Top 25 Breakdown: No. 2 FloridaFeatured
2016 Record: 52-16. RPI: 1.
Coach (Record at school): Kevin O’Sullivan (396-189, 9 years).
Ballpark: McKethan Stadium (5,500).
Postseason History: 23 regionals (active streak: 9), 10 CWS trips (active streak: 2), 0 national titles.
More: Fall Report on Florida
Florida's Projected Lineup
|C||Mike Rivera, Jr.||.278/.337/.419||9||47||0|
|1B||Christian Hicks, Jr.||.118/.400/.176||0||0||1|
|2B||Deacon Liput, So.||.270/.363/.398||3||36||13|
|3B||Jonathan India, So.||.303/.367/.440||4||40||13|
|SS||Dalton Guthrie, Jr.||.305/.367/.366||1||22||8|
|LF||Austin Langworthy, Fr.||HS—Williston, Fla.|
|CF||Andrew Baker, Fr.||HS—Tavares, Fla.|
|RF||Nelson Maldonado, So.||.256/.350/.405||6||30||6|
|DH||JJ Schwarz, Jr.||.290/.397/.456||7||60||2|
|RHP||Alex Faedo, Jr.||13-3||3.18||104.2||133||21||0|
|RHP||Brady Singer, So.||2-2||4.95||43.2||38||17||1|
|RHP||Jackson Kowar, So.||3-0||3.37||34.2||44||10||0|
|RP||Andrew Baker, Fr.||HS—Tavares, Fla.|
Grading The Gators
Just like scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.
Florida underachieved offensively with a very talented lineup last year, dropping from 15th to 88th in the nation in scoring, from 28th to 121st in batting, and from 21st to 101st in slugging. Florida nonetheless earned the No. 1 national seed and sported a competent offense, if not as explosive as expected. The Gators must replace slugger Peter Alonso (who led them in batting, OBP, slugging, homers and RBIs) plus fellow second-round pick Buddy Reed, but they still have a quality core of returners and some very exciting newcomers that mix together to form a deep, balanced lineup.
Guthrie, the team’s top returning hitter, is a scrappy catalyst with a knack for turning in competitive at-bats consistently, setting the tone for the lineup. Liput and India played every day as freshmen and should make the leap to full-fledged stardom as sophomores, in part because both of them own smooth, line-drive swings with emerging pop. Maldonado is another strong bet to break out as a sophomore; the Gators call him a “natural hitter” with excellent plate discipline and a good gap-to-gap approach, though his swing has some length at times.
Baker, perhaps the team’s most important freshman, is like a lefthanded-hitting Guthrie with more speed, making him another candidate for the leadoff spot. Langworthy, another high-profile lefty bat, might be the most polished freshman hitter in the country, and he should be a doubles machine. The switch-hitting Hicks stays inside the ball well and is learning to drive the ball with more consistency; he looks ready to assume an everyday job as a junior. So. Blake Reese, another good contact hitter, is competing for an outfield job, helping to give the Gators admirable depth.
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