2024 MLB Mock Draft 1.0: First round leading up to Mets pick at No. 19

The 2024 MLB Draft is just over a month away, with the first night happening Sunday, July 14 at the Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas in conjunction with All-Star week.

In talking to scouts throughout the league, it is considered a below-average draft class as far as depth goes. It is also a peculiar draft with a lot of talent at non-premium positions, as you will see in the mock below.

The top 10-12 players in the class had big springs and have scouts more optimistic about their futures than they may have had coming into the spring. A couple of high-ranking scouts told me they think there is a chance for a “purer” first round where there are less surprising under-slot deals early because the reward afterward for doing so isn’t as great as in years past.

With all that said, there is always talent to be had and it is on the scouts to find them and player development staffs to develop them once they are drafted.

As we approach a month out, here is mock draft 1.0, including the Mets‘ pick…

1. Cleveland Guardians – 2B Travis Bazzana – Oregon State

Unless the Guardians seek a slot value-saving player, the expectation is this pick will come down to Bazzana or Georgia’s Charlie Condon. There’s a chance Bazzana comes cheaper than Condon and there is some positional certainty here.

2. Cincinnati Reds – 3B/OF Charlie Condon – Georgia

Condon put up a historic season in the SEC, slashing .446/.566/1.036 with 36 home runs in 57 games. He could easily go No. 1, but it would be surprising if he lasted longer than this pick to Cincinnati.

3. Colorado Rockies – RHP Chase Burns – Wake Forest

Burns is my top pitcher in the class, with a fastball that will touch triple digits with unique pitch metrics and a plus slider. He has improved his strike-throwing in college, but his next step will be better command within the strike zone. Despite a high-velocity and good-shaped fastball, it got hit more than it should have. If Burns can tighten up a couple of things, he has ace potential. Colorado’s pick could come down to Condon, Bazzana and Burns.

4. Oakland Athletics – 1B Nick Kurtz – Wake Forest

Kurtz entered the 2024 season as the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 overall. He had a slow start but rebounded to post a 1.294 OPS with 22 home runs in 54 games. He could be a plus defensive first baseman.

5. Chicago White Sox – 1B/LHP Jac Caglianone – Florida

Caglianone, the Florida star, might have the best raw power in the class. He has cut down on his swing-and-miss and chase rates this year. He is up to 99 mph on the radar gun on the mound as well, though scouts I speak to think he should be a hitter only in pro ball.

6. Kansas City Royals – LHP Hagen Smith – Arkansas

Hearing the Royals would love to get Burns but would still be happy with Smith, who is the No. 1 college pitcher for some. He posted a 2.04 ERA in 84 innings, striking out a whopping 161 batters. If it is not one of the college pitchers, I have heard they are a spot considering one of the two top high school hitters that will come off the board shortly.

7. St. Louis Cardinals – 2B JJ Wetherholt – West Virginia

Coming into the season, Wetherholt was atop MLB Pipeline’s top draft prospects. He missed a good portion of the season but came back and looked like the Wetherholt everyone knew. A good potential value pick for St. Louis.

8. Los Angeles Angels – OF James Tibbs III – Florida State

Tibbs might be the prospect who has upped his value the most in this class. Coming into the spring, he was in the conversation at the back end of the first round into the second, but he posted a 1.310 OPS with 28 home runs and 94 RBI and won the ACC Player of the Year. He likely is a left fielder at the next level but has a pretty left-handed swing and excellent batted ball data.

9. Pittsburgh Pirates – OF Braden Montgomery – Texas A&M

Montgomery certainly has top 4-5 pick potential. However, he suffered a brutal-looking lower leg injury in the Super Regionals. It has not come out the official word on the injury, but if he avoided significant ligament/tendon damage I don’t believe his fall will be precipitous on draft day. I tentatively dropped him to the back of this tier of college hitters until more clarity comes out on his injury.

10. Washington Nationals – OF Konnor Griffin – Jackson Prep HS (MS)

Flip a coin here on Griffin vs. Bryce Rainer. The Nationals are a team typically hunting high upside. The Gatorade National High School Player of the Year has five-tool potential and already possesses a big-league body. He can play either shortstop or center field, but one scout I spoke to prefers him in center.

11. Detroit Tigers – SS Bryce Rainer – Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)

The other top high school bat shouldn’t have a long wait. He has a projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pound build and there is a chance he outgrows shortstop and ends up at third base, but should have plenty of bat for the spot.

12. Boston Red Sox – OF/SS Seaver King – Wake Forest

King transferred from Division II Wingate to one of the best programs in the country in Wake Forest after hitting .424 in the Cape Cod League. He posted a .954 OPS for the Demon Deacons and boasts some of the best pure bat speed in the class. He at times can be over aggressive and needs to work on some plate discipline, but he makes his swings count. Defensively, he profiles best at shortstop or in center.

13. San Francisco Giants – LHP Cam Caminiti – Saguaro HS (AZ)

Caminiti, the cousin of former big leaguer Ken Caminiti, reclassified from the 2025 class into the 2024 draft. This will pay dividends as he is considered a near-certain first-round pick. His velocity ticked up this spring, touching 98 mph. He has work to do on developing his changeup and figuring out his distinct breaking ball, but this is a high-upside left-hander.

14. Chicago Cubs – RHP Trey Yesavage – East Carolina

Yesavage is the clear-cut No. 3 college pitching prospect who could go a little higher than this. He outdueled Burns in the elimination game in the Regionals. He has a strong four-pitch mix with all of his pitches grading above average. It would be surprising if he fell outside of the top 15.

15. Seattle Mariners – 3B Cam Smith – Florida State

Stoutly built with a 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame, Smith has made swing changes and year-over-year has reduced his swing-and-miss rate while maintaining some of the highest exit velocities in the class. He is one of seven players to have a contact rate of at least 80 percent, a 90th percentile exit velocity of at least 108 mph, and a chase rate of 23.2 percent or less (stat from Baseball America). He has suitors as high as No. 12 with Boston, but should squarely fit in the teens.

16. Miami Marlins – 2B Christian Moore – Tennessee

Moore entered the season as the second-best draft-eligible Volunteer behind Billy Amick, but he is likely to go ahead of Amick come July. He has an aggressive swing that has 25 home run potential at the next level, but at times causes him to chase more than you’d like. He is likely a second baseman at the next level. I have heard him connected in the 15-23 range.

17. Milwaukee Brewers – OF Carson Benge – Oklahoma State

Benge is an athletic two-way player who will only hit at the next level. Likely a right fielder with an above-average arm, he showcases strong bat-to-ball skills and posts strong exit velocities. One scout cautioned that there are some swing adjustments that will be needed in pro ball, but he has the ingredients you are looking for in an advanced college bat.

18. Tampa Bay Rays – RHP William Schmidt – Catholic HS (LA)

For some, Schmidt is the top high school arm in the class. He has a projectable 6-foot-4 and 180-pound frame with a fastball that will touch 98 and a hammer of a curveball. The Rays have never been shy on taking high school players in the first round, so Schmidt fits here.

19. New York Mets – OF Vance Honeycutt – North Carolina

Just over a month out from the draft, I have heard the Mets mostly connected to college bats. I do not envision a high school bat or arm being available that entices them at this spot. I would not rule out a swing at Iowa right-hander Brody Brecht. The names I have mostly heard here are Honeycutt, Benge, Mississippi State outfielder Dakota Jordan, and the ascending Kentucky outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt.

Honeycutt had a big Super Regional weekend, sending the Tar Heels to Omaha for the College World Series. In a class that is heavy in college bats, it will come down to the flavor of ice cream for teams. He could go five spots ahead of this or five spots after this. Offensively he has 20/20 potential, but that comes along with a 27 percent strikeout rate. For reference, anything above 25 percent is a big red flag for most teams. Some model-based teams will not even look at him in the first round. Defensively, he may be the best center fielder in this class.

There is variance in what he could ultimately become, but at No. 19, taking a shot at an up-the-middle, potential 20/20 player makes a lot of sense for the Mets.

Leave a Reply