The first practice of the fall season for Florida Gator baseball begins on Thursday with six scrimmages lined up for the first week.
How last season ended
Florida opened the 2020 season a perfect 16-0 before dropping what would be their final home game at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium to rival Florida State. Along with all other spring sports, the rest of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Gators were ranked No. 1 for the majority of the short season en route to their best in school history. Florida’s start last season could have been seen as a surprise to some considering the off-year the team had in 2019.
Nonetheless, several rankings list the Gators at No. 1 going into the 2021 season after not losing anybody to the MLB Draft. Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan will have his top guys from last year returning along with some new faces in Gainesville as the Gators will play their first season in the brand new Florida Ballpark.
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) October 22, 2020
Who is returning for the Gators?
Starting pitching was an issue for the Gators in 2019. That was not the case in Florida’s hot start to last year with Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich leading the rotation. Both were expected to be selected in the 2020 shortened MLB Draft but returned to Gainesville after not being selected. Mace and Leftwich were ranked 69th and 145th, respectively, in MLB’s 2020 draft prospect rankings.
Behind Mace and Leftwich are two underclassmen who were quality pitchers a season ago. Hunter Barco and Nick Pogue look eager to be reliable arms for O’Sullivan in 2021.
Poised for a strong season is outfielder Jud Fabian who led the team in home runs and RBI’s in 2020. Fabian is a top-five pick in just about every mock draft and will look to lead the Gators offense. In just 16 games, the former five-star recruit finished with five homers and 13 runs batted in.
As always, the Gators continue to recruit well and will welcome three four-star recruits to the fall roster in Mac Guscette, Colby Halter and Timmothy Manning.
It can’t be emphasized enough the depth this team has. The Gators were national title contenders a year ago and after not losing a single player, Florida is looking to finish what they started.