Last Monday we took a quick overview type of look at the upcoming 2024 Major League Baseball Draft. The Cincinnati Reds hold the #2 pick in the draft and as noted earlier this week, there really seems to be a group of five players who have seemingly separated themselves. Today we’re taking a look at one of those players to kick off the scouting reports on some of the top guys eligible for this year’s draft.

Jac Caglianone Scouting Report

Background Information

Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 217 lbs | Born: February 9, 2003

Bats: Left | Throws: Left | School: Florida

As a sophomore he was named as an All-American and won the National Player of the Year from one publication. This past season he was once again named as an All-American.

Jac Caglianone is not like the other players at the top of this draft. Not only is he a slugging first baseman, he’s also a pitcher who has made 34 starts in the last two seasons.

As a freshman, Caglianone did not pitch in games for Florida. He only got into 28 games as a hitter, but did well for a freshman as he hit .289/.339/.548. In 2023 he took a big step forward at the plate. He played in 71 games and hit .323/.389/.748 with 33 home runs. He didn’t walk hardly at all – just 17 times – and he struck out a bunch (58 times, which for a college player is a whole lot). It would also be a season where he made 18 starts with a 4.34 ERA and had 55 walks with 87 strikeouts.

But it was really his breakout in 2024 that seemed to cement him as a top 10 caliber draft pick. In 66 games he hit .419/.544/.875 with 35 home runs. His walk rate exploded as he had 58 on the year after having just 22 in his first 99 games at Florida. He also cut down his strikeouts, fanning just 26 times during the season. On the mound he was a bit worse than the year before, making 16 starts with a 4.76 ERA, 50 walks, and 83 strikeouts.

While there are cases of guys having control issues in their early 20’s figuring it out and becoming quality starting pitchers, it’s the exception and not the rule. There are teams who believe that Caglianone’s stuff profiles well as a potential reliever where his fastball that’s been into the upper 90’s at times would pair well with his solid, but not standout secondary stuff. But that only works if he can cut down on his walks on the mound.

At the plate is where he truly stands out as a 1st round caliber pick. He may have the best raw power in the country. And he is out there trying to show it (and he’s done just that, too). His walk rate spiking upward, and his cutting down on the strikeouts as a junior were good signs that he’s figuring things out. With that said, among the elite hitters in the draft he’s got far and away the worst out of the zone chase rate among them.

There’s a chance he could hit for both average and big time power while being a quality defensive first baseman. But his value’s going to come from what he can do in the batters box…. unless someone decides to give the 2-way player thing a go and he can also bring some value on the mound. Doing that could delay his reaching the big leagues because you don’t want to try and develop a pitcher at that level and right now he’s just so far ahead as a hitter versus a pitcher, that the path for development there would be interesting to see how teams would approach it.

Jac Caglianone’s College Stats

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats

Resources and Links

Draft Rankings

Most Recent Mock Drafts

39 Responses

  1. BK

    “among the elite hitters in the draft, he’s got far and away the worst out-of-the-zone chase rate among them.”

    This is why I would prefer the Reds to pass on Caglianone. I see his chase rate as a huge red flag for the #2 pick on the draft. My preference is Condon, with either Bazzana or Burns as fallback options.

    Reply
    • AllTheHype

      Cags requires a pretty big adjustment in his game to be successful. And the big question is, does he chase because of pitch recognition deficiency, or because he thinks he can make good contact even on out-of-zone pitches (which he definitely can do)?

      The others don’t need a major adjustment and don’t come with the questions. Condon is a pure hitter with a lot of power. Bazzana is a pure hitter with great strike zone awareness with a bit less (but still substantial) power. Both are quality bats that have proven themselves in wood bat leagues as well.

      Reply
      • DaveCT

        In hiring an employee, demonstrated experience (and success in that experience) carry quite a bit of weight, as does demonstrated ability.

        Wood bat experience favors Bazzana and Condon heavily at 368 and 333 at bats. This puts them first and second of the top hitters. Wetherholt is third with 201 at bats, Montgomery is fourth with 143 and Cags is fifth with just 34 at bats. Kurtz has 0.

        Successful wood bat experience favors Bazzana, as he won both batting title and MVP in the premier collegiate wood bat league in the country, the Cape Cod Summer League.

        Scouting might neutralize some of the experience, ie Wetherholt’s 65 grade hit tool vs. Condon 60 grade. Or it may not, ie Cags’ 50 grade hit tool. But both 60 and 65 grades are pretty darn good.

        It sure seems Bazzana is the best, and the more if not most experienced hitter. I’d be tickled to get him at 2. Still, Condon’s tremendous power 70 grade to Bazzana’s 55) and hit 60 tool sure are enticing. So much so you almost have to take him before Bazzana.

      • BK

        @Dave, good stuff regarding the wood bat stats. The Reds are in a position to get an top-quality player. Wetherholt’s injury history is concerning. Condon or Bazzana are both great options.

  2. Jpser05

    I agree, Condon or Bazzana, but Wetherholt as the 3rd option if something negative surfaces on either of those first 2 players. JJ’s hit tool is really strong.

    Reply
  3. DaveCT

    Doug, MLB Pipeline lists Jac at 6’5″ 250, where BA has him at 6’5″ 217.

    I realize height and weight reports often fail to upgrade over time. ie in this case, from freshman to junior. But, still, 35-40 pounds indicates he’s far from finished growing. Jim Thome?

    Also, just for fun today, BA had a staff writer’s draft today (not a mock) and they had Cags falling to the Cardinals.

    Reply
  4. ClevelandRedsFan

    @Doug, if you had the #1 pick, who would you take?

    Reply
    • Melvin

      He already said Condon. He didn’t say though what his second choice would be if Condon weren’t available.

      Reply
  5. Rednat

    thinking about heading down to the game. here in east central indiana it is cloudy but no rain. any weather updates for tonight? should i just stay home?

    Reply
    • RedsMonk65

      I’d wait another day if possible. The remnants of Beryl are on the way this evening. East-central Indiana (and southwest Indiana, where I am) may be sunny now, but is forecast to be hit with significant rain/storms in a couple hours and into the evening. Cincinnati is in line to get hit a little later. It’s possible they might get the game in, but then get hit as it is finishing up, and then you would be driving back home through that mess in the dark. I wouldn’t want to do that. But that’s me.

      Reply
  6. RedsGettingBetter

    I wouldn´t like the Reds go with Caglianone. If they don’t pick Bazzana or Condon I’d rather pick Burns or even Wetherholt / Kurtz /Montgomery

    Reply
  7. MBS

    Cags is probably the most interesting pick if you plan to use him as a 2 way player. I don’t think that’s the plan for the Reds.

    Reply
  8. Votto4life

    The two safest picks are Condon and Bazzana in that order. If the Reds draft someone else to save a little slot money for the 51st overall pick, this organization is far worse than any of us have ever imagined.

    There is no need to overthink it. Condon or Bazzana or you are out in the weeds.

    Reply
    • BK

      Going under-slot early to induce a high schooler or two later in the draft has not been a Red’s strategy when picking this high. They took Senzel, who received the highest bonus in the 2016 draft, and Greene, who received the highest bonus in the 2017 draft the last two times they picked second.

      Reportedly, this year’s draft is thin on high school talent; so, little incentive to save funds to sign a high schooler. Further, the Reds don’t pick again until #51. Based on their history and the dynamics associated with this year’s draft, I expect them to take the best player available and be willing to pay the signing bonus.

      Reply
    • AllTheHype

      This year particularly, where the top couple of players have separated themselves, there is NO reason to play the slot games. Take the best player. Pretty simple.

      Reply
    • Melvin

      “If the Reds draft someone else to save a little slot money for the 51st overall pick, this organization is far worse than any of us have ever imagined.”

      Some of us have a pretty big imagination. 😉

      This is one time to be “comfortable” and take a no brainer without thinking too much. It’s right there in your lap for the taking. Most likely Condon or Bazzana. From what I’ve seen it would be hard to miss with either one.

      Reply
  9. doofus

    Keith Laws final top-100 draft prospect list out on The Athletic today. #1 Condon followed by Bazzana, Wetherholt, MOntgomery, Burns, Smith, Kurz, Caglianone, Rainer, Griffin, etc.

    Reply
  10. Randy in Chatt

    One question I have is what chase rate Cags had this year with his improved walk rate and way better K rate. If he is not chasing this year at the same place he did last year, that would make things much more interesting. Does anyone know his chase rate this year?
    Doug, did you use career chase rate numbers or last year’s?
    One thing to think about though is that you could possibly be drafting two players with him. If he flames out as a hitter, he could convert to pitcher eventually. Just a thought.
    I’m in Cags’ corner and hope he is the guy. I love his intangibles, star appeal, leadership, MLB ready physique and ability to carry a team without much protection in the lineup like the other top guys.

    Reply
    • DaveCT

      His chase rate this year was 37.60%.

      Same source as above.

      Reply
  11. Mauired

    I really don’t get the lovefest of Bazzana over Caglianone. Reds need middle of the order power in the worst way so why go for another leadoff guy in Bazzana, when Reds best players are Friedl, McLain, India, and Elly. All great players but are any going to be all stars for driving in runs.

    Bazzana 2024 OPS 1.479
    Caglianone 2024 OPS 1.419

    Bazzana career homers 45
    Caglianone career homers 75

    Reply
    • Randy in Chatt

      And Bazzana did that in a much more hitter friendly league with the Pac 10. Cags did it in the very competitive SEC.

      Reply
  12. DaveCT

    Compared to Cags, Bazzana has a better but similar average exit velo (95.2 vs. 92.1), lesser but similar 90th exit velo (108.9 vs. 110.4), better contact rate (85.4 vs. 79.9) and a significantly better chase rate (15.4 vs. 37.6).

    Compared to Condon, Bazzana’s avg exit velo is lower (98 to 95.2), 90th exit velo is lower (112.2 to 108.9), contact rate is higher 85.40 (to 82.7), and chase rate us better (15.4 to 21.6).

    Bazzana’s hit tool as rated by scouts is a 65. Condon’s is rated 60. Cags’ hit tool is graded 50.

    Cags’ one advantage scouting grade, as with Condon, over Bazzana is with power, both 70 to 55.

    Bazzana is a better defensive prospect as he can play up the middle, where Condon is a corner OF or infield ER, while Cags is limited to 1B/DH.

    None of this means Cags is a bad prospect. He’s just not as good of a hitting prospect as Condon and Bazzana.

    And if he turns out to be Jim Thome, this is all moot.

    Reply
    • Mauired

      Lol scouts grade Caglianone hit tool 50. And Bazanna 65. Hilarious. Cags hit .419. Bazanna hit .407. These false narratives are something else. Are these the same scouts that convinced everyone Judge wasn’t good enough to be a 1st rounder? Or the ones that had Senzel as number 2 pick in the same draft Pete Alonso going in the second round. Oh but Alonso was a 1st basman and Senzel played more a more important position so it makes complete sense. I could care less what the scouts think. They are just as biased as anyone else.

      Reply
      • Mauired

        Ha. Not everyone. Just don’t believe everything the scouts say. Especially since they get a lot of stuff wrong all the time. They grade the guys hit tool as inferior even though he out hit Bazanna. That makes sense. Before you mentioned his arm grade as being around average despite throwing 100mph. The mock drafts and scouting reports are nice reference material but they aren’t canon.

      • DaveCT

        First off, most of my post was data, ie, stats, information, not the scouting you reject.

        To clarify, data is factual and different than scouting, or even opinions from baseball writers (unless you believe there are conspiracies rigging the draft, then, well, you know).

        Second, this is also why you still can’t or won’t try to understand reasons people like Bazzana so much (“I really don’t get the lovefest of Bazzana over Caglianone.”).

        Third, dude, i was responding to this second statement, talking about a bunch of reading i’ve done. Your response is to trash scouts, in comments about this article that contains … scouting information? Is it just that you happen to agree with this scouting information and not other? Nice.

    • AllTheHype

      @Dave, Great info, thanks. Keith Law has dropped Cags to 8th on his list, mostly because of his very high chase rate and the fact that he’s close to dead pull in his approach. This clearly impacts his hit tool. He can get away with that approach against amateur athletes, but he’ll need some adjustments or he’ll likely get exploited to some degree as a pro. Can he adjust? Maybe, maybe not.

      If a person only look at superficial stats and didn’t look under the hood at what his real tendencies are, they might come to a different conclusion. But some only look superficially and are blinded by the gaudy HR numbers.

      Reply
      • Mauired

        That illustrates completely how ridiculous some of these scouts and prospect evaluaters are. “Keith Law has dropped Cags to 8th on his list”

      • Mauired

        I’d like to see some stats that back up the claim he’s just a pull hitter since I’ve seen him hit several opposite field homers, and many reports point out his foul pole to foul pole homerun power. Sounds like Keith Law’s annual biased and inaccurate crap.

        Just like your statement that I’m blinded by superficial stats like gaudy homer numbers. While yes I do think Reds having a guy capable of winning homerun titles is a good thing. I don’t think that’s all he brings to the table. He did hit .419 higher than Bazzana. He also had a .544 on base percentage. The detractors constantly point out the chase rate (as if a 21 year can’t improve) but also leave out the fact he still managed to walk twice as much as he struck out. One of two players in college baseball to do that. But yeah guess strikeout to walk ratio, batting average, on base percentage is all superficial. Dominant hitting too. Your just a genius because you found one blemish and we’ll just ignore everything else.

  13. Mauired

    I don’t dispute the data. I do dispute how people make a big deal about some of it to present an argument and then completely ignore positive things. I presented a little of my own that made a case for Caglianone too.
    As far as the scouts go, I just pointed out that scouting grades are nothing more than a person’s opinion and they can be extremely inaccurate and biased.

    I’ve actually said several times that Bazanna is a great prospect. He reminds me of McLain besides Elly is my favorite player and probably the most valuable hitter on the team as well.

    My two arguments have always been that one Caglianone is just as good and better in some ways. And secondly that he fits a Reds need much more than Bazanna does.

    Reply
  14. Rod Andrews

    I suspect few have scouted these players more than the Reds front office, or at least has more knowledge at their disposal . Guess they’ll get whom they consider the best. My own choice would be Condon. Would love to see that power at GABP!

    Reply

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