The 2024 MLB Draft

MLB Mock Draft 2024 3.0: Who Do The Cleveland Guardians Take? Good Question

MLB Mock Draft 2024 3.0: Who Do The Cleveland Guardians Take? Good Question

The Cleveland Guardians have the No.1 pick and there is no consensus on who they may take, despite a near consensus that Charlie Condon is the best player.

Jun 20, 2024 by Joe Harrington

No one knows who the Cleveland Guardians are taking with the No. 1 pick, and with less than a month until the 2024 MLB Draft, that fact is pretty remarkable. 

In most years, and in most sports for that matter, at least one player emerges as the consensus pick among writers and analysts. If there isn't, there is at least always a debate that narrows on just two players. Last year in the MLB Draft, that debate was between Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes, but by the time the draft came, the idea of the Pittsburgh Pirates passing on Skenes seemed laughable. 

It's rare that we're this close and almost every mock draft seems to have someone else going No.1. 

When the season started, It was Nick Kurtz of Wake Forest and JJ Wetherholt of West Virginia being mocked at No. 1 by various outlets. We had Kurtz slated for Cleveland in January. In the middle of the college baseball season, Charlie Condon had grabbed hold of the top prospect title and seemed like a lock. 

Then in May it was Travis Bazzana. Now it seems like Wetherholt is back at the top on multiple mock drafts, while another still has Condon as the pick. 

There are reasons. The top pick, and the second pick for that matter, are owned by small market clubs who may not want to pay a high slot value. That's where the MLB Draft has always been different from the NFL, NBA and NHL Drafts. Players are assigned slot values based rankings. 

Some players make deals before the pick at a lower value. Teams only have a certain amount of money they can spend on their draft picks, because of course baseball would decided to implement a salary-cap like figure when it comes to signing draft picks and international players. 

But while there isn't a consensus of who will go No.1 to Cleveland, there is a narrow group of players likely to be chosen by Cleveland: 

  • Condon
  • Wetherholt
  • Bazzana
  • Jac Caglianone
  • Chase Burns

How Does MLB Draft Slot Values Work?

Slot values for the draft are determined by matching the growth in revenues. This year’s $10,570,600 1-1 slot value is an 8.7% increase from last season. In 2023, two players signed for more than $9 million, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews. 

Just because the value of the pick is what it is, it doesn’t mean the player has to sign for that much. Skenes signed for a record $9.2 million despite the value being $9,721,000 last season. 

There is history of teams not wanting to take a player based on slot value. In 2017, the Minnesota Twins reportedly passed on the top prospect, Hunter Greene, in favor of Royce Lewis because of slot value fears. Greene went No. 2 to the Cincinnati Reds. 

Cleveland reportedly has a pool of $18,334,000 to spend of draft picks. 

Here's our latest MLB Mock Draft

No.1 Cleveland Guardians: JJ Wetherholt, IF, West Virginia Baseball

Last week, I would have picked Bazzana because the reporting suggested that Bazzana was tied to Cleveland. But now two other mock drafts are leaning toward the West Virginia star. 

Cleveland has favored middle infield prospects over the years and there is a belief that Wetherholt can be a shortstop at the Major League level. 

It's not that surprising. Despite his small stature (5-foot-10, 190 pounds), Wetherholt, the 2023 Big 12 Player of the Year, began the College Baseball season as the No.1 prospect on almost all rankings. Then he suffered a hamstring injury, which was the same injury he had in summer ball and missed most of the 2024 college season. 

He finished the year with a .331 average in 36 games with eight doubles. 

There's some belief in the industry that Cleveland is looking to sign a player at No. 1 below slot value and there is reporting that indicates Wetherholt could do just that. At least two other mock drafts, ESPN and Baseball America, have Wetherholt going No. 1. MLB has Bazzana and the Athletic is still slating Condon at No. 1. 

The idea of going under slot here is it allows the Guardians to go above slot value on later picks. The Guardians, unlike the Reds, have a second first round pick at No. 36. 

No. 2 Cincinnati Reds: Charlie Condon, OF/IF, Georgia Baseball 

MLB Pipeline shifted it's prospect rankings to favor Travis Bazzana, who they also have mocked to the Cleveland Guardians at No.1 But outside of that ranking, Condon still owns most of the top prospect titles. There seems to be come concern that the big offensive numbers we've seen in college baseball are a product of poor pitching this season. But Condon opened the season at No. 5 in most prospect rankings, so it's not as though he has come out of nowhere. 

Condon is 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and is going to play somewhere on the corners either in the outfield or infield. He hit .443 with 37 home runs and is probably the favorite to win the Golden Spikes Award. 

Some reporting suggests that the Reds are also eying a below slot value player here and Condon is expected to be the highest-valued player. And while the Reds have done that before, including with Rhett Lowder, they also have a history with these top-5 picks, and even outside the top 10, to just take the best available player. I think Condon is the pick here for the Reds, who do need a right-handed hitting outfield prospect in the system. 

If the Reds pass on Condon, I think it'll be for pitcher Chase Burns, who MLB has the Reds taking at No. 2. I think Burns has a legit chance to go No. 1 as well based on slot value and his status as the draft's No. 1 pitcher. 

Again, the best way for small market teams to acquire top pitching talent is to draft them or sign them internationally and develop them. The Reds don't have a competitive balance pick, but they do have four picks in the top 100. 

No. 3 Colorado Rockies: Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest Baseball 

This is the biggest change in the top 10 for me. But other mock drafts do have the Wake Forest ace going at this spot and even higher. Reports say Colorado is eying pitching in this draft and while I don't think the Rockies are a small market team, the elements in Denver prevent them from landing top pitching talent in free agency. Caglianone, Bazzana, Braden Montgomery, and just about any of the top-10 ranked prospects make sense for the Rockies team that is really bad and saddled with a farm system ranked in the bottom half of the league. 

But the best pitcher in the draft rarely ever drops to No. 3. Burns finished with a 2.70 ERA with a 10-1 record and threw in the upper 90s with a devastating breaking ball. He finished with 191 strikeouts in 100 innings. It's also important to note that Burns has not had Tommy John Surgery, which is why he is being ranked ahead of Arkansas star lefty Hagen Smith. 

That said, if Condon drops out of the top two, the Rockies should sprint to the podium to make the pick. 


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Sign Up

Already a subscriber? Log In

No. 4 Oakland A's: Travis Bazzana, IF, Oregon State Baseball

Not hard to figure out this pick. Bazzana has the No. 1 overall pick talent and was one of the best players in college baseball this season. 

No. 5 Chicago White Sox: Konnor Griffin, SS, Jackson Prep HS (Mississippi)

Some reporting suggests the White Sox are tied to Griffin and I believe it. Shoot, even the Guardians are rumored to be on Griffin. While it looked as if no high school player would go in the top five, it makes sense that the White Sox would take a long-term project here. 

Chicago is bad and are likely to get even worse as they are MLB's No. 1 seller at the 2024 trade deadline. The influx of talent the White Sox could likely land, especially with the high asking price for 26-year-old star Luis Robert, is likely what will give fans hope for a quick rebuild, not this pick. 

It could take three or four years in the minors before Griffin to debuts, but this is likely to be the first of possibly several top 5 picks for Chicago and I think Chicago is ready to play buy a lottery ticket here. 

No. 6 Kansas City Royals: Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida Baseball

This could be the best pick and best fit in the entire draft if it happens. Caglianone was the No. 1 pick in our first mock draft and dropped not because of anything he did. He just had one of the best college baseball seasons in the country. 

It mainly has to do with slot values and fit. 

The Guardians have depth in the system at first base. The Reds possibly have that as well. First basemen aren't always the sexiest pick in the first round, and what made Caglianone interesting is his big arm as a pitcher. 

But it certainly seems that the plan for him is to focus on hitting after getting drafted, and some think that will accelerate his debut date in the Majors.

The Royals are entering a competitive window and are battling for a playoff spot this year. Adding Caglianone in either 2025 or 2026 would possibly give the Royals two of the most fun players in the game with him and Bobby Witt Jr. 


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Sign Up

Already a subscriber? Log In

No. 7 St. Louis Cardinals: Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas Baseball

The Tommy John Surgery in the past is the only reason he's not the first pitcher taken. He's a Golden Spikes finalist who had 161 strikeouts in 84 innings. He had a 17-strikeout game in February at the College Baseball Showdown against Oregon State. 

Smith has seemed like a Cardinals fit all spring.


No. 8 Los Angeles Angels: Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M Baseball

Some have Los Angeles product Bryce Rainer here. And like the White Sox, it sure seems like the Angels are in a long rebuild. 

But this team hasn't traded Mike Trout yet. They hired a win-now manager in Ron Washington and they do some have big contracts they aren't likely to move. And they do pursue free agents every year. 

This pick seems like they will go with a possible fast moving prospect like Braden Montgomery who some have going four spots higher than this. So it would be a steal to grab the Stanford transfer who help the Aggies get to Omaha before suffering an ankle injury.

No. 9 Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest Baseball

Way back at the start of the season, Kurtz actually opened the year as the No. 1 prospect on some rankings and was mocked on some drafts as the No. 1 pick. Like Condon and Caglianone, he is a tall, 6-foot-5 first baseman with power. We had originally had Cleveland taking him No. 1 in our Guardians review. 

But he really struggled out of the gates before ending strong in 2024. His final 2024 numbers were .306 average with 22 home runs and 11 doubles. 

The Pirates, like their NL Central Division rival Cincinnati, are entering a competitive window led by young stud pitching and a tall athletic shortstop. The franchises are in scary similar positions with strong farm systems to boot. 

Kurtz gives the Pirates something they don't have, but the Reds do, and that is corner infield prospect with real power. Kurtz could move through the system quickly. 

I still like Trey Yesavage or even high school pitcher Cam Caminiti here just because the Pirates already have good young pitching and will need more pitching over the coming years that they aren't likely acquire in free agency or without trading the bulk of the farm system.   

No. 10 Washington Nationals: James Tibbs III, OF, Florida State Baseball

This pick will be determined by who drops. Montgomery's leg injury could push him here and if Rainer or Caminiti are in the top nine, it might mean Kurtz is available. 

Or Tibbs. A climber in the draft, being mocked in the top 10 by several outlets, Tibbs makes sense for a franchise that is rebuilding but better than expected this season. And that's with last year's No. 2 pick Dylan Crews  just having been promoted to Triple-A instead of the big leagues. 

The top two prospects in the system are outfielders in James Woods and Crews and Tibbs could be a third. Especially if the Nationals decide to trade Lane Thomas at the deadline, which looks less likely. 

Christian Moore, Tennessee's Omaha breakout star is an option here. One thing that looks like a good projection, though, is the Nationals taking a college player.  

Here Are The Next 10 Picks In The 2024 MLB Mock Draft 3.0

  • No. 11 Detroit Tigers: Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake School (California)
  • No. 12 Boston Red Sox: Christian Moore, IF, Tennessee Baseball
  • No. 13: San Francisco Giants: Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro High School (Arizona)
  • No. 14: Chicago Cubs: Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina Baseball
  • No. 15: Seattle Mariners: Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina Baseball
  • No. 16: Miami Marlins: Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford Baseball
  • No. 17: Milwaukee Brewers: Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State Baseball
  • No. 18: Tampa Bay Rays: Cameron Smith, 3B, Florida State Baseball
  • No. 19: New York Mets: Kash Mayfield, LHP, Elk City High School (Oklahoma)
  • No. 20: Toronto Blue Jays: Seaver King, SS, Wakes Forest Baseball 

Note: Vance Honeycutt has been tremendous for the Tarheels during the NCAA College Baseball Tournament. He's one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft and his mock position on other drafts have one of the biggest ranges. He's 12th in one mock and 27th in another. He has elite athletic ability and high upside. If the Cubs are taking an outfielder, he seems to fit the profile. 

Here Are The Next 10 Picks In The 2024 MLB Mock Draft 3.0

  • No. 21 Minnesota Twins: Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky Baseball
  • No. 22 Baltimore Orioles: Tommy White, 3B, LSU Baseball
  • No. 23: Los Angeles Dodgers: Jurrangelo Cijntje, BHP, Mississippi State Baseball
  • No. 24: Atlanta Braves: Braylon Doughty, RHP, Chaparral High School (California)
  • No. 25: San Diego Padres: Theo Gillen, Westlake High School (Texas)
  • No. 26: New York Yankees Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State
  • No. 27: Philadelphia Phillies: Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa
  • No. 28: Houston Astros: William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic High School (Louisiana) 
  • No. 29: Arizona Diamondbacks: Slade Caldwell, OF, Jonesboro High School (Arkansas)
  • No. 30: Texas Rangers: Ryan Sloan, RHP, York High School (Illinois)

Notes: Tommy White is another prospect that has a wide range, but Tommy Tanks seems like the type of upside the Orioles my take a chance on. Yes, between Jackson Holiday (the No.1 prospect in baseball who struggled mightily when he debut this year), Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg, the infield is pretty loaded. But White is likely an MLB first baseman. And yes, he chases pitches now, but with some development he could be quite the addition to this group by no later than 2026. 

Here Are The Rest Of The First Round Picks In The 2024 MLB Mock Draft 3.0 

Prospect Promotion Incentive picks

  • 31. Arizona Diamondbacks:  Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston State
  • 32. Baltimore Orioles: Seaver King, SS/OF, Wake Forest Baseball

Compensation picks

  • 33. Minnesota Twins: P.J. Morlando, RF, Summerville High School (South Carolina)

Competitive balance round A

  • 34. Milwaukee Brewers: Jonathan Santucci, LHP, Duke
  • 35. Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyson Lewis, SS, Millard West High School (Nebraska)
  • 36. Cleveland Guardians: Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee Baseball
  • 37. Pittsburgh Pirates: Kellon Lindsay, SS, Hardee High School (Florida)
  • 38. Colorado Rockies: Kaelen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State Baseball
  • 39. Kansas City Royals: Griff O'Ferrall, SS, Virginia

Notes: Seaver King dropping out of the top 30 would be the biggest projection I make in the draft. The lowest most mocks have him going is No. 22. That pick belongs to the Orioles who I have taking Tommy White at that spot. Baltimore is reportedly all in on college hitters and while I think Jonathan Santucci of Duke would be strong pick, taking King, who started the year as a top -10 prospect, at No. 32 is a massive steal. Baltimore's logjam in the infield could always be solved at the deadline. 

When Is The 2024 MLB Draft?

The MLB Draft is July 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Coverage on MLB TV will begin at 5 p.m. EST on July 14 and noon on July 15 and 16th.

More MLB Draft 2024 Coverage 

MLB Draft 2024 Order

The New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres’ first picks dropped 10 spots because the clubs exceeded the second surcharge threshold of the competitive balance tax by more than $40 million. 

Here’s the order: 

  1. Cleveland Guardians
  2. Cincinnati Reds
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. Oakland A’s
  5. Chicago White Sox
  6. Kansas City Royals
  7. St. Louis Cardinals 
  8. Los Angeles Angels 
  9. Pittsburgh Pirates
  10. Washington Nationals 
  11. Detroit Tigers
  12. Boston Red Sox
  13. San Francisco Giants
  14. Chicago Cubs
  15. Seattle Mariners
  16. Miami Marlins 
  17. Milwaukee Brewers
  18. Tampa Bay Rays
  19. New York Mets
  20. Toronto Blue Jays
  21. Minnesota Twins
  22. Baltimore Orioles 
  23. Los Angeles Dodgers 
  24. Atlanta Braves 
  25. San Diego Padres 
  26. New York Yankees
  27. Philadelphia Phillies 
  28. Houston Astros 
  29. Arizona Diamondbacks 
  30. Texas Rangers
  31. Arizona Diamondbacks
  32. Baltimore Orioles 
  33. Minnesota Twins
  34. Baltimore Orioles
  35. Arizona Diamondbacks
  36. Cleveland Guardians
  37. Pittsburgh Pirates
  38. Colorado Rockies
  39. Kansas City Royals

FloBaseball Archived Footage

Video footage from past seasons is archived and stored in a video library for FloBaseball subscribers to watch for the duration of their subscriptions.

Watch Independent Baseball On FloBaseball 

Follow the action from around the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, Frontier League and Pioneer Baseball League, whether you’re on, the FloSports app or FloBaseball’s social media channels for select games.

Each week during the season, we'll feature at least one “Game Of The Week” from each league and stream it directly to social media. Tune in to catch the action LIVE on FloBaseball's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Remember, during the offseason, you can revisit all of your favorite moments from the season, as video footage from each league is archived and stored in a video library for FloBaseball subscribers to watch during the duration of their subscriptions. 

Join The College Baseball Conversation On Social