The dream of two brothers growing up playing the same sport seems destined once they hit the college level. Both committing to the same school, having one follow after the other. Maybe even lucky enough to hit back-to-back home runs in the same inning.
That’s what it was like for the Fabian brothers, Deric (20) and Jud (22). Both with college careers at the University of Florida.
While Deric continues as a sophomore at UF, Jud enters his first full season with the Baltimore Orioles after being drafted 67th overall in the 2022 MLB draft. What was a conversation for Jud to update his life with the Orioles, he found every way to incorporate his little brother Deric.
From playing four years at Florida, getting drafted twice and playing as premier as high-A in the minor leagues, Jud recalls his favorite memory being one he got to cherish with Deric.
“… Probably last year, when Deric hit a home run in the same inning I did. He was hitting ninth and I was hitting second. He hit one then I came up and hit one in the same inning,” Jud said. “That’s pretty special, something that doesn’t happen too often and we ended up doing it. I’ll never forget.”
— Matt Fabian (@matt4po) April 5, 2022
For Deric, remembering what it was like growing up with Jud as his role model to being beside him as his name was called in the 2021 MLB draft was a surreal moment.
“You know, you see your big brother’s name out there. It’s kind of special. It’s just like words can’t really describe the feeling.” Deric said.
Playing Together at Florida
Being two years apart, they got to play high school ball together for a year before Jud forwent his high school senior season to be an early enrollee at Florida.
“When we played high school together, I thought Jud was the greatest baseball player I’ve ever seen,” Deric said. “It was fun because he hit first and I hit ninth so we always went back to back, it was another blessing because he helped me get acclimated into high school, kinda like he did at Florida too.”
As Deric continued to improve his game at Trinity Catholic, Jud put on a stellar career at Florida.
Jud was drafted in 2021 as the 40th overall pick by the Boston RedSox, but he wasn’t done creating his legacy at Florida yet. He decided to return to Florida for his fourth year and had the opportunity to reciprocate what it was like in high school again, getting to play with Deric.
“He was there on draft night, the first draft my junior year, things didn’t work out and I told him, I’ll show you the ropes,” Jud said. “It’s hard to put into words how awesome it was. Opening night against Liberty, hearing my name called for centerfield and then his playing third base. It was something special that we dreamed of… it’s hard to put into words how awesome last year was.”
Jud started all 66 games in center field for the Gators as Deric played in 46 games as a true freshman.
They got to celebrate all the small and big moments together, making it to the SEC championship game and hosting their own regional.
There was no doubt that if a ball left the yard off one of their bats, the other brother was the first to pop out of the dugout and celebrate with him at home plate.
Jud’s Time with the Gators
Jud finished his four-year campaign with the third-most home runs (56) in program history while ranking fifth all-time with 143 walks. He also was one of two Gators (Brad Wilkerson, 1997-98) to eclipse back-to-back 20-homer seasons in 2021 and 2022.
His path at Florida during his senior year shaped him into who he is today. Not only on the field but off the field is where the coaching staff made the biggest impact on him.
“They took me in as a 17-year-old freshman, they really just helped me become a more mature man and helped tremendously with the player I am today. They just did things the right way, they taught us how to do things the right way,” Jud said. “They helped me become a more mature man, the man I am today. And they help improve my game.”
How Jud’s Doing with the Orioles
Jud’s path into pro ball began four days after hearing his name called 67th overall in the 2022 MLB draft. He packed his bags and headed down to Sarasota, FL, home of the Baltimore Orioles spring training. He spent some time getting acclimated to how they ran their organization before stepping up to the plate again.
Jud spent four games playing in the Florida Complex League before getting moved to the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Orioles A team. He hit .386 with three home runs in his ten games played there. Two weeks later he then got called to the high A team, Aberdeen IronBirds, where he would finish his season playing eight games there.
“The Orioles do a very good job of communicating and being all about their players. They check in on a regular basis, in the offseason, almost every week to see how I was doing,” Jud said. “They just care about you as a player. Obviously, they care about how you play too but it’s mostly how you are and how you’re doing as a person more than more than a player.”
There wasn’t much fine-tuning in his swing mechanically during the off-season, just improving the mental side of the game. Focusing on his approach at the plate, getting to see different arms and the different shapes of pitches. Preparing for his first full season in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
The length of minor league seasons fluctuates on what level you’re at, but nonetheless, it’s a long season. Playing as many as 150 games, six days of a week. The key to having success in a game that can be physically and emotionally draining is as simple as just having fun.
“It’s more like mental goals. You know, not to let my play affect me, it is a long season. So just kind of trying to stay positive. In my mind, not like getting too down on myself, not being too hard on myself, but just kind of relaxing and enjoying the ride.” Jud said. “I get to play baseball for a living and I can’t ever take that for granted. My goals for the season are just to have fun every day. Every day I go to the field, every game I play, just have fun with it.”
The Legacy of the Fabian Brothers Continues
As Jud continues to prepare for his first full season with the Orioles, Deric continues his sophomore season with the Florida baseball team. He’s seen time in every aspect of the field whether it’s in the infield or the outfield.
Once the last Fabian brother plays his last game with the Orange and Blue across his chest, there’s no question what kind of mark the two brothers will leave on the Florida program.
To Deric, Jud has shown him every quality of life to be the man and the player for the kids they used to be to look up to.
“He inspired me to be the man I am today, just because he always set a good example for me,” Deric said. “He always has the best interest for me so it’s a blessing for sure.”