The Proof is in the Pudding; Jac Caglianone is Best Player in College Baseball

Despite being snubbed as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award committee, Florida Gators two-way star Jac Caglianone is the best college baseball player in the country.
Florida Gators slugger Jac Caglianone is having an historic run with the Gators
Florida Gators slugger Jac Caglianone is having an historic run with the Gators / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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Jeffery Allen “Jac” Caglianone. One of the best hitters at the collegiate level, the most consistent pitcher suited up for the Florida Gators, and the highest-level Division 1 baseball player on a national scale. An arm that, almost robotically, consistently pumps out fastballs at 97 MPH and up is attached to his left shoulder. Attached to his right, the guide arm leading Caglianone’s Lefty swing that owns the most home runs of any SEC baseball player in two years (66 and counting).

The Florida Gators first baseman and pitcher is the epitome of a five-tool player. Despite being snubbed by the Golden Spikes Award committee as a finalist for the best amateur baseball player in the country, Jac Caglianone is the best amateur baseball player in the country.

The size and sheer physicality Caglianone possesses elevate him high and above most competitors. Standing at 6 '5 and 250 pounds, Caglianone is a mountain of man. But, size and strength don’t make a baseball player. Skill does. Here, I’ll dive deep into what makes Caglianone the country's best Division 1 baseball player.

Let’s begin with Plate Discipline. The glaring statistics are what I like to call the BOOM statistics. The stats that make an immediate impact; like home runs. Which displays how elite Caglianone is comes in comparison. He has hit 33 home runs (and counting) thus far in the season. That’s eight more home runs than his total strikeout count of 25. Look around NCAA D1 baseball—Charlie Condon of Georgia, the only man with more home runs than Caglianone, is the closest with 36 homers and 39 Ks. Of each athlete making up the 10 home run leaders in collegiate baseball, from Christian Moore of Tennessee to Tanner Thach of UNC Wilmington, none of those athletes have more bombs than strikeouts: the only man who does is Jac Caglianone. 

Caglianone rarely swings at bad pitches. 

A player who only hits home runs, strikes out often and does not put the ball in play is what the game of baseball calls a rally killer. Jac Caglianone, I’m not sure what you’d call him, but it's far, far from that. A .532 on-base percentage means Caglianone is reaching base over half the time he sees the plate and is good for seventh nationally. Caglianone is a player who can change the game with one swing and extend an inning when need be.

Something that is considered a weakness for many, is just another sharp edge in Caglianone’s toolbox. Opposite field power. Caglianone does not have to over-swing when he hits the baseball, instead just doing what he can with any given pitch. Inside fastball, breaking ball low and away, it doesn’t matter. Flashback to April 23rd. Florida was looking for revenge against the Stetson Hatters; a team that beat the Gators early on in the season. Florida got that revenge, and Caglianone did his part. Caglianone only saw low and outside pitches. The result, he had two home runs in back-to-back at-bats, both going opposite field. 

Caglianone holds pure, raw power in his bat. The 516-foot home run he hit against Jacksonville is the furthest baseball hit in the Statcast era.

We’ve come so far in this article and somehow still haven’t mentioned Caglianone’s .411 batting average. He has 57 singles to go along with his 33 home run season. For 236 at-bats, Caglianone has only been sent down on strikes 25 times. Caglianone is consistently putting metal on the ball. This is not a baseball player who swings for the fences and the fences only. Guys with devastating power like Pete Alonso or Giancarlo Stanton can hit a baseball incredibly hard, but they do so every so often. Jac Caglianone is more like Aaron Judge, Marcell Ozuna or even Shohei Otahni. These guys hit the ball everywhere and power the baseball over the wall. 

With his abilities on the mound, you would be hard-pressed to find someone not comparing Caglianone with Otahni. 

Finally getting to his pitching, Caglianone has been the rock in Florida’s rotation all season long. He’s thrown the most innings on the team at 72.2, has the lowest era among starters at 4.71, totals the most wins on the team at five (tied with Fisher Jamison) all while having the second lowest batting average against at .225. His pitch arsenal features a fastball touching 100 MPH with a cutter sitting around 90, a slider and a changeup. Caglianone is the go-to guy. He started the move-on game in the Super Regional against Clemson, and he will take the mound more than once in huge situations throughout Omaha. 

A record-breaking two seasons with 66 home runs and counting, a batting average of .411 all while being that bat in the lineup that teams don't want to pitch to, over 150 runs batted in spread across the last two years and a mechanical left arm with which Caglianone has led the Gators pitching staff. It all culminates to this.

After coming up short in the College World Series last season losing to LSU, Florida has made its way back to Omaha giving Caglianone, presumably as he will most likely enter the draft after this season, one last chance to capture that ring. I just told you why he’s the greatest player in the country, now his duty along with his teammates is to prove that the Florida Gators are the best team in the country. 


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Nate Bilgoray

NATE BILGORAY