The Cleveland Indians must have an affinity for the Gators. They selected right-handed pitcher Franco Aleman with the 306th overall pick in the 10th round. He’ll join Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich in their system.
Aleman bounced between the bullpen and the rotation in his only year in Gainesville, with uneven results. In 23 appearances, including nine starts, he posted a 2-4 record and a 5.74 earned run average. Opponents hit .274 off of him.
His season started poorly, as he walked six batters in the top of the ninth to blow a save in game two against Miami. He gave up three earned runs and recorded just one out his next time out against Samford.
He later gave up nine runs in five innings to Vanderbilt and finished the season by allowing seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in the regional loss to South Alabama.
In between, he did produce some nice moments. He threw four innings against Ole Miss in his first career start and gave up just one unearned run. He tossed five shutout innings at Auburn and struck out a career-high eight batters at Arkansas. He fired a career-high seven shutout innings against Alabama in the SEC Tournament.
Despite the inconsistency, Aleman appealed to scouts because of his 6-foot-6 frame, his versatility and his raw stuff. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, and his slider can be electric. If he ever learns to command his pitches more often, he could be an intriguing player in pro ball.