Dueling MLB mock draft: Selecting the best possible teams of 2024 prospects

The 2024 MLB draft is just over a week away, so we asked three of our MLB experts to try their hand at selecting a first round consisting of this year’s top prospects.

The rules of our superteam draft are simple: Jeff Passan, Jesse Rogers and David Schoenfield snake-drafted through 10 rounds (30 total picks) to put together the best possible roster of 2024 prospects.

Each roster consists of a full lineup: two pitchers, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and three outfielders. The drafters were allowed to choose positions in any order and their strategies show which spots are deepest — or most shallow — in this year’s class. After the selections were made — with a healthy dose of trash talk mixed in — ESPN MLB draft analyst Kiley McDaniel broke down all three teams and declared a champion.

Let the dueling mock draft begin!

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1. Charlie Condon, 3B, Georgia (Schoenfield)

2. Travis Bazzana, CF/2B, Oregon State (Passan)

3. Jac Caglianone, 1B, Florida (Rogers)

Schoenfield: Let’s not overthink this. Condon just had one of the greatest seasons in NCAA history, something out of the juiced-bat era of the 1980s. His numbers tower over what Wyatt Langford and Dylan Crews did a year ago in the SEC. In other words: I’ve already won this draft.

Passan: Congratulations, Dave. You got a guy with (checks notes) a lower on-base percentage than mine. And (checks other notes) a worse strikeout-to-walk ratio. And who (checks more notes) will end up at a position with far lower defensive value. Condon is great. Just don’t forget that Bazzana is, too. And that there are plenty of picks left for you to screw up.

Rogers: Dave, you’re patting yourself on the back for taking the Golden Spikes winner? OK. Well, I just got a 2-for-1 in Caglianone who might or might not pitch while mashing home runs — but I like the possibilities. He’s a cornerstone player.

McDaniel: I have Condon and Bazzana as a virtual coin flip at the top, so Passan gets a nice value at No. 2. It’s not an easy call on who to take at three — my rankings lock next week and I’m still mulling it over — but Cags won’t be it for me and his position is maybe the easiest to fill on the board.

4. Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas (Rogers)

5. JJ Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia (Passan)

6. Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M (Schoenfield)

Rogers: It’s simple. Smith is the best lefty in the first round, and that’s just not something you can pass up. Multiple evaluators compare him to Carlos Rodon when he came out of college. That’s good enough for me, and the pick checks off a need for every team: left-handed pitching.

Passan: Wetherholt could go with the first overall pick in the real draft. And even if he doesn’t, his gorgeous left-handed swing and ability to play shortstop makes him even more valuable. If you want to give me the two best hit tools in the draft, I’m more than happy to take ’em.

Schoenfield: I like Wetherholt; I don’t like his hamstrings, which have bothered him each of the past two years (he missed two months in 2024). I’m happy to take Montgomery, a switch-hitting star with a 70 arm and 27 home runs for Texas A&M. How’s that for a one-two power punch?

McDaniel: Oof for Jesse. I also have Chase Burns over Smith by a decent margin, so he didn’t make up for what he missed by not having one of the top two picks. Wetherholt is probably going to be my third-best prospect in the draft, so Passan continues a strong start.

7. Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest (Schoenfield)

8. Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest (Passan)

9. Konnor Griffin, SS, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.) (Rogers)

Passan: Hold on. So I got the best pitcher in the draft with my third choice? You guys are making this too easy.

Rogers: I got potentially the best player in the entire draft with my third pick? McDaniel will back me up on this (I think). Griffin could be a star.

Schoenfield: And I get the next Anthony Rizzo to join my super-duper power-hitting squad.

McDaniel: In a tough position to pick, David gets two of the best options on the board in Montgomery and Kurtz but leaves the best pitcher in the draft on the board. Passan scoops him up and is on a heater to start things off. My comp for Griffin is Fernando Tatis Jr., so I’m on board with Jesse’s pick having a huge upside, but it may take a while and comes with more risk compared with the college options.

10. Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee (Rogers)

11. Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles) (Passan)

12. Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina (Schoenfield)

Passan: I’d argue that I got the best high school player in the draft here, Jesse. He’s a big, left-handed-hitting shortstop who has gotten Corey Seager comps. His hit tool is far more advanced than Griffin’s, and he’s got every bit the arm of Griffin, running fastballs regularly into the mid-90s from the mound.

Rogers: Note to Jeff, not every player coming out of Harvard-Westlake is going to be a star. Note to Dave, good pick.

Schoenfield: I would have taken Moore, who hit 34 home runs for the Vols, since I’m all-in on power hitters and exit velocity, but Yesavage is a polished right-hander with plus control and a four-pitch arsenal that should allow him to advance quickly to the majors.

McDaniel: There’s a top tier of 10 players in my mind (some scouts throw James Tibbs into that group and call it 11) and at pick 10, Jesse opts for arguably the best prospect in the next tier in Moore. It’s defensible, but if you were worried Griffin already filled that spot, you can move him out to center field. Passan keeps it simple and takes the best player available again. Sigh.

13. Seaver King, SS, Wake Forest (Schoenfield)

14. Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State (Passan)

15. James Tibbs, OF, Florida State (Rogers)

Schoenfield: Seaver King? Are you kidding me? I’m not passing on a kid with that name at 13 (he also has speed, high-end exit velocity and the ability to stick at shortstop or move to center field if needed).

Passan: There’s a player whose talent I prefer slightly to Smith’s, but third base beyond Smith and Condon — who’s probably not going to be at the position by the time he reaches the big leagues — is too thin to chance being stuck with the next-best option.

Rogers: There’s little doubt — in my opinion — that Tibbs is the best player on the board outside the top 10, so to get him at 15 feels like a steal.

Passan: Tibbs was that player, for the record. Good pick, Jesse.

McDaniel: The first misplay by Passan! I have Tibbs ranked over his teammate Smith and that’s now the more consensus view, which flipped during the spring. Jesse makes up ground by scooping up the strong value of Tibbs while David gets the most positionally versatile player in the first round in King.

16. William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS (Baton Rouge, La.) (Rogers)

17. Ryan Waldschmidt, OF, Kentucky (Passan)

18. Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa (Schoenfield)

Passan: Outfield is thin in this draft, so I’m plenty happy to get a toolshed who was the best player on one of the best teams in the country and performed in the SEC.

Schoenfield: I passed on Chase Burns earlier, but am happy to get Brecht here. A wide receiver on the Iowa football team, Brecht finally focused on pitching in 2024 and delivered a breakout season, sitting 96-97 and up to 101 with movement. He needs to improve his control, but I’ll bet on the athleticism to help him in pro ball.

Passan: It’s always great when the first thing you mention about a baseball player is that he played football.

Rogers: I saw Brecht play in person multiple times — why is why I didn’t take him in either sport.

McDaniel: I like the picks of Waldschmidt and Brecht, but I’m the low guy in the industry on Schmidt. I worry a bit about the command and what generally being maxed out in terms of stuff in high school means for long-term projection. Talented player, but I’d have taken Cam Caminiti over Schmidt among the top prep pitchers.

19. Carson Benge, OF, Oklahoma State (Schoenfield)

20. Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina (Passan)

21. Tommy White, 3B, LSU (Rogers)

Passan: Benge is a perfectly solid pick here, but I’m happy to get Honeycutt, who at one point was considered the best player in the class. After a disappointing sophomore season, he rebounded with an excellent 2024 — and an even better College World Series. And while I’ve got Bazzana playing center field and Honeycutt in right to utilize his plus arm, I’ll gladly shift Honeycutt back to center, where he can really catch the ball, if need be.

Schoenfield: I notice that Jeff conveniently didn’t mention that Honeycutt struck out 83 times in 62 games. In college. I just don’t see how that’s going to translate to pro ball. Just way too much swing-and-miss.

Rogers: White is my midround sleeper pick. He might not have a position in the field — at best he’s a first baseman — but his raw power to all fields is undeniable. A shoulder injury slowed him last season, but I would easily put him in the same class of hitter as Dave and Jeff’s third-sacker.

McDaniel: I love the Benge pick here. I think he’s my pick to click among this stretch of college bats. Some evaluators think his swing has an easy fix to unlock more potential, while he’s a plus runner who can play center field and is in the mid-90s on the mound. Honeycutt is a super polarizing player in this class — my guess is he’ll be an All-Star or a total bust — while Tommy White gets milquetoast reviews from scouts who I think are looking past the things he does well.

22. Slade Caldwell, OF, Valley View HS (Jonesboro, Ark.) (Rogers)

23. Caleb Lomavita, C, Cal (Passan)

24. Theo Gillen, 2B/SS, Westlake HS (Austin, Texas) (Schoenfield)

Rogers: I’ll admit, I was scrambling on the Caldwell pick. But I love his motor and I look at it this way: If a 5-foot-9 18-year-old without a lot of power is getting this much attention, he must be doing something right. He’s a very mature hitter for his age — and besides, I think I got a better catcher than Jeff with my last pick.

Passan: I could’ve gone with Lomavita, Walker Janek from Sam Houston State or Malcolm Moore from Stanford. I opted for Lomavita because he’s the best combination of present production, strong competition and tools ceiling. And Dave — this is good value on Gillen. This format can work out well if you can float a guy because the position he plays is filled on the other two teams. You’ll see what I mean with my final pick.

McDaniel: I’m another big fan of the Gillen pick. He may be second base-only due to his arm, but in hushed tones some really sharp scouts are telling me he’s the best hitter in the draft outside of the top 10 picks. Lomavita could be an All-Star if he cuts down the chase, so he offers a solid floor/ceiling proposition. I worry about Caldwell’s power upside, but the kid can hit.

25. Walker Janek, C, Sam Houston State (Schoenfield)

26. Billy Amick, 1B/3B, Tennessee (Passan)

27. Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State (Rogers)

Schoenfield: Janek is the second catcher in this draft, but he’s regarded as the best defensive catcher in this class — and hit .364 with 17 home runs, with a nearly even walk-to-strikeout ratio (40 to 45). Lomavita, who went to Jeff earlier, had 12 walks and 43 strikeouts. Again, I have trouble seeing how that will translate to pro ball. I’ll take my guy.

Rogers: I love my pick here. Jordan is a great athlete who might have been downgraded while concentrating on football at Mississippi State. He has given that up and could be as good as anyone taken near him — making him a good value pick for me late in our draft. Can’t say the same about any of Dave’s late ones.

Schoenfield: Good roll of the dice there, Jesse. Lots of tools … oh, and lots of strikeouts (84 in 63 games), just like Honeycutt. If you guys are trying to build the 2024 Mariners offense, you’ve succeeded.

McDaniel: I think the move is to wait until the other college catchers are picked and take the last one because they’re all pretty similar; looks like Jesse is taking my advice. Amick and Jordan both have some contact concerns but 30-homer upside with solid SEC performance.

28. Malcolm Moore, C, Stanford (Rogers)

29. Cam Caminiti, LHP, Saguaro High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) (Passan)

30. Kellon Lindsey, OF/SS, Hardee HS (Wauchula, Fla.) (Schoenfield)

Rogers: I think I made another value pick as Moore holds up against the other two catchers taken in the draft. If the pick hits, I have a good, left-handed-hitting catcher. There’s extra value in that as well.

Schoenfield: Let’s give Jeff credit here. He waited on his second pitcher and got the top-rated prep pitcher in Caminiti (former MVP Ken Caminiti’s nephew). Good selection. Lindsey is an absolute burner who will need to find some power and could profile at shortstop, but I’d take his speed and move him to center.

McDaniel: How did Caminiti fall this far? Only six pitchers will be drafted in this exercise, but I think he’s the third-best one. Jesse gets nice value in Moore while David shoots for the moon with a Trea Turner clone in Lindsey.

Why is your team the best?

Passan: I’ve got the best hitting and the best pitching. I suppose I can outline why — Bazzana is a future All-Star, Wetherholt and Rainer top talents, the rest of my hitters proven college bats and my pitching a great combination of present stuff and future potential — but the production alone tells a story upon which I need not expound any further.

Rogers: It all centers around Griffin, who one evaluator said was Mike Trout — if the pick pans out. That might be high praise but you get the picture. I got a top-end talent at No. 9 after already getting the best left-hander in the draft in Smith and a masher in Caglianone. And who is to say the latter player won’t be the next Ohtani, considering he threw 73 innings last year while hitting 35 home runs? And I like my high school kids. I’m counting on McDaniel saying the same.

Schoenfield: The other teams don’t come close to matching the middle of my order with Condon, Kurtz, Montgomery and Benge hitting 2-3-4-5. All guys who mashed in college without the swing-and-miss or chase issues that Passan and Rogers will have from some of their hitters. Throw in two high school speedsters in Gillen and Lindsey and I love this lineup. Yes, I’ll need Brecht to perform, but I’ll make the comparison to Jeff Samardzija, a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame who excelled as a pitcher in the majors.

McDaniel’s final verdict

I tried to hide it a bit in the round-by-round commentary, but this was a runaway win by Passan. I graded each slot in each lineup (best outfielder, second-best outfielder, etc. for OF and P slots) and he won at every spot except first base and third base. If you’ll look at the first round, the two spots he lost were the other two top picks; he essentially won every other matchup after that. Jeff, maybe you’d like to take my spot at respective sweat boxes/stadiums around the South for the next two months scouting the best prospects for the 2025 MLB draft? You might have a future in this if that whole news breaker thing doesn’t work out.

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