Thatcher Hurd, LSU
Another college starter entering his junior year, Thatcher Hurd has excellent stuff and has a chance to rise into the top 10 of draft boards if he can get his production back on track.
After an excellent freshman season with UCLA, posting a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings with a 12.7 SO/9, Hurd struggled quite a bit at LSU, pitching in 23 games but making just 11 starts with his 5.68 ERA in 63.1 innings. He did maintain an 11.9 SO/9, but his BB/9 rose from 2.6 his freshman year to 5.7 at LSU. Even so, his stuff is too good to repeat that again next year.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s but gets up to 98 MPH, and he is able to produce swings and misses with both his curveball and his slider, with his changeup coming along as well as his fourth pitch.
Hurd, in the biggest moment of his college career, tossed six innings of two-run ball while giving up just two hits, two walks, and striking out seven in the College World Series-clinching game for LSU. If Hurd can build off that momentum going into his junior year, he'll be one of the top pitchers available come July.
A lot can change between now and July 2024 when the Cardinals are ready to make their first-round selection. There may end up being a high school or college bat that is too good for them to pass on, but I also think "tie may go to the pitcher" if it's a close call. Adding a pitching talent like this to their organization is something they desperately need, and so far, there looks to be a variety of options in the 2024 draft.