2021 NCAA Top 25 Preview: No. 11 Miami

Image credit: (Photo by Brian Westerholt/Four Seam)

Last season: 12-4
Final ranking: No. 5
Coach (record at school): Gino DiMare (53-24, two years)

Top 200 draft prospects: C Adrian Del Castillo (No. 3), 1B Alex Toral (No. 147), RHP Jake Smith (No. 170)

The good news: For Miami, it all starts with its offense. Catcher Adrian Del Castillo may be the best position player in the country and will be in play at the top of the draft. First baseman Alex Toral is one of the most accomplished sluggers in college baseball. That duo will anchor the lineup with experienced players like infielders Raymond Gil and Anthony Vilar and outfielders Tony Jenkins and Gabe Rivera surrounding them to give the Hurricanes a deep, balanced attack. Miami brought in the top-ranked recruiting class in the country, its first No. 1 class in program history. That class will be a big help on the mound, but it also brought in some talented position players. Yohandy Morales was a top-100 player in the 2020 draft and will fit into the lineup somewhere, possibly taking over right away at shortstop, though he faces competition from fellow freshman Dominic Pitelli and Villar. Freshman outfielder Chad Born was the Hurricanes’ fall MVP and also could make an immediate impact. The depth and star power in Miami’s offense makes it one of the best in the nation.


The bad news: Miami lost all three of its weekend starters to pro ball, leaving it with a more inexperienced pitching staff. While the Hurricanes will have a new look on the mound, they still have plenty of talent. Newcomers Jordan Dubberly, Victor Mederos, Alejandro Rosario and Jake Smith are all in the mix for the rotation, as well as returners Daniel Federman—who has proven himself in a variety of roles—and Alex McFarlane. The bullpen should remain strong as well thanks to transfer Ben Wanger (Southern California), the development of lefthander Carson Palmquist and the return of lefthander J.P. Gates. All will have to prove themselves against ACC competition, but the makings of a strong pitching staff are in place.

Player to know: Daniel Federman, RHP.

Federman, a fourth-year junior, is the most experienced pitcher on the Hurricanes’ roster. He’s thrown 117.1 innings over 65 career appearances, compiling a 2.76 ERA. He’s pitched as a starter, a setup man and a closer, and that versatility and experience makes him crucial this spring. He isn’t overpowering—he’s listed at 6 feet, 209 pounds and his cutter is his best pitch—but he throws a lot of strikes and will pitch significant innings in 2021, likely as a starter.

Path to Omaha: With its offense and upside on the mound, Miami has the talent to make a deep postseason run. With Del Castillo and Toral leading the way, the Hurricanes will be dangerous at the plate and they have enough athleticism around them in the lineup to avoid falling into a trap of being too dependent on the long ball. That and its talent on the mound is enough to keep Miami in the mix at the top of the ACC and to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament. How far the Hurricanes advance, however, will be determined by how well their young pitchers develop. If a couple of McFarlane, Mederos, Rosario and Smith live up to their ability, Miami could make its first College World Series appearance under DiMare.

2021 Lineup
C Adrian Del Castillo, R-So. .358 .478 .547 52 2 15
1B Alex Toral, R-Jr. .296 .435 .593 54 5 16
2B Anthony Vilar, R-So. .297 .361 .469 64 2 15
3B Raymond Gil, R-Jr. .179 .300 .375 56 3 11
SS Yohandy Morales, Fr. HS — Miami
LF Chad Born, Fr. HS — Placentia, Calif.
CF Tony Jenkins, R-Jr. .300 .417 .380 50 1 5
RF Gabe Rivera, R-Jr. .317 .404 .415 41 1 5
DH Jordan Lala, R-So. .232 .419 .286 56 0 6
RHP Daniel Federman, R-Jr. 0 1 2.08 9 11 3
RHP Alex McFarlane, R-Fr. 2 2 5.25 12 14 0
RHP Jake Smith, R-So. Transfer — State JC of Florida
RP Carson Palmquist, R-Fr. 1 0 2.31 12 15 0
RP Ben Wanger, R-Sr. Transfer — Southern California

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