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These two Gators are projected 2022 MLB draft first round picks

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Kevin O’Sullivan has developed several big-league talents at the University of Florida, but the Gators haven’t had a player selected in the first round of the MLB draft since 2018 when a trio heard their names called. That should change in the upcoming 2022 draft, though, as MLB.com projects Florida outfielders Sterlin Thompson and Jud Fabianto go at Nos. 25 (New York Yankees) and 28 (Houston Astros), respectively.

Fabian gambled on himself and turned down more than $2 million from the Boston Red Sox last season. If he goes in the first, even if it’s behind a teammate of his, that gamble will have paid off and he’ll be richer for it. Twenty-eighth isn’t too far from the second round, though, so he’ll have to keep up his SEC-leading home run pace to stay in the conversation.

The walks are up and strikeouts are down as well, but Fabian has struggled against SEC pitching. He’s batting just .176 against the conference and could continue to struggle as competition picks up. The weekend series against Missouri and South Carolina could be chances to boost those numbers, though.

Thompson has been one of Florida’s best hitters this season without question and plenty of teams like his left-handed bat. He’s slashing .351/.436/.568 and those numbers hardly drop off against the tougher competition. The power numbers are still coming along too with Thompson. He can hit the ball as far as anyone on the team but hasn’t been able to tap into it consistently just yet.

A strong postseason could bump him up a few picks, but Thomspon seems like a lock for the first round.

One has to imagine that Hunter Barco would be on this list if not for Tommy John surgery. His return to Florida is still in question, but there’s money to be made if he does opt to come back for another year after recovering.

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