Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

2024 Draft Coverage – Next Group of Mock Drafts


Konnor Griffen is looking like a popular pick to mock to the Nats at #10. Photo via Mississippi Scoreboard

Instead of sitting on a massive mock draft post this year, I published the first cut of mocks to show how the top 5 and our thinking at #10 have morphed from mid 2023 until about mid May 2024. This post has basically mid May to Mid June, as a slew of mocks have just come out in the last couple of days that show some crystallization of moves post D1 playoffs.

As most pundits point out, this is basically a 9-10 person draft. Those 10 players are (in rough order of draft rank):

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia
  • Konnor Griffin, SS/CF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.)
  • Bryce Rainer, SS from Harvard Westlake HS in LA
  • James Tibbs, OF Florida State University (he’s now creeping into the top 10 in a lot of mocks)

If you’d like to see some scouting reports, go to one of these main spots:

Here’s some mock draft links starting from Mid May to Mid June.

  • USAToday/Jack McKessy Mock 5/22/24: no original analysis; he’s aggregating others.
  • MLBPipeline’s Odds of going #1 5/23/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Smith. This isn’t a mock as much as it is analysis of the 4-5 players who might go 1-1.
  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Mock Draft 1.0 5/29/24: Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone, Smith. Burns takes a big rise up here from other mocks. Nats at #10 get Rainer, as McDaniel predicted earlier in the month. Yesevage falls to #15, White at #27 to Philly, which, honestly, would make a ton of sense and he’d seemingly fit right into that clubhouse.
  • Bleacher Report/Joel Reuter Mock 3.0 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Griffen. Nats at #10 get Wetherholt who has slipped to them in this sequence of events. Wetherholt at #10 would be a steal, a guy who started the cycle in the conversation for 1-1. I’d take this outcome.
  • MLBPipeline/Jonathan Mayo 5/30/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. A run on college talent at the top leaves the Nats at #10 with the last “big 9” name in Griffin, as Yesevage drops to #15.
  • Baseball America Mock Draft v3.0 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 grab Griffen over Yesavage. We’ve definitely seen a shift in the industry; nearly every major pundit now has Bazzana going 1 over Condon, probably in a cost savings move.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel Mini-Mock 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at #10project to Rainer. This is turning into a common theme: Bazzana over Condon despite Condon being the higher-ranked talent, and Nats picking the prep SS. However, in this mock the Nats would be leaving both Yesevage and Wetherholt on the table, and I don’t think they leave Wetherholt on the table.
  • CBSSports/Mike Axisa mock 6/13/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Smith. Nats take Griffin over Yesevage and Rainer (Tibbs sneaks into top 10).
  • SBNation/Mark Schofield 6/14/24 mock: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Burns, Smith. Nats at #10 take Griffin over Rainer, Tibbs, Yesevage.
  • MLPPipeline/Jonathan Mayo Mock 6/14/24: Bazzana, Burns, Condon, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Rainer, who they continue to have the nats on.
  • BA Mock Draft v4.0 6/17/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Kurtz, who’s fallen behind both prep bats.
  • Sporting News/Edward Suteland 6/15/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Rainer. This mock interestingly has Florida State OF slugger James Tibbs sneaking into the top 10, maybe on the huge performance he’s had in the post season.
  • CBSsports/RJ Anderson 6/18/24 odds of going #1: Bazzana, Condon, Wetherholt, Caglianone, Burns. Only did a top 5.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Very contrarian top 5, considering many others have Bazzana nowhere else besides #1 or #2. Nats at #10 take Griffen, even though in this mock Kurtz is still on the board (who he has going 13th!). Kiley predicts into the 2nd round and has us taking a duke LHP named Santucci in the second.
  • Athletic/Keith Law 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Kurtz, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 get Montgomery, who falls b/c of his injury with memories of the way Rendon fell to us. They leave Griffin and Yesevage on the board.

Here’s the collection of Draft Ranking lists from Mid May leading upto the draft.

NOTE: there’s a difference between a Mock draft and a Draft board Ranking. Mocks take into account a thought process as to what a team might do, and includes the value-add of the networking and intelligence the writers have. So, keep that in mind when reading Ranks versus Mocks here. I’ll pull out all these Draft Ranks again when we do 2024 draft recaps to show where our draftees rank.

  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/8/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at 10 take Bryce Rainer, a SS from Harvard Westlake.
  • Keith Law Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/22/24: Condon, Bazzana, Kurtz, Wetherholt, Montgomery. If the draft went chalk to his rankings, at #10 we’d have Caglianone. Honestly, while Caglianone is certainly famous and many think he’s going to try the Ohtani two-way route, most scouting reports put him as hitter-only, which means he’s 1B limited with huge power but also huge swing and miss concerns. I’d rather have an arm. In his ranks, Burns and Smith go ahead, but Yesavage goes right behind.
  • ProspectsLive Draft top 300 ranks 5/29/24: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Smith. Coming in ranked 10th is Yesevage, right above Rainer.
  • MLBpipeline top 200 Draft ranks 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Burns. #10 is Rainer, #11 is Yesevage, so they’re consistent with other ranks.
  • Baseball America top 500 Draft Ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Wetherholt, Montgomery. Rainer comes in ranked 10th.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel top 150+ ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Montgomery, Smith, Caglianone. 10th ranked is Wetherholt.
  • CBSSports/RJ Anderson 6/14/24 Draft Rankings: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Ranked 10th is the Florida State slugger James Tibbs III, the first time we’ve heard his name in this series but certainly not the first time we’ve written about him after he dominated in the Super Regionals.

So, what do I think will happen with the Nats pick? Right now it really seems like we’ll take one of the two prep shortstops. I’d love it if one of the college guys fell down. Not sure what I think about Montgomery yet.

Written by Todd Boss

June 19th, 2024 at 8:50 am

Posted in Draft,Prospects

7 Responses to '2024 Draft Coverage – Next Group of Mock Drafts'

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  1. Great work compiling all this in one spot. Seems very little has changed. It’s still a 2 horse race, then a clear next 6 of college picks. I really don’t recall previous drafts having such a strong consensus… Hopefully a couple teams are dumb enough to pass on some of the consensus top 8, but I do wonder if the Nats could try something a bit more adventurous, if there aren’t any of top 8 players left when their pick comes.


    19 Jun 24 at 3:52 pm

  2. The absolutely, positively dumbest thing the Nats could do right now at this time in the rebuild would be to draft a high school shortstop. I would do cartwheels if either Caglianone or Kurtz fell, even as 1B-only. Last time I checked, the Nats don’t have any capable option at either 1B or DH.

    Most new mocks seem to have Yesavage falling through the top 9 as well. At 6-4, 225, he’s genetically engineered to be a Rizzo pick. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t had a TJ, he’s never topped 100 innings in a college season, and he won’t turn 21 until after the draft.

    It’s very telling about the unpredictability of this draft that mocks a month ago hinted at the possibility of Wetherholt falling to #9 or 10, but now McDaniel has him back at #1.

    There are going to be some good college-talent options at #10. There’s no reason for the Nats to assume the risk and extended timeline for a high schooler, nor to pay the overslot price for one.


    20 Jun 24 at 7:53 am

  3. Last season in 71 games, Caglianone struck out 58 times and walked only 17. Thus far in 60 games this year, he has walked 48 times and stuck out only 23. What an amazing turnaround. Perhaps he could be put work coaching a few guys in the Nats’ system. I’m sure that teams have been pitching around him more this spring, but he’s had the presence not to try to do too much. He’s also not a one-year wonder, with 31 homers following 33 last season.

    I would really be surprised to see him fall out of the top 5-7, but in this draft you never know.


    20 Jun 24 at 11:31 am

  4. If Montgomery falls to us like Law predicts; how we feeling about that?


    20 Jun 24 at 12:21 pm

  5. After the CWS Caglianone just had, there’s no way he’s falling to #10. He just blew up on the biggest stage. Tibbs has been sneaking into the top 10 but was a dud in Omaha.

    I think teams will pass on Montgomery and we may have a tough decision. Yes, if we’re looking at a college player who’s got a broken ankle but by all press i’ve read its a “clean break” with no tendons or muscular damage, then yeah i’d take that 100% over a prep SS. I agree with KW: the last thing we need or want is a prep SS. WE’re close. WE need a guy who’s going to be pressing for the majors in a year and a half. I’d love a pitcher … but the cards don’t seem to be falling that way. There’s smith and burns and then a distinct gap that passes us at #10 to Yesevage in the 12-14 range.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 24 at 12:38 pm

  6. Montgomery is also a tough decision because the Nats don’t really need an OF. But he’s got a big enough bat to think about as a 1B/DH if necessary I guess. He sure K’s a lot, though.


    20 Jun 24 at 3:08 pm

  7. So here’s the thing. You don’t/can’t draft for need in the MLB. In the NBA, where you play 5 guys and you might have a point guard locked up for 6 yers on a max contract … you’d never use a top draft pick on another point guard. In the NFL the Chiefs aren’t drafting a QB in the first round for the next decade or so. But in baseball? You just never know. Byrce Harper was a catcher in high school; within 5 minutes of being drafted he was a RF. Now he’s a 1B. IF the bat plays, they’ll find a spot.

    This is why teams have to stay true to their board, and pick the BPA on their board no matter who it is, whether he’s prep or college, and no matter the position. Yes, it’s looking like we may have an OF of Crews, Wood, Young for 6 years. Maybe not; where does Hassell or Lile or Pinckney or Vaquero or Thomas or Garrett fit in to that? Maybe we draft another awesome OF and he blows through the minors and suddenly he’s an option and he makes the team make a decision.

    So, i don’t want a prep SS who’s 5 years again simply because this team is on the verge of beign good, and i’d rather have someone come up sooner. But in 5 years, Abrams is a FA and we may be loking for his replacement.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 24 at 4:25 pm

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