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Arkansas Baseball 2023 Lineup Projection: No. 3 - Caleb Cali

JUCO transfer Caleb Cali is looking to make an impact with Arkansas this season.
JUCO transfer Caleb Cali is looking to make an impact with Arkansas this season. (Arkansas Athletics)


We are 14 days away from Arkansas baseball, and HawgBeat is continuing its lineup preview series for the 2023 Diamond Hogs.

The Razorbacks will return just two starters from last year's lineup, so fans will soon become familiar with all of the new faces.

With scrimmage coverage, weekly notebooks, position previews, the Diamond Hawgs Podcast and more, HawgBeat provides the best Arkansas baseball coverage around.

We continue things with the three-hole, which redshirt junior Caleb Cali is projected to fill...


#6 - Caleb Cali - 3B/DH

R-Jr. | R/R | 6-3 | 230

Montverde, Fla. / Montverde Academy / Florida State / Hillsborough CC / College of Central Florida

2022: 61 games, .438/.533/.826, 74 R, 96 H, 22 2B, 6 3B, 17 HR, 77 RBI, 43 BB/22 K, 3 SB

Caleb Cali has made the rounds during his college career, with Fayetteville being his most recent stop. The Diamond Hogs should be happy to have him, as his numbers at College of Central Florida were very impressive in 2022.

The righty slugger smacked 17 homers and drove in 77 runs during his 61 games played. He recorded 29 multi-hit games and he had a hit in 23 of his last 25 games with the Patriots.

Cali was named an NJCAA DI First-Team All-American for his efforts with a College of Central Florida team that made it to the NJCAA DI Baseball World Series. The Patriots were bounced in the second round by Walters State.

Prior to the 2022 season, Cali spent 2021 with Hillsborough Community College in Plant City, Florida. He redshirted at Florida State in the 2020 season, which was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn described Cali's fall season as "unbelievable" following the team's Fall Classic on Sept. 30. Cali had a team-high .419 batting average to go with 18 hits, 10 runs, 16 RBIs and four home runs during fall scrimmages that HawgBeat attended.

He carried that hot hand over to Arkansas' first scrimmages of 2023 last weekend. During Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, Cali had a bases-clearing double to left field off senior lefty Zack Morris.

Cali said he went into the at bat thinking Morris was going to force him into a double play, but he stayed ready for the fastball.

"I was obviously still ready for the fastball and he gave me one over the middle," Cali said after Saturday's scrimmage. "A little bit up, but it was over the middle and I tried to put my best swing on it and I hit it pretty well."

During that scrimmage Cali started at third base, but transitioned to first when Van Horn and crew wanted to see Brady Slavens give third a shot. Though third base is still a question mark for Arkansas, Cali seems to have the slight edge at this point.

"I feel very comfortable (at third)," Cali said. "I've been on the left side my entire life. But I've also played over here, practiced over here at first base. So I know how to play both spots and I'm just ready wherever (Van Horn) wants to put me."

He was listed as a third/first baseman coming out of College of Central Florida, and Cali said he primarily played at third with the Patriots. He had 16 errors that resulted in a .894 fielding percentage, but he said he feels like he could do better than that.

"Defensively last year, I did a lot worse than I'm used to," Cali said. "That's how baseball works. A few balls that maybe could've gone my way that were just tough. I know also it's Florida JUCO baseball, so the fields aren't the greatest. I'm not going to blame it on that just because I need to be better anyways."

Cali added that working on his craft at third is something he prioritizes and works on every day during the offseason. Though there are other names in the mix at third, such as Kendall Diggs and Jayson Jones, Cali is doing his part to win the job.

"I don't want to say anything that's against my teammates," Cali said. "With everything said and done, I'm trying to be better than them. But I think that they're also working their butts off to try and be better than me. And I think that's what creates a winning culture in the locker room and everything like that."

Even if Cali doesn't win the job at third base, his bat seems too valuable to keep out of the lineup, so he could be a designated hitter if the Hogs decide to go with someone else at third.

Arkansas' season will begin on Feb. 17 at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas. First pitch against the Texas Longhorns at Globe Life Field is set for 7 p.m. CT.

HawgBeat's Lineup Breakdown Series

1. #12 - Tavian Josenberger - CF

2. #10 - Peyton Stovall - 2B

3. #6 - Caleb Cali - 3B/DH

4. (Saturday, Feb. 4)

5. (Sunday, Feb. 5)

6. (Monday, Feb. 6)

7. (Tuesday, Feb. 7)

8. (Wednesday, Feb. 8)

9. (Thursday, Feb. 9)

Bench players (Friday, Feb. 10)

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