Gators Ranked No. 1 in 'Never Too Early' Poll via Baseball America
While the Florida Gators baseball team was not able to finish out the season as scheduled, that hasn't stopped them from continuing to earn praise from several outlets.
The Gators are coming off of a successful, albeit abridged, season of baseball in which the team finished 16-1, losing only their final game of the season to the Florida State Seminoles. Their impressive season up to the date sports across the nation were canceled is a clear reason why they've now been ranked No. 1 in Baseball America's 'Never Too Early' poll published this week.
Under head coach Kevin O'Sullivan, the Gators were impressive, posting a .285 cumulative batting average led by outfielder Jacob Young (.450), posting 27 hits on 60 at-bats. The Gators as a whole produced 123 runs compared to their opponents' 46 runs on the season.
Baseball America placed Florida just ahead of Texas Tech, UCLA, Mississippi and Virginia, rounding out the top-five teams in the nation.
With the 2020 MLB Draft over and done with, the Gators came out in the positive, able to retain both pitchers, Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich. This was part of the reason why BA was able to rank the Gators so highly on their most-recent poll, the talent retentition the Gators have in addition to their superb play on the year gives them an edge.
Both players were fully expected to depart Gainesville via the draft this year and, instead, both players are returning in addition to 2020 signee Colby Halter who opted to forego the draft in order to play collegiately at Florida.
"Beyond that 1-2 punch, the Gators have plenty of returning talent, including center fielder Jud Fabian and lefthander Hunter Barco, who are both potential top-10 picks in the 2021 and 2022 drafts, respectively," said Baseball America. "To top it off, another standout recruiting class is on the way, giving Florida a deep, talented roster worthy of a national championship favorite."
The Gators have a legitimate chance to be one of, if not the best, baseball team in the country next season, whenever that may be; there's no telling what the future ultimately holds, but it's clear, the future is bright for O'Sullivan and crew.