Florida Gators Baseball 2020 Season Superlatives

OFFER: SIGN UP for an annual subscription and you will also receive a FREE $ 49.50 gift code to the Rivals Fan Shop! Even though the baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Gators produced a terrific season by posting a 16 -1 record and finishing as the top-ranked program in the country.The Gators were also the most improved team in the country as they learned their lesson from the previous season. There were a lot of positives for a team that looked poised to make another strong run at the College World Series.With the season in the books, it’s time to reflect on what would have been a very successful season for Kevin O’Sullivan’s program.

MVP: OF Jacob Young

The team MVP for the the 2020 season was outfielder Jacob Young. The sophomore was in the middle of a terrific season in which he led the Gators in batting average (.450), hits (27), OBP% (.514) and stolen bases (six). Young was not only one of Florida’s most productive hitters, but he was also a very solid right fielder. Young covers a lot of ground due to his speed and has a solid arm. I had a perfect fielding percentage and recorded 29 putouts. There were a lot of candidates for the MVP award, but Young definitely earned it with his clutch hitting and overall offensive production.


Pitcher of the Year: RHP Tommy Mace

After a very rough 2019 season, junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace looked to be one of the top pitchers in the country. Mace finally started to look like the ace of the rotation that Kevin O’Sullivan always envisioned. During his junior season, Mace produced a 3-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 26 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP and .210 opponent batting average. Mace was tied for first on the team in strikeouts and innings pitched (27). There’s a high possibility Tommy Mace will never pitch for the Gators again. Mace is a top-50 prospect in the 2020 MLB Draft. The only way Mace makes his way back to Gainesville is if the MLB decide to cancel the 2020 MLB Draft.

Freshman of the Year: LHP Hunter Barco

The Gators’ baseball program was very fortunate to keep left-hander Hunter Barco in their 2019 recruiting class. Barco was once considered as one of the top-10 prospects in the 2019 Draft. Barco didn’t get drafted until the third day of the draft, but he has already announced he was going to honor his commitment to the University of Florida. Barco was in the middle of a terrific freshman season in which he earned the Sunday role in Florida’s weekend rotation. As a freshman, Barco recorded a 2-0 record with a 1.40 ERA and had 26 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched. Barco also had a 0.89 WHIP and .162 opponent batting average. If the 2020 MLB Draft does happen, Florida will likely lose Mace and Jack Leftwich to the MLB. With those two in the MLB, Hunter Barco will likely move into the Friday role and become Florida’s ace in the 2021 season. Barco will also be one of the top pitchers in the NCAA.

Most Improved: OF Jud Fabian

The most improved player on Florida’s roster from last season was outfielder Jud Fabian. The sophomore was also considered to be one of the most talented players on the roster.During the 2019 season, Fabian had enrolled early and earned the starting center fielding job. He didn’t produce a lot at the plate, but that was expected with Fabian being a young freshman. In the 2020 season, Fabian started to turn the corner and became the player he’s capable of being. As a sophomore, Fabian batted .294 with a team-high in doubles (six), home runs (five), and RBIs (13). Fabian also had a 1,010 OPS, which was third on the team, and was second in slugging only behind Nathan Hickey. Coming out of Trinity Catholic, Fabian was a Perfect Game All-American and one of the top high school prospects in the country. Fabian started to look like the player the Florida coaching staff and scouts have seen in him. He’s a five-tool player with room for improvement and will definitely be one of the top prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft.

Breakout Player: C Nathan Hickey

This was a tough call because there were a lot of worthy candidates, but Florida’s breakout player of the year was Nathan Hickey. The freshman catcher was one of the top power hitting underclassmen and showcased his power towards the end of the season.As a freshman, Hickey batted .311 with four home runs and nine RBIs. Hickey also led the Gators in slugging percentage (.622) and OPS (1,061). Hickey was very productive behind the plate and recorded a team-high 95 putouts, and posted a perfect fielding percentage as well. During most seasons, Hickey would without a doubt be the Gators’ breakout player of the year. However, freshman shortstop Josh Rivera also made a strong case for the award with his production at the plate and stellar defense.Another player who was being considered was junior Jordan Butler. His offensive numbers looked great and he started to become an everyday player in Florida’s lineup but had a rough season on the mound.

Reliever of the Year: RHP Ben Specht

There were a couple of options for Florida’s reliever of the year, but sophomore Ben Specht definitely earned it. The Fort Myers native was in the middle of a terrific season on the mound as I have earned the closer role. As a sophomore, Specht made nine appearances and all of them were coming out of the bullpen. Specht posted a 2-0 record, 0.75 ERA, three saves and recorded 16 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched. He also had a 0.83 WHIP and .150 opponent batting average. Florida’s bullpen was easily the most improved unit from the 2019 season. The bullpen was a huge weakness last season and was arguably Florida’s best unit in the program. Specht was definitely the best arm in Florida’s bullpen, but there were a couple of other arms that were worthy of this world. Pitchers like Christian Scott, Ryan Cabarcas and Tyler Nesbitt were additional relief pitchers who were candidates for this award. Tuned to GatorsTerritory.



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