5 collegiate prospects to follow for the Cleveland Guardians at the top of the MLB Draft

The Cleveland Guardians landed the top pick in the MLB Draft this season. Here are five collegiate level prospects to follow leading up to the draft.
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
2 of 5

2. Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest

Nick Kurtz, Cleveland Guardians
Coastal Carolina v Wake Forest / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

If there is a player that couldn't threaten Bazzana in the eyes of the Cleveland Guardians, look no further than Nick Kurtz at Wake Forest. Kurtz is just as impressive as Bazzana, but may be a better long-term fit with Cleveland's needs in mind.

Between Josh Naylor and Kyle Manzardo, it would seem like the first base and designated hitter spots could be locked up for the Guardians, but adding Kurtz to the mix would bring similar "concerns" as adding Bazzana to the middle infield. With All-American honors on his resume and the 2024 Preseason Player of the Year by Perfect Game, Cleveland needs to do their homework on Kurtz at the top of the draft.

While power is a big thing for a first baseman, Kurtz does more than just that. Over 146 games with Wake Forest, he's hit 55 home runs, including 18 in 37 games this year. The RBI production is high as well, bringing in 165 over his three years. What could hurt Kurtz is that his average has dropped this year. After hitting .338 in 2022 and .349 in 2023, he's down to .307 this year. That's not ideal for someone at the top of the draft when picking the "best player available."

The argument between Bazanna and Kurtz on the surface level is fit. Both are top prospects that would work in Cleveland, but what does Cleveland view as the best long-term fit for the organization? I could make the case for either, and both are strong prospects with very different profiles to consider.