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Draft Stock for JJ Wetherholt: Q-and-A with MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis



WVU Baseball JJ Wetherholt

Before the 2024 season started, JJ Wetherholt received a stream of constant hype, named the future first overall pick in mock drafts and picking up preseason award after preseason award. Fast forward to April, though, and WVU Baseball’s superstar shortstop has played in just seven games, missing well over a month with a hamstring injury. He’s played as advertised when available—even if limited to designated hitter and far more cautious baserunning than usual during the Mountaineers’ sweep of Kansas over the weekend—slashing .346/.471/.423 with three stolen bases and two doubles, but in a wide open draft class like 2024 looks to become, extended time off could mean Wetherholt’s draft stock takes a hit.

WVSN’s Griffin Floyd corresponded with MLB Pipeline Senior writer Jim Callis to gauge the current outlook for JJ Wetherholt ahead of the July draft, with the discussion including professional comparisons, draft stock and precedent for other top prospects who have dealt with injuries ahead of the draft.

Impact of Injury

Griffin Floyd: What’s the precedent for a player missing a good chunk of his final collegiate season due to injury? Do teams skirt around position players with an injury history the way they might with pitchers, or is he likely to see his stock remain unchanged with continued strong performance?

Jim Callis: It’s much more common with pitchers but it’s [not] unheard of with position players. Thinking about guys who were top-of-the-Draft talents, Mark Teixeira missed three months with an ankle injury in 2001 and Anthony Rendon barely played the field with a shoulder injury in 2011, yet both went in the top six picks and got paid even better than that. The main issue is whether it’s a chronic injury or something that should affect the player in the long term. With J.J., it shouldn’t terribly affect his stock, but the two concerns would be that he had hamstring problems last summer, so is this going to be something that recurs, and there has been less time to scout him at shortstop. I’m still not sure when he’s supposed to return to shortstop.

Floyd: Building off of that—if there is still cause for draft stock concerns—do muscle injuries like Wetherholt’s hamstring cause less concern than tendon or ligament injuries?

Callis: In general, yes, unless you think the muscle injuries are going to be a recurring problem.

Draft Stock of JJ Wetherholt 

Floyd: How could this year’s draft board impact the situation, especially without runaway favorites for the top pick like Dylan Crews and later Paul Skenes were?

Callis: While the top of the Draft isn’t as strong as it was in 2023, when there were five legitimate No. 1 overall pick type talents, the college bat crop is pretty deep. Georgia outfielder/third baseman Charlie Condon, Oregon second baseman Travis Bazzana and Florida first baseman/left-hander Jac Caglianone are having spectacular seasons and would go ahead of Wetherholt if the Draft were today. And there’s more depth behind them too.

Floyd: Do you have a current forecast for JJ Wetherholt’s draft slot?

Callis: The good news for Wetherholt is that he still has two months of the season and an impeccable track record. If he can get healthy enough to play shortstop and show that he can handle the position, that will boost his stock higher. He was still highly regarded having played just second base in the past. If the draft were today, I feel like he’d go in the 4-8 range. But there’s plenty of time for things to change.

Floyd: What stands out most to you about him as a player? Do you have a current/former big league comp for him?

Callis: J.J. might be the best pure hitter in this Draft. He makes it look easy, making hard contact to all fields against all types of pitching. There’s at least average power in there, plus speed, and at worst he’s a second baseman if not a shortstop. If he reaches his ceiling, maybe he’s a quicker, lefty-hitting version of Dustin Pedroia.

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