With the 2020 baseball season just weeks away, all of the preseason rankings have been posted. The Florida Gators have been ranked in each preseason Top-25 poll that has been released. Florida has even received a pair of top five rankings, surprising considering what happened last season.
In the 2019 season, the Gators finished with a 34-26 record and a 13-17 record in conference play. Florida barely snuck into the NCAA Baseball Tournament but was quickly eliminated by Dallas Baptist in the Lubbock Regional.
Going into the 2020 season, Florida is a much more experienced team with a good mix of pitching and hitting. Florida also landed several elite freshmen: Hunter Barco, Joshua Rivera, Brandon Sproat and Nathan Hickey.
Here are the Preseason Top 25 Polls and where Florida was ranked:
Perfect Game: #13 (8 Opponents; #2 Vanderbilt, #6 Auburn, #7 Miami, #10 Georgia, #14 Florida State, #18 Ole Miss & #22 Texas A&M)
Collegiate Baseball: #14 (7 Opponents; #2 Vanderbilt, #4 Miami, #7 Georgia, #8 Auburn, #9 Arkansas, #15 Florida State & #21 Texas A&M)
Baseball America: #4 (6 Opponents; #1 Vanderbilt, #5 Miami, #7 Georgia, #11 Arkansas, #12 Florida State & #13 Auburn)
D1 Baseball: #4 (8 Opponents; #2 Vanderbilt, #3 Miami, #5 Georgia, #7 Arkansas, #8 Auburn, #12 Florida State, #20 Texas A&M, & #25 Ole Miss)
USA Today: #10 (8 Opponents; #1 Vanderbilt, #4 Georgia, #5 Arkansas, #7 Miami, #9 Auburn, #14 Florida State, #21 Texas A&M, & #23 Ole Miss)
These preseason rankings are adding a lot of pressure and expectations to this year’s team. Everybody knows that this team is talented, but clearly some of the media outlets believe the Gators should be back in Omaha for the College World Series.
D1 Baseball’s Aaron Fitt believes that the Gators are the most improved team from last season. Most of their starters last season were freshmen and sophomore with little to no collegiate baseball experience. Fitt also believes that Florida will have two true freshmen in the lineup with Nathan Hickey behind the plate and Joshua Rivera to shortstop.
Rivera would replace Brady McConnell as he was drafted in the second round by the Kansas City Royals last draft. Hickey would be the starting catcher as they move Brady Smith to third, Cory Acton to second and Jacob Young to the outfield to replace Wil Dalton who was drafted in the eighth round by the Boston Red Sox in last year’s MLB Draft.
For those who are interested in watching the Florida Gators on the diamond, their season opener will be against the Marshall Thundering Herd on February 14th at 6:30 pm ET at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium.