Florida was already set for a national seed in the tournament last year before the cancelation. With only five rounds in the draft, the Gators return a lot from that loaded team. They’re the sure choice for preseason No.1 and are the favorites to win the SEC.
2019 Record: 34-26 (13-17)
2020 Record: 16-1
Perfect Game Recruiting Class: 13th
It’s hard to think Kevin O’Sullivan’s team can replicate the tremendous start they had to the 2020 season. The Gators ripped off a 16 game winning streak to start the season – the longest in the country at the time. The season ended with a 2-0 loss to rival Florida State before the season ended.
While the competition wasn’t the greatest, the mere feat of a schedule without a blemish is impressive. Florida did complete a three-game sweep of rival Miami. They were well-balanced on the mound and with the bats and should only be better this year.
The Gators are the only other team in the conference to return their entire starting rotation from 2020. They benefit from a shortened draft and return starters Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich. Mace was the Friday night starter with Leftwich behind him. Hunter Barco slid into the Sunday spot after the first week and is back to round off the rotation.
Mace came out dealing last season with a 1.67 ERA in four starts. He struck out 26 in 27 innings with a WHIP under 1.00. More than that, Mace was giving the Gators solid, long outings. He went seven innings in his final three starts, two of which he allowed just two hits.
Leftwich had a solid season but had a bad outing against Troy. The Trojans got all over him for six runs and ran him out after just three innings. From the second Barco got put into the Sunday rotation he was dealing. He allowed just one run each in three Sunday starts and worked into the sixth inning in two of the games.
This hitting lineup could very well be the best in college baseball. All nine hitters are going to be tough outs, and there’s plenty of depth behind them. Jacob Young is the lone starter without homerun potential. But that’s his one weakness, he led the team last year in batting average (.450), hits (27), OBP (.514) and stolen bases (6).
Jud Fabian is likely the best hitter on the team and potentially the SEC. He has potential to be the first position player taken in the draft. Fabian slashed .294/.407/.603 with a team high five homeruns after starting all 17 games last year.
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) February 23, 2020
There’s a plethora of strong bats outside of those two who decorate the lineup. Kirby McMullen bat cleanup last year and slashed .278/.458/.407. Josh Rivera adds a .298/.385.439 slash and a couple homeruns. Nathan Hickey provides power from the left side with a .311/.439/.622 2020 slash and four homeruns.
There’s no shortage of talent on this Florida team. Gator fans should absolutely anticipate a memorable season. O’Sullivan has one of his best rosters ever assembled and should be able to tear a path into Omaha.
The pitching is proven from last year and should only improve. The bats haven’t lost any concerning amount of production, and return loads of it. They’re deep, experienced, and potent and should be in the top 3 in SEC offenses.
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