Florida Gators in the 2020 MLB Draft

Tonight the Major League Draft will take place and several Florida Gators players and signees will hear their names called and have their dreams of playing professional baseball realized.

The Gators’ 2020 season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and that, unfortunately, means the last fans will get to see two pitchers in Orange and Blue. Both Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich will be drafted in the five-round, truncated version of the 2020 MLB Draft and both should sign professional contracts. Additionally, Florida signee Zac Veen will likely be the first high school player selected on Wednesday and is expected to sign a professional contract.

Zac Veen
The 18-year old lefty from Port Orange will be the first player with a Gator connection selected. Many project that Veen will be the first high school player selected in the draft and a possible top 5 or 10 pick.

Veen is a lanky 6’4” with a frame that will fill out. He already displays exceptional power and pop in his swing. He projects as a center fielder or right fielder with his arm and speed. His 60-yard dash time has been as low as 6.7, all while adding muscle, going from 165 pounds to 190 pounds during his high school career.

Fans can dream of Veen patrolling center field at the new ballpark but shouldn’t hold their breath.

Tommy Mace
Mace is one of the top junior pitchers in college baseball and rated the No. 69 prospect in the draft according to MLB.com.

Prior to his junior season, Mace was given the opportunity to try out for the USA Collegiate National Team. He made it all the way to the final cut before falling just shy of making the final roster. Mace pressed on into the season, where he was the Gators’ Friday night starter. Mace posted a 3-0 record with a 1.67 ERA. His last outing was seven scoreless innings against South Florida, giving up just two hits and two walks to six strikeouts.

Mace has the physical build MLB teams look for on the mound and has been up to 96 MPH on the hill. He has a plus-plus slider, a curveball, and continues to develop a changeup that he was just beginning to throw more consistently before the season ended. Mace could hear his name called late Wednesday but he surely won’t last past the second round.

Jack Leftwich
Leftwich had a rough sophomore season dealing with both blister issues and an ankle injury that hobbled him throughout the year before finally missing almost a month to let his blisters heal. Leftwich finished that season with a 6-5 record in 13 starts.

Leftwich has a lot of upside, like Mace. The right-hander has a plus fastball that topped out at 97 during the early 2020 season. He has a plus-changeup and a good slider he developed in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Leftwich is currently rated the 145th prospect by MLB.com and is assured to hear his name called in the five-round draft.

Other draft-eligible players
Jacob Young
Brady Smith
Christian Scott
Jordan Butler
Justin Alintoff
Cal Greenfield
David Leuthje
Garrett Milchin
Austin Langworthy
Kirby McMullen

After speaking with coaches and scouts we don’t expect any of Florida’s other draft-eligible players to be selected due to the shortened nature of the 2020 MLB Draft. In a regular year pitchers like Scott, Leuthje, and players like Smith, Young and Langworthy would likely get a call. However with only five rounds this year it’s unlikely.

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