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The 2024 MLB Draft is a little less than four weeks away. Three years ago, MLB pushed the draft back from the first week of June to the All-Star break in an effort to better market the event, and it will remain there moving forward even though many executives don't like it. This year, the three-day draft begins Sunday, July 14.

This is the second year of MLB's new draft lottery. In the past, the draft order was the reverse order of the previous year's standings, which was nice and simple. Now picks 1-6 are assigned via lottery, picks 7-18 are the remaining non-postseason teams in the reverse order of the previous year's standings, and picks 19-30 are postseason teams in order of their playoff finish.

At 76-86, the Guardians were tied with the Pirates for baseball's ninth-worst record last season, yet Cleveland won the lottery and moved up to the No. 1 pick. It is the first time in franchise history the Guardians have held the No. 1 pick. The highest they have ever selected previously was No. 2 on five occasions, mostly recently in 1992 (Paul Shuey).

"It's a new, fun challenge for us that we'll look forward to tackling together," Guardians executive Chris Antonetti told after the lottery. "... (The lottery) certainly gives us an opportunity we otherwise wouldn't have had in the other system. The only way to do this in the other system is to have a really, really tough year where you're the worst record in baseball. I'd much rather get it this way."

The Reds also won big on draft lottery day. They moved up from the No. 13 pick to No. 2. This will be Cincinnati's highest pick since using the No. 2 pick on Hunter Greene in 2017. The Nationals had the fifth-worst record a year ago but moved back to the No. 10 pick. They had the No. 2 pick last year and teams that pay into revenue sharing can not have lottery picks in back-to-back years.

All first-round picks are protected from free-agent compensation. Teams instead forfeit later draft picks (and international bonus money) to sign qualified free agents. The Mets, Padres, and Yankees all exceeded the $273 million third competitive balance tax threshold last year and had their first picks moved back 10 spots. All three still pick in the first round, however.

Each team is given a set bonus pool for draft spending each summer. The penalties for excessive spending are harsh enough (tax on overage, forfeiture of a future first rounder, etc.) that the bonus pool effectively acts as a hard cap. The bonus pools are tied to picks in the top 10 rounds, and if you sign one player to a below slot bonus, you can give the savings to another player(s).

Here are the five largest bonus pools for the 2024 MLB draft (per

  1. Guardians: $18,334,000
  2. Rockies: $17,243,300
  3. Reds: $15,842,100
  4. Royals: $15,418,300
  5. Athletics: $15,347,900

The Astros have the smallest bonus pool at $5,914,700. They hold the No. 28 pick after losing last year's ALCS and they also forfeited their second-round pick to sign qualified free agent Josh Hader. The combination of picking late in the first round and giving up the bonus pool money associated with their second round pick (north of $1 million) equals the smallest bonus pool.

Generally speaking, teams do not draft for need in the early rounds of the draft. It's difficult to predict this sport a month or two into the future. It's impossible to know what your roster needs will be two or three (or more) years down the line, when most of these players will be ready for the big leagues. Take the best, most talented player, and sort out the roster later.

Here are R.J. Anderson's preseason draft prospect rankings. Below is our first 2024 first round mock draft. We'll have two mock draft updates between now and draft day with the latest chatter, speculation, and rumors.

1. Cleveland Guardians

Mock pick: 2B Travis Bazzana, Oregon State
Slot value: $10,570,600

In a not great draft class, and with the caveat that a lot will change between now and draft day, there seems to be six players with a chance to go No. 1: Bazzana, Wake Forest righty Chase Burns, Florida two-way player Jac Caglianone, Georgia outfielder/third baseman Charlie Condon, Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz, and West Virginia infielder JJ Wetherholt. I would be surprised if the ultra-analytical and value-focused Guardians take Burns (or any pitcher) at No. 1. There's so much inherent injury risk. 

This far out from the draft, not even the Guardians know who they're taking. As is the case with the No. 1 pick every year, Cleveland with shop around and determine which player is the best combination of talent and signability, because whatever money they save with this pick can be spent on later picks to give them the best possible draft class. For now, we'll give the Guardians Bazzana, the 1.500 OPS Australian they've been linked to since before the college season even began.

2. Cincinnati Reds

Mock pick: 3B/OF Charlie Condon, Georgia
Slot value: $9,785,000

Condon set the BBCOR era record (the NCAA adopted composite bats in 2011) when he hit his 34th home run last month and he has been the best performer in this year's draft class. His offensive upside is significant. That said, the Reds are not afraid to take pitchers early in the draft -- they've selected Hunter Greene (No. 2 in 2017), Nick Lodolo (No. 7 in 2019), and Rhett Lowder (No. 7 in 2023) in the top 10 in recent years -- so Burns figures to get serious consideration here. He is the draft's top pitcher.

3. Colorado Rockies

Mock pick: RHP Chase Burns, Wake Forest
Slot value: $9,070,800

My guess is the Rockies would not pass on Bazzana or Condon if either is still on the board here. They're not in our mock draft, so we'll give Colorado the best pitcher in the draft class in Burns. He's not Paul Skenes but Burns is dynamic and would be the top pitcher in the draft most years. Colorado used top-10 picks on pitchers in 2022 (Gabriel Hughes at No. 10) and 2023 (Chase Dollander at No. 9), so they'll willing to roll the dice on arms up high. They're hoarding high-end arm talent as they try to solve the pitching dilemma at Coors Field.

4. Oakland Athletics

Mock pick: 1B Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest
Slot value: $8,370,800

The A's have been connected to Kurtz, arguably the draft's best all-around hitter and a nifty first base defender, throughout the spring. Oakland's last few first-round picks have been hitters with above-average hit tools (Jacob Wilson in 2023, Daniel Susac in 2022, the other Max Muncy in 2021) and Kurtz would fit the pattern perfectly. He has a bit of an injury history, including missing time with a shoulder issue earlier this year, and that could keep his asking price down. The A's have a competitive balance draft pick at No. 73 (those are extra picks given to small market teams) and could use any savings here on that pick.

5. Chicago White Sox

Mock pick: LHP Hagen Smith, Arkansas
Slot value: $7,763,700

The ChiSox have a new front office but not really. GM Chris Getz was elevated from assistant GM, and Mike Shirley has been the club's scouting director since 2019. Under Shirley, the White Sox used first-round picks on big stuff lefties Garrett Crochet (No. 11 in 2020) and Noah Schultz (No. 26 in 2022). Crochet is their big-league ace and Schultz is one of the game's top pitching prospects. Smith fits the Crochet/Schultz profile and seems to be right up Chicago's alley. Nothing wrong with sticking to your strength.

6. Kansas City Royals

Mock pick: 1B/LHP Jac Caglianone, Florida
Slot value: $7,213,800

It feels like Caglianone should come off the board earlier than this, though a lot of things that feel like they should happen on draft day don't actually happen. Caglianone is a better hitter than pitcher -- he has mammoth, Aaron Judge-ian power from the left side -- though he also has legit potential as a pitcher. I assume whichever team drafts him will give him a chance to continue as a two-way player in pro ball, though being a two-way player is really, really hard. Regardless, the bat alone belongs in the top 10 picks. Bobby Witt Jr. and Caglianone in the 2-3 lineup spots long-term would be awfully fun.

7. St. Louis Cardinals

Mock pick: IF JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia
Slot value: $6,823,700

St. Louis has not picked inside the top 10 since taking J.D. Drew with the No. 5 pick in 1998. Wetherholt missed about six weeks with a hamstring injury earlier this spring and, prior to that, he was viewed as a potential No. 1 pick candidate on par with Bazzana and Condon. He's now a possible bargain as a top-tier talent who may have a discounted asking price because of the injury. The Cardinals forfeited their second-round pick to sign Sonny Gray. In our mock draft, Wetherholt is the best available player and also St. Louis' best chance at landing a premium talent at a discounted rate, giving them more money to spend later.

8. Los Angeles Angels

Mock Pick: OF James Tibbs, Florida State
Slot value: $6,502,800

The safest bet in the draft is that whoever the Angels take will be the first player from the draft class to reach MLB. That was true in 2021 (Chase Silseth), 2022 (Zach Neto), and 2023 (Nolan Schanuel). Tibbs has a lot of buzz in the top 10 because there's a chance to get him at a discount -- "discount" in this case means below slot for the team but more for Tibbs than he would get with a slot bonus later in the first round -- and he's the sort of "safe" college performer that makes teams feel all warm and fuzzy.

9. Pittsburgh Pirates

Mock pick: OF Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M
Slot value: $6,216,600

Montgomery suffered a major ankle/leg injury this past weekend -- the exact nature of the injury is unknown, though Aggies head coach Jim Schlossnagle confirmed it is season-ending -- and that will cut into his draft stock, though he is still so highly regarded that we expect him to be a top 10 pick anyway. The injury might cut into Montgomery's signing bonus more than his draft slot, if anything. Pittsburgh has a competitive balance pick (No. 37) and in recent years they've had success cutting below-slot deals with their top pick and spending the money on later picks, and they could do that again this year. Montgomery would have been a great get at No. 9 at full health. The injury makes it more likely he's still on the board for Pittsburgh's selection.

10. Washington Nationals

Mock pick: SS/OF Konnor Griffin, Jackson Prep (Mississippi)
Slot value: $5,953,800

In a way, the Nationals are easy -- "easy" -- to predict on draft day because they always go with unfettered upside in the first round. Give them the most talented and highest-ceilinged player. At this point in our mock draft, that's either Griffin or California high school shortstop Bryce Rainer. You have to really nitpick to see one as clearly better than the other. We'll go with Griffin because of his best-in-class bat speed.

11. Detroit Tigers

Mock pick: RHP Trey Yesavage, East Carolina
Slot value: $5,712,100

There was a bit of a scare when Yesavage missed the ACC tournament with a punctured lung, but he returned to the mound in the Regionals two weeks ago and looked like himself. College pitchers with premium stuff and a track record of success are always hot commodities on draft day and Yesavage is the best combination of the two still on the board. The Tigers have swung for the fences with high-upside high schoolers a few times in recent years (Max Clark in 2023, Jackson Jobe in 2021, Riley Greene in 2019) and could do the same here with Griffin or Rainer if they're available.

12. Boston Red Sox

Mock pick: SS Bryce Rainer, Westlake HS (California)
Slot value: $5,484,600

Under the previous front office regime, the Red Sox went for bat-first high schoolers in the first round (Triston Casas in 2018, Nick Yorke in 2020, Marcelo Mayer in 2021, Mikey Romero in 2022) before pivoting to college catcher Kyle Teel last year. That was more a function of how the draft played out -- Teel was not expected to be available at the No. 14 pick and Boston pounced -- than a shift in philosophy. This will be the Red Sox's first draft with lead exec Craig Breslow and second under scouting director Devin Pearson, who was the team's assistant scouting director when they took Casas, Mayer, et al. The bet here is they go back to the high school ranks and take Rainer given who's on the board.

13. San Francisco Giants

Mock pick: RHP/LHP Jurrangelo Cijntje, Mississippi State
Slot value: $5,272,300

The Giants used their first-round picks on two-way players in 2022 (Reggie Crawford, now a full-time pitcher) and 2023 (Bryce Eldridge, now a full-time hitter), so why not go with a switch-pitcher this year? Cijntje (pronounced SAIN-ja) is not a novelty act. He's upper-90s with a wipeout slider as a righty and low-90s with cutter/slider hybrid as a lefty. Cijntje has been great the last few weeks and there's some thought he could really take off if he focuses on pitching right-handed full-time (he's thrown righty more often to lefties as this season as gone on).

14. Chicago Cubs

Mock pick: LHP Cam Caminiti, Saguaro HS (Arizona)
Slot value: $5,070,700

Caminiti, a cousin of former big leaguer Ken Caminiti, is arguably the best high school pitcher in the draft class, and he's also one of the youngest players in the class at age 17. That will score him bonus points with teams that lean on analytics models. After going with college players in the first round the last three years (Jordan Wicks in 2021, Cade Horton in 2022, Matt Shaw in 2023), this is a good year for the Cubs to swing for the fences with a high-upside high schooler. Caminiti has a Max Fried starter kit as a lefty with a lively fastball, two distinct breaking balls, and a quality changeup.

15. Seattle Mariners

Mock pick: 3B/CF Seaver King, Wake Forest
Slot value: $4,880,900

Few teams have nailed as many first-round picks as Seattle in recent years. They knocked it out of the park with Logan Gilbert (2018) and George Kirby (2019), and their 2021 (Harry Ford), 2022 (Cole Young), and 2023 (Colt Emerson) first rounders all rank among the game's best prospects. The Mariners haven't taken a college hitter in the first round since Evan White in 2017, but King has some of the best measurables (contact rate, exit velocity, etc.) and defensive versatility in the draft class. There is considerable upside and the Mariners have had success helping their prospects tighten up their plate discipline, something King will need to do to turn his talent into production at the next level.

16. Miami Marlins

Mock pick: 3B Cam Smith, Florida State
Slot value: $4,704,700

This will be the first draft under new president of baseball operations Peter Bendix and new scouting director Frankie Piliere, so good luck predicting which direction they'll take on draft day. When in doubt, bet on college over high school, and the best college player still on the board in our mock draft is Smith. He crushed premium competition in the prestigious wood bat Cape Cod League last summer (.347/.406/.575) and is a nifty defender at the hot corner.

17. Milwaukee Brewers

Mock pick: RHP Brody Brecht, Iowa
Slot value: $4,534,100

The Brewers have been one of the most opportunistic teams on draft day, meaning they typically pounce on whichever highly regarded college player is unexpectedly available at their pick. That's Brecht in our mock draft, not that him falling to No. 17 would be a complete shock. No pitcher in the draft class can match Brecht's raw stuff -- he regularly touches 100 mph and has a razor blade slider -- though his command is lacking. Milwaukee is quite good at developing pitchers and the hope is Brecht will improve his strike-throwing now that he's focusing on baseball full-time (he also played wide receiver for the Hawkeyes).

18. Tampa Bay Rays

Mock pick: C Caleb Lomavita, Cal
Slot value: $4,372,900

Because of position scarcity, college catchers are frequently selected higher than draft prospect rankings would lead you to expect, and Lomavita is arguably the best combination of offensive upside and defensive chops behind the plate in this year's draft. The Rays have targeted raw, unteachable power in the first round in recent years (Xavier Isaac in 2022, Brayden Taylor in 2023), and while Lomavita doesn't fit the trend, he offers plenty of upside at the plate while being solid behind it.

19. New York Mets

Mock pick: RHP William Schmidt, Catholic HS (Louisiana)
Slot value: $4,219,200

This will be New York's first draft under David Stearns, who hired scouting director Kris Goss away from the Astros over the winter. Stearns' time with the Brewers and Goss' time with the Astros suggests the Mets will target either a pitcher with explosive stuff or an up-the-middle athlete on the position player side. Schmidt is the former. He brings an improving mid-90s heater and a high spin curveball to the table, and he generates that velocity and spin with ease.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

Mock pick: 2B Christian Moore, Tennessee
Slot value: $4,073,400

Moore is not the typical no-nonsense, know-what-you're-gonna-get college middle infielder who is popular at this point in the draft. He has considerable power and offensive upside, and some questions about whether he'll actually stay on the middle infield. Moore has been connected to just about every team in the 13-18 pick range. In our mock draft, he's still on the board for the Blue Jays at No. 20.

21. Minnesota Twins

Mock pick: OF Carson Benge, Oklahoma State
Slot value: $3,934,400

The Twins have used four of their last six first-round picks on high school players, but in this range, they figure to have their pick of quality college outfielders. In our mock draft, Benge is the best available player in terms of performance, bat-to-ball skills, exit velocity, and defense. He pitches and hits for the Cowboys, though the consensus is Benge is a much better prospect as a position player. If that doesn't work out though, pitching is a viable fallback plan.

22. Baltimore Orioles

Mock pick: IF Theo Gillen, Westlake HS (Texas)
Slot value: $3,802,200

If not for a series of injuries these last few years (shoulder, knee, groin), Gillen might've found himself in the mix for the top 10 this year. He may be the best pure hitter in the high school ranks, with a pretty left-handed swing and advanced approach, but he no longer has the arm for the left side of the infield following labrum surgery. There's some though Gillen will settle in as a left fielder long-term. The O's are one of the very best in the game at developing hitters -- they have not drafted a single pitcher in the top two rounds in the GM Mike Elias era -- and Gillen's in their wheelhouse. 

23. Los Angeles Dodgers

Mock pick: OF Slade Caldwell, Valley View HS (Arizona)
Slot value: $3,676,400  

There is said to be a ton of interest in Caldwell in the 20-25 range. He's an undersized (listed at 5-foot-9) sparkplug who slashes line drives from line to line and runs down everything in center field. The 90th percentile outcome here looks like Corbin Carroll (or at least the pre-2024 version of Carroll). The Dodgers are among the best in the game at developing hitters and Caldwell would give them a broad range of skills to coach up into a pesky leadoff hitter.

24. Atlanta Braves

Mock pick: RHP Braylon Doughty, Chaparral HS (California)
Slot value: $3,556,300

High school pitchers are an increasingly unpopular demographic in the first round because there's so much inherent injury risk, though Doughty has a lot of fans within the game, and he passes both the eye test and analytical test. Armed with a mid-90s fastball and two high-spin breaking balls, Doughty has the skill set to re-enter the draft as a potential top 10 pick in three years if he winds up following through on his commitment to Oklahoma State. That doesn't happen in our mock draft though. First-round money is hard to turn down.

25. San Diego Padres

Mock pick: SS Kellen Lindsey, Hardee HS (Florida)
Slot value: $3,442,100

Lindsey is one of the draft's biggest risers. He's an incredible athlete who also played quarterback for his high school, and this spring Lindsey has shown he's more advanced at the plate than most multi-sport high schoolers. Padres GM A.J. Preller is all about upside on draft day and Lindsey's electric tools and all-around game invoke memories of San Diego's first-round pick 10 years ago: Trea Turner.

26. New York Yankees

Mock pick: OF Ryan Waldschmidt, Kentucky 
Slot value: $3,332,900

The Yankees value premium ball-tracking data (exit velocity, etc.) and that has led them to a few players who weren't viewed as slam dunk first-round picks in recent years (Anthony Volpe in 2019, Austin Wells in 2020, Trey Sweeney in 2021). Waldschmidt fits the profile to a T. He's bashed his way into first-round consideration -- few players in this draft have his combination of contact rate and exit velocity -- and is a candidate to go in the 20-25 range on draft day. Waldschmidt is still available in our mock draft, however, so to the Yankees he goes.

27. Philadelphia Phillies

Mock pick: C Malcolm Moore, Stanford
Slot value: $3,228,300

Philadelphia has not taken a college player in the first round since Bryson Stott in 2019 and there should be ample opportunity to go back to the high school well with this pick, but college players are the best available here in our mock draft. This draft class is deep in college catchers and Moore might be the best of the bunch, pairing good offensive upside with strong defensive skills. We already established that teams don't draft for need in the first round, so consider it a nice coincidence that Moore's timetable to the big league would appear to line up nicely with the need to replace J.T. Realmuto in a few years.

28. Houston Astros

Mock pick: RHP Ryan Sloan, York HS (Illinois)
Slot value: $3,132,500

Sloan is one of the most exciting high school arms in the draft class. He's been in the upper-90s at times this spring, his changeup is as good as you'll see in the prep ranks, the slider is good, and he's got a workhorse build (listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 lbs.). The Astros have selected a pitcher in the first round only four times in the last 11 years and they whiffed on all four (Mark Appel in 2013, Brady Aiken in 2014, Forrest Whitley in 2016, JB Bukauskas in 2017), but that was a different front office regime. GM Dana Brown had a thing for athletic pitchers with big stuff when he ran drafts for the Braves. Sloan is right up his alley.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks

Mock pick: LHP Kash Mayfield, Elk City HS (Oklahoma)
Slot value: $3,045,500

The D-backs also hold the No. 31 pick (Prospect Promotion Incentive pick for Corbin Carroll winning NL Rookie of the Year) and the No. 35 pick (competitive balance), and thus a nice big $12,662,000 bonus pool to play with. With three selections in the span of seven picks, Arizona can either pay big for a top talent here, or go with a value selection with an eye on spending late. We're going to assume the former in our mock draft. Mayfield is already 19 and older for a high school player, but 6-foot-4 lefties with mid-90s gas, two quality secondary pitches, and a buttery smooth delivery are hard to pass up. He's risky, as all high school pitchers are, but the D-backs can balance that risk with their selections at No. 31 and No. 35.

30. Texas Rangers

Mock pick: 3B Tommy White, LSU
Slot value: $2,971,300

The man they call Tommy Tanks is one of the greatest power hitters in college baseball history -- White has hit more career home runs than any Division I player this century -- though there are concerns about his game at the next level. The power is real, there's no doubt about that, but White expands the zone more than you'd like and he's probably not a third baseman long-term. Still, it's not often a college hitter with this much thump and a performance track record as good as White's slips out of the first round.