Will the Reds overthink their first-round pick of 2024 MLB Draft?

It's really just one of two players, right?

Georgia's Charlie Condon (24) takes the field
Georgia's Charlie Condon (24) takes the field / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Reds — thanks to Devin Mesoraco and the newly-implemented MLB Draft lottery — will be picking second in next month's draft. The Cleveland Guardians, who won the draft lottery, have the first selection.

Most draft experts will tell you that there's a separation between two players and everyone else. Travis Bazzana or Oregon State and Georgia's Charlie Condon are recognized as the top-2 players in the 2024 MLB Draft.

So there's no way the Reds can screw this up, right? If the Guardians take Bazzana, the Reds land Condon and vice versa. Well, it might not be that simple.

Will the Reds overthink their first-round pick of 2024 MLB Draft?

While Bazzana and Condon are seen in a class by themselves, there is a case to made for few other players who are bound to hear their name called very early on draft day. While teams are never supposed to draft for need and are implored to take the best player available, there are other factors at play — namely money.

Each team is allocated a specific amount of money that they can spend and each pick in the first10 rounds has an assigned value. Teams that exceed their bonus pool in order to sign a specific player face a penalty that can include tax overages and loss of picks.

If the Reds believe that they can get value at No. 2 by drafting a player that may be ranked somewhere outside the top-5, Cincinnati could conceivably use the money they saved at No. 2 and land a player with higher upside later in the draft. Some teams employ this strategy in order to lure high school talent away with an over-slot deal.

If the Reds choose not to take Condon or Bazzana in Round 1, pitchers like Hagen Smith and Chase Burns may draw some attention. JJ Weatherholt would be another player that could sign an under-slot deal as would Trey Yesavage.

Ultimately, the Reds can end all the speculation on July 14th by taking either Bazzana or Condon No. 2 overall. Bazzana has a compact, advanced approach at the plate, and Condon led the NCAA in home runs this past season. There's really not a wrong choice if the Reds select one of those two players. If Cincinnati goes off script, some harsh criticisms are sure to follow.

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