Florida’s Jac Caglianone named a John Olerud Award semifinalist

Florida baseball star Jac Caglianone is among the 10 semifinalists for the 2024 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, according to an announcement from the College Baseball Foundation on Tuesday.

Caglianone is one of four semifinalists who earned the distinction a year ago, and he’s the only 2023 finalist to make the top 10 this year. It’s safe to say that Caglianone is the favorite to win the award at this point, but many were surprised when an equally impressive sophomore campaign failed to bring home some hardware.

Still, Caglianone must finish the year out strong to win this award. The selection committee chairman, George Watson, made that clear.

“Whether they’re seasoned upperclassmen or up-and-coming underclassmen, this year’s Olerud semifinalists are making a major impact both for their team and on the game itself,” Watson said. “With only a couple weeks left before the NCAA Tournament begins, it will be interesting to see how many of these talented players will lead their team into the Field of 64.”

Some Elite Numbers From Cags

A consensus All-American last season, Caglianone hasn’t slowed down a step at the plate. He’s slashing .418/.529/.862 with 28 home runs and 55 runs batted in. He’s also struck out just 18 times compared to 38 walks — many of which have been intentional.

But what’s elevated Caglianone’s game even more is the poise he’s shown on the mound two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Remember, Caglianone started off as a freshman halfway through his freshman year as he came back from the injury.

His fastball hasn’t climbed to triple digits yet, topping out at 98 mph, but Caglianone’s command has been worlds better than in previous years. Being able to utilize the slider and change willingly also gives him the ability to go through the order multiple times.

Who Else Could Win?

Oklahoma State’s Carson Benge is the biggest threat to Caglianone missing out on the award. The Cowboys are ranked No. 19 right now and could end up hosting a regional with a strong finish to the regular season and conference tournament.

Meanwhile, Florida isn’t guaranteed a spot in the Field of 64 without a .500 record locked up. The Gators can end the regular season with a .500 record even with a series loss, but it makes it very difficult to navigate the SEC Tournament.

Caglianone often plays a large role when Florida comes out on top. If he can will the Gators to a big series win over the school’s biggest rival, it should be enough to lock up the Olerud award.

2024 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Semifinalists

Name, Class, School, Conference

  • Ethan Bates, Senior, Louisiana Tech, Conference USA

  • *Carson Benge, Junior, Oklahoma State, Big 12

  • *Jac Caglianone, Senior, Florida, SEC

  • Cameron Jones, Sophomore, Georgia Tech, ACC

  • Lyle Miller-Green, Senior, Austin Peay, Atlantic Sun

  • Justin Murray, Senior, Houston, Big 12

  • DJ Newman, Sophomore, Bowling Green, Mid-American

  • Erik Paulsen, Freshman, Stony Brook, Coastal Athletic

  • *Austin Smith, Junior, San Diego, West Coast

  • *Mitch Voit, Sophomore, Michigan, Big Ten

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire