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College  | Story  | 4/2/2024

Midseason Collegiate Awards

Vincent Cervino      Craig Cozart     
Photo: Charlie Condon (University of Georgia Athletics)
Player of the Year

Charlie Condon, Georgia

By now, most people have heard the story of Charlie Condon and the fact that he was not heavily recruited out of high school and chose to walk-on at the University of Georgia. Fast forward to his junior year and the 6-6/216 righty from Marietta, GA has pretty much established himself as the greatest hitter in college baseball halfway through the 2024 season. It may be a shorter list if we were to make one in the categories where he wasn’t among the nation’s leaders, but that wouldn’t do him justice. So, let’s start with his .505 BA, 1.184 SLG%, and his absurd .619 OB% all of which lead the nation by a significant margin. He has collected 11 doubles, a triple and leads the nation with 19 home runs through 28 games. He is also well on his way to breaking the single season BBCOR home run record of 33 set last year. Condon has also driven in 40 runs and amassed an impressive 26:15 walk-to-strikeout ratio thus far. The Bulldogs have been on the doorstep of the Top-25 for a couple weeks now and Condon has established himself as a contender to be the No. 1 pick in July’s MLB Draft.



Pitcher of the Year

Hagen Smith, Arkansas

Our Team of the Year fittingly has our Pitcher of the Year as he spearheads the premier pitching staff in the nation. Hagen Smith, the 6-3/225 LHP from Bullard, TX has positioned himself as the potential first arm to go off the board in this year’s MLB Draft. His ability to miss barrels and eliminate opponents scoring threats by stacking together multiple clutch pitches together in succession has helped him keep his flawless record. Smith has used his mid-to-upper 90s fastball that explodes on hitters and his abrupt, mid-80s slider to finish both lefties and righties alike. Having made 7 starts, he is (5-0) with a 1.54 ERA over 35.0 IP where he has only allowed 16 hits, good for a .136 OBA. He has a sparkling 72:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is averaging over 2 punchouts per inning. Smith is the ace of the best team in the nation and the Razorbacks have it all going in the right direction for now.

Two-Way Player of the Year

Jac Caglianone, Florida

Caglianone is likely the best two-way player we’ve seen in college baseball since 2017 Golden Spikes winner Brendan McKay and he’s been by far the most dominant two-way force in the sport for two years now. He’s got massive size at 6-5/250 with elite raw power and a fastball that approaches triple digits. Cags comes into the midway point of the year hitting .389 with thirteen home runs and an improved swing and approach. He’s walking more than he’s striking out and he’s smoking balls all over the hitting zone. Caglianone carried a no-hitter into the fifth his last time out and is pitching to a 2.18 ERA over 33 innings with 44 punchouts. There’s a dominance factor to his game and at this point he’s a legitimate contender to go first overall in July’s draft.
 
Freshman of the Year

Drew Burress, Georgia Tech

Hitters just hit and there is no better example in the college game today than Drew Burress, the 5-9/182 offensive dynamo from Houston County, GA. With one of the most consistent approaches in the game, he has done damage consistently throughout his brief 26 game career. His stroke is compact, and his dense muscularity allows him to create elite exit velocity with seeming ease. He crashed the national scene when he launched 4 home runs in one midweek game against Georgia State and he hasn’t looked back. For the season he is slugging .370/.890/.477 with 8 doubles, a triple and an impressive 14 home runs. He leads the Yellow Jackets in basically every offensive category, including RBI with 37 and he has also swiped 5 bags. As further proof of his consistency, he is hitting .375 in ACC play while slugging .750 and reaching base over 50 percent of the time. The Rambling Wreck needs to right the ship in ACC play and Burress is the man to help them do it.

Coach of the Year

Link Jarrett, Florida State

In 2023, Link Jarrett was named head coach of his alma mater and landed his dream job. However, things didn’t go very smoothly as the Seminoles would suffer a losing season and miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 44 years. Fast forward to 2024 and last year seems like a distant memory as Jarrett lead his club to a historic (19-0) start and went from unranked in the pre-season to being ranked in the Top-10. Known as one of the best offensive minds in the game, the Jarrett-effect has taken hold in Tallahassee and the Noles are batting .341 as a team with 55 doubles, 50 home runs and are slugging an impressive .589 to date. Their biggest area of improvement has been on the mound with a 3.77 ERA and are amongst the nation’s leaders with an incredible 324:122 staff strikeout-to-walk ratio. With the exception of a rough weekend in Clemson, they have virtually unbeatable and roll into the midway point of the season with a (22-4) record, one win shy of their total from a year ago.

Team of the Year

Arkansas Razorbacks

Dave Van Horn’s club didn’t come into 2024 as unknowns by any means, as we did have them ranked as our pre-season No. 2 team in the nation. There wasn’t much room at the top but after 5 weeks into the season, they have ascended to the pinnacle of college baseball and thrived while there. They are currently (23-3) overall and (8-1) in the SEC with a 2-game lead in the West. They have played the 16th toughest schedule in the nation and have a (12-3) record against Q1 and Q2 competition. Offensively, they are just starting to hit their stride after working through some early season injuries and are slugging .468 as a team with 42 doubles and 37home runs and walk almost as much as they punch out. Their true calling card is their quality with the gloves, fielding .980 on the year and backing up the best pitching staff in the nation. They lead the nation with an ERA of 2.67, in hits per-9 only allowing 6.28, strikeout-to-walk ration at 4.39-to-1, strike outs per-9 with 13.1 and finally in WHIP at 1.03. Their weekend rotation has gone (11-0) and six different bullpen pieces have registered saves this year. The Razorbacks are the most complete club in the nation and aren’t looking back.