Year in and year out, the Florida Gators’ college baseball team is in the thick of the postseason race. The team brought a championship back to Gainesville in 2017 and is a consistent threat in Omaha.
The pitchers on this team got quite a bit of attention, but Florida also had one of the more prolific hitters in the college circuit.
Jud Fabian at the University of Florida
Jud Fabian made his debut with the Gators in 2019, but his stats didn’t jump off the page. In 168 at-bats, he hit for a .232 batting average and drilled seven home runs. His work in centerfield was his calling card that year, and it gave him the chance to stick around in the starting lineup.
In the Summer of 2019, Fabian played for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League — a collegiate summer league that showcases the nation’s best draft prospects. The swing changes he made between the spring and summer seasons were apparent, and the outfielder excelled against tough competition.
The 2020 college baseball season was truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the switch that Fabian flipped in the summer stayed on as he hit .294 with five home runs and 13 RBI in just 17 games.
Heading into his junior year, expectations were high for Fabian and his entire team. He was named to the preseason All-American and All-SEC teams.
Despite the high expectations, Fabian got off to a rocky start, piling up strikeouts on inside fastballs that he would crush in previous seasons. Luckily, he got hot at the right time and ended his third year at Florida with 20 home runs.
That power output was certainly a departure from his former profile, but as long as he keeps the “swing-and-miss” aspect of his game in check, there should be no problems with that approach.
Jud Fabian held his own against some stiff competition in 2021. While much of the national attention has been on the juggernaut that Arkansas has put together, or the dynamic duo of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker at Vanderbilt, the Gators are a solid team as well.
Fabian plays a great outfield and can rack up stolen bases. If the strikeout rate stays down, he’ll be a great pickup for a team picking in the back half of the first round in 2021.