#5 Florida Baseball 2015 Preview

Florida Gators

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 SEC  
#5 Florida Baseball 2015 Preview
Florida Team Page


Florida was one of several national seeds last year in the 2014 NCAA Tournament that ran into underrated teams that were not going to be denied. In this case, the College of Charleston ended up winning the Gainesville Regional. Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan brings back a balance of youth, talent and experience that will be primed to make a run to Omaha and the 2015 College World Series.

2014: 40-23, 21-9
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan

Field Players:
Infielder Richie Martin will set the tone for the Florida offense once again this season. Martin hit a steady .265, drove in 27 runs and stole 18 bases in 20 attempts to lead the Gators in stolen bases last season. Infielder Peter Alonso will be one of the bigger power hitting threats returning in 2015. Alonso hit four homeruns and drove in 32 and will be even more effective if he can draw more walks. He only drew 19 walks last season in comparison to 35 strikeouts. Outfielder Harrison Bader is back as well and hit .337 in just 44 games played last season for Florida. If Bader can play a full season, that will make the offense that much better as a whole.

This should be one of the deeper staffs in all of college baseball heading into the 2015 season. But the question is will somebody else besides Logan Shore eat up innings on a consistent basis. Shore will most likely be the Friday night starter, after going 7-4 with a 2.16 earned run average in 2014. He was pretty balanced with the rest of his numbers and only walked 20 batters, so opponents definitely had to earn everything against him. Danny Young should also be in the mix to start more games this season as he started nine times in 25 appearances, but is going to have to cut down on the amount of hits allowed in regard to innings pitched. Opponents got 55 hits off of Young in 48.1 innings of action.

Who to Watch:
The rest of the pitching staff is going to be an overall storyline worth watching as the Gators over the course of the long season are not going to be able to get to Omaha by having one starting pitcher that can go deep in games and playing bullpen by committee in the others. It will, like it did last season, eventually catch up with them.

Final Projection:
Overall, Florida should be able to get off to a fast start in 2015 as the schedule is front loaded with home games against teams they should not have too many issues against. On February 20th the first big test in non-conference play will take place as in-state rival Miami comes to Gainesville for a three-game weekend series. This will be a great test for the Gators offensively as the Hurricanes pitching will be very tough to deal with this season. On March 17th, Florida State visits Florida for the first matchup of three during the course of the 2015 season. In conference play, a huge test during the second weekend in Oxford against Ole Miss and that electric crowd at Swayze Field will set the tone right away for the direction of the SEC race. A four game stretch from April 10-14 against South Carolina at home and a single game at Tallahassee against the Seminoles will be a big opportunity to make a clear statement that Florida is worthy of a national seed once again in 2015. If the Gators can find a way to get three wins, that should be enough to lock in a top eight seed. This team should be able to grind out enough offensively to keep the pressure off of the pitching staff and Florida, barring major injury, should end up with one of the top eight national seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Richie Martin, IF, 241
Hits: Richie Martin, IF, 66
Home Runs: Peter Alonso, IF, 4
RBIs: Peter Alonso, IF, 33
Runs: Richie Martin, IF, 49
Stolen Bases: Richie Martin, IF, 18

Wins: Logan Shore, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Logan Shore, P, 95.2
Strikeouts: Logan Shore, P, 68
Saves: Bobby Poyner, P, 4

Madness 2015 MLB Draft Rankings:
#22 Richie Martin

Madness 2015 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#8 JJ Schwarz


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