TEAM TO BEAT: FLORIDA
The Gators last spring were off to the best start in program history and were playing like the best team in the country when the season halted. That team returns almost completely intact with a top-five recruiting class joining it. Florida will have one of the deepest pitching staffs in the country, as it returns its rotation of Tommy Mace, Jack Leftwich and Hunter Barco and several key relievers, all of whom have the ability to pitch multiple innings. That gives coach Kevin O’Sullivan a lot of options and will make for a tough matchup for opposing hitters. Offensively, Florida returns eight of nine regulars from last year’s team, including center fielder Jud Fabian, who could be the first college position player drafted in July. Also returning is fellow outfielder Jacob Young, its leading hitter, catcher Nathan Hickey, shortstop Josh Rivera and plenty of experience around the diamond. In every facet of the game, Florida will have premium talent and depth, making it the favorite not only for the SEC, but also for the College World Series.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JUD FABIAN, OF, FLORIDA
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Jud Fabian and No. 1 Florida sit atop the SEC standings following a 16-1 start to the 2020 season