Gator Baseball 2024 Baseball Thread; Gators ranked #2

FireFoley

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I found this about Coppola

Although he has not toed the rubber since February of 2022, Coppola enters the spring healthy and ready to contribute to the Florida pitching staff. The southpaw arrived on campus as the No. 50 overall recruit in the class of 2021 and shined in his collegiate debut, throwing 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts against Liberty on Feb. 20, 2022.

If Coppola can just come out of the bullpen that would be big.
 

Joegator96

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They just published this years roster and as usual we will live or die with pitching. We return only six pitchers from last season. Cags can be dominating or infuriating on any given day, Neely is moving back into the weekend rotation so we shall see. Fisher has great upside and pitched many quality innings in big games and Slater is dependable but not necessarily a game changer. The other two experienced pitchers are Fisher Jameson who seemed in Sully's doghouse for most of the season and seemed to forget how to throw strikes. Blake Purnell is back with the sole purpose of giving Fire Foley a target to hurl epitaphs at. FF will score on his rants while Purnell may hit every batter he faces. I believe the first four will meet or exceed the high expectations but depending on what Sully can coax out of 11 true freshmen, two returning injured players and last seasons underachievers will put the season in perspective.

A deep dive into the youth surrounding our pitchers makes it hard for me to believe the pre-season #2 ranking. Could be some rough sledding early in the season while he figures out who to trust. Our mid-week and out of conference weekends are as tough as anyone so we have to earn the wins and manufacture some runs beyond 3-run dingers.
 

FireFoley

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They just published this years roster and as usual we will live or die with pitching. We return only six pitchers from last season. Cags can be dominating or infuriating on any given day, Neely is moving back into the weekend rotation so we shall see. Fisher has great upside and pitched many quality innings in big games and Slater is dependable but not necessarily a game changer. The other two experienced pitchers are Fisher Jameson who seemed in Sully's doghouse for most of the season and seemed to forget how to throw strikes. Blake Purnell is back with the sole purpose of giving Fire Foley a target to hurl epitaphs at. FF will score on his rants while Purnell may hit every batter he faces. I believe the first four will meet or exceed the high expectations but depending on what Sully can coax out of 11 true freshmen, two returning injured players and last seasons underachievers will put the season in perspective.

A deep dive into the youth surrounding our pitchers makes it hard for me to believe the pre-season #2 ranking. Could be some rough sledding early in the season while he figures out who to trust. Our mid-week and out of conference weekends are as tough as anyone so we have to earn the wins and manufacture some runs beyond 3-run dingers.
Having watched Gator baseball for so long and seen pitchers who had a decent # of outings surprisingly leave, it is hard to believe that Old Folks Country Sausage is still on the team. Outside of his one outing against FSU, it is a head scratcher to me what anyone sees in this kid. I know he tries and you would think at worst he could have been an inning eater, but he has not even been able to do that. I hope he can find some consistency this year because the team might need him and Fisher to eat a lot of innings on the weekends given the unknown quality of the weekend starters.
 

Bullag8r

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Ticket prices jumped from $200.00 to $300.00 for 20 games. Most games were streamed last year but I expect they will charge for that now as well. I will be watching and/or listening at home when it is available.
 

TheDouglas78

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As long as they run the same deals day to day especially on the weekends, I'll probably hit another 8-10 games again this season. Daughter loves the venue (and doesn't even go to the kid's diamond). Of the venues to watch a Gator Sport it's her third favorite (O'Dome is #1)
 

Double Gator Dad

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So Sully seems better with the portal than BN, duh! Last season he brought in several key contributors highlighted by Hursten Waldrep. It was a great run.

It seems like Sully has reloaded both recruiting and portal. The big name thru the portal is Bama transfer Colby Shelton who tore it up for the Tide last season and is scheduled to take over SS for the Gators and hit in the heart of our line-up. I am very excited to see what we can do with Caglione, Kurland and Heyman and the other contributing returners. It seems he did a good job of keeping Florida talent at UF especially pitchers.

Yes, I understand many here do not love Sully, even though he is hard to top when you look at the accomplishments here. I question his judgement during games too! I do like being part of the National conversation year in year out.

Baseball cannot arrive soon enough for me.

Real excited to see Colby Shelton playing for UF this season. He’s a very good player and a former Brandon Bloomingdale High Bull. Both of my sons graduated from Bloomingdale.
 

NVGator

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High school Senior, probably 18 and already blown out his elbow requiring TJ surgery. Not good.
 

Joegator96

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Neely was supposed to be in the starting rotation this year.


This should be considered really good news. Neely wanted to be a weekend starter. Something has happened which made him be comfortable resuming the role as one of the best closers in D1. Who is the guy , or guys, who are so competent as starters that Neely says I want to close? Peterson? Coppola? Someone else? This is great news for us.
 

cover2

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High school Senior, probably 18 and already blown out his elbow requiring TJ surgery. Not good.
Depending on who you believe, maybe due to overuse. But it is generally held that once a pitcher has URL reconstruction and rehabs properly, the joint is actually stronger than what God gave them. But I’m a believer that overuse is a big problem, often more psychologically and spiritually than physically, the first maybe more at earlier ages. We live in an age of one-sport specialization. Encouraging kids to play multiple sports, even if they’re better at one, may have a future beyond high school and college, playing other sports allow them to get a rest from the sport both physically and mentally, keep their powder dry so to speak. But that likely has to be a family decision. Worth considering.
 

Joegator96

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Depending on who you believe, maybe due to overuse. But it is generally held that once a pitcher has URL reconstruction and rehabs properly, the joint is actually stronger than what God gave them. But I’m a believer that overuse is a big problem, often more psychologically and spiritually than physically, the first maybe more at earlier ages. We live in an age of one-sport specialization. Encouraging kids to play multiple sports, even if they’re better at one, may have a future beyond high school and college, playing other sports allow them to get a rest from the sport both physically and mentally, keep their powder dry so to speak. But that likely has to be a family decision. Worth considering.
I dealt with both scenarios and am not promoting one over the other, just sharing my experience. My son was a good athlete. He was good at the three majors football, baseball and basketball. Baseball was his true love and our district fielded one of the top HS teams in the Country, Dr. Phillips. By the beginning of ninth grade my son had decided it was baseball which made sense as the high talent in the other sports had him at a disadvantage where in baseball he was in the top tier of talent at DP. In a large population school it is extremely difficult to compete at the top echelon of multiple sports.

Conversely, I coached baseball at a small HS in NC and the athletes needed to play all the sports for the "school" to be competitive, think Jim Thorpe. My first year coaching we had to hold our starting line-up until the last moment waiting for our starting second baseman and shortstop to arrive after their wrestling meet.

I will admit as an old school guy I loved the aura of what occurred at the smaller school. The top athletes were "Kings" and were good at every sport. It was great watching these kids go season after season competing. They played competitive sports from fall thru spring and never tired of it as it was never a grind.

Allowing these kids to be kids without parental obsession driving them to burnout re-established perspective for this dad.
 

NVGator

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I dealt with both scenarios and am not promoting one over the other, just sharing my experience. My son was a good athlete. He was good at the three majors football, baseball and basketball. Baseball was his true love and our district fielded one of the top HS teams in the Country, Dr. Phillips. By the beginning of ninth grade my son had decided it was baseball which made sense as the high talent in the other sports had him at a disadvantage where in baseball he was in the top tier of talent at DP. In a large population school it is extremely difficult to compete at the top echelon of multiple sports.

Conversely, I coached baseball at a small HS in NC and the athletes needed to play all the sports for the "school" to be competitive, think Jim Thorpe. My first year coaching we had to hold our starting line-up until the last moment waiting for our starting second baseman and shortstop to arrive after their wrestling meet.

I will admit as an old school guy I loved the aura of what occurred at the smaller school. The top athletes were "Kings" and were good at every sport. It was great watching these kids go season after season competing. They played competitive sports from fall thru spring and never tired of it as it was never a grind.

Allowing these kids to be kids without parental obsession driving them to burnout re-established perspective for this dad.
To @cover2 ’s point, the overuse is all the way back to young ages. I see it here. Spring baseball leads into Fall baseball leads Winter baseball. This starts at about 9.
 

cover2

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@Joegator96 like you I’ve seen it at both school levels and you are right about it making sense to eventually concentrate on one sport if they are truly talented and potentially a collegian and big leaguer. I’ve had the pleasure (and sometimes the angst) of coaching those kids. Also had a few along the way that were really good at one sport but loved playing all they could, while they could. Two come to mind…Ryan Pearson was a 4 sport athlete and good at them all. Football took him to college at So Miss where he started for 3 years and actually played against the Gators and had a good game at WR. Another was Kirby Smart. I know that name drives everybody around here crazy, but Kirby played 4 sports as well. Football obviously took him to college and into a great career, but he was very fast and one hell of a competitor and there were days in the Spring he play baseball in the evening after running in a track meet in the afternoon. He and Ryan were throwbacks and really helped the other sports with their participation.

I also coached at the Class A level for a few years and as you mentioned most of the sports depended on about all the kids playing multiple sports so we’d not just have enough to be competitive but also just to be able to play! It was like that when I was in HS. We needed all hands on deck each season. My son played at the same HS I did and had the same experiences. He was a better football player but was a little smallish when he graduated and wanted to keep playing ball. No football offers but he got an offer to walk on at a Junior College in baseball and got to extend his athletics for a couple more years. I’ll always have a place in my heart for the multi-sport athletes.

@NVGator makes a great point at how specialization can start early and get out of hand to the detriment of many kids, particularly if it adversely affects them physically and mentally. One of the saddest cases was a kid I had in my HS cohort that had been playing organized baseball and traveling since he was 6 years old. He grew into a pretty decent player, a catcher, and played for his dad during the summer and fall while playing school ball in late winter and spring. When he hit 11th grade he just decided on his own and to his dad’s great dismay, no more. I had to see him in the office on another issue but segued into baseball and asked him what gives. He told me frankly that the travel ball was fun, way more games and tournaments than practice, traveling and staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and going to amusement parks and movies while on the road. When he got to high school, it was just the reverse…practice way more than games, not nearly as much fun and more like a job. He was fine physically, but not so much spiritually. But maybe it was the best thing for him in the long run? I feel like more kids have been forced to become the rule than the exception these days, a lot of it born from parents all too eager to live vicariously through their kids, hoping they can experience what they never got to through the children.
 

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