#1 Florida Baseball 2017 Preview

Florida Gators
Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
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Florida made easy work of their opponents in the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. In the Super Regionals they snuck past Florida State in three games. In Omaha things did not go as well though. The Gators lost 2-1 to Coastal Carolina in the College World Series opener and were eliminated by Texas Tech in the following contest. But this year Florida should get another opportunity in Omaha. The pitching staff has a solid leader in Alex Faedo. He went 13-3 last season with a 3.18 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 104.2 innings of work. Sophomores Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar showed a lot of potential last season and are expected to join Faedo in the starting rotation. There is some reloading that needs to be done, but the Gators have a lot of talent on their pitching staff.
2016: 52-16, 19-10
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan
Key Departed Players:
Shaun Anderson, P, 0.97 ERA, 46.1 IP, 60 SO, 13 SV
Logan Shore, P, 2.31 ERA, 105.1 IP, 96 SO
A.J. Puk, P, 3.05 ERA, 73.2 IP, 102 SO
Peter Alonso, .374 BA, 14 HR, 60 RBI
Buddy Reed, .262 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Alex Faedo, P, 3.18 ERA, 104.2 IP, 133 SO
Dalton Guthrie, IF, .305 BA, 1 HR, 22 RBI
Jonathan India, IF, .303 BA, 4 HR, 40 RBI
JJ Schwarz, C, .290 BA, 7 HR, 60 RBI
Deacon Liput, IF, .270 BA, 3 HR, 36 RBI
Nelson Maldonado, IF/OF, .256 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI
Mike Rivera, C, .245 BA, 9 HR, 47 RBI
Some key batters are gone too, most notably Peter Alonso and Buddy Reed, but once again the Gators should not have too much trouble replacing that production. Dalton Guthrie is one of the best shortstops in the college game right now. On top of his solid defense, Guthrie hit .305 and led the team with 85 hits last season. The rest of the infield has All-American potential as well. Second baseman Deacon Liput and third baseman Jonathan India are coming off great freshman campaigns. India belted four homeruns and drove in 40 RBIs and should be one of the main power hitters on this team. Catchers JJ Schwarz and Mike Rivera have plenty of pop in their bats too. Schwarz belted seven homeruns and Rivera added nine. Nelson Maldonado, who primarily played in the outfield as a freshman, adds even more power to the batting order. This is a Florida team that is absolutely loaded with talent. If all of the pieces come together, the Gators will get an opportunity to avenge their disappointing trip to Omaha from a season ago.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#4 Alex Faedo
#35 JJ Schwarz
#56 Mike Rivera
#58 Dalton Guthrie