The Florida Gators baseball season is off to a hot start as the Gators start the season with a 7-1 record. In the first two weeks of the season, Florida has shown a lot of positives and signs that they are truly one of the best teams in college baseball. They had a big weekend against the Miami Hurricanes, in which they won two out of three. It was a good series for the defending champs but they are still some things they can improve on. Here are three takeaways from the Florida-Miami series.
Elite Starting Rotation
Going into the baseball season, everybody wondered just how dominate the Gators pitching staff would be without Alex Faedo. After a good weekend against Miami, the Gators starting rotation has shown that it is arguably the best pitching staff in the country. Brady Singer wasn’t at his best but he was still able to have some success against the Miami Hurricanes. Jackson Kowar was lights out and Tyler Dyson showed that he could be the next great UF pitcher. Singer is widely regarded as the #1 overall pick in this upcoming MLB Draft with a mid-90s fastball with a nasty slider. Kowar is also a potential early-mid first round pick. He also throws a mid-90s fastball with one of the best changeups in college baseball. Dyson is only a sophomore but is one of the best sophomore pitchers in the country with a power fastball.
Young but dominate bullpen
The Florida Gators bullpen was a little bit of an issue last season as they struggled to sustain leads. The Gators do have one of the best closers in the country in Michael Byrne. The junior closer is a great reliever but there wasn’t much in the bullpen besides him. Now, you are seeing a lot of freshmen like Jack Leftwich, Tommy Mace, Jordan Butler and Hunter McMullen have early success. Leftwich and Butler seem to be future starters for Florida once Singer and Kowar leave but they should continue to the dominate pitching tradition at the University of Florida. The Florida football program considers themselves to be Defensive Back University or DBU. The Florida baseball programs should consider themselves Pitchers University with all of big time pitchers that can come through Florida in recent history.
Much improve hitting
In the 2017 season, the Florida Gators offense was one of the worst in the SEC but so far, they have made some improvements. Early in the season, Florida has shown a lot of promise at the plate with some players having a good start to the season. Nelson Maldonado and JJ Schwarz are Florida’s two hottest hitters both batting over .400 and five RBIs. Blake Reese is also having a great start to the season with a .379 batting average, five doubles and ten RBIs. Jonathan India continues to be one of Florida’s most consistent batters hitting .320 with two home runs and right RBIs. While some Gators are hitting well, there are a few that are struggling. Austin Langworthy is off to a cold start but started squaring a few balls up against Miami. Brady McConnell is also struggling batting .143 to start off the season.