2024 MLB Mock Draft 1.0

College stars and mashing prep bats litter the first round in Just Baseball's first mock draft of the 2024 cycle.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 26: Nick Kurtz #8 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first inning during the ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on May 26, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

As the college baseball season and most prep seasons approach, MLB Draft conversation starts to pick up a little bit. Of course, with so much more baseball to be played by draft-eligible players, there will surely be plenty of movement when it comes to draft boards before mid July.

That said, our early mock drafts will have a bit more projection sprinkled in as teams are too early in their own process to dig into where certain other teams may be focused. If a player is selected a bit higher or lower in our mock than what may be anticipated, there’s likely some predictors based into that. We will be updating our mock drafts monthly as the draft approaches.

1. Guardians: JJ Wetherholt – 2B (West Virginia)

A quick and compact strike from the left side, Wetherholt boasts plus plus bat speed and elite bat-to-ball skills. His polish shined through immediately, hitting .308 as a freshman at WVU before blossoming into one of the best hitters in the country in 2023.

He saw his 90th percentile exit velocity jump to 105 MPH while still boasting the quickness and adjustability to get to pitches in any spot. The result was a .449/.517/.787 line with more walks than strikeouts. He’s limited to a good defensive second base with above average speed on the base paths. Being a non-premium defender places a bit more importance on the offensive side of things, but he’s arguably the best pure hitter in the class with above average power and knowledge of the strike zone. Wetherholt provides a rare floor/ceiling combination.

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2. Reds: Nick Kurtz – 1B (Wake Forest)

Hitters as big and powerful as Kurtz rarely possess the feel for the barrel that he does. Standing at 6-foot-5, his swing is geared for lift and he can drive the ball with authority to all fields, boasting a 90th percentile exit velocity of 109 MPH in 2023. Kurtz’s impressive body control and ability to do damage from all areas of the zone minimize the whiff that typically comes from a hitter of his profile with a lofty swing. He rarely chases.

Though he is limited to first base, he is a plus defender at the position. It’s unfair compare Kurtz to one of the greatest players to ever don a Reds jersey, but if he goes No. 2, he has a skillset that will evoke memories of a certain first baseman who came not too long before him.

3. Rockies: Vance Honeycutt – OF (North Carolina)

Honeycutt is arguably the most tooled-up player in the draft, with plus speed and defense in center field paired with above average power potential. The results haven’t been there for Honeycutt relative to his peers at the top of the draft class, hitting .257/.418/.492 as a sophomore for UNC in 2023.

The good news is, he cut his strikeout rate by nearly 10% in 2023, posting a zone contact rate of 86% and a minuscule chase rate. With a 90th percentile exit velocity over 105 MPH and the ability to hit the ball in the air consistently, he has enough power to hit more than 20 homers while providing great defense and speed at a premium position. If he can produce the way his skill set suggests, he should shoot up to the top of the draft board.

4. Athletics: Travis Bazzana – 2B (Oregon State)

This seems like the floor for Bazzana, who sits alongside JJ Wetherholt as one of the best pure hitters in the class. He has absolutely mashed since arriving at Oregon State, hitting .340/.463/.549 through his first two collegiate seasons before putting up video game numbers on the Cape (.375/.456/.581) with as many walks as strikeouts on his way to the league’s MVP award.

It has always been hit-over-power for Bazzana, but he has added more impact since reaching campus, working out at Driveline to focus on just that. Unusual setup and pre-swing moves seem to help Bazzana’s barrel live in the zone for a long time with impressive accuracy.

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Oregon State will give him the opportunity to play shortstop this spring, but he likely projects as a good second baseman. Bazzana is a good runner and should provide value on the base paths as well. The A’s are in the business of adding high probability big leaguers, and Bazzana could be in Arb 1 by the time they move to Las Vegas.

5. White Sox: Chase Burns – RHP (Wake Forest)

Viewed as a high upside arm with command concerns, Burns received some first round considerations from teams out of high school, touching triple digits with his fastball along with projectable secondaries. Burns filled the zone up much more frequently through his first two seasons at Tennessee before transferring over to Wake Forest for his draft year.

With the success Wake Forest has had developing arms over the last several years, the move made plenty of sense for Burns and he already created buzz in fall intrasquad games, touching 102 MPH while dominating his own top-ranked team. A great athlete on the mound at a study 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Burns already appears to be washing away much of the perceived reliever risk that scouts had labeled him with. If Burns maintains the stuff we saw this fall, he will almost surely be the first arm off of the board and a top five pick.

6. Royals: Mike Sirota – OF (Northeastern)

With some hit tool questions still surrounding Vance Honeycutt, it could be argued that Sirota has the most well-rounded profile of the projected top 10 picks. He boasts average or better tools across the board, hitting .346/.472/.678 with 18 homers and 19 stolen bases in his sophomore season while playing an above average center field.

The raw power may be closer to average, but Sirota hits the ball in the air consistently and leverages his advantage counts well. He’s run a chase rate below 15% through his first two collegiate seasons and put up fantastic numbers on the Cape.

7. Cardinals: Konnor Griffin – OF/RHP (Jackson Prep: Flowood, MS)

Griffin will turn 18 years old a couple months before draft day, making him one of the younger players in the class. His upside is immense, offering five tool potential in the outfield and at shortstop while also looking like a legitimate pitching prospect who can run it up to the upper 90s with a good slider.

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Standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Griffin is powerful and can really motor. His simple setup and swing paired with his athleticism bodes well for the development of his hit tool, an area where he has already made progress. Even if the hit tool is closer to average, his advanced approach and loud tools at a premium position could make him a monster.

8. Angels: Charlie Condon – 1B/OF (Georgia)

Condon’s defensive future is still up for debate, but his monstrous offensive upside more than compensates. Standing at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Condon has flashed double plus raw power (110 MPH 90th percentile exit velocity) with surprisingly decent bat-to-ball skills for a prospect of his profile who also redshirted his freshman year.

As a redshirt freshman in 2023, Condon posted one of the best seasons in Georgia program history, hitting .386/.484/.800 with 25 home runs before continuing to impress with Team USA. He split time between the outfield and first base for the Bulldogs in 2023 and is expected to see more action in the outfield this season. He moves well enough to potentially be a passable defender in right field with an above average arm, but if he has to move to first base, his bat is more than projectable enough to keep him in the top 10.

9. Pirates: Seaver King – OF/SS (Wake Forest)

Much like Chase Burns, Seaver King wasted no time generating buzz in Wake Forest scrimmages following his transfer. A dynamic and explosive athlete, King has the goods to potentially stick at shortstop, but is expected to expected to see plenty of action in centerfield for the Demon Deacons where his easy plus speed could play well.

King played his first two collegiate seasons at D-II Wingate University where he hit .399/.454/.676 before hitting a ridiculous .424 in 16 Cape Cod League games and impressing in a handful of games with Team USA. There’s potential for above average hit and power if King can handle more advanced breaking stuff. If he proves to be capable of playing a good center field and continues to put up numbers in 2024, he is a slam dunk top 10 pick.

10. Nationals: PJ Morlando – OF/1B (Summerville, South Carolina HS)

There’s no better blend of hit and power on the prep side of the 2024 class than what PJ Morlando brings to the table. His setup is similar to what Dylan Crews would sometimes deploy with two strikes, which requires ridiculous hip mobility and body control. He’s wide and stacked on the backside with a minimal stride, using a coil into his backside and a subtle lift of his heel to get to his launch position. He is consistently on time and repeats his moves, resulting in plenty of contact.

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The winner of the 2023 High School Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park, Morlando also took home the MVP honors from the All-American game. He has consistently stood out against top-flight competition, handling velocity with ease and driving the ball to all fields with authority. There’s a chance Morlando winds up at first base, but he may be athletic enough to handle a corner outfield spot.

11. Tigers: Jac Caglianone – OF/LHP (Florida)

A rare athlete, Caglianone possesses plus plus power at the plate (113 MPH 90th% exit velocity) and a fastball that reaches the upper 90s. The 6-foot-5 southpaw is a legitimate two-way talent with star upside, but there’s plenty of risk both on the mound and at the plate as well.

He launched 33 home runs for the Gators in 2023, with decent overall contact rates, but the length in his swing was exposed a bit more against better competition, as was his expansive approach (42% chase). That said, there’s been flashes of more than enough contact ability considering the power Caglionone possesses, but he will need to improve his approach.

On the mound, he boasts a mid 90s fastball along with a slider and changeup, but his command is below average. He missed enough barrels to keep his ERA at a respectable 4.34, but walked 55 batters in 74 2/3 innings. He likely projects best as a hitter–where he could hit 30+ homers–but the pitching component as a potential two-way piece or at least a a fall back option, could make the risk worth overlooking.

12. Red Sox: Brody Brecht – RHP (Iowa)

Brecht is a freak of nature on the mound. He spent his first two seasons at Iowa as a wide receiver for the football team in addition to baseball before shifting his focus to baseball in year three. The 6-foot-4, 225 pound right-hander is raw, but offers as much upside as any arm in the class.

Brecht runs his fastball into the triple digits consistently along with one of the best sliders in the nation. He’ll need to prove that he can throw enough strikes to be a starter, and there’s hope that individually focusing on baseball for the first time in his career could result in more strikes and/or development of his changeup. He may be a bit of a project on the mound, but a project that Craig Breslow and Kyle Boddy just can’t refuse.

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13. Giants: Tommy White – 3B (Louisiana State)

White earned the nickname “Tommy Tanks” by launching 27 home runs in his freshman season for NC State before transferring to LSU where he added 24 more as a sophomore while upping his slash to .374/.432/.725 and cutting his strikeout rate by nearly 7%.

An impressive blend of bat speed and feel to hit helps him circumvent an aggressive approach and swing decisions that can sometimes put him at a disadvantage against better arms. He’s likely limited to first base long-term, but his ability to tap into plus pop consistently in games already paired with good contact rates makes him a potential 30 home run threat who walks less than most power hitters, but also hits more.

14. Cubs: Braden Montgomery – OF (Texas A&M)

A switch hitter with plus power who also has the arm talent to run it up to 98 MPH on the mound, Montgomery is a unique talent. He’s a better position player prospect, mashing to a .336/.461/.611 line in his sophomore year at Stanford before putting up great numbers on the Cape.

Montgomery doesn’t fly, but he’s a good athlete who can cover more than enough ground in a corner. His 80 grade arm is a right fielder’s dream. There’s some whiff concern and his approach will need to continue its positive trend, but Montgomery has the potential to be an above average everyday outfielder with an upper 90s heater to fall back on.

15. Mariners: Josh Hartle – LHP (Wake Forest)

Hartle was viewed by many as a Day One talent out of high school, but the Rockingham, North Carolina native elected to attend Wake Forest. He turned heads on the Cape following his freshman season and then dominated ACC competition as a sophomore, pitching to a 2.81 ERA with a ridiculous K-BB rate of 28% over 102 1/3 innings.

Though he has mostly only sat 89-92 MPH, his average fastball velocity climbed a tick as the season progressed. It features heavy sink and is a ground ball-inducing machine. He has a slurvy breaking ball at 82-84 MPH which is comfortably above average, with a strike rate over 70% and swinging strike rate of 18% in 2023. His superb command of it makes it an excellent weapon against lefties and righties. His changeup flashes above average with a chance to be a solid out pitch against right-handed hitters. Hartle is a high probability big league starter who could fly through the Minor Leagues.

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16. Marlins: Carter Johnson – SS (Oxford, Alabama HS)

Possessing one of the sweetest swings in the draft, Johnson is an advanced hitter with the potential for above average power. He’s a rhythmic hitter who repeats his moves well along with an efficient and clean path. He handles velocity well with great barrel accuracy. Johnson has the potential to blend plus hit and at least average power.

He’s not the most explosive athlete, but Johnson’s average arm and range paired with clean actions give him a chance to stick at shortstop. The Oxford, Alabama native is a name to watch this spring as a guy who I think could climb up draft boards.

17. Brewers: Hagen Smith – LHP (Arkansas)

A funky lefty with a 93-95 MPH fastball that will get on hitters quickly, Smith struck out 35% of he batters he faced in a talented SEC, which also came with a 13% walk rate. His 82-85 MPH slider is his best out pitch, flashing plus. He mixes in an upper 80s cutter as well, giving lefties a third speed to think about.

His split change is a work in progress, but it could give him a solid third offering to righties. The command will need to take a step forward, as will his changeup if he is going to reach his mid-rotation ceiling, though Smith has the fall back of a high-leverage lefty reliever.

18. Rays: Cam Caminiti – LHP (Saguaro HS: Scottsdale, AZ)

One of the top prospects in the 2025 class, Caminiti reclassified to the 2024 class, meaning he will still be 17 years old on draft day. The best prep southpaw in the class, Caminiti sits in the low 90s with his fastball, running it up to 96 MPH with good life. His slight cross-body delivery creates difficult angles for hitters, but can also result in more misses to the arm side than he’d like.

His upper 70s slider is his best secondary offering and he will also mix in changeup and curveball that lag behind but have potential. Caminiti’s youth and potential should make him a great option for a team confident in its ability to develop arms.

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19. Mets: Noah Franco – 1B/LHP (IMG Academy: Bradenton, FL)

Another intriguing high school prospect who reclassified to enter the draft a year earlier, Franco is a two-way talent who is a bit further ahead with the bat at this stage, but is also quite projectable on the mound. His swing is simple, compact and explosive, helping him handle velocity well and adjust to quality secondary stuff. The controlled violence of his swing and advanced approach point towards the potential for an exciting blend of hit and power.

On the mound, Franco sits in the low 90s with room for more. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Franco has plenty of room to add strength (which bodes well at the plate too). His motion is slow and methodical, but he struggles to repeat his release point consistently, resulting in inconsistent command at this stage. His slider flashes above average and he has mixed in a decent change. Franco will turn 18 years old just before draft day and offers as much upside as anyone outside of the top 15.

20. Blue Jays: Slade Caldwell – OF (Valley View HS: Jonesboro, AR)

Another prospect primed to climb up draft boards, Caldwell stands at just 5-foot-6, 175 pounds with elite speed an incredibly quick stroke. His build and skillset reminds evaluators of Jett Williams and he has the patience and feel for the strike zone to back it up. Possessing wiry strength, Caldwell uses every ounce of his frame to generate more impact than many would expect.

He sprays the ball to all fields with the ability to do some damage to the pull side. Caldwell is very much cut from the Alek Thomas cloth, but may offer more offensive upside and a better approach.

21: Twins: Carson Benge – OF (Oklahoma State)

Benge is another name I expect to fly up draft boards if he can smooth out his pre swing moves. He’s extremely twitchy, with whippy bat speed and the ability to drive the ball with authority to all fields. His loud pre-swing moves can disrupt his timing, resulting in far too many ground balls, but when everything is on time, there’s flashes of plus power along with a patient approach.

Up to 97 MPH on the mound, Benge boasts an elite arm in the corner outfield and is a decent runner, giving him the potential for good defense in right field. His 2022 season was knocked out due to Tommy John surgery, making last season his first collegiate campaign. With another step forward this spring, he could easily be a top 15 pick.

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22. Orioles: Michael Massey – RHP (Wake Forest)

Massey fits the bill of what the Orioles have looked for in their arms recently. He’s a big right-hander with a high carry fastball that picks up plenty of whiff at the top of the zone in the mid 90s. The slider already looks like a plus pitch, in the 82-84 MPH range along with a changeup that is a work in progress. Massey’s fastball, slider combination is good enough to fast-track him to a big league bullpen, but the command appears to be good enough to stick as a starter.

23. Dodgers: Caleb Bonemer – SS (Okemos, Michigan HS)

A physical teenager with a good chance to stick on the left side of the infield, Bonemer possesses above average power potential and good athleticism. He impressed through stretches on the summer circuit and could tap into even more at the plate with some refinement. His bat speed is impressive with a path conducive to damage in the air.

24: Braves: Jonathan Santucci – LHP (Duke)

A good three pitch mix, Santucci’s fastball sits 92-94 MPH with some ride. His low 80s slider and mid 80s changeup both have the potential to be average or better offerings. He will need to throw more strikes in 2024, but he seems likely to improve in that regard with a smooth delivery and plenty of athleticism on the mound. His fastball was up a little more than a tick in scrimmages and is something to monitor heading into the season. Santucci fits the bill of what the Braves often look for in the back end of the first round.

25. Padres: Caleb Lomavita – C (California)

Lomavita can really swing it, boasting great contact rates and decent exit velocities. Over his two seasons on the Cape, Lomavita slashed .323/.364/.460 and he tapped into much more impact in his sophomore campaign at Cal. He’s an aggressive hitter, but hedges that with a hit tool that could be plus.

Defensive questions could cloud his outlook some as his arm is fringy, as is his receiving. If Lomavita can make some strides defensively, he could be the first catcher off of the board. Regardless, his bat could be good enough to be a regular at another position.

26. Yankees: Dakota Jordan – OF (Mississippi State)

Standing at 6-foot, 220 pounds, Jordan is is explosive, generating elite bat speed and boasting arguably the best raw power in the draft class. His 90th percentile exit velocity of 112.5 MPH was one of the best figures in college baseball last year, but it only resulted in 10 home runs due inconsistencies bat-to-ball wise and a more line-drive oriented swing. Jordan already has a pretty good feel for the strike zone.

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A plus runner, Jordan’s speed is more useful in the outfield than on the base paths. Possessing an above average arm, Jordan can be a solid defender in a corner. He has the raw talent to have a massive season and potentially fly up draft boards, but if the hit tool stalls, he could slip out of the first round.

27. Phillies: Trey Yesavage – RHP (East Carolina)

Yesavage possesses an electric mix of pitches that work off of each other well. His mid 90s heater sets the tone with great carry at the top of the zone, generating plenty of swing and miss and pop ups. Working off of that is a sharp, downer curveball in the low 80s that dives under barrels of hitters from both sides, tunneling well off of his fastball. He will also mix in an upper 80s cutter and low 80s changeup that could both be average offerings.

A big, powerful right-hander at 6-foot-4, 225 punds, Yesavage is built for a starters workload and has the arsenal to accompany it. He pitched to a 2.61 ERA in 76 innings for East Carolina last season with a 105-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. All signs point towards Yesavage sticking as a starter and his stuff is good enough to make him a quality one at that.

28. Astros: Cameron Smith – 3B (Florida State)

A decorated high school player in South Florida, Smith stumbled out of the gate in his freshman year at Florida State, hitting just .258 with 12 home runs. He quickly turned the page in the summer, tearing up the Cape Cod League to the tune of .347/.406/.575 with 6 home runs and a strikeout rate of just 13%.

He has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and already posts above average exit velocities with the ability to drive the ball in the air consistently. He has a great arm and moves well at the hot corner. Smith will need to match his Cape Cod League numbers to be a first round pick, but the draft-eligible sophomore on the right track.

29. D-backs: Ben Hess – RHP (Alabama)

A 6-foot-5 right-hander with a lively fastball, Hess was limited to just 36 innings due to injury, but when on the hill, he has overpowered SEC competition through stretches. His fastball ticked up from the low 90s to the mid 90s last year, picking up elite in zone whiff and chase rates. He features a slider, changeup and curveball with the latter two flashing above average. He appeared to have taken a step forward command wise prior to going down with the forearm strain, but he will need to continue that trend as well as stay healthy in 2024.

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30. Rangers: Cade Arrambide – C (Tomball, Texas HS)

The top prep backstop in the class, Arrambide is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds but moves impressively behind the dish with a plus arm. He is a good blocker and receiver who is already consistently posting pop times under two seconds. Though there’s some swing and miss, he also offers above average power and has performed well against top-flight competition. He’s a bit older for the class and prep catchers are always a risk, but his defensive prowess and above average offensive upside make him a potential everyday catcher.