Jud Fabian became the second-highest-drafted outfielder in UF history on Monday. The Boston Red Sox selected the center fielder with the 40th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Fabian also became the 18th highest drafted player at any position in school history.
“I have been dreaming of this day ever since I was a kid, and I could not be more excited to be drafted by the Boston Red Sox organization,” Fabian said in a statement. “I want to thank the Lord above for giving me this opportunity. There are also so many people I want to thank for making this moment possible and pushing me to be the best player and person I can be, including my parents and brother, family, teammates and all of my coaches along the way. I look forward to the next chapter and will push myself to continue to develop both on and off the field.”
Fabian was regarded as one of the top high school players in the country and a potential first round draft pick out of Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala. Fabian gambled on himself by turning down a potential seven-figure signing bonus, graduating high school a semester early and joining the Gators just before the start of the 2019 season.
It immediately became clear why the scouts held him in such high esteem. He started in center field at UF from day one and fielded at a .984 clip for his career. He recorded as many assists (five) as errors in his three years.
Fabian also proved himself to be one of the top power hitters in the college game, with 32 home runs in three seasons, with one of those seasons being shortened to 17 games due to COVID-19. In 2021, he launched 20 homers, the fifth most in a season in program history and the second most in the SEC.
The only chink in his armor is his strikeout rate, as he struck out in 29.4 percent of his plate appearances in 2021. His boom-or-bust tendency at the plate led to him finishing the year with a less-than-ideal .249 batting average.
However, the MLB Draft is largely about drafting guys with tools and upward mobility. Fabian’s combination of elite power, speed, arm strength and youth still made him too good of a prospect for MLB clubs to pass up.
Fabian could opt to return to UF next year, as he would still have draft-leverage and the opportunity to play with his brother, Deric, an incoming freshman infielder. It would still be a major surprise if he didn’t sign, however.