Fabian: 'I’m grateful for the opportunity'

John Patton
Special to The Star-Banner

As a young man who grew up playing baseball almost every day, Jud Fabian understood, and may have even been slightly overwhelmed by the moment when the Boston Red Sox selected him in the second round, 40th overall, in the Major League Draft on Monday.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Fabian, a former Ocala Trinity Catholic and current UF outfielder, who was one of seven Gators selected Monday afternoon. “I have a lot to be thankful for.”

The 12th highest draft pick at Florida under coach Kevin O’Sullivan, Fabian said he had some, but not a lot of, communication with the Red Sox leading up to the draft, making the pick slightly unexpected.

“It came as a surprise,” said Fabian, who has visited Fenway Park once, in 2019 with his Cape Cod League team.

The second-earliest-selected outfielder in UF history behind Brad Wilkerson (33rd overall in 1998), Fabian said he hasn’t come to terms on a contract with Boston and said there is no timetable.

“My advisor will handle that,” said Fabian, an All-SEC centerfielder who also has the option of returning to UF for his junior season. “I’m not worried about it at this point. We’ll get it figured out.”

Selected 29 picks later, also in the second round, was junior ace Tommy Mace (Cleveland). A 6-foot-6 right-hander, Mace has a 22-7 record with a 4.37 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 269.2 innings pitched at Florida. He went 6-2 with a 4.38 ERA last season and is the 17th Gator pitcher to be selected in the first five rounds since 2008.

Joining Fabian as a Red Sox draft pick was freshman catcher Nathan Hickey (fifth round, 136 overall). He finished 2021 with team-bests in batting average (.317) and RBIs (50) to go along with 40 runs, 15 doubles and nine home runs.

Junior pitcher Christian Scott was chosen by the New York Mets six spots after Hickey. A 6-4 righty, Scott finished the 2021 season 4-2 with two saves, a 3.06 ERA and 51 Ks in 53 IP. All but one of his 26 appearances came in relief.

Junior outfielder Jacob Young was taken by Washington in the seventh round, 203rd overall. Like Hickey, Young was a starter in all 60 games last season. He finished with a .315 batting average and team-bests in hits (80), runs scored (56), doubles (16) and stolen bases (13).

And 6-4 junior righty Jack Leftwich, like his rotation partner Mace, was selected by Cleveland (seventh round, 216 overall). Leftwich finished 2021 with a 7-4 record, five saves, a 3.36 ERA and 78 Ks in 69.2 IP.

The final Gator picked before selections stopped Monday was junior pitcher Franco Aleman, also by Cleveland (10th round, 306 overall). The 6-foot-6 right-hander concluded the 2021 season with a 2-4 record, a 5.74 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 69 innings.

After 10 rounds, UF and Texas Tech each have had the most players selected with seven.

Each UF player chosen so far can return to school if a contract with his drafting team is not agreed upon. The MLB draft will conclude with rounds 11-20 beginning at noon today.