5. White Sox
The 12 other non-postseason teams are placed in reverse-order of regular season record in 2023. Postseason teams are sorted in a similar manner, though postseason exits and revenue sharing status are factors. For a complete breakdown of the logistics of the draft lottery, check here.
We completed a full first round projection for the 2023 draft immediately after the inaugural draft lottery, and in that exercise we correctly identified 20 of 30 players who wound up being selected among the first 30 picks, with a first round hit rate of 100% through the first 15 picks. At this stage in the calendar, a mock draft is more useful to showcase perceived top-of-the-class talents than specific team/player connections, though the 2024 class has less of a consensus tier at the top compared to a well above-average 2023 class.
1. Guardians — JJ Wetherholt, 2B, West Virginia
Arguably the best pure hitter in the 2024 class, Wetherholt led all Division I batters in 2023 with a .449 average. He also added significantly to both his speed and power numbers, going from 15 stolen bases to 35 and from five home runs to 16. Wetherholt is shorter of stature at 5-foot-10, but he is strong and filled out with heavy hands that create plenty of force in the box when paired with his innate barrel sense and above-average pure bat speed. He was one of just eight hitters in 2023 with at least 15 home runs and a strikeout rate less than 10%—of that group he was the only Power 5 conference player. Wetherholt was the most impressive hitter with Team USA this summer and he projects to be a fine defender at second base.
2. Reds — Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest
Kurtz currently ranks as the No. 1 player in the 2024 class thanks to his combination of bat-to-ball skills, offensive approach and raw power. He’s a career .345/.499/.708 hitter with Wake Forest who was the best hitter on a team that included 2023 first rounder Brock Wilken in 2023. Kurtz looks to yet again be a middle-of-the-order force for a loaded Demon Deacons offense in 2024. Among all hitters with 20 or more home runs in 2023, Kurtz’s .527 on-base percentage was second behind only Fairfield’s Charlie Pagliarini. He has a corner-only profile, but is an above-average defender at first base and might be athletic enough for some teams to think about trying him in a corner outfield spot.
3. Rockies — Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State