Florida Gator baseball is back in business this week as fall ball begins with scrimmages open to the public. The Gators were ranked No. 1 for most of last season but made a quick exit with two straight losses in the College World Series. They finished the season 52-16 overall and will look to redeem themselves this year with a mix of new and veteran players.
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) September 26, 2016
The New Talent
This season Florida baseball’s Kevin O’Sullivan takes the helm for his tenth year as head coach. O’Sullivan currently has an army of dual position players that are capable of pitching and playing elsewhere. From the incoming talent, O’Sullivan is keen on a couple of pitchers: Nate Brown and Tyler Dawson. O’Sullivan even goes as far to compare Brown to second round pick in the MLB draft Logan Shore. The biggest surprise thus far according to Sullivan is Dawson, who flew under the recruiting radar but has impressed the coaching staff.
— USA Baseball CNT (@USABaseballCNT) July 25, 2016
Several Gators are coming off successful Summer Leagues. Jonathan India and Deacon Liput were some of the benefactors playing in the Cape Cod League. In addition to an impressive batting average, Liput knocked in 18 RBI in just 26 games.
Those two weren’t the only ones busy for the Gators this summer. Alex Faedo, Dalton Guthrie, and Mike Rivera all played for Team USA. Faedo (3-0) displayed some dominance, becoming the number one pitcher for Team USA with a 0.56 ERA. Guthrie and Rivera gained valuable experience this summer, and will hope to bring what they learned this season.
The MLB Draft
The University of Florida has become a huge supplier of talent to the MLB, with eight players drafted last year. The draft, however, occurs before the College World Series which can have an effect on the mentality of the players who’ve been drafted.
When asked how to deal with the players drafted, O’Sullivan said each player is to be treated differently. At this time, he feels like he doesn’t need to discuss the future with his players because they are at a good place right now. O’Sullivan feels the draft is part of the game and takes it as a compliment when teams are interested in his players.
The Upcoming Season
The Gators will be ready for the upcoming season in hopes of bringing the program its first College World Series title. The season is indeed still a few months away. However, the Gators will host open scrimmages all this week in preparation.