Latest mock: Just over a week out, who will go No. 1 in '24 Draft?

July 4th, 2024

We’re getting closer to crunch time, with the 2024 Draft just a little over a week away. I love this time of year because I get to use the word "penultimate."

As in, this is my penultimate mock draft of 2024. Jim Callis will have one a week from now, then we will both do a final projection of the top 39 picks late Saturday night so everyone can digest it Sunday morning before the Draft festivities begin in Texas at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT).

I’d love to report that we’ve got it all figured out, but we’re not quite there yet. There is definitely more intel on which players each team likes (though the Guardians still remain very, very tight-lipped). But as Jim noted in his mock last week, it’s the money that’s largely being figured out now. That and the medical reports being digested will really help determine who goes where. This week’s projection is a snapshot of how it could go down, with hopes that we’ll have even more concrete information for that final mock right before the Draft.

The Day 1 preview show will begin at 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT) followed by the Draft on MLB Network and ESPN, and can also be viewed on MLB.TV, and in the MLB App.

1. Guardians: Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State (No. 1)
The Guardians are rightfully doing due diligence on a pretty wide range of players still, so they can adjust as they continue to get information about what players will sign for. As we discussed on this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, I conducted a survey of scouting directors included in this week’s newsletter on who they thought Cleveland will take. Bazzana received 15 of the 20 votes, one of the reasons why he remains in this spot this week. But West Virginia’s JJ Wetherholt did get four votes, with many teams following the logic that Wetherholt will cost less, and if you’re confident his hamstrings won’t be an issue, there isn’t that much separation between the two infielders. Georgia’s Charlie Condon got the other vote as the perception that he won’t take any kind of discount continues to lessen buzz around him going at the top.

2. Reds: Charlie Condon, OF/3B, Georgia (No. 2)
It sounds like the debate is continuing in Cincinnati about which college player to take here. I’m going with Condon, but Florida’s Jac Caglianone is very much in the mix. Wake Forest’s Chase Burns is in the conversation if they’re looking at pitching, with Arkansas lefty Hagen Smith not completely out of that picture either.

3. Rockies: Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida (No. 3)
I’m going according to chalk here, the top three players going in the top three spots. It does seem like the hitters are in the lead, though Burns and Smith (in that order) are still being discussed. The Rockies might also kick the tires on cutting a deal with one of the college hitters projected to go more in the middle of the first round, someone like Oklahoma State’s Carson Benge.

4. A’s: Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M (No. 8)
While this is likely Bazzana’s floor (and landing spot if he doesn’t go 1-1), he’s off the board in this scenario. That leaves the A’s to look at other college options with Montgomery, Wetherholt and Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz the bats and Burns and Smith the arms under consideration.

5. White Sox: JJ Wetherholt, SS/2B, West Virginia (No. 4)
If he doesn’t go No. 1, this could be a very good landing spot for the middle infielder, though the White Sox are also digging into Kurtz, Smith and Burns on the college side along with the top two high school hitters -- Konnor Griffin and Bryce Rainer.

6. Royals: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest (No. 7)
While there’s still the possibility the Royals go for one of the college arms here, with Smith having the edge over Burns, Kurtz’s legit big league power might be too much for them to pass up and would get to Kansas City faster than one of the prep bats available they might also be considering.

7. Cardinals: Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas (No. 5)
This seems to be a spot where college arms land, though they might still be interested in one of the college bats taken above, with Smith getting the edge over Burns this week.

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8. Angels: Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 6)
The Angels have gone with the “quick to the big leagues” college hitter the past two Drafts in the first round, and they could still do that and save money with some of the hitters you’ll see below. But it might be very hard to look past Burns’ frontline starter potential, and he also might not take long before being ready to get big league hitters out.

9. Pirates: James Tibbs, OF, Florida State (No. 12)
If they want to go the high school hitter route, the Pirates will definitely consider Griffin or Rainer here. They’ll also consider Tennessee's Christian Moore as an alternative college bat and East Carolina right-hander Trey Yesavage should they shift focus to a college pitcher.

10. Nationals: Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake, Calif. (No. 10)
While Rainer certainly could go higher than this, it seems like he wouldn’t go much beyond here as the high school scouts seem to feel has the best pure hit tool. It’s certainly not out of the question that the Nats go with the toolsy Griffin, allowing Rainer to go next.

11. Tigers: Konnor Griffin, SS/OF, Jackson Prep, Miss. (No. 9)
This is a spot that keeps getting high school buzz, with a strong chance they’ll take whichever of the top prep bats is still available. It’s also the first spot high school lefty Cam Caminiti has been mentioned.

12. Red Sox: Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee (No. 13)
The Red Sox would love it for one of the dozen players selected above to reach them, and let’s face it, that usually happens. But in this scenario, Moore appears to be the best of the next group that is very college-hitter heavy. Boston might also look at Florida State’s Cam Smith from that demographic or Yesavage from the college arm bucket.

13. Giants: Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS, Ariz. (No. 15)
This connection is made so often it’s almost impossible to believe it, but there is interest for sure. They could also look at Yesavage or one of the remaining college bats like Smith, Benge, North Carolina’s Vance Honeycutt or LSU’s Tommy White.

14. Cubs: Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina (No. 11)
The Cubs appear to be leaning college here, with the arm getting the nod for right now over hitters like Smith, Honeycutt and Wake Forest’s Seaver King.

15. Mariners: Seaver King, 3B/OF, Wake Forest (No. 17)
This could be the end of the three-year run of high school hitters taken by the Mariners in the first round, but King could be the choice if they still want a bat. It could be a good debate in the Draft room between him and Mississippi State switch-pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje, while Illinois prep right-hander Ryan Sloan is still in the mix.

16. Marlins: Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State (No. 14)
The Marlins are still sending out college hitter vibes with Smith being considered along with Benge and Kentucky’s Ryan Waldschmidt. If they shift to arms, it sounds like it could be Cijntje from the college set or Sloan if they go with a high schooler as they did last year.

17. Brewers: Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina (No. 22)
More college bats here, with Honeycutt and Benge having an edge right now over White.

18. Rays: Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State (No. 18)
Sticking with the theme here, with Benge the choice over Waldschmidt. Cijntje and Sloan are also in the mix.

19. Mets: Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS, Ark. (No. 27)
This has long been another college hitter landing spot, and they still could consider hitters like Mississippi State’s Dakota Jordan or Kansas State’s Kaelen Culpepper, but there’s more buzz that things might be leaning toward high school hitting, with Caldwell joining prep shortstops like Theo Gillen or Kellon Lindsey atop their board. Caldwell might only be 5-foot-9, but the Mets haven’t shied away from undersized prep bats in the past (see Williams, Jett).

20. Blue Jays: Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky (No. 23)
The Blue Jays prefer a hitter in this spot and wouldn’t be upset if one of the ones just taken slips down to them. Waldschmidt could lead a pack that includes White and Sam Houston catcher Walker Janek.

21. Twins: Kaelen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State (No. 31)
So many college hitters, with the Twins potentially favoring Culpepper or Tennessee third baseman Billy Amick over someone like White in this spot.

22. Orioles: Caleb Lomavita, C, California (No. 33)
It’s possible the O’s would love for Lomavita to be available with their next pick at 32, but he might not be there, so we’ll give him the edge over the other college hitters still available or pitchers like Cijntje or Iowa’s Brody Brecht.

23. Dodgers: William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS, La. (No. 16)
The Dodgers appear to want an arm here, and there’s some internal support for Schmidt, the top-ranked high school right-hander in our Top 250. Brecht could be the choice if they opt for a college pitcher.

24. Braves: Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa (No. 21)
The hard-throwing Brecht gets the nod over Cijntje from the college pitching sector. If they want a high school pitcher, California prepster Braylon Doughty’s name comes up quite a bit here.

25. Padres: Ryan Sloan, RHP, York HS, Ill. (No. 19)
Maybe it’s too easy to slot in a high schooler here since the Padres (as both Jim and I have said numerous times) have gone that route with their last eight first-rounders. But I’m doing it anyway, with the Padres able to choose from a group that includes Sloan, Doughty and lefty Kash Mayfield on the pitching side and Lindsey or Gillen among the hitters.

26. Yankees: Jurrangelo Cijntje, RHP/LHP, Mississippi State (No. 25)
This could be a terrific scenario for the Yankees, who sound like they do prefer an arm and like Cijntje. They could also consider Doughty on the prep side, stick at Mississippi State with Jordan or go to LSU and White if they opt for a college hitter.

27. Phillies: Tommy White, 3B, Louisiana State (No. 20)
The Phillies have taken high schoolers in the first round four years in a row, but could this year break the streak? A spirited conversation over a college bat like White vs. high school hitters like Gillen and Lindsey or a prep arm like Mayfield or Doughty will likely take place.

28. Astros: Theo Gillen, SS/2B, Westlake HS, Texas (No. 28)
Right now, a prep infielder like Gillen might have the edge over the college catchers (Janek and Stanford’s Malcolm Moore) or an infielder like Amick.

29. D-backs: Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford (No. 26)
The D-backs have a lot of picks coming up here and can mix and match how they please. Left-handed-hitting catchers are often a hot commodity and Moore’s name does pop up all over the end of the first round and sandwich round.

30. Rangers: Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston (No. 24)
The three college catchers could go in any order in the back half of the first round, and both Lomavita and Janek’s names pop up in conversations even higher than that.

31. D-backs: Kellon Lindsey, SS, Hardee Senior HS, Fla. (No. 29)
32. Orioles: Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee (No. 32)
33. Twins: Wyatt Sanford, SS, Independence HS, Texas (No. 35)
34. Brewers: Griff O'Ferrall, SS, Virginia (No. 38)
35. D-backs: Kash Mayfield, LHP, Elk City HS, Okla. (No. 30)
36. Guardians: Braylon Doughty, RHP, Chaparral HS, Calif. (No. 36)
37. Pirates: Bryce Meccage, RHP, The Pennington School, N.J. (No. 51)
38. Rockies: Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State (No. 34)
39. Royals: PJ Morlando, OF, Summerville HS, S.C. (No. 43)