Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports

Four Florida Gators named preseason All-Americans

Florida will open the year at No. 1 because of multiple returning All-Americans.

Left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk, center fielder Buddy Reed, catcher/designated hitter JJ Schwarz and right-hander Logan Shore were named to the 2016 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America Team earlier this week. Puk, Reed and Shore were chosen to the first team while Schwarz was listed on the second team. All four players represented Florida on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team over the summer after leading the Gators to the College World Series.

Puk went 9-4 with a 3.81 ERA during his breakout sophomore season. The left-hander struggled through the first half of the year before dominating for the Gators on the mound during the final few weeks of the regular season and throughout the postseason. In 78 innings, he allowed 59 hits and 35 walks while striking out 104 hitters. He allowed opponents to hit just .210 off him. During the postseason, Puk had a 1.54 ERA while striking out 30 hitters in 23.1 innings. The left-hander is in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Reed hit .305 last season while adding elite defense in center field for the Gators. He stole 18 bases in 26 attempts with 14 doubles and four home runs, two of which came in the postseason. An elite athlete that is still learning how to play the game, Reed has the athleticism and potential that could turn him into a first-round pick this spring.

Schwarz was named the Louisville Slugger co-Freshman of the Year and the NCBWA Freshman hitter of the year last season. Splitting time between catcher and DH, Schwarz hit .332 while leading the team with 16 doubles, 18 home runs and 73 RBI.

Shore went 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 112.1 innings pitched. As a sophomore, he allowed 97 hits and 24 walks while striking out 84 hitters. Shore has served as Florida’s ace for the last two seasons and heads into his junior year as an expected first-round pick.

Florida opens the season on February 19 against Florida Gulf Coast.

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