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Florida Gators batter Jac Caglianone is the best player in college baseball

Jeffery Allen “Jac” Caglianone. One of the best hitters at the college level, the Florida Gators' most consistent pitcher, and the best Division 1 baseball player nationally. Attached to his left shoulder is an arm that almost robotically fires fastballs at 97 mph and above. Attached to his right shoulder is the lead arm that guides Caglianone's left-handed swing, which in two years has the most home runs of any SEC baseball player (66 and counting).

The Florida Gators first baseman and pitcher is the epitome of a five-tool player. Although he was passed over as a finalist for the country's best amateur baseball player by the Golden Spikes Award committee, Jac Caglianone is the country's best amateur baseball player.

Caglianone's size and sheer physicality put him way above most of his competitors. At 6'4″ and 250 pounds, Caglianone is a mountain of a man. But size and strength don't make a baseball player. That's skill. Here I'll go into more detail about what makes Caglianone the best Division 1 baseball player in the country.

Let's start with hitting discipline. The glaring stats are what I like to call the BOOM stats. The stats that have an immediate impact, like home runs. That shows how elite Caglianone is when you compare it to the comparison. He's hit 33 home runs so far this season (and counting). That's eight more home runs than his total strikeout count of 25. Look around NCAA D1 baseball — Georgia's Charlie Condon, the only man with more home runs than Caglianone, comes closest with 36 home runs and 39 Ks. Of each of the ten athletes who make up the home run leaders in college baseball, from Tennessee's Christian Moore to UNC Wilmington's Tanner Thach, none of those athletes have more bombs than strikeouts: The only man who does is Jac Caglianone.

Caglianone rarely hits after bad throws.

A player who only hits home runs, strikes out often, and doesn't put the ball in play is what is known in baseball as a rally killer. Jac Caglianone, I'm not sure what you would call him, but that's far from accurate. An on-base percentage of .532 means Caglianone reaches base more than half the time he's at the plate, ranking seventh in the country. Caglianone is a player who can change the game with one hit and extend an inning when he needs to.

Something many consider a weakness is just another sharp edge in Caglianone's toolbox. Opposite-side power. Caglianone doesn't need to overswing when he hits the ball, just get the most out of any pitch. Inside fastball, breaking ball deep and far away, it doesn't matter. Flashback to April 23. Florida was looking to get revenge on the Stetson Hatters; a team that had beaten the Gators earlier in the season. Florida got that revenge, and Caglianone did his part. Caglianone saw only deep and outside pitches. The result: He had two home runs in consecutive at-bats, both of which went to the opposite field.

Caglianone's bat has pure, raw power. The 512-foot home run he hit against Jacksonville is the longest baseball hit of the Statcast era.

We've come this far in this article and somehow still haven't mentioned Caglianone's .411 batting average. He has 57 singles and 33 home runs on the season. In 236 at-bats, Caglianone has only been sent down by strikes 25 times. Caglianone consistently hits the ball with metal. This isn't a baseball player who just aims for the fences. Guys with devastating hitting power like Pete Alonso or Giancarlo Stanton can hit a baseball incredibly hard, but they only do it every now and then. Jac Caglianone is more like Aaron Judge, Marcell Ozuna, or even Shohei Otahni. These guys hit the ball everywhere and drive it over the wall.

Given his abilities on the hill, it would be difficult to find anyone who doesn't compare Caglianone to Otahni.

Finally, let's get to his pitching: Caglianone has been the rock of Florida's rotation all season. He has thrown the most innings on the team at 72.2, has the lowest ERA among starters at 4.71, has five total wins on the team (tied with Fisher Jamison) while posting the second-lowest batting average against opponents at .225. His pitch arsenal includes a fastball near 100 mph and a cutter around 90 mph, a slider and a changeup. Caglianone is the guy you can count on. He started the move-on game in the Super Regional against Clemson and will be on the mound in important situations more than once in Omaha.

Two record-breaking seasons with 66-plus home runs, a .411 batting average despite most teams not wanting to pitch to him, over 150 runs batted in over the last two years, and a mechanical left arm that led the Gators' pitchers, all culminated in this result.

After losing to LSU in the College World Series last season, Florida has now headed back to Omaha, giving Caglianone, who will most likely enter the draft after this season, one last chance to capture the ring. I just told you why he is the best player in the country, now it's his job to prove, along with his teammates, that the Florida Gators are the best team in the country.

Anna Harden

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