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Friday, December 04, 2020
Baseball
Baseball

Every year, college programs say goodbye to some of their best players on draft day.

Florida is not among those teams saying farewell.

No Gators were selected in the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning pitchers Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich will return to Florida for their senior seasons.

While both hurlers would have been picked in a normal 40-round draft, COVID-19 forced the MLB to shrink the event to just five.

In 2019, 1,217 players were selected. Only 160 names were called, drastically increasing the number of undrafted free agents. Because of this, the maximum amount of money an undrafted player can sign for this year is $20,000, making it an easy decision for Mace and Leftwich to return to Gainesville for one final season.

Their return could prove to be invaluable for Florida, as they were a huge reason UF started 16-1 and was No. 1 in the country before COVID-19 cut the season short.

Mace was Florida’s ace in 2020, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.67 ERA and 26 strikeouts in four quality starts.

Leftwich posted solid numbers as UF’s Saturday starter. In four starts, he built a 2-0 record backed by a 4.15 ERA and 23 strikeouts.

With pitchers such as Hunter Barco (1.40 ERA), Ben Specht (0.75 ERA), Christian Scott (1.20) and others holding down a staff that had a 2.41 ERA, Florida looks primed to retain its No. 1 ranking to begin the 2021 season.

Follow Dylan on Twitter @dylanoshea24 and contact him at doshea@alligator.org.

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