Tucker Receives National Recognition

Florida first baseman Preston Tucker continues to add to the hardware he's received for his phenomenal rookie season. This time the Gator from Tampa Chamberlain goes national. Tucker has been tabbed as the Freshman Hitter of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Tucker had already been named co-freshman of the year in the SEC and the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Regional in Gainesville. He was also tabbed a freshman All-American, but now is the first Gator to be named the National Freshman Hitter of the Year.

Tucker broke the Gator season RBI record by driving in 85 runs this season. He also led the Gators with 15 home runs. His season was so dominant that the next highest Gator in those categories was Josh Adams with eight and 52 respectively. Tucker was also second on the team in batting average, trailing Avery Barnes by .00074 even though both guys' averages round to .364 (.364724 versus .3636363). He also got it done defensively, committing just four errors in 471 chances for a .992 fielding percentage.

In the NCAA Regional Tucker went 9-for-13 with two home runs and six RBI helping the Gators to three straight wins. That included two wins over Miami, marking the first time Florida had ever eliminated the Hurricanes in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.


Tucker's season may well be the best offensive season any Florida freshman has ever had. The closest competition for that recognition would probably be with Brad Wilkerson's 1996 campaign, so let's take a look.

Player Avg HR RBI SB-ATT
Tucker '09 .364 15 85 5 – 7
Wilkerson '96 .407 9 68 14 – 17

Personally, I'd give Tucker a slight advantage with the power numbers trumping the higher batting average and stolen base totals. However Wilkerson still has the greatest freshman season in Gator history because he was more than just a great hitter. Wilkerson was one of Florida's top pitchers in 1996, posting a 5-2 record with six saves and a 2.97 ERA.

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