Why are we doing this? What a pointless venture this figures to be. Still, it’s that time. It is time to turn the page. The 2023 MLB Draft is behind us and it’s time to focus on 2024.
CHURCHILL: 10 Best Draft Classes
This mock draft is sure to hold little value twelve months from now, but still a worthwhile adventure. The draft order was randomized thanks to our friends over at Tankathon. The have an MLB Draft Lottery simulator over at their site that can be a fun little tool. Here are the current odds based on record, as well as the simulator results. For picks 19-30, we will use record-based outcomes for playoff games.
Full disclosure, we had to run this simulator several times before the Washington Nationals were not among the teams rewarded a lottery pick. New CBA rules states they cannot have a pick in the Top-10 in consecutive years.
1. Travis Bazzana, 2B/SS — Oregon State
The Tigers land the no. 1 overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft despite holding just a 5.5 percent chance of doing so as we stand here today. Statistically speaking, they currently have the 6th-best odds to land this pick.
Bazzana is a do-it-all middle infielder who has pummeled his way to this status over two years with the Beavers. In 2023, he ranked among the best in college baseball with a contact percentage north of 86 percent, a chase percentage south of 15 percent, and exit velocity readings generally reserved for players 20 pounds heavier. Bazzana has primarily played second base in Corvallis, but is a twitchy, explosive athlete who could see time at shortstop in 2024.
2. Vance Honeycutt, OF — North Carolina
The White Sox are currently slated to land the no. 4 overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft, but shoot up to pick no. 2 with help from the lottery.
Honeycutt is arguably the most five-tool profile in college baseball right now. He posts double-plus run times, 60-grade exit velocities and is a highlight reel machine in centerfield. He drastically improved his bat-to-ball skills and approach in 2023, and if his game takes even another half-step forward in 2024, he’s likely the clubhouse favorite to go first overall.
3. JJ Wetherholt, 2B/3B — West Virginia
A year removed from being the biggest loser in the MLB Draft Lottery sweepstakes, Oakland once again falls on poor luck landing the third overall pick despite having the worst record in baseball.
That said, the top-three college performers are tough to separate at this point and any one of them would be a huge add for to their respective teams. Wetherholt was arguably the most compete hitter in 2023 featuring a contact rate near 90 percent, absolutely abusing anything and everything in the strikezone. His average exit velocity also ranked among the elite in college baseball this season despite only clocking in at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds. Wetherholt, pound for pound, may be the most impactful hitter in the college class.
4. Nick Kurtz, 1B — Wake Forest
While the Royals statistically have the best chance to land one of the top-three picks having the second-worst record in baseball this year at time of publish, they’re pushed to pick no. 4 with Detroit and Chicago leapfrogging them.
Kurtz is a massively imposing left-handed hitter who has statistically and metrically graded out as one of the top bats in college baseball in back to back years. In 2023, he ranked among college baseball’s elite in terms of chase rates, whilst also ranking inside the Top 50 in average exit velocity and 90th percentile exit velocity. He’s also an impressive athlete for a guy his size (6-foot-5, 235 pounds). Kurtz has 39 career homers at Wake Forest and could threaten former teammate Brock Wilken‘s all-time ACC homerun crown of 71 when it is all said and done.
5. Brody Brecht, RHP — Iowa
The New York Mets are the third-biggest winner in this lottery system jumping four spots from 9th, where they’re expected to pick, up into the lottery at pick no. 5.
It hasn’t been a good year for the Mets, but if it culminates in a top-five pick, it’s at least reasonable consolation. Brecht is one of the best arms college baseball has ever seen in terms of pure stuff. The fastball will touch 101. He throws two breaking balls and both of them project at least double-plus. There is a chance for three 70-grade weapons here. He’s an incredible athlete and if he ends up throwing more strikes in 2024, he could end up the no. 1 overall pick.
It should be noted, however, this pick could fall ten spots once again if the Mets stay on pace of exceeding the luxury tax threshold by more than $40 million.
6. Konnor Griffin, OF — Jackson Prep
The Padres are the second-most fortuitous winner of this lottery jumping from a presumed 11th-overall pick all the way up to pick no. 6, the final spot in the lottery.
Like the Mets, it hasn’t been sunshine and roses for the Padres in 2023, but landing here and having the chance to select the top prep in the 2024 class would surely appease General Manager AJ Preller. Griffin is a super tooled-up high school bat with 60-grades smattered all over his scouting report. It’s a long, projectable frame that figures to continue adding more impact as he gets older. Griffin has a chance to be an awfully loud offensive performer as a centerfielder at the next level.
7. Tommy White, 1B/3B — LSU
The Rockies are currently have one of the three-worst records in baseball, and have as good a shot as anyone of landing the no. 1 overall pick. But it’s not to be here.
General Manager Bill Schmidt has targeted pitching in the first round of late. While guys like Chase Burns and Hagen Smith are still on the board in this scenario, the chance to add the flair and thump of Tommy “Tanks” White is too much to pass up. He’s a potential perennial 40-homer guy at Coors Field.
8. Charlie Condon, 1B/OF — Georgia
The Cardinals leapfrog the Nationals here despite the simulator on Tankathon suggesting otherwise. Washington is unable to pick inside the top ten in 2024.
Condon was one of the bigger surprises in 2023. He posted solid average contact rates and top-shelf exit velocities. He ranked inside the Top-25 in college baseball in both average exit velocity and 90th-percentile exit velocity last season. Condon is a good athlete and could handle left field at the next level, but it’s the bat teams will be buying.
9. Chase Burns, RHP — Transfer Portal
A year after selecting Paul Skenes with the no. 1 overall pick, the Pirates find themselves with the 9th pick in 2024 and a shot at landing another flamethrower.
Burns, previously of the University of Tennessee, finds himself in the transfer portal currently. He’s been up to 102 with a upper-80s to low-90s slider that, when commanded, is utterly un-hittable. Burns will need to shore up his command this next season, but the stuff is elite.
10. PJ Morlando, 1B/OF — Summerville HS
Despite currently possessing the fourth-worst record in baseball, the Nationals are ineligible to pick anywhere inside the top ten because of the new CBA. They are a revenue-sharing team and cannot participate in the lottery in back-to-back years.
Still, landing Morlando at pick ten is pretty exciting. He’s arguably the most compete high school hitter currently available in the class of 2024 with easy plus raw power and maybe more. He was the winner of the 2024 High School Homerun Derby at the All-Star Game and made it look rather effortless parking baseballs deep into T-Mobile Park. He’s a first baseman by trade, but has gotten some run in the outfield and could be serviceable in left field.
11. Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP — Florida
The Cubs land the 11th pick as is evidenced by the Tankathon chart above.
Caglianone is the most famous player in college baseball right now. He possesses two-way tools other players simply do not have. It’s easy double-plus raw power from the left side. He’s also up to 99 on the mound. Scouts are still trying to figure out exactly what he is. He’ll need to improve his contact and chase rates at the plate considering his defensive value is limited to first base. On the mound, improving his command for the fastball and polish on the secondaries will be critical. It’s a big fall/winter for Caglianone. He’s the unicorn of the draft, but carving out a more projectable professional role moving forward will need to be the emphasis.
12. Hagen Smith, LHP — Arkansas
The Angels ship is taking on water at time of publish with injuries mounting and a tough schedule ahead. They currently project to land the no. 12 overall pick in the 2024 Draft.
If we are to assume the Angels will follow their more recent strategy of landing quick-to-the-majors talents, Smith might be the guy. He’s a funky lefty with a long track record of dominance and budding stuff. Sitting 92-95, up to 98, Smith’s fastball generated a 29% whiff rate in 2023, placing him in the 96th percentile for fastball effectiveness this season. His mid-80s slider was almost as impressive. It’s primarily a two-pitch mix right now with the potential for two 60-grade weapons.
13. Derek Curiel, OF — Orange Lutheran
The Twins land the 13th pick in the 2024 Draft and fit here as chalk considering their current record.
Minnesota selected left-handed hitting outfielder Walker Jenkins in 2023 and we could easily see them following suit by selecting Curiel at 13. He’s a hit-over-power performer who draws comparisons to Riley Greene.
14. Owen Paino, SS — Roy C. Ketcham
Sitting right in the median of Major League Baseball with roughly a .500 record at time of publish, Seattle currently projects to hold the 14th overall pick in 2024.
The Mariners have been quite a bit more aggressive in drafts of late targeting high school upside and shortstops specifically. Paino is another cold-weather bat who may have more physical upside than any of their three previous prep selections (Young, Emerson, Peete). His 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame could eventually showcase plus power grades.
15. Bryce Rainer, SS — Harvard-Westlake
Square in the middle of the pack, the Red Sox currently hold the no. 15 overall pick in the draft were the season to end today.
Boston veered away from it’s California high school tendencies in 2023 selecting Kyle Teel in round one. With Rainer on the board here, it seems like a match made in heaven. He’d join Nick Yorke and Mikey Romero as California prep shortstops taken in the first round by Chaim Bloom and Paul Toboni.
16. Mike Sirota, OF — Northeastern
The Brewers have been a middling team in 2023 and find themselves currently positioned to land the no. 16 overall pick.
It’s been heavy on the college bats of late for Milwaukee. Sirota is a potential 5-tool standout who’s impressed on the Cape and in college ball. In 2023, Sirota featured one of the lowest chase rates in the sport, as well as a reasonably unmatched resume against upper-tier velocity. He also possesses solid average power and plays a mean centerfield.
17. Thatcher Hurd, RHP — LSU
The Yankees currently find themselves out of the playoffs and holding the 17th overall pick. It would be their highest selection since 2017 (16).
The Yankees have bounced around a bit in recent years in terms of the types of players they’ve targeted. We’ll go with Hurd here. He’s been up to 98 with a huge curveball and budding slider. Consistency has come and gone. He could end up going much higher than this, but for now, it feels like a good landing spot.
It should be noted, however, this pick could fall ten spots if the Yankees stay on pace of exceeding the luxury tax threshold by more than $40 million.
18. Cam Caminiti, LHP — Saguaro
The Phillies currently have the best record of any team not currently projected to make the playoffs. Also the worst odds to land the no. 1 overall pick (0.23%).
Philadelphia has leaned hard on the high school market over the past several years and we’ll have them grabbing Caminiti here at 18. Talented two-way player whose future is on the mound. He’s been up into the mid-90s with a promising changeup and a nasty slurve.
19. Carson Benge, OF — Oklahoma State
The Giants have the worst record among teams currently slated to make the playoffs. Thus, we have them being eliminated in the Wild Card round for this exercise.
San Francisco has taken big risks in recent years with two-way standouts Reggie Crawford and Bryce Eldridge in back-to-back years. They added another high-upside player in Walker Martin in the 2nd round in 2023. Benge is a two-way stud for the Cowboys with mid-90s velocity on the bump and explosive actions in the box and in the field. It’s a big bat. He’s trending toward a first round talent.
20. Michael Mullinax, OF — North Cobb Christian
The Blue Jays have the worst record in the American League among teams currently projected to make the playoffs. Thus, we have them the first team out in the Wild Card round.
Toronto has certainly taken some risks in recent drafts with high-upside preps. Mullinax comes packed into a powder-keg frame with big bat speed and physical upside.
21. Davis Diaz, 2B/3B — Vanderbilt
Houston, presently the second wild card, we have falling in that round as well by virtue of overall record.
Houston has been a model team in the draft for quite some time now. So we’re giving them a model profile. Diaz made contact on over 85 percent of his swings this season and posted solid average exit velocity numbers. He also was one of the best players in college baseball in terms of impacting pitches in the strike zone. His positional versatility on the infield is an area of need going forward for the Astros.
22. Anthony Silva, SS — TCU
The Diamondbacks currently hold the second wildcard and would thus be eliminated in the Wild Card round, giving them pick 22.
Silva really came on toward the end of the 2023 season pummeling homers and playing sterling defense for the Horned Frogs down the stretch. If that version of Silva plays 60 games in 2024, he could end up picked in the front-half of the first round.
23. Dakota Jordan, OF — Mississippi State
For the second straight year in a row, this scenario would have the Guardians losing in the Divisional Round.
The Guardians are said to be focusing on adding more thump to what has at times been an anemic offense over the last few years. Jordan may have the most raw power in college baseball and has a shot at stick in right field thanks to his big throwing arm.
24. Josh Hartle, LHP — Wake Forest
The Reds we have losing in the Divisional Round and with the second-worst record remaining in the playoffs, they’d be gifted pick no. 24.
With a shift toward emphasizing pitching and capitalizing on a new competitive window, Hartle fits the mold of a fast-moving lefty with a vicious slider and burgeoning off-speed stuff. Hartle’s slider is a unicorn featuring high velocity and huge vertical tilt.
25. Noah Franco, LHP — IMG Academy
Miami is having a fantastic year and finds themselves as the best N.L. team eliminated from contention in the Divisional Round.
It was all upside for Miami in the 2023 Draft, and for that reason, we’re throwing more of it their way. Franco is a decorated two-way player with a fastball that’s tickled the mid-90s. He’s got real feel for a fading changeup, but it’s his deep, two-plane slider that has been a nightmare on both lefty and righty bats. He’ll be extremely young for the 2024 class.
26. Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP — Transfer Portal
The Orioles barely get knocked out in the Divisional Round in this scenario, landing them the 26th pick in the draft.
The Orioles are hardly afraid of taking chances, and a player with the skills and tools that Montgomery possesses could become a superstar in due time. Montgomery significantly improved his bat-to-ball skills and approach at the plate in 2023 all while posting impressive exit velocities. If the hit tool can take another step forward in 2024, he’ll go early. Oh, and he’s also up to 96 on the mound. A terrific athlete.
27. Ryan Waldschmidt. OF — Kentucky
The Rangers fall short of tackling the Tampa Bay Rays by virtue of record, netting them the 27th pick.
The Rangers haven’t had a 2nd or 3rd pick in back to back drafts, but that figures to change next year. At pick 27 however, the Rangers grab one of the best kept secrets in college baseball in Waldschmidt. The Kentucky outfielder has a tremendous eye at the plate and punishes pitches left in the zone. He also routinely posts well-above average exit velocities.
28. Drew Beam, RHP — Tennessee
The Dodgers fall to the Atlanta Braves in this simulation and thus land with the 28th overall pick.
Beam figures to be a weekend staple for the Volunteers this season. His upper-90s fastball with carry and life through the zone has scouts talking. Couple in his improving breaking ball and athletic frame and Beam could be a pick to click in 2024.
29. Blake Burke, 1B — Tennessee
If the standings hold true, the Rays will face off against the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. By virtue of record, the Braves would eek this one out.
The Rays haven’t been afraid to lean in on exit velocities and sheer impact of late. Burke might be the most physical bat in the 2024 class with exit velocity readings met by very few.
30. Trey Yesavage, RHP — East Carolina
That leaves the Atlanta Braves as the 2023 World Series Champions. Thus, the final pick in the first round.
The Braves are where they are because of pitching. Yesavage is an extremely talented righty out of East Carolina with a mid-90s fastball and two breaking balls. The better of the two is a mid-80s slider with two-plane tilt. Yesavage has seen a rise in his strike-throwing ability of late and now has a four-pitch mix that should play at the next level.