Latest mock draft features fresh intel from Draft Combine

June 21st, 2024

In last week’s mock draft, Jonathan Mayo noted that we were in “calm-before-the-storm" territory as we awaited the 2024 MLB Draft Combine. That’s no longer the case.

Our Draft experts (Mayo and Jim Callis) have been on site in Phoenix soaking up any and all Draft-related information they can.

In addition to the on-field workouts and measurements, the Combine gives clubs the opportunity to sit down and conduct face-to-face interviews with the top Draft prospects; many of the players projected to go in the upper rounds are only participating in that portion of the event.

The interviews allow scouts and talent evaluators to go beyond the on-field performance and dive into the makeup of each player on their big boards. In total, 171 members of MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200 and 22 of the first 30 prospects on that list are participating in the Combine.

While at the Combine this week, Mayo and Callis held their own first round of the Draft on the MLB Pipeline Podcast. They took turns making selections for clubs, taking who they thought the club would pick given the scenario presented, not who they would pick if it were up to them.

1. Guardians: Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State (No. 1)
Mayo: "The names here are: Bazzana, Charlie Condon, maybe cutting a deal with someone and saving money. But I'm sticking with the guy who is No. 1 on our Top 200 and that's Bazzana, who had a huge year for Oregon State.”

2. Reds: Charlie Condon, OF/3B, Georgia (No. 2)
Callis: “Bazzana and Condon are the top two players in the Draft. It doesn't necessarily mean they always go Nos. 1-2, but I think if Bazzana goes No. 1, it's an easy decision for the Reds. They could look at a pitcher, Chase Burns? Sure. Hagen Smith? Sure. I just think it's too easy. I think if the Reds take Charlie Condon, he hits 35-40 homers a year in their park.”

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3. Rockies: Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 5)
Mayo: “Had a huge year after transferring to Wake Forest, huge strikeout rates, threw more strikes. They took Chase Dollander a year ago. They know they need to develop arms from within -- it’s something they haven't been able to do and they're able to address that with another high pick here.”

4. A’s: Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida (No. 3)
Callis: “I think he's going to be a full-time hitter in pro ball. ... I think the one quibble you have with him is his chase rate. The last time I looked, I think his chase rate was like 39% and his strikeout rate was 8%, which is insane. Usually, you don't see that kind of gap, but he's so big, he covers the plate so well. So maybe he's just an outlier. But the power is huge."

5. White Sox: JJ Wetherholt, SS/2B, West Virginia (No. 7)
Mayo: “I've been hearing Wetherholt's name sort of anywhere in that 5-10 range. The thing that's interesting ... he had a hamstring injury. It was a recurring one that makes people a little nervous. If you are comfortable with the injury and think he's going to be fine once he gets to the next level ... there's not that much separating him from Travis Bazzana. He's got track record, he's hit, there's pop, he can run."

6. Royals: Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas (No. 6)
Callis: “He set the strikeout-per-nine record in college baseball this year at 17.3, Chase Burns right behind him is 17.2. Hagen Smith's a guy who could get to the big leagues really quick, so I think ... it will be tough for the Royals to pass up on him.”

7. Cardinals: Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M (No. 8)
Mayo: “Unfortunately, he had the ankle injury to end the season, but a really good year. We've mocked him as high as No. 4 repeatedly. So I won't even say that this is like, ‘Oh, he's sliding.’ It's just the way we lined them up, and I think he could go anywhere in that No. 4-7 or 8 range.”

8. Angels: Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina (No. 11)
Callis: “They've taken hitters that have gone to the big leagues [really quickly] with their last couple of first-round picks. They also rushed Ben Joyce and Victor Mederos there, Sam Bachman got up there pretty quickly. Trey Yesavage is a guy who could be in the rotation at some point next year.”

9. Pirates: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest (No. 4)
Mayo: “We always talked about like, ‘Oh, you don't draft for need at the big league level,' but they have no first basemen anywhere in the system. ... It's not like Nick Kurtz is going to walk in and be their starting first baseman Opening Day next year, but this is something that they actually have a need for. If he's there at No. 9, I think there's going to be a good argument to be had between the Kurtz and the top two high school guys -- Konnor Griffin and Bryce Rainer.”

10. Nationals: Konnor Griffin, SS/OF, Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss. (No. 9)
Callis: “There are teams who question the swing and how well it's going to play against big league pitching, but in terms of ceiling, I think he's got the highest ceiling the Draft. You're talking a potential 30-30 guy who could be a plus defender at shortstop or a Gold Glove center fielder.”

11. Tigers: Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake, Calif. (No. 10)
Mayo: “In this scenario, they'll take whichever high school player the Nationals don't. ... There are some scouting directors who like Rainer over Griffin because they feel more confident in his ability to hit.”

12. Red Sox: Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee (No. 25)
Callis: “Hit for the cycle [in the Men’s College World Series] and threw in an extra double, the key to a big comeback in the ninth inning. He has 33 home runs. ... I think the Red Sox are taking a college bat.”

13. Giants: Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS, Ariz. (No. 17)
Mayo: “I don't know that I have heard a stronger connection than Cam Caminiti and the Giants. Now a lot of times that ends up being smoke and mirrors and they may not be, but the amount of other teams who have told me, ‘Oh, Caminiti won't get past the Giants.’ So in this case, I'm not having him get past the Giants.”

14. Cubs: James Tibbs, OF, Florida State (No. 16)
Callis: “They need pitching more than hitting, but you take the best guy and I think they're going to go James Tibbs. ... I don't think he's necessarily going to get [to the Cubs' pick]. One of the best hitters -- and has power as well -- in the college ranks.”

15. Mariners: Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State (No. 14)
Mayo: “Sophomore eligible, had a rough freshman year, then hit well over the summer and continued hitting [into the college season]. The hit tool has been very impressive with more than enough power for the corner spot.”

16. Marlins: Seaver King, 3B/OF, Wake Forest (No. 13)
Callis: “Transferred to Wake this year. Solid year. Versatile player. He's played short, second, third, center field. I wonder if he winds up at center field rather than the infield. Really good bat-to-ball skills, needs to walk down the approach a little more. He's one of those guys who swings at pitches he shouldn't and puts them in play. So it's not swing-and-miss concerns, but he can make a higher quality of contact.”

17. Brewers: Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State (No. 19)
Mayo: “A lot of these names are kind of interchangeable. Jim and I are at the point now where we’re talking to teams all the time, and it's either, ‘Yeah, in this scenario, I guess I would consider him’ or like, ‘Hey, is there any chance this guy could get down to me from this same bucket?' And Benge is in that bucket.”

18. Rays: Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky (No. 39)
Callis: “Interesting guy. Came back from a knee injury this year, got off to a slow start and once he got fully healthy, started just making a ton of hard contact. Runs well; I think some teams might give him a chance to try to play center field even though he plays left field at Kentucky.”

19. Mets: Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina (No. 20)
Mayo: “Vance Honeycutt remains one of the toughest guys to place because from a pure raw toolset [perspective]. He probably belongs in the top 10 at least, and in a lot of ways he's performing. ... The strikeout rate will scare certain teams off. There will be teams that won't consider him. The Mets aren't one of those teams.”

20. Blue Jays: Tommy White, 3B, Louisiana State (No. 15)
Callis: “Huge Combine the first year, really hit the ball hard, and he's continued to do so in three years in college at NC State and LSU. He wound up hitting 75 home runs in three seasons.”

21. Twins: Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee (No. 26)
Mayo: “He had an appendectomy and missed a lot of time. Probably wasn't at full strength when he came back, but he showed what he's capable of doing. I think whoever takes Amick in this range might end up getting a really nice steal because there's some really nice all-around tools for a third baseman here.”

22. Orioles: Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa (No. 21)
Callis: “There's some risks because he doesn't have a lot of consistency in terms of throwing strikes. He also has only been playing baseball full-time for like a year and a half. ... He doesn't have five pitches like Paul Skenes, but the fastball-slider combination are similar to Paul Skenes. It's that overpowering. He doesn't have the command. He doesn't have the rest of it to go with it.”

23. Dodgers: William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS, La. (No. 12)
Mayo: “William Schmidt is our top-ranked high school arm overall, but has been really kind of hard to place. Haven't found the team that's like, ‘Yes, I'm on him.’ In some ways people seem more interested in some of the other high school arms. Signability [difficulties] might come into play, but the Dodgers are not afraid of high school arms.”

24. Braves: Jurrangelo Cijntje, RHP/LHP, Mississippi State (No. 31)
Callis: “I would make him a full-time right-handed pitcher. I think he's basically a right-handed starter and a lefty reliever in one. The idea would be that if you made him a full-time right-handed pitcher, he might get even better because he's focusing on developing those pitches even more.”

25. Padres: Kash Mayfield, LHP, Elk City HS, Okla. (No. 28)
Mayo: “It's [seven] straight Drafts that the Padres have taken a high school player with their first pick. So I have them taking lefty Kash Mayfield.”

26. Yankees: Kaelen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State (No. 32)
Callis: “Promising bat, you want to see a little bit more game power out of him. Probably moves to third base in the long term, but it's a Gold Glove potential third base.”

27. Phillies: Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS, Ark. (No. 22)
Mayo: “They got Aidan Miller right at this stage of the Draft a year ago, and I’m going to have them go high school bat again.”

28. Astros: Theo Gillen, SS/2B, Westlake HS, Austin, Texas (No. 27)
Callis: “He can hit for average, hit for power, he runs well. Had shoulder surgery, his arm hasn't bounced back, so he's probably not going to stay at shortstop. But if you told me Theo Gillen went 10 ticks higher, I could see it.”

29. D-backs: Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford (No. 24)
Mayo: “If you look at his numbers, they don't stand out, but a lot of the underlying data was very good. He’s still hitting the ball hard. There's power there. The catching has gotten better.”

30. Rangers: Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston (No. 23)
Callis: “You can debate the college catchers in different orders ... but I think you get average hit, average power, average-to-solid arm, average -- maybe a little bit better -- defense.”