College arm moves into No. 2 slot in latest mock draft

June 13th, 2024

We’re still about a month away from the start of the 2024 Draft, and much like Jim Callis stated in his projection last week, we’re in a little bit of a calm-before-the-storm territory. With a few exceptions playing in the Men's College World Series, topped by No. 3 prospect Jac Caglianone, the top players are all done.

Teams are holding workouts for players in consideration across all rounds and we’re on the eve of the MLB Draft Combine, being held at Chase Field in Phoenix starting on Tuesday. I’m not saying we’ll get concrete answers from our time in Arizona, but after teams get face-to-face time with a lot of the players listed below, we might start hearing some connections that are a touch more concrete, or more intel than rumors, though this comes with the usual caveat that there’s still a long way to go.

This week’s mock is more a shuffling of the deck than an offering of new names. I’ve shaken things up in the top two, but college bats still rule the day, making up nine of the top 15 selections and 19 of the top 30.

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1. Guardians: Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State (No. 1)
No change here as Bazzana is still the name most often mentioned at the very top. Charlie Condon still feels like the next best option as they are the two bats who have separated themselves, though there’s still buzz that Cleveland will look to save money here -- perhaps on a player a bit lower down in the top 10 -- and spread the dollars around.

2. Reds: Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 5)
If Bazzana goes one, there’s still a very good chance that Condon goes here, with the Reds in a good spot to take the top college hitter the Guardians don’t take. But it’s not a slam dunk and Burns is in the conversation as a second straight college arm (after Rhett Lowder) who could get to Cincinnati sooner rather than later.

3. Rockies: Charlie Condon, OF/3B, Georgia (No. 2)
If the Rockies prefer a pitcher here, in this scenario, they’d have to consider Arkansas lefty Hagen Smith, which they might. But it would be hard to pass up on Condon’s bat.

4. A’s: Braden Montgomery , OF, Texas A&M (No. 8)
While Montgomery’s ankle injury will keep him from playing in Omaha, it shouldn’t impact his Draft stock much at all. It continues to be college hitters who mostly come up in discussions here.

5. White Sox: Jac Caglianone, 1B,/LHP, Florida (No. 3)
Sticking with Cags here, as a first baseman. But I have heard other position players here, from West Virginia’s JJ Wetherholt to Mississippi prep shortstop Konnor Griffin.

6. Royals: Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas (No. 6)
Given how big the offensive explosion in college baseball this year was, Smith’s season, setting an NCAA record for K/9 (17.3), is even more extraordinary. High school hitters like Bryce Rainer and Griffin could still come into play.

7. Cardinals: JJ Wetherholt, SS/2B, West Virginia (No. 7)
Wetherholt came back strong from his hamstring issue and his name is coming up all over the 5-8 range.

8. Angels: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest (No. 4)
Given their track record of late, talk persists of the Angels looking to potentially save money on a college hitter who will move quickly, so guys like James Tibbs from Florida State also get mentioned. But Kurtz’s power -- which should also get to Los Angeles in a hurry -- might be too good to pass up.

9. Pirates: Konnor Griffin, SS/OF, Jackson Prep, Miss. (No. 9)
For those who think the Pirates should take a college hitter who’ll join Skenes and company sooner, that could still happen, (especially if someone like Wetherholt and Kurtz gets to them) -- and Tibbs could come into play -- but don’t rule out Pittsburgh taking the toolsiest player -- albeit one who is a bit further away -- in the Draft.

10. Nationals: Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake, Calif. (No. 10)
The Nats can kind of wait to see who might come to them at 10, and if anyone in the top nine goes off the board a bit, they can take whoever that is. There are many scouts who prefer Rainer, the left-handed-hitting shortstop, to Griffin, among the prep set. Biggest outlier name I heard this week in this spot: Cal catcher Caleb Lomavita.

11. Tigers: Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS, Ariz. (No. 17)
While they might entertain one of the hitters already off the board should they still be available, there has been more talk about arms here, with Caminiti, the top prep lefty in the class, getting the nod over a college pitcher like Trey Yesavage from East Carolina.

12. Red Sox: Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina (No. 11)
There’s a large bucket of college hitters the Red Sox are considering here, and you’ll see many of them come off the board in the ensuing picks. But Yesavage, who looks good in many team models, is definitely in the conversation.

13. Giants: James Tibbs, OF, Florida State (No. 16)
One of the top players competing in Omaha, Tibbs is up to 28 homers and 94 RBIs with a 1.310 OPS. The college performer’s name is popping up as high as the top 10 and there are a number of teams in this range who are very interested in his bat.

14. Cubs: Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State (No. 14)
I could easily see the two Seminoles hitters swapping spots here, but Smith and his .402/.497/.677 line have always felt like a good fit with the Cubs.

15. Mariners: Seaver King, 3B/OF, Wake Forest (No. 13)
I warned you that you’d see a bunch of college hitters go here. King could be at the top of a group that also includes Tennessee second baseman Christian Moore. If the Mariners want to go with an arm, they could go the college route with Mississippi State’s Jurrangelo Cijntje or a prep pitcher like Ryan Sloan.

16. Marlins: Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee (No. 25)
This continues to sound like another likely landing spot for a college hitter. It’s possible Moore, with his 32 homers, could go higher than this, leaving the Marlins to consider names like Kentucky’s Ryan Waldschmidt -- who has a ton of helium and is still playing -- or Sam Houston catcher Walker Janek. They would also consider any of the trio of names I have going off the board 13-15.

17. Brewers: Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State (No. 19)
More college bats here, and this could be the first real landing spot for the super-toolsy Vance Honeycutt from North Carolina, though his strikeout rate is still a concern to many evaluators. We’ve had Honeycutt in this spot for three mocks in a row, so we're changing to another college outfielder in Benge to mix things up.

18. Rays: Ryan Sloan, RHP, York HS, Ill. (No. 18)
It continues to be hard to pinpoint where the high school arms go, but Sloan should be in the Rays’ mix and his name comes up in a few places at this stage of the first round. If they wanted a college bat in this scenario, they could look at Honeycutt’s tools.

19. Mets: Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina (No. 20)
Even with some concerns about the swing-and-miss, at a certain point you can’t pass up Honeycutt’s speed and power. His ability to play center field at a very high level does help raise his floor quite a bit.

20. Blue Jays: Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston (No. 23)
If the Blue Jays stick with a college bat, they could choose between the two top college catchers in Janek and Lomavita. Tennessee’s Billy Amick and LSU’s Tommy White could also be in that mix.

21. Twins: Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee (No. 26)
This could be another landing spot for Waldschmidt, but it seems like Amick, who lost time due to an appendectomy and might otherwise be higher on boards, might be favored ahead of the Kentucky outfielder.

22. Orioles: Caleb Lomavita, C, California (No. 33)
In the college bat bucket, there’s still LSU’s White and his power to consider. But Lomavita’s bat speed and athleticism could win the day over White, a college arm like Iowa's Brody Brecht or a high school bat like Theo Gillen.

23. Dodgers: Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa (No. 21)
The Dodgers aren’t afraid of high-upside arms of any kind, so this could be a landing spot for prep pitchers like William Schmidt or Kash Mayfield. Brecht has electric stuff and his command was better at the end of the year for Iowa. He gives off Bobby Miller-kind of vibes.

24. Braves: Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky (No. 39)
It’s wide open here, but the Braves are looking at the remaining college hitters and Waldschmidt is in play here. Even teams that think the teens might be too early to take the Kentucky outfielder believe he belongs or goes somewhere in this range of the first round.

25. Padres: Theo Gillen, SS/2B, Westlake HS, Texas (No. 27)
The Padres have taken a high school player with their first pick in the past seven Drafts, so why do something different now? It’s why they're often associated with the top prep arms (Schmidt, Mayfield) and bats (Gillen, Dillon Lindsey, Slade Caldwell).

26. Yankees: Tommy White, 3B, Louisiana State (No. 15)
If the Yankees decide they want an arm, Cijntje could be a good fit. But if they stick with a bat, they could look at Cijntje’s Mississippi State teammate, Dakota Jordan, or a power hitter like White, who hit 75 homers over three years of college ball.

27. Phillies: Jurrangelo Cijntje, SWP, Mississippi State (No. 31)
The Phillies have shown they’re not afraid of high school arms in the first round, but this go-round, I have them taking a college pitcher in Cijntje, who could end up as a Marcus Stromen-esque right-hander only at the next level.

28. Astros: Malcom Moore, C, Stanford (No. 24)
There’s a group of high school shortstops -- who outside of Gillen, I have going in the comp round this week -- who could come into play here. But the Astros could go the college performer route and look at Moore or Kansas State shortstop Kaelen Culpepper.

29. D-backs: Kaelen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State (No. 32)
Don’t be surprised if the D-backs use their multiple picks (three of the next seven) and spread the money around a little, going with a “safer” college bat first, then going aggressively after some high school talent with their next two selections.

30. Rangers: Kash Mayfield, LHP, Elk City HS, Okla. (No. 28)
Another team that hasn’t been afraid to go the prep route, the Rangers could be in on that group of high school shortstops or could look at Mayfield, who very easily could go higher than this.

Supplemental first-round picks
31. D-backs: William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS, La. (No. 12)
32. Orioles: Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS, Ark. (No. 22)
33. Twins: Wyatt Sanford, SS, Independence HS, Texas (No. 35)
34. Brewers: Griff O'Ferrall, SS, Virginia (No. 41)
35. D-backs: Kellon Lindsey, SS, Hardee Senior HS, Fla. (No. 30)
36. Guardians: Braylon Doughty, RHP, Chaparral HS, Calif. (No. 37)
37. Pirates: Carter Johnson, SS, Oxford HS, Ala. (No. 40)
38. Rockies: Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State (No. 29)
39. Royals: Tyson Lewis, SS, Millard West HS, Neb. (No. 46)