Photo courtesy of @GatorsBB via Twitter

Heading to the Show: Next Steps For Gators Baseball’s Finest

While the Florida Gators fell just short of the crown in Omaha, a number of Gators may hear their names later this week at the MLB Draft.

Plain and Simple, Just Like Wyatt Likes It

When Wyatt Langford steps up to the plate, you know he is going to deliver. The two-time All-American may not look like the modern MLB superstar. However, he instills fear in all who face him. Why? He flat out hits the baseball better than almost anyone his age, and he hits it hard. Langford stole the headlines in Omaha, first with a 456-foot moonshot against Virginia, a record in Omaha. Langford then followed that with a 5-for-5 performance against LSU in Game 2 of the MCWS final.

Despite falling short of a championship crown, Langford has cemented himself as a surefire top-5 prospect in the upcoming MLB Draft, with MLB.com’s Jim Callis mocking Langford to the Detroit Tigers with the third selection, just behind LSU’s Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes. However, third is not a knock on Langford whatsoever.

ESPN reporter Kiley McDaniel says that Langford “will comfortably rank in the Top 25 of my Top 100 MLB prospects”. With 47 home runs in his last two seasons, Langford projects as a slugger with five-tool potential, and would be an asset to any team who would be lucky enough to draft him.

Florida’s Flamethrowers have First Round Flare

While the spotlight has been on Langford, two Gators pitchers have turned their strong seasons into potential first-round selections. Right-hander Hurston Waldrep is the projected No. 17 selection by the Baltimore Orioles in both Callis and McDaniel’s recent mock drafts.

The Southern Miss transfer has elite strikeout stuff, with 156 strikeouts in 101.2 innings this past season. While his ERA of 4.16 might be a bit higher than teams would like, his potential has propelled him up draft boards.

Also, third time’s a charm for Brandon Sproat, who was twice before but opted not to sign both times. Sproat led the Gators in innings pitched for the second year in a row, while possessing more strikeout stuff than ever before. The soon-to-be 23-year-old is ideal for a team in the late first or early second round looking for a pitcher who could step up to the big leagues sooner than later.

Josh Rivera’s Senior Step-Up Launches Him Up Boards

A highly touted high school prospect out of IMG Academy, Josh Rivera had a slow first three years in Gainesville. However, Rivera broke out this season, hitting 19 home runs and batting .348 at the plate. The 2nd-team All-American shortstop is the No. 87 prospect on MLB.com’s draft board and is one of the highest ranking seniors. Rivera’s improved plate discipline has teams intrigued by the 22-year-old in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft.

The Future is Now

With the MLB draft coming up on Sunday, these Gator standouts are sure to hear their names called. Now one will have to wait and see what the future holds for these Florida Gators at the next level.

About Max Bernstein

Max Bernstein is a South Florida native who is a Journalism student at the University of Florida. He is specializing in the Sports and Media track, and is currently in his Freshman year at UF.

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