Following a stellar freshman campaign catcher/designated hitter JJ Schwarz was named Collegiate Baseball’s Co-Freshman player of the Year along with Louisville freshman Brendan McKay. Schwarz is hitting .320 with 15 home runs, 16 doubles, 3 triples and has a SEC-leading 66 RBI.
Schwarz was projected as a first round pick in the 2014 Rule 5 Amateur Draft but when his name wasn’t called halfway through the first round he took to Twitter exclaiming he was happy to be a Florida Gator and couldn’t wait to get his collegiate career started. Schwarz has been red hot since the post season began, hitting 17-32 (.531) and was named the MVP both the SEC Tournament and Gainesville Regional.
Joining Schwarz on Collegiate Baseball’s All-Freshman team are catcher Mike Rivera and second baseman Dalton Guthrie.
Under Kevin O’Sullivan, the Florida Gators have had 13 Freshman All-Americans in eight seasons, Josh Adams (2008), Preston Tucker (2009), Nolan Fontana (2010), Brian Johnson (2010), Austin Maddox (2010), Hudson Randall (2010), Mike Zunino (2010), Karsten Whitson (2011), Casey Turgeon (2012) and Logan Shore (2014).
Rivera is the first Gators freshman catcher to be named All-SEC since Mike Stanley in 1982. Rivera is hitting .266 on the season with 41 RBI, 28 runs scored and 10 doubles. Rivera’s numbers may not jump off the page like Schwarz’s do, but he has been clutch in the box all season, with his latest show coming against LSU in the SEC Tournament semi-final, when he blasted a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. Rivera has also been a bulldog behind the plate. He has one error all season, boasting a .997 fielding percentage, a number that is astonishing when you take into account how often and freely Rivera throws behind runners during games.
Guthrie started every single game this season and led off until a wrist injury kept him out of the SEC Tournament Championship. His bat and baseball IQ have fueled the Gators at the top of the lineup. Guthrie is hitting .290, but was above .300 for most of the season, and has added 49 runs scored, 25 walks, 23 RBI and 14 doubles.