At 6-foot-5, Jac Caglianone should not posses the natural-born athleticism he does. Florida's sophomore phenom can launch balls 430 feet into orbit behind a smooth yet forceful swing from the left side. And on the mound, the southpaw can touch 99 mph.
Ten games into the season, "Jactani" -- a nickname given to him for his two-way abilities similar to Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani -- Caglianone is the talk of college baseball. Jactani already has eight home runs, more than any NCAA Division I player in the country, and is whiffing batters left and right as a pitcher. He's powering the sixth-ranked Gators, and he's already a solid bet to win the Golden Spikes Award.
So just where the heck did he come from?
Jactani is Born: The Legend of Florida's Jac Caglianone
Jac Caglianone played his prep ball at Plant High School, a program that has produced some pretty notable MLB talent. There's Pete Alonso, the 2019 National League home run king and beloved New York Met. There's Houston Astros All-Star outfielder Kyle Tucker and his brother Preston Tucker, who's one of the greatest to ever wear a Gator uniform. Oh, and just some dude named Wade Boggs who amassed 3,010 hits in Major League Baseball.
He comes from an athletic family. His dad, Jeff, played college baseball at Stetson. And his sister, Samantha, currently plays volleyball at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.
If Caglianone keeps up the path he's on, he'll etch his name right next to them. So far in 2023, he's hitting .410 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs. On the mound, he's 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 11.1 innings.
His power was on full display in a Feb. 26 game against Cincinnati, when he blasted three homers. He followed that up with homers in each of his next two games, the last of which firmly place him in the national lead for long balls.
ICYMI Florida's starting pitcher Jac Caglianone hit 3 massive home runs yesterday (exit velos of 118, 115, and 110 MPH) and struck out 6 batters while touching 97 MPH. ?
If that sounds insane, it's because it is.pic.twitter.com/gEHwllhAu9
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 27, 2023
Jactani was a one-way player as a freshman last season despite coming out of high school ranked the No. 4 left-handed pitcher in the country by Perfect Game. That's because he was recovering from a preseason Tommy John surgery after suffering a torn UCL in his throwing elbow. He still hit a respectable .288 with seven homers in year one, all as Florida's designated hitter.
Jac Caglianone throwing Diesel. ?? pic.twitter.com/AbbWIknbVZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 19, 2023
As for the nickname "Jactani," the first mention of it was on Twitter from On3Sports' Nick de la Torre on Jan. 28, and it's since taken off among Gator fans.
Caglianone still has a while to go before pro teams come calling. Still, there's no doubt the sophomore is already on the radars of MLB scouts. Prospects Live rates him the No. 17 overall prospect in the 2024 MLB Draft class, calling him a "unique weapon package."
For now, though, let's all sit back and enjoy the Jactani show.
MORE: The 10 Best Running Backs in Florida Gators History, Ranked
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