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Get to know UGA slugger Charlie Condon

A baseball journey that took Condon from walk-on at the University of Georgia to consensus National Freshman of the Year should soon include a step into the big-league spotlight as a potential top-five pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. Here's what you need to know about the Bulldogs' 20-year-old slugger.

FAST FACTSPosition: OF/1BHt/Wt: 6-foot-6, 216 lbs.B/T: Right/rightDOB: April 14, 2003College: GeorgiaHigh school: The Walker School (Marietta, Ga.)Born: Marietta, Ga.MLB Pipeline ranking: 4

Overlooked no more

Considered undersized and underdeveloped during his high school days at The Walker School outside Atlanta, Condon was not selected in the MLB Draft before heading to Georgia to start his college career. Yet he has grown into one of the premier bats in college baseball, as evidenced by his Southeastern Conference freshman-record 25 home runs last season and an SEC-best .800 slugging percentage.

Along with those 25 home runs, Condon's offensive output in 2023 included a .386 average and 67 RBIs -- giving him the team's Triple Crown en route to an SEC Tournament appearance. Other highlights from his freshman season included a 37-game on-base streak, a 24-game hitting streak and a three-homer game against No. 2 Florida.

He's continued that success in his sophomore season, securing multiple SEC Player of the Week Awards and ranking among the national leaders in many major categories. He had his second-career three-homer game in a 19-6 loss to Michigan State in February.

Potential versatility on defense

Condon has infield and outfield experience, including action at third base and center field. Though he's athletic enough to make plays anywhere on the field and has a strong throwing arm, he lacks speed and likely profiles best as a corner outfielder.

But that versatility shouldn't be overlooked, his coach said.

"I've told everybody and told you guys a lot that it's underrated how good of an athlete he is," UGA coach Wes Johnson told reporters, according to UGASports.com. "You look at it now, he's played first, he's played third, he's played all three outfield spots now at a high level."

The ability to play multiple positions is just another way to help the team, Condon said, in addition to gaining valuable reps to enhance his versatility and value.

"It keeps me on my toes," he told reporters, via the Athens Banner-Herald. "It tests me defensively and I enjoy bouncing around out there."

Overcoming the odds

Earlier in his high-school career, Condon thought he'd attend a Division III school, perhaps as a two-sport athlete in baseball and football. But he knew what he really wanted.

"I was always baseball first," Condon told the Pipeline Podcast. "Baseball was always the sport I enjoyed playing the most, and I spent the most time playing it."

His play late in high school reflected that passion and determination. After hitting .515 his junior year, Condon batted .432 with a 1.310 OPS as a senior and was named the 2021 Hitter of the Year for his region. It was all a prelude to what's become a breakout career at Georgia, despite arriving on campus as a preferred walk-on rather than a scholarship player.

"I’ve always said I don’t necessarily feel like I was wronged out of high school, with my recruiting process," Condon told the Pipeline Podcast. "I wasn’t the caliber player that I am today. I always knew I was going to be a late bloomer -- it’s just kind of how my family genetics were. My brother grew late, my dad grew late when he was younger. I knew it was going to take a little bit more time."

Condon always believed in himself and said he had "a ton of people" in his corner who believed in him, too. Once his body filled out, with help from the year of development he went through as a redshirt player, he was ready to turn that faith into results.

"I made a lot of really good strides, and I see it as really nothing but a positive these days," Condon said of that redshirt season. "It was a blessing in disguise for sure."

Once overlooked, Condon is now impossible to ignore.

"He's special," Johnson said, according to WSB Radio. "As a coach, you hope to get one every seven to 10 years like this."

Bulldog history?

If taken within the top four picks, Condon would become UGA's highest-drafted player in history. Georgia's current highest pick was Jeff Pyburn, who went fifth overall in 1980.

Condon as a top pick would also represent somewhat of a departure for the school, which is typically known more as a football powerhouse than a baseball pipeline. The last Bulldog position player drafted in the top 10 was Gordon Beckham, who was taken by the White Sox with the eighth overall pick in 2008.

The last Georgia player at any position drafted in the top 10 was pitcher Emerson Hancock, whom the Mariners chose with the sixth pick in 2020.

Almost teammates

It wasn't exactly like two ships passing in the night, but Condon was nearly teammates with No. 3-ranked prospect Travis Bazzana while in the Cape Cod League in 2023. Technically, they were teammates on the Falmouth Commodores. But it's really just a story of bad timing.

"Travis and I actually were on the same Cape team for one day. It was my last day at Falmouth, it was his first day," Condon told the Pipeline Podcast in April. "I don't think he had like his waivers signed yet, so he wasn't playing that day, which stinks. I would've loved to have shared the field with him for a while up there."

An All-Star example

Condon grew up outside Atlanta, meaning he also grew up a huge Braves fan. He told the Pipeline Podcast that he still follows the team, and cited former Braves All-Star Freddie Freeman as a player with a similar build who he can look to for inspiration – in all aspects of his game.

"I've heard he's just been in a really good headspace for his entire career, and just kind of carries that same positive approach to everything he does – which I have a lot of respect for," Condon said.

Success off the field(s)

Condon's talents haven't been limited to the diamond. In high school, he was a four-year letterman in both baseball and football, and was the starting quarterback during his last three prep seasons. He was at the top of his game in the classroom, too, becoming a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society.

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