the top 30. However, that is not to take away from the talent the high school class features this year. Here are my personal top five players.

The Top 5 High School Prospects in the 2024 MLB Draft

1. Konnor Griffin, SS/OF, Jackson Prep HS (MS)

The consensus #1 overall high school player in this year’s draft is Konnor Griffin out of Jackson Prep High School in Mississippi. As MLB Pipeline’s #9 overall draft prospect, it’s very likely that Griffin’s name is the first to be called among the top prep players. Griffin was the recipient of Gatorade’s National High School Player of the Year award after back-to-back Mississippi state championships.

When discussing five-tool players, you can’t leave Griffin out of the conversation. All five of his tools own a grade of at least 50, with his arm getting the highest grade at 70. Despite a big 6’4″ frame, his speed and defense alone could land him in the first round, and that’s without mentioning what he can do at the plate. He has gold glove potential at both shortstop and center field, the two most premier positions on the diamond. He should be able to stick at either position with his elite arm strength. As for the speed, not much needs to be said, other than the fact that he stole 87 bases for Jackson Prep this year. His hit tool is the weakest of his five tools, but still earns a 50 grade.

Because of his longer levers, he sometimes has a hard time getting the bat to higher velocities, but with his 60-grade power tool, he’s still a 30-homerun threat at the next level and may have some more power he can tap into. In my most recent mock draft, I have the Pirates taking him 9th overall, but he definitely has a ceiling of maybe fourth or fifth overall. He does have a commitment to LSU, so an underslot for one of the top five teams might be difficult to pull off. Regardless, I don’t think there’s a reality in which he goes outside of the top ten.

2. Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)

Although Griffin is often regarded as the best high school player in the draft, Harvard-Westlake’s Bryce Rainer isn’t far off. Coming in right behind Griffin, Rainer is MLB Pipeline’s #10 overall draft prospect. He too has five-tool potential with all five tools earning at least a 50 grade. The 18-year-old is the best pure shortstop in the draft, being the best player at this end of the first round likely to play short at the next level (Griffin may split time between SS and CF while JJ Wetherholt likely will end up at 2B).

Rainer has pitched all through high school, and while he has upside on the mound, he’s going to focus solely on hitting, and it’s his arm on the mound that makes him so projectable as a shortstop. His skills at short are gold-glove caliber while his bat has drawn comparisons to Corey Seager. His hit tool earns a 55 grade while his power tool earns a 60 grade from the left side of the plate. He displays a very professional approach in the box and doesn’t strike out or chase very often, along with some of the top exit velocities among prep hitters. I would definitely classify Rainer as a “safe bat” with everything else just adding to his overall value. I would put him right up there with Griffin as a potential fourth or fifth-overall pick. I currently have him going to the Tigers at 11th overall and have a hard time seeing him fall outside of the top 15.

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

Our first pitcher and second LSU commit is William Schmidt out of Catholic High School in Louisiana. Schmidt comes in as MLB Pipeline’s #12 overall draft prospect, the top-ranked prep arm, and the fourth-highest-ranked pitcher behind Chase Burns, Hagen Smith, and Trey Yesavage. Although his arsenal is not very deep, the 18-year-old right-handed pitcher features some of the best stuff in the draft. He throws a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and has topped out at 99 mph, but it’s the 70-grade curveball that I would imagine most teams are drooling over.

The pitch produces a ton of break, but more importantly, he commands it very well. He can drop it in the zone for strikes and gets a lot of whiffs outside of the zone with it. A breaking ball that can be thrown for strikes in and out of the zone is one of the most important things for me, as it is for a lot of MLB organizations when it comes to building a big-league starting pitcher. He has great command with the fastball as well and also flashes a changeup that he appears to have a good feel for. If a team gets a hold of him and develops the changeup along with another glove-side offering, I love for Schmidt to find himself at the front end of a big league rotation at some point. Standing at 6’4″ and 180 pounds, he has room to grow and add strength.

I have him going 12th overall to the Red Sox, but if I was a GM of a team with a top-ten pick, I would have him on my board. Like Griffin, it might be tough to underslot Schmidt due to his commitment to LSU, so it’s going to take a team that really believes in his upside to take him within the top ten.

4. Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS (AZ)

The second-highest-ranked prep pitcher and second-highest-ranked left-handed arm is Cam Caminiti out of Saguaro High School in Arizona. Caminiti is one of the youngest players in the draft at 17 years old after he reclassified from the 2025 draft to 2024. From the left side, he might be the most projectable starter at the end of the draft. He throws four plus pitches – a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, topping out at 98 mph, a curveball, slider, and changeup. The slider and changeup both earn 55 grades, while the curve is a 50 and the fastball a 60. With a deeper arsenal than most arms his age, and projection to all four of his pitches, Caminiti has one of the higher floors of any pitcher, making him a safe arm likely to be taken in the middle of the first round. I don’t do a lot of big-league comps, but it’s hard not to see a lot of Blake Snell in his game.

He has a similar repeatable delivery, coming over the top with some cross-body deception coming from the left side. I have Caminiti going 14th overall to the Cubs. With all of the college bats ranked above him along with some of the other high-upside pitchers, this may be close to his ceiling.

5. Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS (AR)

Slade Caldwell sneaks into my top five as MLB Pipeline’s #22 overall draft prospect. He is the third highest-ranked position player in this year’s prep class, and for good reason. The 18-year-old out of Valley View High School in Arkansas isn’t necessarily elite in any area. However, he has plus tools across the board, and when you have a player who can do some of everything, you have an elite player. That’s how I would classify Caldwell. His speed is his best tool, coming out to a 65 grade – on par with Konnor Griffin – and also has a 60-grade glove in center field.

His arm isn’t quite elite, but it’s good enough that he should stick in center field for the long term. With the bat, it’s Caldwell’s hit tool that shines. From the left side of the plate, he features an advanced approach that makes a lot of contact and can spray the ball to all fields. The power tool is lacking due to his smaller frame and lack of ability to get the ball in the air consistently, but his ability to get on base at a high rate should mitigate that in terms of overall production. The bat reminds me a lot of Jackson Holliday’s, while his overall game draws comparisons to Jarren Duran’s. I have Caldwell going 30th overall to the Rangers, but I can see him falling to the front half of the second round of the competitive balance round, taking an overslot deal.

Main Image:  Lauren Witte/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY NETWORK

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