3 Gators among top 20 college prospects for 2023 MLB draft
MLB.com’s Jim Callis released his top 20 college prospects for the 2023 MLB draft last week, and the Florida Gators are the only program to have three players named on the list.
There’s an elite group of talent returning to Florida and it’s led by the top bat of 2022, left fielder Wyatt Langford. Brandon Sproat and Hurston Waldrep, who are expected to be at the top of Florida’s weekend rotation all season, join him on the list.
LSU and Wake Forest are the only other schools to have multiple players featured, but Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt all have a top-20 player and one of Callis’ players to watch.
Last year, Callis had Hunter Barcoand Jud Fabian in his preseason top 20. Both ended up being taken in the first three-rounds, and Barco was having a first-round worthy season before Tommy John surgery took him down. Callis had Barco at No. 11 on that list and Fabian at No. 16. Langford is No. 4 this year, so that gives you an idea of how good he’s expected to be.
LF Wyatt Langford – No. 4
AP Photo/Gary McCullough
Wyatt Langford might have been No. 1 on this list if he played center field. After getting just four at-bats during his freshman year as the Gators’ reserve catcher, Langford made the move to left field last year and led the team in nearly every major offensive category as an everyday player.
With Jud Fabian in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Langford could try to take over that spot to boost his stock. He was better than expected in left, but playing center field at a pro level requires a bit more range and instinct. As long as the bat stays effective, Langford should be the most exciting player on the team this year.
RHP Brandon Sproat – No. 16
Gary Cosby Jr.-The Tuscaloosa News
We already know that Brandon Sproat has MLB potential, but his goal is to be a first-round pick. He’s been drafted in the first 10 rounds twice now and chosen not to sign, most recently with the Mets in 2022 as a third-rounder.
Sproat’s gambling on himself this year, and it’ll take some consistency to impress scouts any more than he already has. His fastball touches 99 mph and his slider can come in at 91. Velocity isn’t the problem for him. If he can learn to command his breaking pitches, especially against the SEC, Sproat could sneak into the first round.
LHP Hurston Waldrep
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Hurston Waldrep broke out for Southern Miss last year after rarely seeing action as a reliever in 2021. He’s a big strikeout guy that doesn’t walk opponents often and can eat innings.
His fastball is hittable, but his off-speed stuff generates the swing and miss fairly often. He should be a lock for the No. 2 spot behind Sproat and provide some stability to the rotation.
Other players to watch for
Joshua L Jones
Florida has plenty of other players on the roster with MLB hopes. At the top of the list is BT Riopelle, the transfer from Coastal Carolina who went undrafted after making it known he’d return for another year at UF. Riopelle earned First Team All-SEC honors last year and was one of the top catchers in the conference. He should get drafted in the first 10 rounds this year, barring a major setback.
Infielders Colby Halter and Josh Rivera are two other names to look out for. Both went undrafted last year and are returning to UF to boost their stock.
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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire
Source: Yahoo Sports