2024 MLB Draft: 2 realistic and 2 not-so realistic options for the Chicago Cubs at 14

The Cubs have done a legitimately masterful job of drafting in the first round over the last several seasons; who will they target in 2024?

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Realistic Option 1: Tommy White 3B LSU

When we wrote about the draft last month we had Tommy White as our pick for the Cubs at 14. He’s a third baseman now, though he may end up at first base if he continues to fill out and lose range. He’s in the SEC playing against top competition and he’s hit at every stop he’s been to (high school, NC State, and now LSU).

His numbers are down from last year. In 2023 he hit .377/.435/.729 with 24 homers and another 24 doubles. This season through ten games he’s hitting .325/.404/.525 and those are great numbers, especially in the SEC, but they’re not worthy of a top-ten pick in a class like this.

In baseball, you never draft for need at the major league level (unless you’re the 2023 Angels trying to keep the greatest player of all time happy). That being said, the weakness in this system as a whole is infield power and White has a track record of providing just that.

Realistic Option 2: Hagen Smith LHP Arkansas

This is one that we may end up laughing at in a few months and saying “realistic at 14? The guy went 1st overall!”

He’s started three games in 2024 and he’s struck out 31 batters over 13 innings on his way to a 2.77 ERA. Does it help that in one of those three games he had 17 strikeouts to lead Arkansas to a win over a top-ten Oregon State team? Yes, yes it does. At one point Smith had 15 consecutive outs recorded by strikeout in that game.

Again, you don’t draft for need in baseball, but the Cubs system is woefully lacking in two things: legitimate power, which we addressed with Tommy White, and pitchers that can miss bats. 

There’s not a pitcher in this class that misses bats as frequently as Smith and if other teams don’t view that as a strength and snatch him up prior to 14, then the Cubs should be happy to draft this particular pitcher in the first round. 

Sleeper Option: Cam Smith 3B Florida State

Cam Smith is currently sitting in the 20’s on most mock draft boards so this pick would be the Cubs overreaching. That being said, he plays serviceable third base and this season he’s hitting .500/.583/.633 with more walks (4) than strikeouts (3).

Florida State has had a rough time of getting guys to make the transition that appeared to be top draft prospects like Drew Mendoza in the past, but if Smith can continue the torrid pace he’s on to start the 2024 season he could easily creep into the top 15.

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