Diamondbacks’ MLB mock draft roundup: Potential targets in NCAA Tournament

Jun 1, 2024, 6:30 AM | Updated: 9:30 am

Kansas State infielder Kaelen Culpepper...

Kansas State infielder Kaelen Culpepper (22) slides into third base during the 2024 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship game between Kansas and Kansas State on May 21, 2024, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. (Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2024 MLB Draft is less than seven weeks away on July 14-16, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have three picks in the top 35.

Arizona’s first selection is No. 29 overall after its run to the 2023 World Series, but the D-backs also have pick Nos. 31 and 35.

That puts them a unique position on how to use their allocated pool money, and creates a puzzle for mock draft makers.

Several potential targets are set to play in some of the biggest games of their lives, as the NCAA baseball tournament begins Friday.

Diamondbacks MLB mock draft roundup: May

ESPN (May 29): Kansas State SS Kaelen Culpepper

ESPN analyst Kiley McDaniel presented several options for the D-backs depending on how they plan on investing with each pick, but he landed on Culpepper as a college bat.

The Diamondbacks also pick at Nos. 31 and 35, so there are a lot of rumors about them moving money around within these picks. There are also a lot of high school players tied to these picks, as Arizona has the pool space to land a higher-ranked player down here (they like Gillen, but he likely won’t get here on his own) or just scoop up a few high-upside types. Wyatt Sanford, Carter Johnson, Kellon Lindsey, Luke Dickerson, William Schmidt and Ryan Sloan have come up the most, while Culpepper fits the D-backs’ type from the college ranks.

Culpepper was an All-Big 12 Second Team honoree this season after he produced a .943 OPS, nine home runs and 16 steals in 56 games played for the Wildcats. He is a 6-foot, 190-pound infielder who bats from the right side.

Kansas State is in the Fayetteville Regional with Southeast Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana Tech.

The D-backs took a college infielder in the first round last year: Tommy Troy from Stanford.

Bleacher Report (May 30): Tennessee 2B Christian Moore

Joel Reuter also pegs the Diamondbacks going with an accomplished college infielder. Moore made First Team All-SEC after clubbing 28 home runs with a .789 slugging percentage in 60 games for the Volunteers, the NCAA Tournament’s top seed. Tennessee is hosting Indiana, Southern Miss and Northern Kentucky.

Many mock drafts have Moore going higher than No. 29.

The D-backs pick again at No. 31 overall as compensation for Corbin Carroll winning NL Rookie of the Year after being part of the Opening Day roster, so a safe college player here could set them up for an above-slot prep pitcher with their next pick.

The Athletic (May 15): Valley View (Ark.) High School OF Slade Caldwell

Keith Law is going with a prep bat who fits the profile of many Diamondbacks high draft picks over the past several years. Caldwell is a 5-foot-9 outfielder who can run and patrol center.

He was the Gatorade Arkansas high school Player of the Year and a Mississippi recruit.

Sounds like the Diamondbacks are the floor for Caldwell, who would be a top-shelf prospect if he could reach it. (I’m his height, so I’m allowed to make that joke.) They’ve had success with smaller position players before, and Caldwell would be a top-10 pick if he were 6 feet tall. (May 16): Caldwell

Jim Callis also links Caldwell to the Diamondbacks.

The D-backs hit big with a smallish prep outfielder in the first round five years ago — Corbin Carroll — and could try that route again with Caldwell, an advanced hitter with well-above-average speed and nonstop energy. (May 3): Mississippi State SWP Jurrangelo Cijntje

Jonathan Mayo picked perhaps the most unique player in the draft. Not familiar with the SWP position? It means switch-pitcher.

Cijnte can hit 90 mph with both hands and uses a custom glove to switch on the mound.

He made 15 starts with a 3.55 ERA in 2024, striking out 108 batters in 83.2 innings.

Cijntje can pitch with both hands, though scouts see a starter in a Marcus Stroman mold right-handed and more of a reliever from the left side. There were a ton of scouts who saw his last start on Sunday, when he was consistently 97-99 mph from the right side for five innings.

Mississippi State plays in the Charlottesville Regional with Penn, Virginia and St. John’s.

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