OKBET: Jac Caglianone, The Shohei Ohtani of College Baseball

Jac Caglianone, a sophomore at the University of Florida, has been making waves in collegiate baseball. Caglianone was expected to have a breakout sophomore season after being named to the SEC All-Tournament Team and the NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team in his freshman year. Asserting that he has merely delivered would be an understatement.

At this early stage of the 2023 season, Caglianone is batting 20 for 52 with three doubles and ten home runs, while also tallying 17 runs scored and 20 RBI. But his skills aren’t limited to the kitchen.

He has a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched while striking out 23 batters. Caglianone hit.476 with 7 runs scored, 10 runs batted in, and 6 home runs hit last week, earning him the titles of SEC Co-Player of the Week and Perfect Game USA Player of the Week.

In 4.2 innings of work, he struck out six Bearcats with a fastball that consistently clocked in the upper 90s off his left hand. Oh, and in that game he also hit three home runs, all of which left his bat at a speed of 110 miles per hour or more. Being a two-way is incredibly challenging, so the fact that he has achieved such remarkable success at it is remarkable in and of itself.

Take a look at Caglianone’s impressive academic record in college.

Toeing the Rubber

When Caglianone steps into the batter’s box, hitters fear for their lives because of his towering 6’5″ frame. He gets himself going by taking a step with his right foot toward third base. With his chest parallel to the line separating first and second, he leans further toward first base.

He uses a crossfire delivery, with his right foot closer to first base than his left, and his right leg kicking high enough to touch the letters on his jersey. Along with the stride of his right leg, he spreads his arms wide and extends them to their full length, before angling them in a throwing stance.

He generates power by releasing his left foot from the ground while simultaneously firing his hips to bring his upper body through the motion. The mechanics of Caglianone’s pitching motion allow him to send darts to the plate at velocities ranging from 94 to 97 miles per hour.

His best offspeed offering is a wipeout slider that dives away from lefties and toward the back foot of righties, clocking in at 82-83 mph. Caglianone never varies in his command, instead sticking to the same mechanics across the board.

He complements his primary fastball-slider combination with a cutter, a harder horizontally moving pitch that clocks in at 84-88 mph and has generated several swings and misses, a curveball with 10-4 movement on a clock that ranges from 75-78 mph, and a changeup, of which he hasn’t thrown much but hits the mitt at 84 mph.

Catching Barrels

Caglianone’s intimidating presence at the plate is well-known among opposing pitchers. He takes an outward stance, with his back foot near the chalk at the back of the box. He makes a small bat waggle right above his eyes. His approach to the mound is just as understated, as he merely taps his toes on the ground before striding forward. His hands slam into the baseball with incredible force as his hips explode.

His high exit velocities can be attributed to the tremendous torque he generates. With the ball in the barrel, his back foot rises off the ground and lands behind his front foot, creating a scissor mechanic reminiscent of Yordan Alvarez’s swing.

His 3-homer performance against Cincinnati was a testament to his ability to adapt to different pitch types thanks to his understated mechanics. In the same game, he hit home runs off of a curveball, a changeup, and a fastball. Earlier in the season, he also homered on a slider. Caglianone has an uncanny knack for nailing bad or good pitches with devastating force. His success can also be attributed to his excellent plate vision and coverage.

He has hit 4 of 7 balls in play and has struck out twice. He has seen six balls, fouled off four pitches in two strike counts, and struck out eight times, seven times via the swing.

Jac Caglianone – A Question of Sustainability

Caglianone’s current performance is unprecedented. However, sample sizes should always be kept in mind. He has logged just over 50 plate appearances so far in the young 2023 season and has worked just under 18 innings on the mound during his entire collegiate career.

We need to know if he can maintain this level of performance. Caglianone’s plate discipline and coverage are two key indicators that he will continue to be successful there. Because of his adaptability and straightforward mechanics, opposing pitchers have a tough time picking apart his defense and finding his vulnerabilities.

His high-octane pitches bode well for him on the mound. However, his ability to restrict free bases may work against him. Against Cincinnati, he allowed just 2 hits, but he walked 4 and hit a batter, leading to 3 runs (3 earned). His mechanism is straightforward and shows no signs of failing. Caglianone can’t give away free passes if he wants to dominate lineups like he did in his start against Charleston Southern (6.2 scoreless innings, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts).

His recent start, against #22 Miami, was a shining example of his success, as he allowed just one run over six innings while walking one and striking out eight. Many people, myself included, can’t wait to see what else Jac Caglianone has in store for us. If you’re interested in making some money off of his future performances, be sure to check out our “Baseball Betting Guide” for some tips and strategies on how to bet on baseball.

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