Ridaught: Sunshine State well represented in Omaha

UF baseball outfielder Wyatt Langford.
Trenton High School's Wyatt Langford is one of 48 players on College World Series rosters who played high school baseball in the Sunshine State. Florida plays Virginia tonight at 7 p.m. (ESPN) in the CWS at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska
Courtesy of UAA

Of the eight college baseball teams who will be participating in this weekend’s College World Series, which starts today in Omaha, Nebraska, seven of the eight schools have at least one player on their roster who played high school baseball in the state of Florida. 

On Thursday, MaxPreps released a breakdown of where every player on CWS rosters went to high school. 

Forty-eight players hail from the Sunshine State. The only program with no players from the state of Florida is underdog Oral Roberts (51-12), which will play TCU (42-22) in the first game of the CWS today at 2 p.m. on ESPN. 

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California is second with 37 players, followed by Tennessee and Texas with 25 each. All 15 players from Louisiana are on the LSU roster and all 15 players from Virginia are on the Cavaliers’ roster. 

Three of the 10 Major League Baseball draft prospects to watch in Omaha, according to CBS Sports, played their prep ball in the Sunshine State. 

LSU junior Dylan Crews, projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s MLB draft, played his high school ball at Lake Mary High School in Seminole County. 

The four-year letterman was ranked the 13th best player in the country by Perfect Game, and the highest ranked player to attend college in 2020. He withdrew as a high school senior from the 2020 MLB Draft, even though he would have been a high draft choice, in order to attend LSU. 

Crews, who leads the Southeastern Conference in hitting with a .434 average and a .576 on base percentage, has a chance to join Arizona State’s Rick Monday (1965) as the only college player in history to win a CWS title and be selected No. 1 overall in the same year. 

Is Dylan Crews already the greatest LSU baseball player ever

Florida junior Wyatt Langford is second on that list. He’s been putting Trenton on the map

Coming out of Trenton High School, Langford was the Class of 2020’s No. 144 overall prospect according to Perfect Game. He’s about to be a top five MLB draft pick. 

The two-time All-American leads UF with a .373 batting average, a .498 on base percentage, and a .769 slugging percentage. 

Despite missing seven games to injury, Langford is second on the team with 18 home runs. He has 24 doubles, a team-high 76 runs, 48 runs batted in and nine steals. 

He is just four doubles from tying former Gator catcher Mike Zunino’s team record of 28, and with 44 career home runs, Langford is three from tying Zunino for sixth all-time at UF. 

Some other key contributors for the Gators (50-15) this year who played high school baseball in Florida include Jac Caglianone (Tampa Plant), Josh Rivera (IMG Academy in Bradenton), Colby Halter (Jacksonville Bishop Kenny), Cade Kurland (Tampa Berkeley Prep), Brandon Neely (Port Orange Spruce Creek), Tyler Shelnut (Fort White), and Brandon Sproat (Pace). 

Caglianone, along with Crews, is one of three finalists for the 2023 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy. 

The sophomore’s 31 home runs lead the nation and set a new program record, as he is the first SEC player to eclipse 30 homers since 2003. 

He is also chasing UF’s single-season RBI record, as his 84 (T-fifth in NCAA) is one from tying Preston Tucker’s record of 85 set in 2009. 

On the mound, Caglianone carries a team-low .184 BAA and is 3-1 with a team-best 1.61 ERA and .178 ERA across his last six starts. 

Aerial View of TD Ameritrade Park, Home of the NCAA College World Series and Creighton University Bluejays in Omaha, Nebraska.
Shutterstock Aerial View of TD Ameritrade Park, Home of the NCAA College World Series and Creighton University Bluejays in Omaha, Nebraska.

Coming out of Plant High School, he was ranked the No. 38 player nationally by Perfect Game, including the No. 4 left-handed pitcher and No. 1 first baseman in the country. 

Rivera, a .293 career hitter across 700 career at-bats, is eighth in the SEC this year with a .362 batting average, just behind No. 7 Langford (.373). He is one of five players for the Gators who have at least 16 home runs. 

With 17 and 16 home runs respectively, shortstop Josh Rivera and second baseman Cade Kurland own single-season positional home run records at UF. 

Sproat, who is the likely starter on the mound for the Gators against the Cavaliers, has gone five-plus innings in 25 of his last 27 starts dating back to last season, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 20 of those outings. 

Brock Wilken of Wake Forest, who is 10th on CBS’ list, is considered a top 30 pick. 

He has hit 30 home runs this year for the Demon Deacons (52-10), who are the No. 1 overall seed this year. 

Wilken (.357, 80 RBI) broke the ACC career home run record with his 70th home run against Alabama on Sunday in the Super Regionals. Wilken played at Bloomingdale (Valrico). 

Coming out of high school, he was rated as the No. 82 recruit in the country by Perfect Game, including No. 18 overall in Florida and the No. 9 third baseman nationally. 

He joins teammates Bennett Lee and Camden Minacci of Jesuit (Tampa), Marek Houston of Venice, Lucas Costello of Westminster Christian (Miami), Derek Crum of Gaither (Tampa), and Gio Cueto of Belen Jesuit (Miami) as former Florida prep players. 

With seven Floridians, Wake Forest is second behind UF for the most prep players from the state. 

The Demon Deacons are seeking to be the first No. 1 team to win the CWS since 1999. 

Another key player from Florida to watch this weekend is Virginia’s Jake Gelof (Bradenton IMG Academy). 

Gelof (.331) leads the Cavaliers (50-13) with 23 home runs and 89 RBI. 

The junior, whose brother Zack was a member of the UVA baseball team from 2019-21 and was a second-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2021, is the Cavaliers’ career leader in home runs (48) and RBI (185). 

Breakdown of CWS schools who have former Florida high school players on their roster:

Florida (30)
Wake Forest (7)
Stanford (3)
Virginia (3)
LSU (3)
Tennessee (1)
TCU (1)

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