Gators Lose Romero on Final Day

The final blow to Florida was dealt by the 2012 MLB Draft as signee Avery Romero inked a deal with the Miami Marlins before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline. All six of Florida drafted juniors signed professional contracts, and the Gators lost six members of their 2012 recruiting class during the draft.

Avery Romero's reputation as one of the best hitters in the state of Florida came from an aggressive approach and an ability to hit everything on the barrel. He played shortstop in high school but projected more as a second or third baseman in college or in professional baseball.

As Romero started his senior year, talks began of moving him behind the plate and using him as a catcher. Romero wasn't in favor of it at first, but he worked out for scouts and showed skills to be strong behind the plate.

It's undecided which position he will play for the Miami Marlins.

Romero's signing ended a brutal month for Florida. Since the Gators were eliminated from the College World Series, six drafted juniors— Nolan Fontana, Brian Johnson, Austin Maddox, Hudson Randall, Steven Rodriguez and Mike Zunino—signed with their professional teams after all six were taken in the top seven rounds.

Seniors Daniel Pigott and Greg Larson signed and are already playing in the minor leagues. Preston Tucker is expected to sign with the Houston Astros shortly.

The recruiting class didn't fair much better.

Outfielder Lewis Brinson, right-hander Lance McCullers and outfielder Jesse Winker all signed after being first round picks. Outfielder Max White was taken in the second round and signed. Right-hander Jonathan Sandfort and Romero were the third round picks that signed.

Shortstop Richie Martin (38th round) and right-hander Eric Hanhold (40th round) were the only two signees drafted that will play for the Gators.

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