Scrimmage Report: 10/16

There are position battle and roles on the mound to be decided, but the biggest news of the fall took the mound on Tuesday. Junior right-hander Karsten Whitson made his first appearance of the fall and looked like the freshman version. Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford also pitched, showcasing the top two starters on the staff in the spring.

With Jonathon Crawford and Karsten Whitson both on the mound, there were 8-10 professional baseball scouts in attendance.

Whitson only threw one inning on Tuesday, but it couldn't have been better. He threw around ten pitches, mostly fastballs just to get back in a groove while facing hitters. He started the inning by striking out freshman corner infielder Brady Roberson on three fastballs, the last one registering at 95 mph on one scout's radar gun.

Whitson was routinely 93-95 mph with his fastball on the guns behind the plate. He got two fly outs to end the inning of work. Whitson's delivery was clean and he looked comfortable on the mound. It's the first step to a big junior year.

Jonathon Crawford's inning wasn't as sharp. He allowed a single to Justin Shafer and walked the next batter before getting out of the inning. Crawford's velocity was 92-94 mph on his fastball, and the location of his slider was average.

It's hard to take much out of the first outing, especially just one inning, in the fall. However, both were positive signs. Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan won't stretch the two out much more. Neither will throw more than 15 innings this fall.

Crawford threw over the summer with Team USA after the collegiate season came to an end. There isn't anything the coaching staff needs to see out of Crawford and Whitson, so after the Gators have their scout day on October 23, both will be shut down soon after until starting their throwing programs in January to prepare for the season.

Freshman right-hander Eric Hanhold made his third appearance of the fall. It was my first time to see him on the mound at McKethan Stadium, and while some bad defense hurt him, Hanhold showed what he could do.

The freshman was 91-92 mph with his fastball. He is 6-4 with long legs and plenty of room to fill out. His arm slot also creates some deception and makes it tougher for hitters to see the ball out of his hand. Hanhold has a good curveball that will be his best off-speed pitch.

The work in progress is his changeup. The coaches like how the pitch comes out of his hand, it's just a matter of using the pitch more. He threw 15 on Tuesday and 12 of them were for strikes. It should continue to improve and be a trusted third pitch.

Freshman left-hander Parker Danciu also threw on Tuesday. He doesn't throw hard, but he depends on location to be successful. His command wasn't very sharp on Tuesday. He did throw some good changeups and showed the potential of his pitch.

There weren't many offensive highlights on Tuesday. Josh Tobias launched a double into the left-center field gap that scored freshman shortstop Richie Martin from first. It's really fun to watch Martin run the bases.

In the last inning, against the left-handed Danciu, Casey Turgeon hit a triple off the center field wall. Turgeon is set up for a monster sophomore season. His batting practice is crisp and produces plenty of hard contact.

Tyler Thompson had one at-bat during the scrimmage. Still rehabbing from ACL surgery during last season, Thompson flied out and was running full speed around the bases while the ball was in the air. He should be 100-percent by the start of the season.

I've written about freshman outfielder Harrison Bader a few times this fall, and I really like what he brings to the table. He's a good athlete that can stick in center field defensively. He made a nice running play in right-center field on Tuesday. His swing is good and he hits the ball hard to the opposite field.

The biggest thing that jumps out when watching this team is how much they want to run. The coaches are encouraging stolen bases this fall because they want to do it in the spring. There will be plenty of athleticism on this team.

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