Replacing Turgeon

For the last three years, there weren't any questions at second base when Kevin O'Sullivan was filling out his lineup card. Casey Turgeon was the answer there since his freshman year. Next spring, that won't be the case.

Casey Turgeon signed his professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week. He was a 24th round pick following his junior season, but instead of returning for his final year of eligibility, Turgeon wanted to begin his professional career.

His junior year came to a close with a .255 batting average and four home runs plus a .990 fielding percentage thanks to only three errors on the season. He also led the team with 34 walks. The .255 average was the lowest of his career after hitting .281 as a freshman and .268 as a sophomore.

A quick look at the returning players might not answer who takes over for Turgeon next season.

The Florida roster wasn't deep with middle infielders last season. Josh Tobias split time with John Sternagel at third base, but Tobias has worked at second base during scrimmages since coming to campus and has the athleticism to handle second base if the Gators need him to fill that role next season.

The only other player that saw action this season and could play second base is Jason Lombardozzi. However, he hit .120 in 25 at-bats during the season and isn't ideal because of his bat.

If those options don't work out, then it's up to the incoming freshmen to fill the second base position. It's also the most likely way the second base battle plays out.

Dalton Guthrie seems like the most likely to fill to position. The Venice High School product was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 40th round and could play both spots in the middle infield, but with Richie Martin returning at shortstop next season, Guthrie could be the perfect fit at second base.

Ask anyone that has seen Guthrie play, and they rave about his instincts. He's always in the right place and is solid fundamentally. He's a solid all around player that can impact the game with his bat, glove and base running instincts. He's also the son of former big leaguer Mark Guthrie.

There are other freshmen that will get a shot to play the position when the team begins fall practice. Christian Hicks and Taylor Lane are other infielders in this recruiting class that could factor in and at least get a chance to prove they can play second base.

The Gators have the pieces on the roster to fill the second base position on a team that should be highly ranked heading into next season, but it will be different for O'Sullivan to fill a name other than Turgeon into the position for games in 2015.


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