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2024 MLB Mock Draft 4.0: Projecting The Top 39 Picks


We’re in the home stretch as we approach draft day.

Many scouting departments recently had end-of-season meetings. The fourth-annual draft combine takes place this week. The College World Series is ongoing and college summer leagues are starting to kick off. With some rumblings in the industry starting to happen, it’s time for Mock Draft V 4.0. 

The word of the week for many in the industry is “deals.” 

No, it’s not Black Friday shopping, but teams and agents alike are wondering how different clubs will treat the 2024 slot values in the midst of a muddled top of the class and below-average group overall. There’s an expectation that for many clubs, those factors will lead to lots of under-slot deals in the first round and potentially even inside the top 10 picks. Whether that’s simply teams trying to create leverage among their preferred targets, or a truly miserly approach to their signings, is an open question. 

The 2023 draft—one of the most talented in recent memory—featured 18 under-slot deals among the first 30 picks, compared to just five slot deals and seven over-slot deals. There were six under-slot deals inside the top 10 picks, one slot deal and three over-slot deals. Paul Skenes, the Pirates first overall pick, signed for a record $9.2 million bonus that was still more than $500,000 shy of the $9,721,000 pick value.

The slot values for the 2024 draft have increased 8.7% and the 2024 draft has a 1-1 slot valuation of $10,570,600. In an uncapped amateur acquisition system, all of the top players in the class would be worth more than $10 million, but it also feels unlikely that a player in the 2024 class will break Skenes’ bonus record by upwards of $1.3 million. It feels even more unlikely that three players in this class will sign for more than $9 million (each of the first three picks come with slot values beyond the $9 million mark) after only Skenes and LSU teammate Dylan Crews eclipsed that mark as the top two players in the excellent 2023 draft. They are the only players in draft history to sign for $9 million or more. 

So in today’s mock we’ll explore potential deal-cutting picks that could actually happen on draft day and see what sort of ripple effects they create down the board.

1. Guardians — JJ Wetherholt, SS, West Virginia

In our previous mock, I said to not count out Wetherholt to the Guardians. I’ve only heard more buzz about this as a real possibility in recent weeks—even if I would probably still lean toward Travis Bazzana or Charlie Condon (in that order) if this was my final mock. 

If Wetherholt’s camp feels like there’s a real chance he slides into the 4-10 range of the draft it could make sense for him to take a deal with the Guardians and secure a bigger bonus. In 2021, the Pirates signed Henry Davis to around $1.9 million under slot as the first overall pick. Using that template here and rounding up to an even $2 million, what if Wetherholt got an $8.5 million deal? That’s greater than slot value for every pick beyond the first three. It would also still be good for the third-largest bonus in draft history.

For Cleveland it allows them to still have around $10.7 million in bonus pool money to spend for the rest of the draft—assuming Cleveland goes to the full 5% overage, which feels like a safe bet given their history of doing so. That $10.7 million figure is more than the total bonus pools for 16 teams this year. This could help the Guardians drive a mid-first-round talent to their next pick at No. 36. More on who that could be below. 

2. Reds — Charlie Condon, OF, Georgia

There has been some talk of the Reds hunting deals as well. Would that be enough for them to pass on their choice of the top two players in the class with the second overall pick? I wouldn’t think so, but I also feel less confidence in that today than several weeks ago. There’s been some thought in the industry recently that the Reds might prefer Bazzana over Condon, though their previous drafts and player tendencies make me think Condon is still more likely if they get to decide between the two. 

I view the Reds as a team that’s more willing to go over slot than most after they did so with deals for Matt McLain in 2021 and Cam Collier in 2022. However, both of those were with picks in the middle of the first round. In last year’s draft picking seventh, they did save more than $500,000 with Rhett Lowder. 

3. Rockies — Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest

The Rockies have been linked to arms more than most teams inside the top five for the majority of the spring. In this scenario they have their pick of the class, but I’m not sure how they view those arms compared to Condon or Bazzana if they make it this far. Bazzana is still on the board here, but I’ll stick with an arm they have been heavily tied to this spring in Chase Burns, who has some of the most high-octane pure stuff in the class. 

Last year’s first-round pick, Chase Dollander, has pitched well so far in 2024 at High-A and is looking like a savvy pick. Burns’ arm talent is simply more difficult for a team like the Rockies to acquire outside of the draft. For the same reasons, Arkansas lefthander Hagen Smith also makes plenty of sense and it’s hard to discount Florida’s Jac Caglianone as well. 

4. A’s — Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State

While the Rockies are linked with pitchers, it has mostly been hitting profiles discussed for the A’s which should mean most of the top-tier college hitters are in play for this pick—though I have heard less discussion about a high school bat like Bryce Rainer or Konnor Griffin quite this high. If that’s actually the case, the A’s might be thrilled with a chance to get Bazzana here. Many scouts consider him the top overall prospect in the class. 

His defensive profile at second creates some polarizing thoughts throughout the industry. It’s just rare for a 6-foot second baseman to go in this range of the draft. But Bazzana’s pure hitting chops are extensive, his contact skills are excellent and he’s also a standout athlete who should be able to maximize his raw power. If Bazzana or Condon don’t make it here, I could see the team considering each of the college bats still on the board: Montgomery, Caglianone and Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz.

5. White Sox — Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida

I continue to hear mostly college profiles linked with the White Sox. Some in the industry speculate Chicago would be happy with a hitter or a pitcher. That means in this scenario each of Caglianone, Kurtz and the two top pitchers in the class, Burns and Smith, should be real options here. Traditionally a college-heavy team, Chicago’s success with prep profiles like Noah Schultz and Colson Montgomery in recent years could embolden the White Sox to take a shot on the Konnor Griffins and Bryce Rainers of the world. However, I start to hear the high school players mentioned more after this pick, even if I expect Chicago to still be casting a fairly wide net.

Caglianone has the best raw power in the class. He has too many real fits in the draft among the top six picks or so to expect him to fall much further than this. Plenty of teams seem to be all-in on his upside potential despite an aggressive approach at the plate. 

6. Royals — Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas

In this iteration of the mock, the Royals have their pick of the top high school players in the class as well as Kurtz and Montgomery. Folks in the industry believe this scenario is a real possibility and one that would potentially leave Kansas City with plenty of options they like. Many in the industry believe this is the first likely landing spot for either Bryce Rainer or Konnor Griffin. I would lean Rainer over Griffin if that’s the demographic they opt for. 

While there’s a common feeling in the industry that Chase Burns is more likely to get off the board before Hagen Smith, I wonder if the Royals would prefer Smith even if Burns were also available. Like Burns, he’s a potential fast-moving arm who could help reinforce a competitive big league team quickly. Smith’s fastball/slider combo is as good it gets and his 17-strikeout performance against Oregon State at Globe Life Field is hard to forget. 

7. Cardinals — Bryce Rainer, SS/RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.

It’ll be fascinating to see how the Cardinals pick at the top of the draft. This will be just the third time in the last 30 years the organization has picked inside the top 10 picks. Each of the top high school hitters in the class have been linked to the Cardinals recently. Rainer has become a slight favorite to be the first prep hitter off the board, so he’s the pick in this scenario. 

I wouldn’t rule out Nick Kurtz, though, especially since Paul Goldschmidt is finally showing signs that age does in fact affect him. Kurtz’s blend of hitting ability, power and batting eye is solidly the best available offensive package on the board at this point. Despite what sounds like a relatively safe profile, the Cardinals might have their pick of relatively risky options when considering the track record of first-round first baseman, high schoolers with some hit questions and Montgomery, who now has a minor injury but the worst pure contact skills of the top tier of college bats.

8. Angels — Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M

In this scenario the Angels have their pick of Montgomery, Konnor Griffin and Nick Kurtz among the remaining players of the “Big 10” that have separated themselves from the rest of the class. (Or the “Big 11,” if you count ECU’s Trey Yesavage, which I find myself doing.) Kurtz has the ability to move quickly to the majors if the Angels are intent on maintaining that strategy. Would they pass on him simply because they took Nolan Schanuel a year ago? Kurtz is the better prospect so I wouldn’t expect that. 

It doesn’t sound like Montgomery’s stock will be too heavily impacted by his late-season ankle injury that will keep him out of the College World Series. He brings an exciting power bat from both sides of the plate with prototypical right field tools including one of the best throwing arms in the class. That said, he’s starting to feel like more of a 5-10 type than a top-five player. I wouldn’t count out Yesavage for this spot and there’s plenty of buzz about under-slot options. 

9. Pirates — Konnor Griffin, OF/SS, Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.

This is another spot where the high school hitters are both mentioned with frequency. With Rainer off the board to the Royals, I’ll have Griffin as the pick for the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s system is loaded with pitching and could use some offensive reinforcements. Griffin has superstar potential if he hits. He’s probably the toolsiest individual player in the class with a chance to play multiple premium defensive positions and has 70-grade speed, plus arm strength and plus raw power. It’s a different profile than the Pirates have targeted with each of their previous top-10 overall picks but he certainly fits on talent. 

10. Nationals — Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest

I would expect the Nationals to be in on both high school hitters if either make it to the 10th overall pick. People in the industry think the Nationals have scouted those players as deeply and intensely as any organization in the game. In this scenario, though, they don’t get a chance at either. The best options on the board would be the complete offensive profile that Kurtz offers or the best available pitcher on the board—East Carolina’s Trey Yesavage. I’ll go with Kurtz, who shares some offensive traits that some of Washington’s new decision makers previously seemed to like when they were with Baltimore. 

11. Tigers — Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.

While Yesavage is the top-ranked pitcher available on the board, Detroit has been linked heavily with Caminiti. He seems to have a number of potential landing spots in the 10-15 range. Given his age, I would assume the Guardians might love an opportunity to pay him over slot with their second pick, but I just don’t see him getting that far down the board with the heat he’s earning in the middle of the first. Caminiti has a power fastball, great athleticism and was consistently electric this spring with mixed opinions on the quality of his breaking stuff. There’s big-time upside and a lot to dream on here. 

12. Red Sox — Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina

Honeycutt is a polarizing profile who offers big-time upside and big-time risk, but his postseason performance has him moving up draft boards and he’s probably tool-for-tool the best player available. The Red Sox might be hoping one of the elite college hitters falls just a few spots to them with this pick. It will only take a surprise or two for that to actually happen. In this scenario, they could consider Honeycutt, Yesavage and other college hitters like Christian Moore, James Tibbs III, Cam Smith and perhaps Carson Benge. 

13. Giants — Trey Yesavage, RHP, ECU

Yesavage has real suitors as far up as the back of the top 10 and throughout the middle of the first round. He’s in a tier of his own on the college pitching side once Chase Burns and Hagen Smith are off the board. I would expect him to go toward the higher range of his realistic outcomes than the bottom. There simply aren’t a lot of other appealing options at his demographic. He’s got high-quality stuff, a long track record as a starter, a deep arsenal and throws plenty of strikes. The Giants also drafted Honeycutt out of high school so if he’s available he could be a fit.

14. Cubs — Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee

The two names with the most first-round helium at the moment are Honeycutt and Moore. They both have continued to show off their offensive firepower in the NCAA tournament. Moore recently hit for the second cycle ever in the College World Series and has been arguably the third-best hitter in the SEC after Charlie Condon and Jac Caglianone. He’s at 33 home runs and counting and has three excellent years of SEC track record with Tennessee, which a club like Chicago might value highly. He also has a chance for a better defensive profile than many corner options on the board.

15. Mariners — James Tibbs III, OF, Florida State

If Yesavage is still on the board here I would expect this to be nearing his realistic floor. With him off the board there are mostly college hitters as favorites and perhaps this is the high-water mark for a pitcher like Mississippi State’s Jurrangelo Cijntje. Prep outfielder Slade Caldwell could be a fit for Seattle, but would 15 be a tick too high? He’s getting more late first/early comp buzz currently. Tibbs III is the ACC player of the year and the best pure hitter on the board with solid power but a no-doubt corner profile. 

16. Marlins — Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State

Both of the FSU hitters are getting lots of traction in the middle of the first round. Both could push much closer toward the top 10 picks than where I have them in this mock. The industry keeps linking the Marlins to hitters, which I would perhaps buy into a bit more if the same hadn’t been said a year ago before they drafted two high school pitchers with their first two picks. Miami’s new scouting director, Frankie Piliere, was previously Seattle’s assistant scouting director. Unsurprisingly many are linking both clubs with the same names at Nos. 15 and 16.

17. Brewers — Jurrangelo Cijntje, BHP, Mississippi State

Cijntje’s name becomes more commonly discussed once we enter the second half of the first round. If teams believe he’s the next college arm up after Yesavage, he should have plenty of landing spots from 15-25 or so. All of the college hitters on the board could make sense for Milwaukee—Seaver King, Caleb Lomavita, Carson Benge, Tommy White—and I can’t stop myself from thinking about high school righthander William Schmidt as a fit for them, though the Brewers have taken college players in the first round in each of their last five drafts. 

18. Rays — Seaver King, SS, Wake Forest

The Rays are consistently the most difficult team for me to figure out in these mock drafts, both because they consistently pick in the second half of the first round and because they seemingly are in on all sorts of demographics and player profiles. How about an athletic and tooled up shortstop like King who has standout exit velocity data for his size? King’s bat-to-ball skills are impressive and he has defensive versatility. He could stand to refine his approach a bit more in pro ball. 

19. Mets — Tommy White, 3B, LSU

The Mets have targeted up-the-middle profiles with each of their last four first-round hitters. But when does Tommy White’s pure contact skills, power and three-year track record of standout offensive performance become too much to pass up? I’m thinking it’s around this point in the draft or soon after in the early 20s. Other college names like Caleb Lomavita and Carson Benge are potential options as well. 

20. Blue Jays — Caleb Lomavita, C, California

Lomavita’s name has been quite buzzy in the last week or so. Some teams in the industry expect him to land in the 15-20 range, or even higher up on a potential deal. He does a lot of things well between his contact skills, athleticism and defensive work behind the plate. There’s some thinking that his one real area of weakness (patience with swing decisions) will be an easier player development fix than most.

21. Twins — Carson Benge, OF/RHP, Oklahoma State

There’s a real chance Benge doesn’t make it this far considering how frequently his name is mentioned with teams in the 12-20 range. In this scenario, I’ve got the athletic and toolsy outfielder falling to 21. He’s got an appealing combination of power, patience and speed with a legitimate fallback option as a pitcher if the bat doesn’t work out.

22. Orioles — Theo Gillen, SS, Westlake HS, Austin, Tex.

Gillen should be in play throughout the entire second half of the first round. After the Konnor Griffin/Bryce Rainer duo, he’s probably the most talked about prep hitter in the class. He’s offense-first with impressive pure hitting ability and power, with plus speed that should allow him to stick at an up-the-middle defensive position even if he has to move off shortstop. 

23. Dodgers — Kash Mayfield, LHP, Elk City (Okla.) HS

The Dodgers lack a second and fifth-round pick and have less overall pool money than any team except the Astros. Seeing how that impacts their draft strategy will be fascinating. If they really like a player who’s viewed as a consensus top-three round talent they might have to take that player here to ensure they get him. We do view Mayfield as a legitimate first-round talent and think there could be some interest from the Dodgers. 

24. Braves — Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky

It’s getting difficult to pinpoint player/team connections in this range but after mocking Waldschmidt to the Braves in our last mock I got some feedback that makes me want to just stick with him here. He’s a data darling who many decision makers view as a safe college hitting profile and basically a lock to go in the first round after his standout 2024 season. 

25. Padres — Ryan Sloan, RHP, York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.

I imagine the Padres are less interested in college corner profiles like Ryan Waldschmidt and Tommy White even if they are available. San Diego has clear scouting tendencies and prefers athletes, tools and upside. They have taken a high school player with their first pick in every draft dating back to MacKenzie Gore in 2017. Sloan has had a tremendous finish to his high school season, has been up to 100 mph and could go anywhere in the second half of the first round.

26. Yankees — Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State

A big power hitter with strikeout questions to the Yankees. A bit uninspired, right? Perhaps, but I don’t have the same sort of obvious Spencer Jones/Anthony Volpe connection to the team at this stage that I have had in previous years. A lot of the high school shortstops who start to become fits on the board could make sense, and it’s also been a while since New York has gone with a pitcher with their first overall pick (Clarke Schmidt in 2017). 

27. Phillies — Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa

Brecht might have too much arm talent to fall entirely out of the first round. His exact profile fits with plenty of the arms the Phillies have taken in recent years. The team has done a nice job helping 2023 sixth-rounder George Klassen throw strikes in his first year in pro ball. If they can do the same with Brecht there’s front-of-the-rotation upside to be had. 

28. Astros — Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee

Amick’s raw power should have him as a target for many teams throughout the 20s. Will his strikeouts and defensive profile questions push him toward the bottom of that range? Potentially, but the Astros clearly weren’t put off by Brice Matthews’ strikeout questions a year ago and he’s looked great this spring in pro ball. Tennessee has a solid shot to wind up with multiple first-rounders this year between Amick and Christian Moore. 

29. D-backs — Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston State

Janek could come off the board 10 spots higher than this, but it’s tough to separate essentially all of the players in the college class from about the 15th spot in this year’s draft. In Janek, the D-backs would acquire the best catch-and-throw backstop in this year’s class, making him a high-probability big leaguer. He also just hit .368/.480/.714 with 17 home runs in a career-best offensive season. 

30. Rangers — Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford

Texas gets tied to a lot of players who I simply don’t expect to make it this far down on the board, like Trey Yesavage and Caleb Lomavita. They also don’t have the sort of bonus pool capital that can force the action to them. It sounds like they could have some interest in Moore, who fits more in this range of the board on talent. There are interesting prep shortstops and pitchers who could fit here as well.

31. D-backs — Kellon Lindsey, SS/OF, Hardee HS, Wauchula, Fla.

Lindsey has a few potential landing spots in the back of the first round, but I have a few high school pitchers going in spots where I think he could be a fit and instead sliding to the D-backs here with all their extra bonus pool money.

32. Orioles — Kaelen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State

Culpepper is a steady eddy type with no overwhelming carrying tools. The fact that he’s played shortstop all spring could easily push him into the first round. I’ve got him slipping just a bit from that in this iteration of the mock, but think the Orioles could be interested.

33. Twins — Wyatt Sanford, SS, Independence HS, Frisco, Texas

This pick would be a bit reminiscent of the Twins taking Noah Miller in the supplemental first round back in 2021. Sanford is probably the best defensive shortstop in the class and was a standout all spring. 

34. Brewers — William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS, Baton Rouge, La.

I wanted to pair Schmidt with the Brewers at 17 so if he’s still available here in the comp and waiting for an over-slot deal why not? This lands the Brewers the top prep arm in the class. 

35. D-Backs — Tyson Lewis, SS, Millard West HS, Omaha, Neb.

Lewis is an exciting athlete from the midwest who had a stellar spring season. He’s got plus speed now and a chance for above-average power. 

36. Guardians — Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS, Jonesboro, Ark.

The entire rationale of the 1-1 Wetherholt pick was to save money to put toward another impact talent at 36. Initially I thought about targets being Cam Caminiti and William Schmidt because they are high school pitchers—typically the easiest profile to float down the board—but couldn’t convince myself that either made it quite this far. 

That’s the risk with the strategy. But Caldwell would also be a great fit on talent as a mid-first type value and because he’s young for the class with contact skills the Guardians always covet. If Cleveland simply stacked the $2 million in savings onto this slot that I theorized for the Wetherholt pick, that would add up to about a $4.57 million deal that would top slot value of any pick in the 17-35 range. 

37. Pirates — Bryce Meccage, RHP, The Pennington (N.J.) HS

Meccage can really spin it and it sounds like the Pirates have been one of the teams scouting him heavily this spring. His uncle Justin is the bullpen coach for the Pirates.

38. Rockies — Jonathan Santucci, LHP, Duke

Santucci has first-round arm talent but command questions surfaced throughout the spring that could push him out of the first round, where the Rockies might happily scoop him up if they still want to acquire more college arms. 

39. Royals — Dax Whitney, RHP, Blackfoot (Idaho) HS

Whitney was a big-time helium name out of the Northwest. He could become the second-highest drafted high schooler out of Idaho ever. Righthander Mike Garman was the third overall pick for the Red Sox back in 1967. He is currently the only prepster out of the state to be selected in the first or second round of the draft.

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