2010 FLORIDA GATORS BASEBALL
The Florida Gators are annually expected to be one of the best teams in not only the SEC, but also in the entire nation. And in 2009 the team once again proved that it is indeed one of the teams to beat, as it had a stellar overall record, and also performed well within the SEC. And despite the loss of some talented players from last year's team, the Florida Gators return enough talent this year, and are bringing in a good enough recruiting class, that the team should once again be a contender fort a deep postseason run.
The Florida Gators finished the 2009 season with an overall record of 42-22. The Gators also performed well within confines of its tough SEC schedule, amassing an overall record of 19-11, good enough for first place in the SEC's East division. However, the team fell short of the College World Series for the 4th straight season, a fairly long stretch for a program at the level of Florida's.
Key Departing Players:
Florida is a recruiting machine, and as a result, every single year is bringing in top tier talent. The inevitable downside to this is that every year, elite level players are moving on. This year is no different. Outfielder Avery Barnes was a key cog for the Gators in 2009, putting up a .364 batting average with 8 home runs and 42 runs batted in. IN addition to the power numbers, Barnes also stole 18 bases. Florida will also have to cope with the loss of outfielder Teddy Foster (.321 batting average, 7 home runs, 25 runs batted in) and shortstop Mike Mooney (.306 batting average, 2 home runs, 24 runs batted in).
Thanks to bobbyuggles at flickr.com for the picture.
Florida will also have to deal with the loss of two marquis hurlers from last year's squad. Right hander Billy Bullock went 3-3 last year with a 2.64 ERA. He also compiled 11 saves. And potential even more significant a loss is that of southpaw Tony Davis, who went 5-0 last year with a 2.25 ERA.
Key Returning Players:
Florida has some very talented ballplayers coming back from last year's squad, however, which should help to offset some of those losses. One of the players on which the Gators will have to most heavily rely is that of Josh Adams. Adams batted .342 last season and also drove in 52 runs. Speedster Matt den Dekker will man the centerfield position once again this season where he is expected to continue to be a threat on the basepaths. And 1st baseman Preston Tucker, who is being mentioned as a potential SEC player of the year candidate, will be expected to duplicate or improve upon his monster numbers of last season (.364 batting average, 15 home runs, 85 runs batted in).
The Gators also have a number of key contributors returning to the pitching staff this season. Right handers Clint Franklin (2-0, 3.00 ERA) and Jeff Barfield (2-1, 4.50 ERA) are expected to be core contributors this season, as are left handers Nick Maronde (3-1, 4.40 ERA) and Alex Panteliodis (6-5, 4.38 ERA).
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