Guardians Mock Draft 1.0

The excitement of the first overall, larger budget and comp A pick has me deep into this draft class already. At first sight it's not a deep draft, but there's enough talent to bring in a good class. It's an important draft, obviously, because of the top pick, but with that comes some extra millions to work with through the entire draft. CLEFO has gone over slot here and there, but this year they could potentially take Clemmey, Zibin, Mooney, Humphries like talents over slot throughout the draft all in one class. Every pick could become a high upside dart throw and I expect them to take several.

The top pick is far from settled. It's a shame Wetherholt is injured because I believe he was the perfect mix between Bazzana's high floor and Condon's ceiling (with less risk).

Again, it's really tough NOT to pick Bazzana at this point, even though I'm pretty sure he won't be the best MLB player of the bunch. Problem is, that best player could be any of the other 5+ names thrown around. The first overall seldom ends up the best player in his class, that's a reality I can accept and take a sure fire MLB bat in Bazzana.

All reports from this highly recommended Top 300 list:

Top 10 rounds Guardians Mock Draft

1 2B/OF Travis Bazzana - Oregon State

This was close. Really close. But ultimately, Bazzana’s long track {ö>ö handedness and more obvious floor give him the edge as the top player in the class, among other reasons listed below.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect with a better combination of pure hit tool, approach, and peak exit velocities than Travis Bazzana. An import out of Australia, Bazzana possesses plus bat-to-ball skills to go alongside his elite eye. He refuses to expand the zone and has shown a willingness to all fields. He’s also about as good as they come in terms of pummeling balls left in the strike zone. He’s one of the more decorated hitters in college baseball in terms of fighting off pitches just off the black.

A brutally difficult at-bat for opposing pitchers. Bazzana has flashed plus raw power, and he’s getting to a lot of it in games. If there’s one nitpick scouts would like to see improve as the draft approaches, it’s his polish against left-handed pitching. Bazzana annhilites righties, but his swing rates and chase rates both jump a bit against southpaws, and his exit velocities take a dip as well.

An import out of Sydney, Bazzana was a star in the Pac-12 immediately as a true freshman. The Aussie has twitch and bounce on the dirt with an average arm and enough athleticism to make the plays to his right and left. Some scouts want to see what it looks like over an extended period at shortstop, but that opportunity has yet to truly present itself. He projects a potential plus hitter with above-average power at the next level, all while playing a steady, if not exceptional second base.

He also figures to steal upwards of 20-or-more bags per season at the next level as his high IQ and above average speed should both impact the game immediately on the base paths.

Perhaps Bazzana’s greatest strength however is tireless pursuit of perfection and improvement in his game. He’s an analytic mind who welcomes developing his game through tangible numbers and data evaluation. The kid grinds. His approach toward the game is already well-suited for the next level, and many believe his game should translate quickly to professional ball. He’s got a shot at developing into someone like Jason Kipnis at the next level.

36 RHP Luke Holman - LSU

Holman has a good arm with a good fastball up to 95 mph and a high-release that lends well to generating swing-and-miss on his breaking ball. He lives high, glove-side and has been particularly difficult for right-handed hitters to handle. The heater possesses tremendous carry through the zone and has the potential to be a plus weapon at the next level it's he continues adding velocity. For the time being, he's mostly 91-93. It's a legit curve with huge depth and tumbling tilt, thrown firm in the upper-70s. When Holman gets that pitch down and spiked, it's been especially effective, though he does have a tendency to hang it at times. The slider has been a work-in-progress, but flashed big shape for Team USA this past summer. It works well off the fastball, especially elevated. There's also a changeup, though it lags a bit behind his heat and spin. Holman has starter traits and more strength coming in his 6-foot-4-inch frame. His one-two tunneling punch, plus his slider, should lend well to the modern game at the next level. Aesthetically, the ball jumps out of Holman's hand and everything comes loose and easy for the lanky righty. He's "what they look like".

48 RHP Ryan Forcucci - San Diego

Forcucci is a premium body guy with a sound delivery and a bit of a longer arm action in the back. He's generally been a guy who pounds the zone. The selling point here is a unicorn-esque fastball that features close to 20 inches of carry, but also roughly nine inches of arm-side run. There are very few pitchers who can claim that amount of life in both directions on the heater. Forcucci has a budding slider with depth and a bit of sweep, as well as feel for executing the pitch. It mostly projects above average, though he does through it with velocity behind it so some continued refinement in shape could push the pitch toward plus over time. There's also a changeup here, and while Forcucci has shown feel for putting the pitch where it needs to be, he hardly throws it. It's a good changeup too with arm-side fading action and late separation off the fastball tunnel. This is a high-ceiling arm with starter traits. He'll likely be a priority guy on day two.

84 RHP Levi Sterling - HS California

Sterling possesses a long-levered, lanky frame that projects to add significant strength in the coming years. We currently like him more on the mound, though some in the industry remain curious on the offensive upside. He's been up to 95 with a low launch, high-spin heater featuring bat-missing carry and arm-side life. He flashes a low-80s slider and feel for a splitter-like off-speed secondary. He's also begun to work in a mid-80s cutter that has shown teeth. The athleticism and uniqueness of what he can do on the bump really stand out.

He's a tremendous athlete with a looseness through his release suggesting he could grow into above average command. Limiting free passes as the draft approaches will likely dictate his draft stock. He's already striking out the world in high school league play.

Sterling won't turn 18 until shortly after draft day, generally a good indication of elevated draft stock as models tend to value younger players. There's a little bit of Max Scherzer in the whole package if all breaks right.

113 RHP Brady Tygart - Arkansas

Tygart, put quite simply, has some of the most insane stuff the 2024 class has to offer. Blessed with an absolute hammer slider with immense sweep and a mid-90s heater that bores in on righties, Tygart is a huge weapon out of the bullpen. There's considerable effort in his delivery and just about everyone is convinced he's destined for high-leverage roles at the next level. That said, the pure stuff here is unmatched and Tygart represents the type of talent that could force his way onto a competing big league bullpen in September 2024 after he's selected.

146 RHP Alexander Meckley - Coastal Carolina

A JUCO Transfer into Coastal for the 2024 campaign, Meckley looks the part of a front-line starter with a bulldog, durable frame. He'll grab 97 and sit 93-95 with a bully mentality, relentlessly coming after hitters. A hard curveball is his go-to out-pitch and it'll flash above average when Meckley gets all the way through the pitch. There's a two-seam fastball that'll he'll pull some off of to get changeup shape, though it's not a consistent pitch to this point. Meckley will need to develop a tertiary weapon if he's to realize his big league starter ceiling. At worst it's likely a mid-leverage reliever with a power arm. Everything is firm. Definitive up arrow next to the name.

175 LHP Mason Molina - Arkansas

Molina is a bulldog on the mound, a barrel-chested southpaw with a fantastic three-pitch mix and a attacker mindset. The fastball only tickles the low-90s right now, but gets enormous hop late, jumping over barrels with authority. The changeup shows fantastic shape, though Molina continues to refine his feel for the pitch. It flashes above average at times. Molina flashes two separate breaking balls, the curveball being the better offering featuring tunnel off the fastball with significant depth and conviction. Molina has the chance to be a solid back-end of the rotation starter with four pitches, maybe more if his stuff ticks up.

205 INF Brendan Lawson - HS Canada

Lawson is one of the more premium Canadian prospects to become available in recent draft classes. He's an extremely dangerous hitter with a smooth, controlled, violent left-handed swing featuring exceptional torque and ground force. Lawson presents organic loft in his swing and is already showcasing over-the-fence power. He's got a premium, long, athletic bluechip frame that may cost him the ability to ultimately move off the shortstop position, but the bat is the carrying tool here as-is. If Lawson moves over to third base, his average speed and average arm will play just fine. Scouts do think he could slow down a tick as he adds more size, but that may also come with a slight uptick in his arm strength.

235 RHP Brian Holiday - Oklahoma State

While Holiday doesn't possess the prototypical projection and size of some of his peers, he towers over many of them in terms of competitive fire, polish and pitchability. He's a very good athlete with a high leg kick and throws a ton of strikes. Holiday throws a low-90s fastball featuring arm-side run and some bore into right-handers. He'll alter the grip and throw a conventional four-seam fastball at the top of the zone as well featuring a bit more carry. The former is a ground ball inducing pitch that he'll work to all four quadrants. It's solid average command for the heater and he's been up to 95 in the past. It likely won't ever grade out as anything more than an average pitch at the next level, but it serves its purpose. He'll throw a low-80s slider nearly a third of the time and it's been effective in producing chase and whiffs. Holiday's slider tunnels well and features late, sharp break and depth. His command for the slider is average, though his willingness to throw it, as well as the tendency to miss glove-side makes it an effective offering. Unless Holiday can add some firmness to the pitch, it too likely projects just average, maybe above average going forward. He'll throw a bigger curveball in the low-to-mid 70s featuring late depth, though he's working to iron a hump out of the pitch. It's such a big bender that it's been a productive offering both as a get-me-over option and a lock-them-up pitch late in counts. Again, this is probably an average pitch, but flashes above average shape and efficiency when commanded well. Holiday will show a changeup to left-handed hitters and he commands this pitch quite well, though it's fringy shape and doesn't come off his fastball line much. He's also folding in a cutter to get under left-handers hands that's shown real promise. As a whole Holiday is a five-pitch guy with solid average command and a willingness to pitch backwards. He doesn't have tremendous stuff, and his frame lacks projectable upside, but there's an athlete here and an artist-like approach to pitching. He could sneak into the 5th-8th round range if a team buy the athlete and what can be done in tinkering once player development gets their hands on him. He projects a No. 5 starter at the next level with the shot and eating innings as a big leaguer.

265 2B Brady Day - Kansas State

Day, a rare New Hampshire product, is an elite bat-to-ball prospect. He doesn't possess a ton of raw power, but routinely posts contact percentage figures and chase rate figures at Kansas State that rivaled next to nobody in college baseball. He's an extremely passive hitter who has a tendency to leave the bat on his shoulder too long at times, but when he pulls the trigger it's generally on pitches he can hit. As one might imagine, Day draws a ton of walks and hardly ever strikes out. He's not much of a base-running threat, squarely an average runner with just an average first step. He projects into a second base or utility role at the next level unless he can unlock a bit more power in his game. Still, it's hard to ignore just how gaudy the bat to ball skills are here. Day was a 12th round selection by the Braves in 2023, but elected to return to school. He is draft-eligible for the second time.

295 C Ryan Stafford - Cal Poly

Stafford, a freshman All-American in 2022 as a true freshman, possesses elite bat-to-ball skills and some pull-side power. His body doesn't project to add much more thump as he develops and moves up the ladder, but the present offensive tools are noteworthy, especially in terms of never sacrificing an at-bat. He's also an average runner and can provide some value running around the pillows. Stafford is an accomplished defender strong blocking abilities on balls in the dirt. He has an average throwing arm, but gets out of the crouch well. He threw out 35% of would-be base-stealers as a freshman.

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