Prep Baseball Report

2024 MLB Draft: Cross Checking the Top College Left Handed Pitchers

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting


Over the past five years, Division I college baseball has produced eight left-handers who were drafted in the first round (top 30 picks).

2023: None
2022: Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State, 22nd overall
2021: Jordan Wicks, Kansas State, 21st
2020: Asa Lacy, Texas A&M, 4th. Reid Detmers, Louisville, 10th. Garrett Crochet, Tennessee, 11th. Jared Shuster, Wake Forest, 25th
2019: Nick Lodolo, TCU, 7th. Zack Thompson, Kentucky, 19th. Ethan Small, Mississippi State, 28th.

2020 will be forever known as the covid draft, and it will also go down as the gold standard with four first round college left-handers. Although Lacy has struggled, Detmers made an immediate impact in the big leagues, debuting just over one year after his selection tenth overall by the Angels. He has accumulated a 3.9 WAR over three-plus seasons in the big leagues. Crochet was selected next at 11th overall and debuted just three months later for the White Sox. However, he had Tommy John surgery late in 2021 and missed all of the 2022 season. He’s now back and pitching better than ever in the White Sox rotation, already producing a 3.1 WAR in 15 starts this season and a 4.8 career WAR to date.

The 2024 college draft class has one for sure first-rounder and one other who has an outside chance to be chosen within the top 30 picks. It’s a four-star year for college southpaws, much of it due to the leader of the group – a potential MLB ace in Hagen Smith. He has drawn comparisons to Clayton Kershaw as one who could front a rotation in the Major Leagues. Health is a concern for Duke’s Jonathan Santucci, but when he’s right, he’s lights out and a healthy Santucci is extremely tantalizing. With Smith a first round lock and Santucci 25-30 picks behind, the class also has quality depth. Overall, there should be at least a dozen southpaws drafted in the top four rounds, and this doesn’t include Jac Caglianone or the ambidextrous Jurrangelo Cijntje.

2024 Top Ten:

1. Hagen Smith, Arkansas- Unrivaled as the top left-hander in college baseball this season, Smith pitched the best game I’ve ever seen from a college player during Week Two of the season. His fastball was up to 99 and his slider was devastating against a stacked Oregon State lineup as he struck out fellow Golden Spikes Award finalist, Travis Bazzana three times. Fun fact – Smith allowed a combined nine runs in his first inning and last inning of the 2024 season. He allowed just 10 in the other 82 innings and finished the season 9-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched.

2. Jonathan Santucci, Duke- The Blue Devils’ ace was quick out of the gates this season with a strong start during Opening Weekend of the college season. With a lively fastball up to 96 that he commanded and an above average slider, it was his first start since March 31, 2023 as an elbow injury limited him to just 29 innings during his sophomore season. Additionally, Santucci missed nearly a month this spring with a rib injury before finishing with a final line of 6-1, 3.41 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. Without an injury history, he’s a first round talent who combines stuff, command and pitch ability, However, health is a main concern and he will likely drop to just outside of the top 30 overall picks.

Jac Caglianone, Florida- Ranked No. 1 in our Top College First Basemen, Cags would slot right behind Santucci as a pitching prospect if he were a P.O. As a two-way talent he profiles as a bullpen arm for me, simply because of a time/development factor. However, if he ever put down the stick and concentrated solely on pitching, he would likely develop into a mid-rotation arm with a mid-90s fastball, a better than average changeup and an effective slider.

3. Gage Jump, LSU- It’s a close call for this spot between Jump and Tolle, but Jump gets the edge due to his feel for spinning a better breaking ball and a changeup that has produced a 90th percentile Whiff rate of 37.5% when thrown in the zone. He actually throws two distinct breakers in a curve and slider. Both have strong spin metrics and grade above average on any given day, but the slider is more consistently a hair better and will likely be his future bread-n-butter offering. Jump also had some late season helium as he struckout 14 in 14.1 innings while allowing just one walk in two postseason starts. Largely due to improved control (22 BB in 83 IP for a 6.5% BB rate), the power lefthander who fastball averages 93 mph, has elevated himself from a fourth round prospect to likely mid-to-late in the second round.

4. Payton Tolle, TCU- Like Jump, Tolle had some late season helium based upon his consistently strong performance, posting every weekend for the Horned Frogs and finishing with a 3.21 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 81.1 innings. His fastball averaged 91.4 mph this spring, and it also plays above its velocity with a 97th percentile Whiff rate of 30.8% (D1 average 18.1%, MLB average 22.1%). His primary breaking ball is a 80-83 mph fringe-grade slider and he rarely throws a changeup. Expect Tolle to be considered for selection late during Day One, with a likely landing spot early on Day Two.

5. Ryan Prager, Texas A&M- After redshirting in 2023 due to Tommy John surgery, Prager has been outstanding all season, including his latest start at the CWS when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He’s a high pitch ability lefty that runs his fastball up to 92-93 (mostly 90). It also plays up with a 97th percentile Whiff rate of 30.2%. His best pitch is a changeup that he throws 68.7% of the time for a strike. Opponents are batting just .149 against it this season. He also leans heavily on a low-80s slider with which he pounds the zone for strikes 72% of the time. Overall, the ace of the Aggie staff has posted a 9-1 record with a 2.88 ERA and 118 strikeouts against 20 walks in 93.2 innings so far this season. Projecting to the back-end of a Major League rotation, Prager will likely be chosen in the third round.

6. Josh Hartle, Wake Forest- Entering the 2024 season, Hartle was a first round prospect for me after showing improved velocity last fall. However, he struggled throughout the spring and was not able to replicate his dominant sophomore campaign that saw him earn 1st team All-American honors. He combines size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), very good spin metrics and strong command. He also shows solid feel for five pitches, the most effective being his 82-84 mph slider (99th percentile chase rate of 43.8%). Look for Hartle to be considered in a similar area of the draft as Prager.

7. Carter Holton, Vanderbilt- Like Hartle, Holton did not have the type of junior season that was envisioned after an outstanding freshman and strong sophomore season for the Dores. Working up in the zone with his 93-96 mph fastball, it generated a 98th percentile chase rate of 28.5% and a 94th percentile whiff rate (28.2) this season. He also mixes two strong breaking pitches with an upper-70s curve and mid-80s slider. His fourth pitch is an effective change-of-pace that he used 11% of the time this spring. Expect the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Holton to be selected in the third round.

8. Carson Dorsey, Florida State- Dorsey has long been a personal favorite after ranking as our No. 5 JUCO prospect last season. At the DI level this spring, his breakout began during his start at Wake Forest during Week 10 of the Scouting Trail when he struck out 11 Demon Deacs in six innings. He has continued to perform at a high level since that time, including his most recent start against Virginia at the CWS. With some funk to his delivery and high slot release, Dorsey attacks the zone with primarily a 92-94 mph fastball (64.5% usage rate) that will touch a couple ticks higher at times and a low-80s slider. His fastball spins very efficiently (96-98%) in the mid-2400 rpm range which enables it to ride with an IVB of 18-21” and go above bats for a 96th percentile chase rate of 26.8%.

9. Jackson Kent, Arizona- Sitting out due to LOI transfer rules as a true freshman in 2022, then cutting his teeth out of the Wildcats’ bullpen last season, Kent fronted Arizona’s rotation this spring as the Friday guy. The 6-foot-3, 220 pound southpaw struck out 89 in 85 innings with a five-pitch assortment that revolved around a low-90s fastball. His top secondary is an 82-84 mph changeup that he threw for strikes 67% of the time and generated a 42.5% Whiff rate. Kent also showed three different breakers in a curve, slider and cutter. The best of the trio is his late-biting, mid-80s slider. Showing a strong blend of present stuff, control, performance and projection, Kent will likely be selected in the third round.

10. Dalton Pence, North Carolina- This Tar Heel is a power lefty who fills the zone with a heavy, mid-90s fastball (81% usage rate), but he can also spin a nasty slider that boasts a 95th percentile chase rate of 36.8%. It’s also death against left handed hitters with a minuscule .100 batting average against this spring. Pence performed at a high level throughout the season and stepped it up even more during the postseason before finishing with a 2.45 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched. The lone reliever on this list, he will likely be moved into a starting role at the pro level.

High Honors:

Braden Davis (Oklahoma), Evan Aschenbeck (Texas A&M), Greg Farone (Alabama), Charlie Goldstein (Georgia), Mason Molina (Arkansas), Tristan Smith* (Clemson)


Nate Ackenhausen (LSU), Merritt Beeker (Ball State), Everett Catlett (Georgetown), Derek Clark (West Virginia), Pierce Coppola (Florida), Konner Eaton (George Mason), Dom Fritton* (NC State), Devin Futrell (Vanderbilt), Sebastian Gongora (Louisville), Andrew Healy* (Duke), Herick Hernandez (Miami, Fla.), Connor Hults (Florida State), Griffin Herring (LSU), Riley Huge (Winthrop), Cade Obermueller* (Iowa), Rafe Schlesinger (Miami, FL), Jared Spencer (Indiana State), Jakob Wright (Cal Poly)