MLB draft: Where will Charlie Condon begin his professional career?

Georgia third baseman Charlie Condon jogs around the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against N.C. State in Game 3 of the NCAA Super Regional at Foley Field, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Athens, Ga. This was Condon’s 37th home run of the season. Georgia lost 8-5. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Georgia third baseman Charlie Condon jogs around the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against N.C. State in Game 3 of the NCAA Super Regional at Foley Field, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Athens, Ga. This was Condon’s 37th home run of the season. Georgia lost 8-5. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Charlie Condon, Georgia’s sweet-swinging All-American, will learn where he’s beginning his major-league career this month. The one element that’s near certain: His future employer will also begin with a “C.”

The Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies own the top three picks in the MLB draft, which begins July 14. Condon, a third baseman and outfielder, is considered a consensus top-three selection.

Condon, an Atlanta native, won the 2024 Golden Spikes award as the best overall player in collegiate baseball. He hit 37 homers, most by any Division-I player since 2000. But he also led the country with a .433 average, giving him an extremely rare blend of hitting for both power and average. He outpaced the rest of the nation in slugging percentage (1.009), OPS (1.565) and total bases (233), as well. He had seven multi-home run performances and even homered in eight consecutive games at one point.

In other words, Condon was indisputably the country’s best player. But the MLB draft doesn’t function as clearly as its NFL and NBA counterparts. The top player isn’t always the top selection because money – the allocation of a club’s bonus pool – plays a significant factor.

The Guardians generally aren’t expected to take Condon, at least partly for the aforementioned reason, as most analysts have them choosing between second basemen Travis Bazzana (Oregon State) and JJ Wetherholt (West Virginia), two terrific hitters themselves (there have been reports the Guardians prefer Bazzana’s bat to Condon’s, anyway). Cleveland could perhaps sign one of those players to an under-slot deal, which will allow them to spend more on other prospects later in the draft (that could help them sway high-school talent to pass on college, for example, thus strengthening their overall draft haul).

Nothing is certain until the pick is made, but at this juncture, it doesn’t look like Condon will join Anthony Edwards (NBA) and Travon Walker (NFL) as recent Georgia No. 1 picks. Nonetheless, Condon will be the Bulldogs’ highest draftee since pitcher Emerson Hancock went No. 6 to the Mariners in 2020. Catcher John Henderson is the school’s highest-drafted prospect, going No. 4 to the Cubs in 1975.

If not Cleveland, attention then turns to two National League teams, the Reds and Rockies, as Condon suitors. Condon, who should rise quickly through the minors, would fit beautifully with either. They play in arguably the two most hitter-friendly parks in the majors. Both franchises boast young talent without an immediate urgency to win.

Both could also use a jolt: Colorado hasn’t won a postseason series since 2007 and resides in a division with the Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks and Giants, four teams annually expecting to compete for a playoff berth. Cincinnati, meanwhile, hasn’t won a postseason series since 1995 but is currently much closer to relevancy than the Rockies.

Either team could use the middle-of-the-order bat Condon is projected to eventually provide. And in recent years, clubs have been more aggressive in promoting collegiate products, including Florida’s Wyatt Langford making Texas’ opening-day roster, wunderkind Paul Skenes joining the Pirates’ rotation this summer and former Gators righty Hurston Waldrep making his MLB debut for the Braves.

Condon headlines a strong crop of collegiate talent that also includes two-way star Jac Caglianone (Florida), starter Chase Burnes (Wake Forest), starter Hagen Smith (Arkansas), outfielder Braden Montgomery (Texas A&M), and outfielder James Tibbs (Florida State), along with Bazzana and Wetherholt.

A look at the latest projections for Condon’s landing spot:

Baseball America (6/17/24): Condon to the Reds (No. 2)

“There has been some talk of the Reds hunting deals as well. Would that be enough for them to pass on their choice of the top two players in the class with the second overall pick? I wouldn’t think so, but I also feel less confidence in that today than several weeks ago. There’s been some thought in the industry recently that the Reds might prefer Bazzana over Condon, though their previous drafts and player tendencies make me think Condon is still more likely if they get to decide between the two.”

MLB Pipeline (6/27/24): Condon to the Rockies (No. 3)

“Though there has been talk of the Rockies targeting a pitcher (likely (Chase) Burns over (Hagen) Smith), they wouldn’t pass on Condon and probably not on (Jac) Caglianone.”

ESPN (6/19/24): Condon to the Reds

“The chatter from Reds execs all spring has been that they will go under slot here and they could go comfortably under the $9.785 million slot value and still set a record, which would best the $9.2 million bonus Paul Skenes got as the No. 1 pick last summer. Even a number just under $9 million here could still end up being the biggest bonus of this draft.

The buzz has also been that if Cleveland passes on Condon, he’ll go second, so it all adds up. Burns and Caglianone are the other most mentioned players here with some mixed sentiment on if Bazzana is a real option. …”

USA Today (6/25/24): Condon to the Reds

“Sometimes a player fits snugly in a spot and that seems like Condon’s deal here, regardless of the chaos before and after this pick. Eight years after using the second overall pick on Nick Senzel, another versatile player with power from an SEC school, the Reds opt for Condon’s record-setting 37-home run pop.”