7 players the Cardinals could select with the 7th pick in the 2024 MLB Draft

The Cardinals should have a premium prospect available to them at the 7th overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft.
LSU v Arkansas
LSU v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
2 of 8

LHP Hagen Smith, Arkansas

This list is in no particular order, but Hagen Smith may end up being the guy people cross their fingers for by the time the draft comes around.

Hagen is either 1A or 1B when it comes to the best starting pitcher in this year's class. We'll look at a two-way star and another collegiate arm later, but Smith has been arguably the best-starting pitcher in college this year, leading D-1 in ERA (1.65), average against (.138), and strikeout rate (17.2 per nine innings) as a southpaw.

Just watch some of his highlights, and you'll know why scouts are drooling at the idea of selecting the lefty who has struck out 150 batters in just 77 innings of work this year.

Smith has two plus pitches that could be plus-plus in his fastball and slider, with the latter being his most dominant pitch. His fastball typically sits in the mid-90s but gets up to 100 MPH when he wants to. Much like Cardinals' prospect Cooper Hjerpe, Smith has a funky delivery that makes his stuff that much more deceptive.

That deliever not only helps his fastball jump on hitters, but it's helped his slider become almost impossible to hit for lefties and highly effective against right-handed hitters. His slider sits in the mid-80s but has so much sweep and depth that it makes hitters look foolish at the plate.

Smith also throws a cutter in the low 90s and upper 80s change up to help attack batters and set up his fastball-slider combo. Smith has the kind of stuff no other starter in the Cardinals' organization boasts right now, and would immediately become the Cardinals' best pitching prospect if they were to end up with him.

While the Cardinals have drafted and acquired multiple intriguing arms in the last few seasons, they may still be inclined to add another top arm, especially with how unpredictable pitching can be. You can never have enough starting pitching in today's game, and Smith's stuff is the kind you don't come across very often. He may be able to fly through the Cardinals system and begin to have an impact in 2026 or 2027.