There is no doubt that the Florida Gators will enter 2018 with targets on their backs. After winning the program’s first National Championship last June, Florida will enter the season as the defending champions. The Gators will likely get their opponents’ best shot night in and night out.
Florida will be led by several juniors and seniors who have helped shape this program. Four of those student-athletes were named to Baseball America’s Top-100 College Prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft.
RHP Brady Singer tops the list, as he has for almost every draft analysts for this year. Singer was drafted in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of high school, but opted not to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
RHP Jackson Kowar ranks #5 by Baseball America. Kowar was drafted in the 40th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2015 and has compiled a 15-1 record in a Gators uniform.
Third baseman Jonathan India checked in at #36. India has hit .289 with 10 homers and 74 RBI in his two seasons at Florida. India was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 26th round in 2015.
Much maligned C/1B JJ Schwarz was listed as the #78 college prospect. Schwarz was the #1 prep catcher in the country in the class of 2014. He was drafted in 2014 by Milwaukee in the 17th round, mostly because he seemed intent on attending the University of Florida. After a record breaking freshman season, Schwarz has since cooled off. Schwarz fell all the way to the 38th round of the 2017 Draft, though it seems teams knew he intended to stay at Florida for his senior season. A rebound year as the Gators primary catcher could push Schwarz much higher by the June draft.
Florida is positioned well for success in 2018 and it would surprise most pundits if the Gators didn’t make it to Omaha. Florida will be led by these draft-eligible players, but will need the contributions of the entire team as they are now the top target in collegiate baseball.