Prep Baseball Report

College's Historic Home Run Race: What'd these sluggers look like in high school?

By Andy Sroka
Managing Editor, Scouting

This college baseball season has brewed a perfect storm in its race for the No. 1 overall pick.

Without a consensus No. 1 pick in the preseason, there has been a competitive race for the top spot and it’s featured several college athletes whose power at the plate is among their best, if not their best, tools. For context, at the end of the entire 2000 Division I season, just two players hit 25-plus home runs, Mitch Jones (27; Arizona State) and Brad Cresse (30; LSU), which they did in 59 and 69 games played total, respectively. Already, we have seven players who’ve reached the 20-homer mark, and our leader has 26 in 39 games.

It’s exciting to see how this race is shaping out, but it left us wondering how easy (or difficult) it was to forecast this power show when these leaders were in high school.

As it stands, here’s the Division-I home run leaderboard:

Team HR (Games) Year
1. Charlie Condon Georgia 26 (39) Junior
2. Jac Caglianone Florida 23 (39) Junior
3. Braden Montgomery Texas A&M 22 (40) Junior
4. Tanner Thach UNC Wilmington 21 (40) Sophomore
T-5. Roman Kuntz Morehead State 20 (40) Senior
- Jace LaViolette Texas A&M 20 (40) Sophomore
- Lyle Miller-Green Austin Peay 20 (39) Senior
T-8. Travis Bazzana Oregon State 19 (38) Junior
- Christian Moore Tennessee 19 (39) Junior
10.  11 Players Tied with 17 HR

But how did we get here? And what was it like to pitch to these guys in high school? We checked in with our state scouting directors to find out.


Georgia’s OF/1B Charlie Condon leads the nation in home runs, though the answer to the question “was this power something scouts could project on back in high school” is flat-out no.

And that includes us, considering Condon was the No. 84-ranked player in the state as a senior at The Walker School in 2021. He demonstrated advanced bat-to-ball skills as a prep, hitting .515 as a junior at his small private high school, and he recorded a 1.310 OPS in his senior spring – though home runs weren’t necessarily attached to his production. The over-the-fence power is something he’s grown into, physically, as he’s matured.

(Charlie Condon; 6/24/20)

But we weren’t alone in that evaluation, seeing as Condon had one Division I route to baseball out of high school and that was a walk-on opportunity in Athens, though he had some DIII football offers on the table too.

He opted to continue playing baseball however.

After taking a redshirt as a freshman, Condon’s 2023 season emphatically put him on the pro map, leading UGA in the team’s triple crown categories, hitting .386 with 25 home runs, and 67 RBIs. He’s upped that average to .483 so far this season, and he’s already driven in 56 runs with the help of his 26 homers.

Since opening day, Condon started hot, totaling seven hits in a three-game home series against UNC-Asheville, though none of them were home runs. His first and second homers of the season came in game four of the season, at Georgia State, and he’s not cooled down since. He leads the nation with 26 home runs in 2024, though several players are somehow gaining on him, despite the fact that Condon hasn’t really slowed down – he hasn’t gone more than three consecutive games without hitting at least one homer all season.


Florida’s 1B/LHP Jac Caglianone led the Division I field with 33 home runs in 2023 as a sophomore, and he slugged that many in 71 games. We’re 39 games into this season, and his 23-homer total trails Condon by just three for the national lead. We’ll look back on this 2024 season and one of our fondest memories will be Caglianone’s NCAA-tying streak of nine straight games with a home run, which ultimately ended after Saturday’s homer-less game against Vandy – his first game without a bomb since April 5 at Mizzou.

Unlike Condon, Caglianone was a pretty famous prep from a pretty famous high school, Plant, and he was ranked just outside the top-100 nationally. He was the No. 11 in Florida’s Class of 2021 rankings, behind the likes of Andrew Painter (Calvary Christian HS; Phillies, No. 13 overall), James Wood (IMG Academy; Padres, No. 62 overall), and even another college powerhouse, Tommy White (IMG Academy; LSU), among others.

With that said, what makes Caglianone special as a prospect is his two-way talents. It’s what he was even more well-known for back at Plant. Mid-90s velo from the left side, inside a physical 6-foot-5 stature, had him earning pro buzz until an injury sidelined at the end of the spring. Still, as a senior at Plant, Caglianone K’d 65 in 37.1 innings though he only tallied three home runs.

Maybe the forced break from the mound allowed him to dial into his bat strength. He hit .288 as a true freshman for the Gators, and he slugged seven home runs in 104 at-bats. Back to two-waying in 2023, Caglianone went on to lead the nation in homers all while recording a 4.34 ERA in 74.2 innings, with 87 strikeouts.

(Jac Caglianone; 4/4/24)

He’s still a dual threat in 2024, with a 4.16 ERA in 44.1 innings, but since the bat has taken an even bigger step forward, his future's looking brighter and brighter positionally. Especially considering he’s upped his walk rate to 12 percent (from 5 percent in 2023) and cut down on Ks, striking out in just 8 percent of plate appearances, which is down from 18 percent a season ago. And he’s unfazed in the left-on-left matchup these days too, as the majority of his home runs have come against left-handed pitching.

He also hit a 516-foot home run a week ago. It’s mythical stuff.


OF Braden Montgomery is actually the player who was ranked highest on our Class of 2021 rankings of the three mentioned so far, and he remains in the mix for the top overall pick as he’s enjoying a stellar season at Texas A&M, his first in the SEC since transferring in from Stanford.

Back in high school, Montgomery preceded his championship senior season at Mississippi’s Madison Central HS by attending the 2021 Super 60. It was hard not to fawn over the skill set, given that he was up to 93.3 mph on the mound, and that was after he performed as a position player earlier in the day, with 6.90 speed, 99 mph throws from the outfield, and triple-digit exit velocity as a true switch-hitter.

(Braden Montgomery; 2021 Super 60)

From there, Montgomery went on to lead Madison Central to the state’s 6A title and he was named the Prep Baseball Mississippi Player of the Year in the process. That spring, he hit .498 with seven homers and 51 RBIs, plus he was 9-0 on the mound with 116 Ks and a 0.74 ERA. He excelled positionally at Stanford, though he still earned some time on the mound, it’s gone down since his freshman year, and he’s only thrown in two games with the Aggies.

And that’s fine, since Montgomery is among the national leaders in home runs with 22 in 40 games for the No. 1-ranked team in the country, according to our partners at D1Baseball. An elite athlete, Montgomery offers tremendous bat speed from both batter’s boxes and the power’s no fluke, given that he recorded 18 homers and 17 in his 2022 and 2023 seasons out west at Stanford. The transfer’s proven especially beneficial to him however, now that he’s performing at an even higher level and against stacked SEC competition, it’s placed him within range of the first overall pick.


While the three aforementioned names are becoming internet famous for their work this spring, UNC-Wilmington’s 1B/LHP Tanner Thach has been gliding under the digital radar as those SEC three duke it out. Meanwhile, Thach had a homer streak of his own that was overshadowed by Caglianone’s – he homered in five straight games, most recently on Friday, which brought his season total to 21, though the streak ended a day later.

Thach is a sophomore from Perquimans HS in North Carolina who was drafted once out of high school, in the 18th round, by the Giants. Obviously, he elected to go to college instead, and it’s already panning out. He led the Seahawks with 15 homers as a true freshman in 2023, slashing .290/.356/.544 in the process. Thach eclipsed that home run total on April 5, and he’s homered in four straight games and counting.

(Tanner Thach; 3/14/24)

As a prep, Thach, like several on this list, was a pitching prospect too. For Perquimans, Thach finished his senior season with a 0.10 ERA and he K’d 139 batters in 73 innings and he led his 1A program to back-to-back state championships. While he limited opponents to a .117 batting average against him, he hit .478 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs.

He’s continued to pitch in college but he hasn’t since late March. That underscores just how well things are going offensively. Thach is a first baseman, listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, with power clearly fit for the position. He’s striking out 20 percent of the time in 2024, but you wonder if the sophomore can reform his approach over the summer and ensuing offseason, in a way that would allow him to break out even more so once he’s draft eligible again in 2025, akin to what Caglianone has done in 2024 – though to a lesser degree.


+ Even though he’s tied 10th on the national board with 17 homers in 2024, I’m curious to see where Wake Forest’s 1B Nick Kurtz finishes in college’s home run race. He hit his fourth and fifth home runs of the season on March 31 against North Carolina and that has since sparked an unconscious stretch in which he’s homered 12 times in the month of April alone. He has almost the same amount of multi-homer games in April (3) than games with zero (4). He was a first-round-type prospect headed into the spring, and that didn’t really even change during his power shortage at the start of the season. He has 42 walks to 24 strikeouts, and he’s slashing .322/.506/.739 now. This follows a sophomore season in which he homered 24 times and finished with an OPS of 1.311.

(Nick Kurtz; April 4-5, 2024)

In high school, Kurtz was a member of a ridiculously talented lineup, even for a program like Baylor School’s, that amassed 44 home runs as a team in 2021. Kurtz accounted for just two of those, surprisingly, though he did hit .309 and reach base at a .524 clip.

+ Here’s yet another prep two-way standout who’s near the top of the home run charts: OF/RHP Lyle Miller-Green, from Austin Peay. It took Miller-Green some time to land at Austin Peay, ultimately, but the Governors are glad he did. He recorded a 1.071 OPS as the program’s primary DH in 2023 and he hit 16 homers along the way, a career high after stops at George Mason, Chipola JC, and Oklahoma State. In 2024, Miller-Green has upped his offensive production substantially, clobbering 20 homers so far with a 1.400 OPS.

He was the Prep Baseball Virginia/DC Player of the Year in 2019, and he led Lake Braddock HS to a 6A state title as a two-way star, with a 1.20 ERA in 58.1 innings, 93 Ks, and he hit .422 with 30 RBIs and 12 home runs as a senior.

Miller-Green made headlines Sunday after becoming the first Austin Peay player to go 6-for-6 in a single game, and he hit his 20th homer of the season in that ballgame, becoming the second player to hit 20 in program history.

+ On Saturday, Roman Kuntz of Morehead State became the fifth Division-I player this season to hit 20 home runs. It was his fourth straight game with a homer for the senior, which ended after Sunday’s win against Lindenwood. Kuntz thrived in his first two seasons of college, at Lake Michigan JC, and he slugged .788 with nine homers in his sophomore season. He committed to the Ohio Valley program after that and he hit 10 homers in 40 games in his first spring, 2023, and now he’s already doubled that total this season.

He was a first team outfielder following his senior prep season at New Prairie High in Indiana, and he did show middle-of-the-order type pop back then, even.

+ OF Jace LaViolette became one of the most heralded preps to bypass the MLB Draft in 2022 once he made it to Texas A&M’s campus, officially, later that fall. He was one of Texas’ top prep prospects as a senior, as a monster 6-foot-5 left-handed hitter with prototypical power for a player of that physique. In his senior season at Tompkins HS, LaViolette hit .591 with 11 homers. Without missing a beat, he was one of the top freshmen in the nation last year with the Aggies, hitting a single-season record 21 home runs for a Texas A&M freshman.

As of today? LaViolette has continued to up his game, with a .322 average and 20 home runs through 40 games, and he hit two home runs across a SEC series win against Alabama this past weekend in Tuscaloosa. Theoretically, LaViolette is just over halfway through his college career, should he become the top pick he’s projected to be in the summer of 2025. With 41 career home runs at present, he’s already sixth in Aggies program history all-time. He’s 15 homers behind the all-time leader, Daylan Holt (56; 1998-2000).


+ INF Travis Bazzana, the Oregon State second baseman, is originally from Turramurra, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. As far as high school baseball stats go, you won’t find any, though you can find some baseball-adjacent stats considering he led his high school to a state title in cricket as a senior in 2020. He hit his first home run stateside in a summer collegiate league prior to officially stepping foot on Oregon State’s campus, though the team was based in Corvallis.

As a freshman, Bazzana bashed six homers and hit .306 in 63 games. He followed that up with 11 homers and a 1.122 OPS as a sophomore, which translated to huge success that summer on the cape which positioned him for one of the 2024 Draft’s top picks – and he’s still nestled in that top-3 range, it seems like.

This spring, Bazzana got off to a quick start, and after a brief homer drought, he slugged eight homers in a five-game span at the end of March, and they’ve come steadily since, and another one over the weekend at Cal brought his total to 19 on the campaign.

+ MIF Christian Moore, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, starred at Suffield Academy in Connecticut back in high school. Entering the weekend, Moore had 15 homers. As of today, Moore’s got 19, following Tennessee’s series win over Kentucky. He hit a homer in the Vols’ win Saturday, and he followed that up with a clutch three-homer game Sunday, and his third homer was a two-out, three-run shot that put Tennessee in a 13-9 lead in the eighth inning, one they didn’t lose. Moore now has 46 career home runs in 153 games in Knoxville.

+ OF Drew Burress was the Prep Baseball Georgia Player of the Year in 2022, as a junior at Houston County, and he won two state championships for the Bears. All the while, he was an electric prep player and that has seamlessly translated to insta-success at Georgia Tech. Burress is hitting .383 with 17 home runs in 38 games this season, and that homer total comfortably leads all Division-I freshmen nationally.

He’s embraced his profile as a free-swinging, aggressive right-handed hitter who plays like an underdog, as a 5-foot-9 electric factory. Burress balances out the hacks in the box with the ability to take his walks, tied for a team-lead 33 this season. He’s basically the same player he was with the national power Houston County, seeing as he hit 17 homers as a junior and he followed that up with another 13 as a senior. In between those years, he was one of the top position players at the 2023 Super 60.

(Drew Burress; 2023 Super 60)

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