2022 College Top 25 Preview: No. 25 Miami
Last season: 33-21 (20-15 in ACC); reached regionals
Final Ranking: NR
Coach (record at school): Gino DiMare (86-45, three seasons)
The good news: Miami’s pitching staff, and in particular its weekend rotation, will be very talented. Sophomore righthander Alejandro Rosario will return to lead the rotation. Last season, he had some ups and downs in the role, as can be expected with a freshman, but he has the stuff, including a fastball that touched 99 mph, to be a Friday starter as good as any in the ACC. Behind him, sophomore lefthander Carson Palmquist will look to move from the bullpen, where he dominated last season with 75 strikeouts in 44.2 innings, to the rotation. He leads with a fastball that touched 96 mph last season, but he also has a slider and changeup that both hovered around 50% whiff rates in 2021. Third-year sophomore righthander Alex McFarlane projects to round out the weekend rotation, and he’s coming off of a good summer in the Cape Cod League, where his slider had a 61% whiff rate. That offering will pair well with a fastball that averaged 94 mph and was up to 98 last season. Third-year sophomore Jake Garland, a sinkerballer who can still reach back and touch the mid 90s with his fastball, provides an experienced fourth starting option after starting 13 games a season ago. Even with Palmquist moving out of the bullpen, Miami should still have one of the best closers in the conference with the return of third-year sophomore Andrew Walters, who had a 1.46 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 24.1 innings last season.
The bad news: The Miami lineup underachieved in 2021 as veterans like Adrian Del Castillo and Alex Toral had down seasons by their lofty standards, and now, most of the top hitters from that lineup are gone, including both Adrian and his brother Christian Del Castillo, Toral (who transferred to Florida State) and Raymond Gil. Sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales is back after an outstanding freshman season that saw him emerge as arguably the Hurricanes’ biggest power threat, but he’ll need help if the lineup is going to show improvement. A pair of transfers in catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. (Vanderbilt) and left fielder Jacob Burke (Southeastern Louisiana) look poised to offer some of that help. Both bring power to the batting order, and Burke also has the speed and athleticism to be a threat on the bases. Sophomore center fielder Jacoby Long, a burner with well above-average speed, and freshman right fielder Lorenzo Carrier also have the speed to help make the Canes’ offense one that perhaps leans more on speed than power to score runs and support the pitching staff.
Player to know: Carson Palmquist, LHP
The Miami pitching staff had a lot of moving parts last season as pitching coach J.D. Arteaga worked to find the right combination of pitchers in the right roles. But through all of that, Palmquist was a steadying force. He was excellent as a multi-inning closer from start to finish in 2021, ending the year with a 2.22 ERA, 14 saves and 75 strikeouts in 44.2 innings. In 2022, he’ll transition to the weekend rotation. His stuff for the role isn’t in question, but like so many closer-to-starter conversions, the pertinent questions will be about how well he holds his stuff deep in starts and how durable he proves to be, especially late in the season. This same transition didn’t take in the case of former Miami righthander Daniel Federman last season, but it worked swimmingly in the case of Virginia lefthander Andrew Abbott in 2021. Miami hopes that Palmquist ends up falling closer to Abbott on that spectrum.
Path to Omaha: Miami’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2020 is going into its second season, and although there has been some attrition in that group, most notably with righthander Victor Mederos transferring to Oklahoma State, it still means the Hurricanes are talented enough to make a deep postseason run. The most plausible path to Omaha for Miami is the rotation of Rosario-Palmquist-McFarlane being excellent from the start of the 2022 season and a lineup built around Morales showing enough improvement to adequately support the pitching staff. If either of those things don’t take place, it makes the road a bit rockier for the Hurricanes.
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Transfer—Miami Dade JC
Did not play—Injured