Fall ball is upon us. The Florida Gators baseball program started their fall season last Monday. They have already started intersquad games as the Gators will look to improve from a rough 2019 season. In the 2019 season, Florida finished with a 34-26 record and had a 13-17 conference record. Florida squeezed into the NCAA Baseball Tournament but were quickly eliminated in Regionals by Dallas Baptist. The Gators were in the middle of a rebuild after losing most of their top players to the draft. They played a lot of underclassmen including two freshmen that enrolled early. The underclassmen now have a full season of college baseball as they’ll look to make Florida a championship contender again. They’ve also added a top recruiting class and kept a lot of their top signees. Here are the 2020 Florida Gators baseball season predictions.
Jud Fabian has a monster season
My breakout player of the year for the Florida Gators this season is sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian. The former Perfect Game All-American shocked a lot of people last season as he announced he was forgoing the MLB Draft and enroll early to Florida. Fabian became the starting centerfielder as a freshman and was one of their top players early in the season. He was able produce almost immediately but struggled once Florida got into conference play. The SEC is a different animal compared to the other conferences as Fabian showed his youth versus SEC pitching. Now as a sophomore, Fabian should play a much bigger role and be able to handle SEC pitching. Fabian is one of the most talented players in the country and it’ll show in the 2020 season.
Hunter Barco wins SEC Freshman of the Year
Baseball recruiting is very different compared to football recruiting. In baseball, high school prospects are eligible for the MLB Draft. If you’re a top high school baseball prospect, chances are that you’ll get drafted. Left-handed pitcher/first baseman Hunter Barco was projected to go in the first round before his high school season. Barco had a great season but he also suffered a shoulder injury and scouts didn’t like his arm slot. Because of that, Barco fell in the draft and decided to go to Florida before getting drafted. Barco is arguably one of the top two-way prospects from 2019 recruiting cycle. Scouts tend to believe he’ll be a pitcher in the future but Barco will get the opportunity to play both. Barco will compete for a spot in the weekend rotation and will also compete for the starting first base job.
The Florida Gators return to Omaha
Before the 2019 season, the Florida Gators had made it the College World Series four seasons in a row. They have a good chance of getting back to Omaha as they return most of their starters and have added some top freshmen. Players like Tommy Mace, Jack Leftwich, Brady Smith and Austin Langworthy will be veterans and be counted on to help Florida win games. Sophomores like Kendrick Calilao, Cory Acton, Jud Fabian and Jacob Young will need to continue to play at high level like they did as freshmen. The Florida Gators have a lot of talent on their roster. If the pitching can improve from last season, the Florida Gators are serious contenders to return to Omaha, Nebraska.