It’s not uncommon for Florida baseball to gain commitments of high school players, only to never have them step foot on campus because of where they get drafted in the MLB Draft.
What is uncommon is for the Florida Gators to have a player announce they will be transferring from another school to Florida, only to not arrive because they opt for the MLB.
Yesterday the Florida Gators lost out on a potential key piece of their 2024 pitching staff to the Houston Astros.
Florida Baseball: Houston creating a problem
He made 13 starts for the Bruins in 2023, keeping a tight 3.39 ERA with 104 strikeouts against just 34 walks.
Austin went undrafted in the 2023 MLB Draft, but ended up still striking a deal with the Houston Astros to sign as an undrafted free agent.
According to D1Baseball.Com, undrafted prospects are able to sign for any amount up to $150,000. It is not clear how much Austin signed for.
Austin was expected to come in and compete for a starting spot in the weekend rotation for the Gators in 2024, or at worst be a reliable arm out of the bullpen.
As it stands now, Jac Caglianone is the only returning Gator with weekend starting experience.
Brandon Neely, Tyler Nesbit, and Ryan Slater will all be in contention for those starting spots for 2024.
Losing Austin does hurt the overall depth for the squad as it seemed like the Gators were going to be fully restocked with Hurston Waldrep, Brandon Sproat, and Philip Abner off to play professional baseball.
It is also possible that Kevin O’Sullivan dips back into the transfer portal, though some of the big names like Chase Burns are off the board.