Gators Baseball picked to win the SEC

The Florida Gators have been predicted to win the SEC by the league’s coaches.

Thursday the 14 head coaches predicted the order of finish in each division as well as designated an overall conference champion. The Gators collected 13 of 14 first place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team) to win the SEC East and 12 of 14 votes to win the SEC outright.

The Gators return 17 players from its 2017 National Championship team, including five position players that started and two of three weekend starters, as well as closer Michael Byrne.

Florida also led the league with three players named to the first team Preseason All-SEC Team (no other team had more than one) and four total. Third baseman Jonathan India joined pitchers Brady Singer and Michael Byrne on the first team and C/DH JJ Schwarz was nominated as the second team catcher as well as DH/Utility player.

2018 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
Eastern Division
1. Florida (13) – 91
2. Kentucky (1) – 74
3. Vanderbilt – 72
4. South Carolina – 50
5. Georgia – 41
6. Missouri – 32
7. Tennessee – 25

Western Division
1. Arkansas (12) – 90
2. Texas A&M (1) – 72
3. Ole Miss (1) – 62
4. LSU – 59
5. Mississippi State – 44
6. Auburn – 38
7. Alabama – 20

() – First place votes

SEC Champion: Florida (12), Arkansas (1), Texas A&M (1)

2018 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team
First Team
C: Grant Koch, Arkansas
1B: Julian Infante, Vanderbilt
2B: Cobie Vance, Alabama
SS: Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
3B: Jonathan India, Florida
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
OF: Tristan Pompey, Kentucky
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
DH/UTL: Michael Curry, Georgia
SP: Brady Singer, Florida
SP: Casey Mize, Auburn
RP: Michael Byrne, Florida

Second Team
C: JJ Schwarz, Florida
1B: Kameron Misner, Missouri
2B: Luke Becker, Kentucky
SS: Jax Biggers, Arkansas
3B: George Janca, Texas A&M
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas
OF: Zach Watson, LSU
OF: Carlos Cortes, South Carolina
DH/UTL: JJ Schwarz, Florida
SP: Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
SP: Blaine Knight, Arkansas
RP: Dallas Woolfolk, Ole Miss

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC