'Collegiate Ohtani' runs HR streak to 7 with MONSTER shot

April 17th, 2024

When you’re being referred to as “the collegiate Ohtani,” you’re already used to turning some heads with your play. But Tuesday night was even more special than usual for Florida sensation Jac Caglianone.

Caglianone, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman, has been an absolute superstar during his three-year career in Gainesville, being a Consensus First Team All-American as a sophomore in 2023 and almost surely on track to do the same this year. And the display he put on for the home crowd in a non-conference contest against Jacksonville might have been his most impressive yet. Above, you can see video of his monster homer in the fourth inning, which traveled an estimated 516 (!!) feet, according to his team.

For frame of reference, the longest MLB home run measured by Statcast to date was hit 505 feet by Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara against the White Sox in June 2019.

It’s an important caveat that collegiate players are allowed to use metal bats, but nonetheless, Caglianone has now homered in seven straight games. It is the latest absurd achievement in a career that’s been full of them. Last season, he finished with 33 home runs in 71 games, the most homers by any Division I player since the NCAA adopted new rules regarding which bats were legal in 2011. He and current Rangers outfielder Wyatt Langford led the Gators to the College World Series Finals, where they lost an epic series to the LSU team led by Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews, the top two picks of the ensuing MLB Draft.

And in case anyone thought that the 2023 season, during which Caglianone was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (won by Crews), would be Caglianone’s peak, his junior season has proven anything but. Entering play on Tuesday, the southpaw had hit 20 home runs in 35 games, ranking second nationally behind Georgia’s Charlie Condon. His .394 batting average, .488 on-base percentage, and .831 slugging percentage are all career highs, resulting in a preposterous 1.319 OPS. The pitching numbers haven’t been quite as video game-worthy this season, but with a 4-0 record, 3.89 ERA and 11.2 K/9 IP, he’s certainly still gotten the job done there as well.

The prospect has publicly expressed interest in being both a hitter and pitcher at the pro level, a la Ohtani, but if his recent trajectory is any indication, sticking to offense might be the way to go. Hitting a homer in seven consecutive games certainly shows he's capable of that at a high level. Though it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, for what it’s worth, the MLB record is eight consecutive such games.

With such a dominant recent stretch of play, it wouldn’t be surprising for Caglianone to move up from his already impressive No. 5 slot in MLB’s 2024 Draft Prospect rankings. But the time to worry about Draft slots and positional fit will come later. For now, Caglianone is focused on dominating college baseball to an extent the likes of which the sport has rarely, if ever, seen -- and we’d be foolish to look away for even a second of it.