Ohtani-Wannabes: 2024 two-way stars in the making

By Shooter Hunt & David Seifert
PBR Draft HQ

While, no, there might not ever be another Shohei Ohtani, the two-way topic has been a hot one ever since the Japanese superstar showed that he could thrive on both sides of the ball, in the MLB and most recently on the international stage at the World Baseball Classic.

However, Ohtani did, probably, extend the amount of leash two-way players might be given these days, both in college and in pro ball. There appears to be more amateur talent committed to calling themselves two-way players for as long as they can succeed as one, and even some more collegiate examples who project to earn two-way attention as MLB Draft prospects, like Florida’s Jac Caglianone, who just set the Gators’ single-season home run record with 27 (and counting), who’s also capable of upper-90s velocity from the left side on the mound.

Today, we’re expanding on Caglianone’s historic season as an up-and-coming ‘Ohtani Wannabe,’ as well as some others within the collegiate ranks, and we’re also highlighting some two-way prepsters who can continue to contribute on both sides of the ball moving forward.


Bryce Rainer, INF/RHP, Harvard-Westlake (CA), 2024

Rainer, a Texas recruit, hails from the same SoCal “prospect factory” (Harvard-Westlake) that produced the likes of Lucas Giolito, Max Fried, Jack Flaherty, and more recently, Pete Crow-Armstrong. After bursting onto the scene as a freshman and dominating Southern California hitters, the ‘24 class’ No. 1 prospect opted out of pitching during his sophomore campaign in an effort to minimize wear and tear. Lean and athletic with a frame that is quickly adding strength, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is the top pitching prospect in the class with nearly equal upside when hitting from the left side. Equally as comfortable on the dirt as he is grazing the outfield, Rainer carries significant ‘it-factor’ while on the diamond, and his silky-smooth stroke has seen steady jumps in power production that is ever alluring. The bat and athleticism have been the main focus of Rainer’s development, but make no mistake about it, his pitching ceiling matches that of the Class of 2023’s top prep arm, Noble Meyer.

Konnor Griffin, OF/RHP, Jackson Prep (MS), 2024

Griffin opted to move up a class, and though he’ll still hit his 18th birthday prior to next year’s MLB Draft, he is still on the younger end of the spectrum, and he’s likely to garner significant 1:1 attention. Square-shouldered with a pristine, unmistakable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, the LSU recruit has an unteachable athleticism and he more than just looks the part at shortstop, and he’s also shown an ability to roam center field at an elite level. On the mound, he’s a power-armed right-hander with mid-90s heat and feel for advanced secondary offerings. Griffin is an out-getter with starter potential. However, the thunder in his barrel and five-tool potential likely have him pursuing a position long-term, and MLB clubs who are picking early might envision him as a cornerstone, everyday player in their organization.

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