Florida Baseball Summer League Update

With multiple bullpen arms signing professional contracts this offseason, Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan will use the fall and spring workouts to find bullpen arms he trusts. It shouldn't take long. Daniel Gibson has been dominant in the Cape Cod League so far this summer and could turn into a late-inning arm for the Gators in 2012.

In 9.1 innings in the toughest collegiate summer league for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Gibson has allowed seven hits. Of those, only one was for extra bases, and it was a double. The two earned runs Gibson has allowed give him a miniscule 1.93 ERA. After allowing 23 hits in 10.1 innings in the spring, Gibson looks to have turned the corner.

His fastball sat in the low 90s during the spring, but his location struggled, causing him to get hit hard. This summer, he has struck out 14 batters in 9.1 innings and walked only three. Depending on where O'Sullivan chooses to use Daniel Gibson in 2012, he could see important innings late in the game out of the bullpen or get a crack at earning a spot as a midweek starting pitcher.

Other sophomore pitchers aren't putting up the impressive numbers, but they are getting innings before returning to campus this fall to work with O'Sullivan.

Keenan Kish is also throwing in the Cape Cod League. In 3.2 innings for the Cotuit Kettleers, he has allowed six hits and four runs while walking two and striking out two. Kish has a 9.82 ERA in his short time on the mound. As a freshman in 2011 for the Gators, Kish had a 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings for the Gators while throwing mostly in mop-up situations.

Jonathon Crawford saw early action for the Gators in 2011 but disappeared when conference play started. He threw 3.2 innings for the Gators with a 4.91 ERA. He is pitching in the Northwoods League this summer for the Madison Mallards to prove he deserves a shot at a bullpen role in 2012.

In 20 innings pitched, Crawford has allowed 19 hits and 14 runs (10 earned). The issue has come with walks. He has walked 16 batters in 20 innings while striking out 27. Crawford has a good fastball with a curveball that is one of the best on the Florida team, so it's not a surprise that he's getting swings and misses. His control has to improve if he is going to see significant innings in 2012.

At the plate this summer, the biggest surprise has come from a player that didn't step on the field for a single inning in 2011. Alex Freedman took a redshirt in the spring because there wasn't a role for him, but with the way he is playing this summer, the coaches might be forced to find a spot for him in 2012.

Freedman is hitting .289 (35-121) with six doubles, a triple and 17 RBI. He has also walked 17 times to give him a .399 on-base percentage in a league that is usually dominated by pitching. Freedman is also 6-for-12 in stolen bases. He can play any of the infield position and should be involved in the battle for second and third base next season.

There are plenty of familiar names that are succeeding this summer, too.

Catcher Mike Zunino is hitting .300 (9-for-30) in the Cape Cod League for Yarmouth-Dennis. He has doubled twice with three RBI, but he has struck out nine times this summer.

Joining Gibson and Zunino on Yarmouth-Dennis is Brian Johnson. At the plate, Johnson is hitting .286 (6-21) with a double, a home run and six RBI. On the mound, Johnson has made one start for the Red Sox, giving up four hits and one earned run in four innings while recording seven strikeouts.

Before making it to the Cape Cod League, Johnson and shortstop Nolan Fontana played for Team USA. The duo was selected to the collegiate team for the second straight year. Johnson only hit in four games for the team, but he hit .417 (5-12) with five RBI and a team-high three home runs. On the mound for Team USA, Johnson threw four innings, allowing four hits, one run and striking out four.

It wasn't as good for Fontana. He hit .125 (2-16), scoring four runs and getting hit by a pitch. Despite struggling at the plate, he did walk five times to produce a .364 on-base percentage.

Instead of going straight to the Cape Cod League to play for the Bourne Braves, Fontana returned to Florida. His bat was slowed for Team USA because of a wrist injury he suffered in the College World Series when he was hit by a pitch. He didn't want to injure it further by playing in the Cape Cod League, so he elected to take the rest of the summer off. He is expected to be fine for the start of fall workouts.

Jeff Moyer and Vickash Ramjit are playing with Freedman for the Wilmington Sharks. Moyer is hitting .152 (5-33) with a double and one walk. Ramjit is hitting .143 (4-28) with a double, a triple, two RBI and four walks.

Cody Dent is playing for the North Shore Navigators in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. In nine games, he is hitting .083 (3-36) with four runs scored and two RBI. He has struck out seven times.

Zack Powers is playing for the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League. In nine games, Powers is hitting .200 (6-30) with a double and three RBI. He has walked six times and struck out seven times. Powers has also made four errors.


Fightin Gators Top Stories