College baseball season is officially underway, and for us here at CBS Sports that means sizing up some of the most intriguing prospects available in this summer's Major League Baseball amateur draft. We've already published our ranking of the 30 best players in this year's class, led by West Virginia infielder JJ Wetherholt, Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz, and Oregon State second Travis Bazzana. 

Today, we're going to take a look at five players who have a chance to join those players in the first round come July 14 during All-Star Weekend. These players were each excluded from the preseason top 30 for reasons that we'll explain below. We'll also touch on why each of them could improve their stocks over the coming months -- perhaps to the extent that they earn a first-round selection.

As always, keep in mind that evaluating prospects is more of an art than a science, and that there were more than five deserving candidates for this piece. (Do note that the players are presented in alphabetical order.)

1. Kyle DeBarge, SS/3B, Louisiana-Lafayette

The good: DeBarge is one of the best contact hitters in the class, alongside the likes of JJ Wetherholt (our preseason No. 1) and Travis Bazzana (No. 3). He struck out in fewer than 9% of his plate appearances last year, all the while walking at an equal rate and hitting .371/.448/.546 for the Ragin' Cajuns. He also possesses good speed and a defensive skill set that should allow him to remain on the left side for the long haul. 

The bad: Height doesn't always measure power -- look no further than Mookie Betts and Corbin Carroll -- but DeBarge's flat swing plane prevents him from outslugging his 5-foot-9 frame. His stock wasn't helped by a rough go in the Cape Cod League, a wood-bat summer circuit that evaluators put a lot of emphasis on, as he recorded just three extra-base hits (all doubles) and a .267/.336/.297 slash line in 21 games. 

The undecided: Teams are generally weary of taking low-wattage hitters in the first round. Even those with a good feel for contact and the zone alike can be exposed against professional pitching. For an example of how that profile can slide, consider Blue Jays infielder Josh Kasevich, who slipped to No. 60 in the 2022 draft.  That isn't always the case, however. Just last summer, the Athletics drafted Jacob Wilson sixth overall despite similar reservations. History may not repeat itself, but we feel obligated to include DeBarge because the power aspect is the only part of his game missing.

2. Thatcher Hurd, RHP, LSU

The good: Hurd, a physical right-hander who transferred from UCLA to LSU following his freshman season, has two high-quality pitches in his fastball and a swing-and-miss slider. Scouts were encouraged by how he pitched late last year in a bullpen role, even if his overall season was a stinker.

The bad: As teased above, Hurd had a tough first season in the SEC. He posted a 5.68 ERA overall and surrendered 22 earned runs on 21 hits and 11 walks over 14 innings of conference play. Hurd was simply too inconsistent for the surging Tigers, and he ended the year making 11 starts and 12 relief appearances.

The undecided: Hurd has the size and the stuff to project as both a first-round pick and legitimate big-league starter. Now, he just needs to prove he can harness those gifts into actual results against top-flight collegiate competition.

3. Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State

The good: There's a lot to dream on with Jordan's game, beginning with his tantalizing amount of power and speed. In addition to posting high-end exit velocities as a freshman last season, he was one of four Bulldogs to launch at least 10 home runs. (The other three hitters, including Rays second-round pick Colton Ledbetter, each had 30 or more additional plate appearances.) Jordan showed a fine grasp of the strike zone, too, and he actually performed better against SEC competition (.333/.406/.677) than not. 

The bad: Despite Jordan's impressive tools and his quality showing against top-notch competition, his game possesses one flaw that could turn fatal. He was prone to swinging and missing last year, to the extent that he struck out 25% overall and 28% versus SEC foes. For comparison's sake, former Tennessee shortstop Maui Ahuna dropped to the fourth round after punching out 31.2% of the time in conference play.

The undecided: Jordan's immense upside would've made him worth monitoring anyway, but we think he deserves a wider berth than the average player with swing-and-miss issues because of his background. He's not too far removed from being a two-sport athlete, and he was even supposed to play wideout for the Bulldogs football team. Baseball history is littered with late-blooming multi-sport athletes. If Jordan can make big gains, specifically with his bat-to-ball skills, he has a chance to solidify himself as a first-round pick with some intriguing right-tail possibilities.

4. Gage Jump, LHP, LSU

The good: Jump, like the aforementioned Hurd, transferred from UCLA to LSU. He did so last summer after missing most of the 2022-23 seasons because of Tommy John surgery and recovery. Although Jump is a shorter left-handed pitcher (he's listed at 6-foot), scouts have been high on him dating back to his prep days thanks in part to an arsenal led by a fastball that features a fantastic amount of vertical movement.

The bad: Jump's lack of innings, mechanics (his limbs really flail on his follow through), and size form a murky picture for his long-term role. The shifting expectations for the starting pitcher role, along with advancements in pitch evaluation, have left teams more open-minded about the size of starters than at any point in recent memory. Still, it's hard to classify a pitcher as a sure first-round pick when he's barely pitched across two-plus seasons.

The undecided: Chuck LaMar once said that wins and losses were the only things separating the then-Devil Rays from being recognized as one of the best teams in baseball. Allow us to repurpose that by noting that innings are the only thing standing between Jump and a first-round grade.

5. Cole Mathis, 1B/RHP, College of Charleston 

The good: Mathis is an intriguing two-way talent who had a great 2023. At the plate, he hit .330/.439/.575 with nine home runs and more walks than strikeouts for the Cougars. He showcased above-average contact and zone-management skills, and he showed some legitimate thump -- that combination carried over to the Cape Cod League, where he launched 11 home runs and posted a 1.048 OPS in 38 games. On the mound, he compiled a 3.45 ERA and a 3.06 strikeout-to-walk ratio during the regular season on the strength of a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a feel for a pair of breaking balls. (Most evaluators we spoke to liked Mathis a little more as a hitter.)

The bad: Let's face it, Mathis is going to be docked for playing against a lower quality of competition as part of the Colonial Athletic Association -- that's part of why his outstanding efforts in the Cape Cod League were so important: they nudged teams toward ascertaining that he can indeed play against top talent.

The undecided: We fully expect Mathis to have another massive spring. The question is how much confidence teams will have in his game. The Cougars don't play many power conference squads -- this weekend's set against Nebraska is about as good as it gets -- and that could lead to conflicting evaluations. Where, precisely, he ends up going is to be determined. We will note that recent drafts have seen teams gambling high picks on highly productive first basemen from nontraditional programs: the Angels took FAU's Nolan Schanuel 11th last summer (and then rushed him to the majors), and the Mariners popped VCU's Tyler Locklear in the second round in 2022.