Three Kentucky Wildcats to watch against the Gators


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Three Kentucky Wildcats to watch against the Gators

The No. 10 Florida Gators are back on the road following a huge weekend series win over the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores and a midweek win over the Stetson Hatters.

Florida will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Wildcats in a three-game series starting Thursday night.

The Wildcats have been pretty solid this season with a 26-15 record. They have even been better at home with a 20-8 home record. As for conference play, UK has struggled a bit with a 10-11 record.

The Wildcats are one of the top-hitting teams in the SEC. They have a .285 team batting average which is tied for fourth in the SEC with Florida. They are also ranked fifth in the conference in slugging with a .467 slugging percentage.

Here are three Kentucky players to watch against the Gators.

1B T.J. Collett 

Graduate student T.J. Collett is in the middle of a career season in which he has been one of the top hitters for Kentucky and in the SEC. Kentucky’s first baseman has played a large role in why Kentucky’s offense has been so successful this season.

During his fifth season, Collett is slashing .309/.417/.664 with 46 hits, six doubles, 15 home runs, 47 RBIs, 20 walks, and a team-high 1.081 OPS. Collett leads the SEC in slugging with a .664 number and is also third in home runs.

Collett will hit near the top of Kentucky’s order which means Florida’s pitching staff will see plenty of the fifth-year senior. The Gators will have to be careful pitching to Collett as he’s done a lot of damage this season.

RHP Cole Stupp

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cole Stupp is Kentucky’s ace and will get the start in the series opener on Thursday. Stupp is coming off his worst start of the season but has been really solid for the Wildcats this season.

During the 2021 season, Stupp has made 10 appearances with all of them being starts. Stupp has posted a 4-4 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9 and a 6.88 strikeouts/base on balls.

Cole Stupp has a four-pitch mix with his fastball, changeup and curveball, and slider. His fastball sits 88-91 mph and has topped out at 92. Stupp has a tumbling changeup that sits low 80s and both of his breaking pitches sit 75-78 mph.

OF John Rhodes 

The last Kentucky Wildcat on the list is actually considered to be one of the top SEC hitting prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft. Outfielder John Rhodes hasn’t performed the way many expected him to but he is still considered a top 150 draft prospect.

During his sophomore season, Rhodes is slashing .247/.390/.527 with 36 hits, 11 doubles, 10 home runs, 30 RBIs, and a .918 OPS. Rhodes is tied for 12th in runs scored with Alabama’s Peyton Wilson and is also third in hit by pitches in the SEC.

On MLB Pipeline, Rhodes is the 119th-ranked prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft. Rhodes is also the third batter in Kentucky’s lineup with very solid hit tools across the board. While his numbers aren’t impressive, Rhodes is still a very good hitter and has done a great job of working counts and drawing walks.

Certain data provided by STATS, LLC

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Source: Three Kentucky Wildcats to watch against the Gators

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