2024 MLB Mock Draft 2.0: Where do Guardians Go at No. 1?

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

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 16: Georgia first baseman Charlie Condon (24) in a game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Kentucky Wildcats on March 16, 2024, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, KY. (Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Our second mock draft comes with plenty of changes, as we are reminded just how fluid the draft cycle can be when we are a few months out. Since our Mock Draft 1.0, Georgia’s Charlie Condon has put up video game numbers, with Oregon State’s Travis Bazzana not far behind. Prep prospects Konnor Griffin and Bryce Rainer continue to rise, with the White Sox hot on the trail of both.

A hamstring injury that held West Virginia infielder JJ Wetherholt out for more than a month may have hurt his stock some, but he is back and swinging it for the Mountaineers. Chase Burns and Hagen Smith have solidified themselves as the top two pitching prospects in the class, while East Carolina right-hander Trey Yesavage may be the only college arm within shouting distance — a testament to how well he has thrown this year.

1. Guardians: Charlie Condon – OF – Georgia

The Travis Bazzana vs. Charlie Condon debate will only continue to percolate, as both of college baseball’s top hitters continue to put up video game numbers. However, Condon is on a different level right now. He’s leading the nation in both home runs and batting average, and the underlying data is somehow even more impressive.

Organizationally, the Guardians have acknowledged a need for more impact, and it’s not like you’re giving up much in the feel to hit department. The only question is Condon’s long-term defensive home. The 6-foot-6 masher has played third base, first base and all three outfield spots this season.

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2. Reds: Travis Bazzana – 2B – Oregon State

Long one of the best pure hitters in the country, Bazzana has added impact this season, needing only 21 games to match his 2023 home run total of 11. There’s a tangible leap in exit velocity to back the power outburst, and Bazzana is still the same polished hitter with an elite feel to hit and strong plate discipline. A gamer of all gamers with plus makeup, I find it hard to imagine that two teams could meet with Bazzana and not select him.

3. Rockies: Chase Burns – RHP – Wake Forest

The Rockies have leaned pitcher heavy over the last couple years, and there’s no reason to stop now with a guy like Burns on the board. The Rockies could consider Kurtz — whose power and hit combination at Coors already has me dreaming — but it may be too hard to pass on a college pitcher with frontline upside back to back years, and early returns from Chase Dollander have been encouraging.

4. Athletics: Nick Kurtz – 1B (Wake Forest)

Kurtz is the best bat available at pick No. 4 with an exciting floor/ceiling combination thanks to a potential blend of plus hit and power. He battled injuries early in the year, but he’s really picking things up offensively after his shoulder ailment was in the rear view mirror. While he’s limited to first base, plenty of scouts like his bat as much as any in the class.

5. White Sox: Konnor Griffin – SS/OF (Jackson Prep HS, MS)

Griffin possesses as much upside as anyone in the class. He is an explosive athlete, continues to mature in the box and projects as an impactful defender at multiple spots. In a draft with so many higher floor college bats, Griffin could slip some, but the White Sox have been hot on the trail of high school position players and the 6-foot-4, 210 pound Griffin may be the best of the bunch.

6. Royals: Braden Montgomery – OF (Texas A&M)

A sweet-swinging switch hitter who has put up massive numbers after transferring to the SEC, Montgomery has also cut down the chase while seeing is exit velocities jump. The result has been a walk rate above 20% and Montgomery matching his 2023 home run total in nearly half the games. Also possessing the best outfield arm in the draft, Montgomery projects as a good defender in a corner and joins an organization that could use some outfield depth.

7. Cardinals: Jac Caglianone – 1B/LHP (Florida)

When you tie the NCAA record for consecutive games with a home run (nine), your draft stock is sure to rise. Caglianone may continue to mash his way into the top five as he launches 500 foot homers and mitigates his strikeouts better than just about anyone could have imagined. The chase rate is still high, and there are still some question around his ability to hit quality breaking stuff.

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Whoever drafts Caglianone may give him a chance on the mound, where he’s 93-95 MPH with a good changeup. He possesses much more upside with the stick, boasting the biggest raw power in the class.

8. Angels: JJ Wetherholt – SS/2B (West Virginia)

It has been a frustrating year for Wetherholt from a health perspective, missing around six weeks with a hamstring injury that he suffered in the first week of the season. He has returned and continued his hitting ways, reminding everyone why he has long been regarded as one of the best hitters in the country.

There’s concern that the injuries have become a bit of a trend for Wetherholt, and he may not stick at shortstop. That said, he offers some of the most impressive bat speed in the country and has the goods to fly through the minor leagues … just how the Angels like it.

9. Pirates: Bryce Rainer – SS/RHP (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA)

Rainer has enjoyed some helium as he continues to solidify himself as one of the two best prep prospects in the class. It’s a sweet swing from the left side with a frame that welcomes more power projection. A legitimate pitching prospect as well, Rainer has an easy plus arm and the ingredients to stick at shortstop. As the buzz from scouts continues to get louder, Rainer may leap frog some of the college bats currently projected to go ahead of him.

10. Nationals: Hagen Smith – LHP (Arkansas)

Smith has easily been the most dominant pitcher in college baseball, striking out nearly half of the batters he has faced. His fastball/slider combination looks like it could fit in a big league bullpen right now, sitting in the mid 90s from a low three quarters release. The slider at 83-85 MPH can be devastating, working off of his lively fastball and release point well.

His changeup is lagging behind, and the southpaw has also walked roughly 10% of hitters this season making him a bit tougher to peg exactly where exactly he could land, but he shouldn’t fall much further than this.

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11. Tigers: Cam Smith – 3B (Florida State)

After a so-so freshman season, Smith stood out on the Cape, taking home the Outstanding Pro Prospect award by hitting .347 with six home runs in 44 games. He has carried the momentum into his draft-eligible sophomore season, absolutely scorching baseballs while seeing his contact rates leap. A physical 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Smith moves well at the hot corner and projects pretty well there defensively.

12. Red Sox: Trey Yesavage – RHP (East Carolina)

Yesavage has been one of the best pitchers in college baseball, pitching to a 1.92 ERA through 61 innings while punching out 101. His fastball sits 93-95 MPH along with a slider and splitter that look like big league offerings. It’s hard to envision Yesavage slipping beyond the Red Sox with the way that his stuff has looked this year and the general lack of high-upside college arms.

13. Giants: Seaver King – SS (Wake Forest)

Toolsy with defensive versatility, King has settled in with Wake Forest after making the leap from D-II Wingate. He has seen action at shortstop, center field and third base, boasting easy plus speed and a good arm. The bat speed is undeniable, posting eye-popping exit velocities for a hitter with a 6-foot, 190 pound frame.

King can be expansive and seems to struggle with recognizing spin at times, creating some concern around whether his hit tool could limit him. He has improved in this regard as he has compiled ACC at-bats and could track towards the top 10 if the trend continues.

14. Cubs: 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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15. Mariners: Slade Caldwell – OF (Valley View HS, AR)

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.

16. Marlins: Caleb Bonemer – SS (Okemos HS, MI)

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. There may not be a farm system in baseball more sorely in need of a projectable shortstop prospect than the Marlins.

17. Brewers: Theodore Gillen – INF/OF (Westlake HS, TX)

Arguably one of the best prep hitters in the class, Gillen makes plenty of contact from the left side with a 6-foot-3, 200 pound frame. He may not stick at shortstop, but Gillen is a plus runner and could get looks in center field.

18. Rays: Vance Honeycutt – OF (North Carolina)

It’s hard to find a prospect with higher upside outside the top 15 than Honeycutt. While hit tool concerns could cause him to slip to Tampa, his phenomenal glove in center field, double plus speed and plus power could entice a team in the top 15 to snag the UNC product. The Rays have palleted questionable hit tools when they come with power and/or defensive ability, and if they get a chance at Honeycutt at No. 18, it may be hard to pass on what could be an elevated version of Jose Siri.

19. Mets: Carson Benge – OF (Oklahoma State)

Potential for above average hit and power with a plus arm make Benge a possible top 20 pick. An impressive athlete, Benge can run it up to 96 MPH on the mound, though he projects best as a hitter. While Benge will need to elevate more consistently to tap into his game power, the exit velocities are there and he’s still relatively slender frame wise.

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20. Blue Jays: Caleb Lomavita – C (California)

An aggressive hitter, Lomavita has the tools to be valuable on both sides of the ball. He hits the ball hard, has a plus arm behind the dish and is a decent receiver. Though he needs to improve his plate discipline, there’s a good chance he is the first catcher off of the board with his well-rounded game overall.

21. Twins: Will Schmidt – RHP (Catholic HS, LA)

The best high school arm in the draft, Schmidt is a tall, long limbed right-hander at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. He can run his fastball up to 96 MPH with great ride along with a sharp curveball in the upper 70s that can eclipse 3,000 RPM. While his long arm action may result in some inconsistencies command wise, there’s still a ton to dream on.

22. Orioles: Kellon Lindsey – SS (Hardee HS, FL)

The fastest player in the draft, Lindsey has the chops to stick at shortstop and offers immense upside. His swing is raw and there’s some reliance on his superb athleticism. That said, there’s so much to dream on and the Orioles have had success helping hitters unlock more offensively.

23. Dodgers: Brody Brecht – RHP (Iowa)

Some of the best raw stuff in the draft, Brecht continues to be held back by command woes. A former wide receiver at Iowa, Brecht is as athletic as they come on the mound, leading some to believe that his below average ability to throw strikes could improve. As he compiles more innings and the walk rate remains elevated, optimism may continue to fade, but the Dodgers have not been afraid of this archetype.

24. Braves: Jonathan Santucci – LHP (Duke)

After coming out of the gate red hot, Santucci has hit a bit of wall over his last handful of starts command wise. His fastball sits 93-95 MPH with a plus slider and a changeup that flashes as well. The Braves almost always go with an arm, and Santucci is the best one available at this point.

25. Padres: Carter Johnson – SS (Oxford HS, MS)

The Padres have a knack for taking the best prep swing available and Johnson may just be that. A sweet stroke from the left side, Johnson has performed well on the summer circuit with a great feel for the barrel. Johnson has a sound offensive profile with a chance to stick on the left side of the infield.

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26. Yankees: Dakota Jordan – OF (Miss. St.)

Somewhat of a polarizing prospect, Jordan offers top-tier raw power and plus speed with plenty of hit tool questions. Unteachable bat speed should make Jordan a first round pick while swing and miss issues and an inability to convert his speed into game utility could cause him to slip to the risk-tolerant Yankees at No. 26.

27. Phillies: Kash Mayfield – LHP (Elk City HS, OK)

A 6-foot-4 southpaw with a crossfire delivery, Mayfield’s mechanics are smooth and repeatable, boasting a great feel to pitch. He won Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2023 by pitching to a 0.75 ERA with 109 strikeouts and 13 walks. Already with a solid three pitch mix and room for more velocity, Mayfield is an exciting upside lefty for a Phillies team that has gone the prep route the last four drafts.

28. Astros: Ryan Sloan – RHP (York Community HS, IL)

A physical right-hander who can run it up to the upper 90s, Sloan’s sweepy slider and changeup have the potential to give him a quality three pitch mix. He may be difficult to sign away from Wake Forest.

29. D-backs: Kaelen Culppeper – SS (Kansas St.)

Solid tools across the board, Culpepper is a name that could continue to rise up draft boards as July nears. His baseball instincts stand out with a great chance to stick on the left side of the infield. The exit velocities leave a bit to be desired, but he has a knack for finding the barrel and above average wheels.

30. Rangers: Tommy White – 3B/1B (Louisiana St.)

Launching 27 home runs as a freshman at NC State earned White the nickname “Tommy Tanks” before he transferred to LSU, where he hit 24 homers in 11 more games as a sophomore. His draft year has been a relative disappointment, with just 13 homers through his first 41 games while seeing his batting average drop from .374 to .327.

While there are moving parts to his swing, he offers plus bat speed and exciting power potential. Once viewed as a top 15 pick, the Rangers could go for the offensive upside here, hoping some swing tweaks get Tommy back to consistently hitting tanks.

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