Here are some of the prospects the Angels could target in the 2024 MLB Draft

The Angels have loads of really interesting options available to them at the No. 8 overall pick.
LSU v Arkansas
LSU v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

While the Los Angeles Angels struggled through the early portion of the 2024 season due to injuries to key players and young guys trying to figure things out, preparations for the MLB Draft are well under way. Given the Angels' recent track record in the draft, this year could be a pivotal one, not just for general manager Perry Minasian, but the entire franchise.

The bad news is that the 2024 MLB Draft class does not appear to be particularly deep on either side of the ball. However, the Angels are fortunate that they are picking No. 8 overall this year, so they should have a chance to add an impact player in the draft assuming that they don't mess up the pick.

Angels' 2024 MLB Draft First-Round Targets

There are two important factors to think about when it comes to the Angels and the 2024 draft. First, they have a top-10 pick, and the allure of adding the best player available could (and probably should) be the biggest consideration.

However, the Angels also have eighth-highest draft bonus pool in 2024 at $12,990,400. If they can find a player that they really like who could also be had on an underslot deal at No. 8 overall, spreading their bonus pool around on overslot picks later in the draft could also make a lot of sense.

The 2024 MLB Draft will take place July 14-16, so we will know soon enough what the Angels' plans are. Here are a few players that they could be targeting with their first-round pick.

JJ Wetherholt, 2B

While mock drafts this early in draft season need to be taken with a huge grain of salt as little information is reliable and teams are still getting their boards together, several of the more recent mock drafts have been settling on LA picking second baseman JJ Wetherholt out of the University of West Virginia.

The Angels need pitching the most, but passing on a bat of Wetherholt's quality could be tough. He possesses one of the better hit tools in the class, and if he ends the season strong he might not even be available to the Angels at No. 8. His future defensive home in the infield is still a question, but Wetherholt can flat out hit, has a bit of pop, and can really run as well. If the Angels are looking strictly at the best player available regardless of position. Wetherholt is one of the surer bets in the entire draft class.

Hagen Smith, LHP

Arkansas' Hagen Smith sitting there when the Angels pick might be the best-case scenario for them as they desperately need some real pitching talent. While he does already have a Tommy John surgery under his belt from his high school days, the college lefty generally sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and has touched triple digits. His slider has ton of movement and is basically impossible for opposing lefty hitters to deal with and his splitter gives him another solid option against righties.

The problem with Smith is that a lot has to go right for him to even be available when the Angels pick. He is already ranked a touch higher than LA's pick and college arms like his are in very high demand. The Angels basically have to hope that some teams ahead of them like the White Sox, Royals, and Cardinals fall in love with guys further down the board or one of the top bats fall in their laps. If that happens, though, the Angels should absolutely be willing to pounce here.

Trey Yesavage, RHP

Assuming Smith is off the board, East Carolina's Trey Yesavage would not be the worst consolation prize. MLB Pipeline's 11th-ranked prospect in this year's draft class features four pitches that grade as at least above average. His fastball has the velocity you would want, but it doesn't have a ton of movement. However, it still plays well at the top of the zone and sets up his breaking stuff and effective splitter well.

Yesavage may also be an option for the Angels to sign a really solid arm at a slightly discounted rate. Don't expect him to sign for pennies on the dollar, but he isn't a guy that is currently expected to command top-10 bonus money, and that could play in the Angels favor as they could add a high-quality college arm and then make some plays for overslot guys in later rounds with the savings.

Chase Burns, RHP

If you are a fan of power pitchers, Chase Burns out of Tennessee is your guy. He routinely hits triple digits with his fastball and his power slider that he throws in the upper 80s is among the best pitches in the entire draft. However, Burns is one of those guys who throws hard, but the velocity doesn't necessarily fool hitters, and his command of his heat becomes critically important at that point.

Based purely on arm talent, Burns should be a top-five pick in the draft. However, the quality of contact against his fastball as a starter and the inconsistency of his changeup creates a decent amount of reliever risk. If the Angels are feeling frisky and willing to gamble, Burns has a chance of being a true top-of-the-rotation arm with crazy power stuff. However, there is also a chance that he has to shift to the bullpen, which would be less than optimal.

Bryce Rainer, RHP/SS

We can't ignore the prep ranks too much as LA has dipped their toes into the high school waters at times, with Jo Adell and Jordyn Adams being notable recent examples. One intriguing name that is in the general range of where the Angels are picking is RHP and shortstop Bryce Rainer out of the California prep ranks.

Most seem to think that Rainer's future is at shortstop, but he does throw a mid-90s fastball and has very solid breaking stuff on the mound, which could be a fallback option that LA could entertain. However, he has made big improvements in the field and has huge upside at the plate with his plus future raw power from the left side and excellent play discipline. There is a chance he could be had on an underslot deal, but that could be risky as high school guys have the leverage of just going to college and trying again in a couple years. Rainer is committed to Texas at the moment, so picking Rainer comes with some important bonus pool considerations.

Konnor Griffin, SS/OF

Focusing again on the best player available plan, Konnor Griffin out of Jackson Prep High School in Mississippi might be the best HS player in the 2024 draft class. Griffin is one of those super athletes that has a chance to have all the tools at his disposal. While he isn't a polished hitter yet, he makes up for that with plus bat speed and good swing decisions.

That said, Griffin could be a longer-term project. If everything clicks, this is a guy that could be in that class of stars like Ronald Acuna Jr., Elly De La Cruz, and Kyle Tucker, all of whom possess crazy power, speed and great defensive skills. Prep bats are always risky, but Griffin's raw talent is off the charts and might be a worthy gamble. He won't be cheap, though, as he is an LSU commit and could end up as a No. 1 overall pick in a couple years if he makes it to college and rakes.

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