2024 College World Series Predictions And Superlatives

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Image credit: (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

Before the College World Series begins, it’s time for Teddy Cahill and Peter Flaherty to make their picks and hand out some superlatives. 

College World Series Champion

Teddy: Florida. The Gators have been as impressive as any team in the NCAA Tournament, have Omaha experience and have the best player in the field in Jac Caglianone. Sure, they were just a game over .500 in the regular season. But there’s never been a question about their talent and their ability to beat top competition (they own series wins against Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU and Georgia), it was just about consistency. Now, Florida looks like it has figured out a formula that works and won’t be overwhelmed by the big stage.

Peter: Tennessee. I know, I know, this is the boring, chalky pick, but none of the seven other teams can match the Volunteers’ depth on both sides of the baseball. Texas A&M when fully healthy could have, but the losses of Braden Montgomery and Shane Sdao will certainly be felt. Tennessee is 2-0 in series against teams in the CWS field, and it also owns a standalone win over Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. It’s a team that’s been here before—after all, this is the Vols’ third trip to the CWS in the last four seasons—and this feels like the year Tennessee finally gets over the hump.

College World Series Runner-Up

Teddy: Virginia. Am I living a little dangerously with this pick? Maybe. This is the Cavaliers’ third Omaha trip in the last four years, but the last two have been short stays (1-4 combined). Virginia has the best offense in the country, and its pitching staff has really come on strong down the stretch (16 total runs allowed in five NCAA Tournament games). If the Cavaliers carry that success into Omaha, they can make a lot of noise.

Peter: NC State. I could be a little bit of a prisoner of the moment here with the Wolfpack, but I seriously considered picking them to win the title. The bracket they’ll need to come out of is a tough one, as it includes red-hot Florida, battle-tested Kentucky and resilient Texas A&M, but they have been firing on all cylinders for the better part of two months. There is no easy at-bat for opposing pitchers to navigate in their lineup, they have three solid starters as well as a dynamic late-inning duo and they’ll be playing with an extra-large chip on their shoulder as they try to avenge their COVID-shortened CWS trip in 2021.

College World Series Preview

Teddy Cahill joins this week’s Hot Sheet Show to analyze the CWS field and explain why Virginia is a dangerous team to watch.

Most Outstanding Player

Teddy: Jac Caglianone, Florida. If Florida wins the national championship, it’s going to be in large part  because of Caglianone. He’s the best player left in the field and, as a two-way player, makes a big impact on both sides of the ball. Caglianone did not have a great CWS last year (4-for-22, two home runs; 0-1, 11.17 in two starts), and I’m sure he’s eager to make up for that and finish his college career on top.

Peter: Christian Moore, Tennessee. Similar to Teddy’s pick, if Tennessee ends up dogpiling, Moore will have played a significant role in getting to that point. The physical second baseman has steadily ascended up draft boards this spring and is hitting .376/.453/.796 with 17 doubles, a Tennessee single-season record 32 home runs and 71 RBIs. Moore has four long balls in six tournament games and has experience playing under the bright lights of Charles Schwab Stadium. Expect him to come through with a few big-time swings in the next 10 or so days.

Underclassman To Watch

Teddy: Jace LaViolette, Texas A&M. LaViolette is arguably both the Aggies’ best player and the top prospect in the 2025 class. His importance has only risen in the wake of Braden Montgomery’s injury last weekend. The power-hitting sophomore has been in a bit of a slump in the postseason (6-for-26, 1 2B, 0 HR in the SEC tournament and NCAA Tournament). Getting him going in Omaha is key for A&M.

Peter: Henry Ford, Virginia. I wrestled a little bit with this one, as there are a number of high-profile underclassmen to watch, but Ford has been a key cog within the Cavaliers’ lineup from day one. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound true freshman is hitting .339/.413/.608 with 31 extra-base hits, including 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. After a quiet start to postseason play, Ford has logged multiple hits in each of his last three games and will look to carry over his hot hitting into this week and beyond. 

Impact Under-The-Radar Player

Teddy: Matthew Matthijs, North Carolina. The UNC bullpen is one of the key strengths of the team, and the Tar Heels have a number of trusted relievers. Matthijs is more of a middle-relief type than an end-of-game option, which is typically Dalton Pence. But Matthijs (12-4, 3.65) plays a critical role, and if he can be an effective bridge to Pence or Matt Poston, it keeps UNC’s pitching staff on schedule. His ability to work multiple times in a weekend is also a big asset this time of year.

Peter: Max Williams, Florida State. It is easy to get lost in Florida State’s loaded lineup, especially when it includes two likely first round picks in Cam Smith and ACC player of the year James Tibbs. However, Williams has been a steady presence in the leadoff spot for the Seminoles to the tune of a .301/.379/.578 slash line with 10 doubles, 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak and has homered in four of FSU’s five tournament games.

Favorite Jersey

Teddy: Kentucky’s cream. The UNC Carolina blue jersey is probably the No. 1 seed in this field (we ranked it No. 5 overall the last time we ranked jerseys), but Peter beat me to the pick, so I’ll highlight a personal favorite here. I like a good cream jersey. They usually have a nice faux-thowback feel, and I think Kentucky nails that with this one. It’s a clean jersey with a blue script “Kentucky” across the front. A great look.

Peter: North Carolina’s Carolina blue. This also might feel like a chalky pick, but there really is nothing better than UNC’s blue jerseys with the script “Carolina” across the chest. It’s simple, not too loud and the shade of color is outstanding.

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