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  • Richie Martin steps into a leadership role as a sophomore for the Gators in 2014.

Pre-season Report:
Fielders

Written by Nick de la Torre, February 14, 2014, 1 Comment,
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Today is the day that Kevin O’Sullivan and the Gators have been waiting for since Harrison Bader grounded out to third base with two runners on in Bloomington, Indiana ending the Gators 2013 season.

Yesterday we took a look at the pitchers and catchers of the team and today we’ll take a look at the fielders. The ball may start in the pitchers hand but no pitcher is going to strike every batter they face out and they need a good supporting cast around them.

The Gators have a lot of youth, sprinkled with some veteran leadership; it might just be the right formula for a winning ball club.

 

Infield:

2B Casey Turgeon – Jr. – 5-9, 170

Bats: L

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .268, .367 on base, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 9 stolen bases

Turgeon makes up one half of what promises to be a steady middle infield for the Gators.

He had a stellar freshman season, and while he didn’t necessarily disappoint as a sophomore, failed to live up to the numbers he posted his first year on campus. A return to the numbers he put up as a freshman (.281, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 10 stolen bases) would benefit the Gators and make Turgeon a great two-hole hitter.

Turgeon is a good defender, who is probably athletic enough and talented enough to play shortstop but holds down second base for the Gators.

 

SS Richie Martin – So. – 6-0, 185

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .300, .366 on base, 18 RBI, 24 runs scored

A broken finger derailed Martin’s freshman campaign, an injury that forced him from his natural position of shortstop to the outfield once he returned. Martin is such an athlete that he transitioned seamlessly but he is happy to return to the dirt and join Turgeon in the middle of the infield.

Martin gained good size and weight in the offseason and is noticeably bigger than he was a season ago. The Gators don’t need him to be a power hitter but the added size could help him find the gaps and increase on his extra-base hits from a year ago.

Martin is a great fielder and he and Turgeon promise to be an exciting double play duo this season.

 

3B Josh Tobias – Jr. – 5-10, 205

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .260, .341 on base, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 21 runs scored

Tobias talked about shortening his swing in the offseason and that has helped him handle the bat better and make more consistent and solid contact in the offseason. He’s a strong player and with a shorter, more compact swing, that raw power should show more this season.

He’s battled injuries in his first two seasons at Florida but is healthy and happy to be that way, finally, to start a season.

Tobias is set to start at first base but with some talented freshmen behind him, he’ll feel the pressure to perform early.

 

1B A.J. Puk – Fr. – 6-7, 225

Bats: L

Throws: L

2013 Stats: N/A

Puk was featured yesterday as a pitcher but with him not being in the starting rotation on opening weekend, his introduction to Gator fans will likely come as batter.

Puk has a short, smooth, effortless swing with a lot of pop and natural power. He’s not very reliable as a fielder and would be limited to either first base or DH, but his bat should prove to be too good to keep out of the lineup.

 

1B/3B Zack Powers – Jr. – 6-3, 215

Bats: L

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .268, .387 on base, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 21 runs scored

Powers will likely start the season coming off of the bench but will see time at both corner infield spots as well as DH. He’s also an option to move into he outfield when Justin Shafer is used to close early on in the season.

Powers’ versatility and bat will garner him playing time this season but at this time it’s unclear how much, or exactly where it will be.

 

1B/3B Peter Alonso – Fr. 6-2, 225

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Alonso has serious pop and power to his swing. He has effortless power to all fields and is a serious bat that O’Sullivan will use this season.

He has a good glove on the hot corner but will likely platoon at first and DH this season unless Tobias starts to struggle or is injured. One thing is for sure, Alonso is going to hit and make it hard for O’Sullivan to keep him out of the lineup.

 

3B Josh Sternagel – Fr. – 6-1, 205

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Perfect Game’s quote on Sternagel is, “Always hits everywhere we see him.”

That’s Sternagel in a nutshell. He has a smooth swing with fast hands that he keeps inside of the baseball. He has natural pop and makes solid contact.

Sternagel isn’t just a hitter; he’s smooth at third base with soft hands and can move laterally very well. The sky is the limit for this talented infielder and he will share time with Tobias at third.

 

INF Jason Lombardozzi – So. – 5-11, 180

Bats: S

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

A transfer from the College of Central Florida, Lombardozzi is a good player that can play all over the infield. He gives the Gators depth at all four infield positions.

 

Outfield:

Justin Shafer – Jr. – 6-2, 210

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .300, .345 on base, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 30 runs scored

The big news surrounding Shafer is that he will begin the season as the Gators’ closer. However, he’s an every day player for the Gators and will start in right field.

Shafer was one of a very small group of players that hit .300 or better last season and with an improved lineup around him, should continue to hit for a high average. Shafer has gained weight and he should see increased power for it.

 

Harrison Bader – So. – 5-11, 190

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .312, .371, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 37 runs scored, 15 stolen bases

As a freshman, Bader led the Gators in batting average and steals. Bader was slated to hit in the middle of the lineup and be the every day guy in center field before an off the field incident changed things less than two weeks before the season.

Unfortunately, Bader has been suspended from the team after a scooter accident that is being investigated for a possible DUI. Bader’s future has not been publically addressed by O’Sullivan, but don’t expect to have an answer about his future until the Gainesville police department wraps up their investigation and chargers are or are not pressed against Bader.

 

Michael “Buddy” Reed – Fr. – 6-3, 200

Bats: S

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

O’Sullivan described Reed as a 5-tool player and said that he has had an infectious positive energy that his teammates gravitate towards.

Reed was competing for the starting job in left field but will fill in at center until Bader returns.

Reed has unbelievable measurables and like O’Sullivan said, is a 5-tool type of player. Unfortunately for him,  playing baseball in Maryland might have hurt his chances at being drafted higher than the 35th round (where the Texas Ranger selected him). Conversely, for the Gators, Reed winding up on campus rather than with a rookie ball team is a blessing. He has one of the highest ceilings in the freshman class and that’s saying something.

 

Ryan Larson – Fr. 6-0, 185

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Larson was competing with Reed for the starting job in left field but will take the job outright with Reed moving to center to fill in for Bader.

Larson has been described as a gamer, someone who goes about his business and approaches the game the right way. He hit well in the spring and has earned O’Sullivan’s praise in the offseason.

He’s a solid outfielder who’s smooth fielding the ball and he has an above average arm. Larson and Reed will be able to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. It will be interesting to see how Larson adjusts to college level pitchers but he’s a player to keep an eye on this season.

Nick de la Torre

About 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

  1. gatorcalFebruary 14, 2014, 10:14 pm

    “Tobias is set to start at first base…” Are you sure about this? I have not heard anything about him moving to 1B. I think he would be the shortest 1B I have ever seen at this level.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Richie-Martin-preview-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre BaseballThe Latest ,,,,,,,,,,,
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Today is the day that Kevin O’Sullivan and the Gators have been waiting for since Harrison Bader grounded out to third base with two runners on in Bloomington, Indiana ending the Gators 2013 season.

Yesterday we took a look at the pitchers and catchers of the team and today we’ll take a look at the fielders. The ball may start in the pitchers hand but no pitcher is going to strike every batter they face out and they need a good supporting cast around them.

The Gators have a lot of youth, sprinkled with some veteran leadership; it might just be the right formula for a winning ball club.

 

Infield:

2B Casey Turgeon – Jr. – 5-9, 170

Bats: L

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .268, .367 on base, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 9 stolen bases

Turgeon makes up one half of what promises to be a steady middle infield for the Gators.

He had a stellar freshman season, and while he didn’t necessarily disappoint as a sophomore, failed to live up to the numbers he posted his first year on campus. A return to the numbers he put up as a freshman (.281, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 10 stolen bases) would benefit the Gators and make Turgeon a great two-hole hitter.

Turgeon is a good defender, who is probably athletic enough and talented enough to play shortstop but holds down second base for the Gators.

 

SS Richie Martin – So. – 6-0, 185

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .300, .366 on base, 18 RBI, 24 runs scored

A broken finger derailed Martin’s freshman campaign, an injury that forced him from his natural position of shortstop to the outfield once he returned. Martin is such an athlete that he transitioned seamlessly but he is happy to return to the dirt and join Turgeon in the middle of the infield.

Martin gained good size and weight in the offseason and is noticeably bigger than he was a season ago. The Gators don’t need him to be a power hitter but the added size could help him find the gaps and increase on his extra-base hits from a year ago.

Martin is a great fielder and he and Turgeon promise to be an exciting double play duo this season.

 

3B Josh Tobias – Jr. – 5-10, 205

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .260, .341 on base, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 21 runs scored

Tobias talked about shortening his swing in the offseason and that has helped him handle the bat better and make more consistent and solid contact in the offseason. He’s a strong player and with a shorter, more compact swing, that raw power should show more this season.

He’s battled injuries in his first two seasons at Florida but is healthy and happy to be that way, finally, to start a season.

Tobias is set to start at first base but with some talented freshmen behind him, he’ll feel the pressure to perform early.

 

1B A.J. Puk – Fr. – 6-7, 225

Bats: L

Throws: L

2013 Stats: N/A

Puk was featured yesterday as a pitcher but with him not being in the starting rotation on opening weekend, his introduction to Gator fans will likely come as batter.

Puk has a short, smooth, effortless swing with a lot of pop and natural power. He’s not very reliable as a fielder and would be limited to either first base or DH, but his bat should prove to be too good to keep out of the lineup.

 

1B/3B Zack Powers – Jr. – 6-3, 215

Bats: L

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .268, .387 on base, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 21 runs scored

Powers will likely start the season coming off of the bench but will see time at both corner infield spots as well as DH. He’s also an option to move into he outfield when Justin Shafer is used to close early on in the season.

Powers’ versatility and bat will garner him playing time this season but at this time it’s unclear how much, or exactly where it will be.

 

1B/3B Peter Alonso – Fr. 6-2, 225

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Alonso has serious pop and power to his swing. He has effortless power to all fields and is a serious bat that O’Sullivan will use this season.

He has a good glove on the hot corner but will likely platoon at first and DH this season unless Tobias starts to struggle or is injured. One thing is for sure, Alonso is going to hit and make it hard for O’Sullivan to keep him out of the lineup.

 

3B Josh Sternagel – Fr. – 6-1, 205

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Perfect Game’s quote on Sternagel is, “Always hits everywhere we see him.”

That’s Sternagel in a nutshell. He has a smooth swing with fast hands that he keeps inside of the baseball. He has natural pop and makes solid contact.

Sternagel isn’t just a hitter; he’s smooth at third base with soft hands and can move laterally very well. The sky is the limit for this talented infielder and he will share time with Tobias at third.

 

INF Jason Lombardozzi – So. – 5-11, 180

Bats: S

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

A transfer from the College of Central Florida, Lombardozzi is a good player that can play all over the infield. He gives the Gators depth at all four infield positions.

 

Outfield:

Justin Shafer – Jr. – 6-2, 210

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .300, .345 on base, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 30 runs scored

The big news surrounding Shafer is that he will begin the season as the Gators’ closer. However, he’s an every day player for the Gators and will start in right field.

Shafer was one of a very small group of players that hit .300 or better last season and with an improved lineup around him, should continue to hit for a high average. Shafer has gained weight and he should see increased power for it.

 

Harrison Bader – So. – 5-11, 190

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: .312, .371, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 37 runs scored, 15 stolen bases

As a freshman, Bader led the Gators in batting average and steals. Bader was slated to hit in the middle of the lineup and be the every day guy in center field before an off the field incident changed things less than two weeks before the season.

Unfortunately, Bader has been suspended from the team after a scooter accident that is being investigated for a possible DUI. Bader’s future has not been publically addressed by O’Sullivan, but don’t expect to have an answer about his future until the Gainesville police department wraps up their investigation and chargers are or are not pressed against Bader.

 

Michael “Buddy” Reed – Fr. – 6-3, 200

Bats: S

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

O’Sullivan described Reed as a 5-tool player and said that he has had an infectious positive energy that his teammates gravitate towards.

Reed was competing for the starting job in left field but will fill in at center until Bader returns.

Reed has unbelievable measurables and like O’Sullivan said, is a 5-tool type of player. Unfortunately for him,  playing baseball in Maryland might have hurt his chances at being drafted higher than the 35th round (where the Texas Ranger selected him). Conversely, for the Gators, Reed winding up on campus rather than with a rookie ball team is a blessing. He has one of the highest ceilings in the freshman class and that’s saying something.

 

Ryan Larson – Fr. 6-0, 185

Bats: R

Throws: R

2013 Stats: N/A

Larson was competing with Reed for the starting job in left field but will take the job outright with Reed moving to center to fill in for Bader.

Larson has been described as a gamer, someone who goes about his business and approaches the game the right way. He hit well in the spring and has earned O’Sullivan’s praise in the offseason.

He’s a solid outfielder who’s smooth fielding the ball and he has an above average arm. Larson and Reed will be able to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. It will be interesting to see how Larson adjusts to college level pitchers but he’s a player to keep an eye on this season.

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