2020 NCAA Top 25 Preview: No. 5 Miami
Last Year: 41-20 (18-12 in ACC); reached regionals
Final Ranking: No. 22
Head Coach (Record at School): Gino DiMare (41-20, one season)
The Good News: The Hurricanes return just about everyone from a team that was in the mix to host a regional right up to the end of the regular season. A rotation of McMahon, Cecconi and Brian Van Belle could very well be one of the best in the country, and Daniel Federman is back to serve as a bullpen workhorse once again. An offense led by Adrian Del Castillo, Alex Toral, Raymond Gil and Zamora should have little issue supporting the pitching staff. The loss of primary catcher Michael Amditis would normally be of great concern, but catcher is perhaps UM’s deepest position, especially with Del Castillo moving back there full-time. Freshman Jared Thomas was the team’s most impressive newcomer in the fall according to DiMare, and Isaac Quinones served as the starting catcher in 2018.
The Bad News: Bullpen roles will have to be sorted out behind Federman, who is a steady hand as the closer. Tyler Keysor would fit in nicely as a bullpen arm, as he did last season, but he could be pressed into duty as the midweek starter. Pitchers like two-way player J.P. Gates and fourth-year junior Albert Maury, Jr. could be candidates for larger roles, after each struggled with control at times in 2019. Freshman lefty Carson Palmquist looks the part of someone who could step in immediately. While the potential is through the roof, McMahon and Cecconi both have something to prove. The former has battled injuries in his time in Coral Gables, while the latter will be in his first full season as a weekend starter.
Player to Know: Freddy Zamora, SS
On a team full of high-end arms and power bats, Zamora has been one of the team’s steadiest performers over the last two seasons and will go into the 2020 season as UM’s best pro prospect. A .300/.391/.429 career hitter, Zamora is a complete player for the Canes. He’s stolen 33 total bases over two years, his walk total eclipsed his strikeout total in both seasons, and his slugging percentage took a 35-point jump from one year to the next, based largely on his home runs going from one to six. He has a ton of experience handling a tough defensive position and will go into the 2020 season improved in that regard.
Path to Omaha: This a group out to prove themselves. The veteran core of this team stepped on campus in the immediate aftermath of Miami’s 44-year regional streak ending in 2017, and then that group missed a regional again in 2018. Last season, they flirted with hosting one throughout the season but a bad habit of not being able to finish games kept that from happening. If the rotation can stay healthy and some of the role players on offense, such as outfielders Jordan Lala, Tony Jenkins and Gabe Rivera, can take steps forward, the Hurricanes will be one of the most well-rounded teams in the country and a clear Omaha contender.
Arizona State, Miami Look The Part Of 2020 National Championship Contenders
Both long-time college baseball powers endured uncharacteristic lean years, but look ready to re-join NCAA elite in 2020.
|C||Adrian Del Castillo, So.||.331||.418||.576||12||72||236|
|1B||Alex Toral, Jr.||.293||.400||.656||24||67||215|
|2B||Anthony Vilar, So.||.291||.416||.414||5||39||237|
|3B||Raymond Gil, Jr.||.318||.396||.565||13||44||214|
|SS||Freddy Zamora, Jr.||.296||.393||.447||6||46||199|
|LF||Jordan Lala, So.||.276||.446||.386||4||18||210|
|CF||Tony Jenkins, Jr.||.268||.392||.330||0||12||97|
|RF||Gabe Rivera, Jr.||.290||.374||.590||7||31||100|
|DH||J.P. Gates, So.||.340||.371||.510||4||31||147|
|RHP||Brian Van Belle, R-Sr.||10||2||3.30||95.1||84||0|
|RHP||Chris McMahon, Jr.||3||2||3.73||60.1||67||0|
|RHP||Slade Cecconi, So.||5||4||4.16||80||89||0|
|RP||Daniel Federman, Jr.||3||5||3.51||48.2||60||7|
|RP||Tyler Keysor, Sr.||6||1||3.78||47.2||38||0|