Florida Baseball Summer League Update

The Florida baseball season may have ended last month, but the players are working in summer leagues across the country. These leagues allow professional scouts to see hitters swing wood bats instead of the metal bats used during the college season.

The Gators had 13 players invited to play in the Cape Cod League, which is the most prestigious of them all. Eight players followed through with playing on their teams in the Cape. Multiple players usually change their minds before the season starts and decide to take the summer off, and some Florida's players decided to go that route.

The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox have three Florida players on their team. Right-handed pitcher Tommy Toledo is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA. He was pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. He has also recorded five strikeouts.

Anthony DeSclafani has thrown only 1-1/3 innings out of the Red Sox bullpen, walking three and striking out one.

Red Sox catcher Ben McMahan has been Florida's best player this summer in any league. He is hitting .407 (11-27) with four doubles, one home run and five RBI. He has also scored five runs in a league that is always dominated by pitching.

Florida's slugging first baseman Preston Tucker went to the Cape to put on a show for MLB scouts, hoping the boost his stock for next year's draft. Instead, he has struggled. Tucker is hitting .042 (1-24) with one walk and two strikeouts. He has also made three errors at first base.

Tyler Thompson is playing left field for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. He struggled with strikeouts during Florida's season, and the junior has struck out five times in 18 at-bats this summer. He also has only two hits in that time, giving him a .111 batting average.

Nick Maronde was an enigma for the Florida bullpen. He had some of the best strikeout pitches on the team, but his control was inconsistent. It has improved some this summer. He started his time with the Falmouth Commodores by throwing three shutout innings with three strikeouts. He had a rough inning one outing later where he gave up three runs, two hits and two walks.

Chatham Anglers' relief pitcher Greg Larson has thrown 1-2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and three hits. His 5.39 ERA and .273 batting average against aren't ideal, and his one strikeout is uncharacteristically low.

Michael Heller didn't pitch much in 2010 for the Gators because of recovering from a torn ACL and arm soreness. He is now back to full health and pitching for the Bourne Braves. He has thrown four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits. Heller has walked six batters as well. His control has to improve, but the Florida coaches are pleased that his mid-90s velocity has returned.

Outside of Cape Cod, the Gators have two freshmen currently participating in tryouts for Team USA. Pitcher/DH Brian Johnson and shortstop Nolan Fontana are a part of the 36-man trial roster. They will soon narrow it down to 22. Catcher Mike Zunino is an alternate for the team.

There is one Florida player in the Northwoods League, and he wasn't on the 2010 team. Frank De Jiulio pitched for Daytona State College in 2010, but will transfer to Florida in the fall. He has thrown 26-2/3 innings for the Duluth Huskies, giving up nine earned runs. He has given up 24 hits and walked 21 batters. De Jiulio has also recorded 22 strikeouts. Allowing 45 base runners in 26-2/3 innings, it's impressive that his 3.04 ERA is that low.

The Florida League is the summer home of two Florida players. Jeff Moyer, who will transfer to Florida from Santa Fe in the fall, is playing for the DeLand Suns. He is hitting .254 (18-71) with three doubles and six RBIs. The worrisome stat is 14 strikeouts to four walks. Moyer has also made five errors already, and defense could be the thing that keeps him off the field for the Gators in 2011.

The most intriguing name to Florida fans could be former wide receiver Paul Wilson. He joined the baseball team before the 2010 season but never got into a game. With the Gators losing two outfielders, the 2011 season is his chance to contribute.

Wilson is hitting .247 (24-97) with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs. He has scored nine runs and stolen six bases. The same statistic that hurts Moyer also hurts Wilson, as he has struck out 20 times and walked only five.

Justin Poovey is pitching for the Forest City Owls in the Coastal Plains League. He has worked three innings in relief, allowing two hits, no runs and recording three strikeouts.

Cody Dent is playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League for the North Shore Navigators. The infielder is hitting .240 (6-25) with one double and three RBI. He has worked five walks and struck out five times, while also stealing two bases.

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