ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks mock drafts roundup: College World Series, MLB combine wind down

Jun 23, 2024, 4:48 PM

Malcolm Moore...

Malcolm Moore #10 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a grand slam against the Oregon Ducks on April 21, 2024 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

The Major League Baseball Draft Combine at Chase Field is done and the College World Series is down to Tennessee and Texas A&M. The draft is just over three weeks out on July 14-16, and the Arizona Diamondbacks will have a busy first day with three picks in the top 35.

Arizona picks No. 29 overall after making the World Series in 2023, No. 31 overall thanks to Corbin Carroll’s Rookie of the Year win and No. 35 overall in the Competitive Balance Round A.

MLB Draft analysts project Arizona’s strategy with those picks and how to allocate draft pool money differently — each pick has an assigned value. The D-backs can spend less on their top pick to offer more to their subsequent draftees or vice versa. Arizona has a bonus pool of $12,662,000, and the No. 29 pick’s value is at $3,045,500.

The D-backs had three picks in the first 64 last year and went with three college players: Stanford infielder Tommy Troy, NC State infielder Gino Groover and Clemson pitcher Caden Grice.

Diamondbacks mock drafts

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo: SS Kaelen Culpepper, Kansas State

Kaelen Culpepper is a 6-foot, 190-pound infielder with a 60-grade arm. He moved from third base to shortstop in 2024 and showed athleticism with several highlight plays throughout the year.

Culpepper slugged .576 and .574, respectively, over his last two seasons at KSU with 21 home runs and 26 steals between the two campaigns. He has a quick swing and kept the strikeouts down to 14% in 2024.

Culpepper had a moment in the NCAA baseball tournament, as he hit for the cycle in the Fayetteville Regional.

Don’t be surprised if the D-backs use their multiple picks (three of the next seven) and spread the money around a little, going with a “safer” college bat first, then going aggressively after some high school talent with their next two selections.

MLB.com’s Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Brendan Samson: C Malcolm Moore, Stanford

A college teammate of Troy, Malcolm Moore played two years at Stanford and produced a .958 OPS with 31 homers.

He is a bat-first catcher, standing 6-foot-2 and hitting from the left side. MLB Pipeline evaluated him with 50-grade hit and power tools, plus he worked his walks last season at 18%.

If you look at his numbers, they don’t stand out, but a lot of the underlying data was very good. He’s still hitting the ball hard. There’s power there. The catching has gotten better.

The Athletic’s Keith Law: OF Slade Caldwell, Jonesboro HS (Ark.)

Can the D-backs get another Slade in the building?

Slade Caldwell is a 5-foot-9 left-handed-hitting outfielder with 65-grade speed who can cover ground in center field. He was the Gatorade Arkansas high school Player of the Year in 2023 and a Baseball America First Team All-American in 2024.

He is 18 years old and committed to Mississippi.

The story all spring has been that Caldwell doesn’t get past the Diamondbacks, although I haven’t heard the diminutive outfielder’s name before them, either, and since they pick again at No. 31, they could get creative and take him at the later pick while going for another HS bat here (Tyson Lewis?) or perhaps a college pitcher.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel: C Walker Janek, Sam Houston State

Walker Janek won the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2024 and hit 30 home runs over the past two seasons.

A 6-foot catcher, Janek has a 60-grade arm to control the run game.

McDaniel provided insight into the push-and-pull of handling the draft pool with this many picks and when to go after a player they can sign overslot or underslot.

Arizona’s three picks close together are a hot spot because every agent I’ve spoken to thinks at least one of their clients is in play for one of these three picks — either for above or below slot. Janek and (Griff) O’Ferrall are solid values who should stop with Arizona’s picks while (Wyatt) Sanford is another player with lots of spots to land in the dozen or so picks leading up to this.

(Carter) Johnson and (Tyson) Lewis are two other prep shortstops in play at these picks for the D-backs. Culpepper and (Kellon) Lindsey are off the board in this scenario but also fit here if available. (Theo) Gillen could be an option to take down here if he lasts on the board long enough, with rumors that prep shortstops Luke Dickerson or Sawyer Farr could be the underslot complement to an overslot play here. Taking Gillen or jumping the market on prep righties with William Schmidt and/or Ryan Sloan would be the leading options for overslot maneuvering.

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Diamondbacks mock drafts roundup: College World Series, MLB combine wind down