Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

We track college baseball in some ways that are similar to how we track the major leagues. One set of data points that we chart is batted ball data that allows us to make estimates on a couple of Statcast stats, like hard-hit rate, barrel rate, average launch angle, and average exit velocity.

We call our tool for doing so Synthetic Statcast and it’s a useful way to look at a player’s underlying skills. 

Below is a list of the batters who ranked in the 95th percentile or better in hard-hit rate in major college conferences for 2024 (ACC, Big Ten, SEC, PAC-12, Big 12).

2024 Hard-Hit Rate Leaders (% of Batted Balls 95+ MPH)

Player Team Hard-Hit Rate
1. Jared Jones LSU 62.9%
2. Nolan Schubart Oklahoma 58.1%
3. Braden Montgomery Texas A&M 55.2%
4. Jac Caglianone Florida 53.9%
5. Jace Laviolette Texas A&M 53.6%
6. Daniel Cuvet Miami (FL) 52.4%
7. Carson DeMartini Virginia Tech 51.9%
8. Charlie Condon Georgia 51.6%
9. Gavin Turley Oregon State 51.4%
10. Mason White Arizona 51.4%
11. JJ Wetherholt West Virginia 50.0%
12. Vance Honeycutt North Carolina 50.0%
13. Zac Morris Duke 49.5%
14. Dakota Jordan Mississippi State 49.0%
15. Reed Chumley West Virginia 48.8%
16. Hayden Travinski LSU 48.4%
17. Cooper McMurray Auburn 48.3%
18. Jimmy Obertop Clemson 48.2%
19. Michael Snyder Oklahoma 48.1%
20. Nick Kurtz Wake Forest 48.0%
21. Cole Messina South Carolina 47.8%
22. AJ Gracia Duke 47.6%
23. Gavin Grahovac Texas A&M 47.1%
24. Ben Miller Duke 47.0%
25. Corey Collins Georgia 46.9%
26. Tyler Shelnut Florida 46.6%
27. Kyle West West Virginia 46.6%

Some notes on the top 6 on the list:

In two seasons at LSU, Jared Jones has shown massive power, hitting 14 and then 28 home runs. At the draft combine last month he recorded exit velos as high as 113 MPH.

There may be a lot of strikeouts in Nolan Schubart’s game, but there’s a lot of pop too, as evidenced by his 59% hard-hit rate and 20% barrel rate (tied with Cameron Leary for the highest among college players we tracked). He hit 17 home runs as a freshman and 23 as a sophomore this season to offset 137 strikeouts in 389 at-bats.

Braden Montgomery suffered a rough-looking leg injury prior to the College World Series putting a damper on a season in which he hit 27 home runs and slugged .733. He made a smooth transition after playing the previous two years at Stanford.

Jac Caglianone’s presence here isn’t surprising given the two-way star’s 35-homer, .875 slugging season. What is interesting is that Caglianone’s average launch angle was 11.9 degrees, making him more line drive-friendly than any of the other Top 10 hitters (yes, we estimate average launch angle too).

Montgomery’s teammate, Jace Laviolette, announced last week that he’ll be staying at Texas A&M rather than pursuing a new school through the transfer portal. Laviolette bettered Montgomery’s 27 homers with 29 of his own in his sophomore season and should enter 2025 as a candidate to be taken near the top of the MLB Draft.

Daniel Cuvet, aka Danny Dingers, crushed the ball in his first year at Miami (24 homers, 1.165 OPS) on the way to being a freshman All American and is continuing to hit the ball with authority in the Cape Cod League.