D1Baseball preview: Miami Hurricanes

StlCane

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Nov 5, 2011
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Hitting: 55

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: The Hurricanes will hit, it will just look vastly different than the lineup they trotted out there last season. Miami clearly has some power to replace from last year’s team, but the pieces are here to do some special things.

For me, everything circles around Chester. He’s such an electrifying player who has gradually gotten better as his career has progressed in Coral Gables. That trend is great news for the Hurricanes considering his success last season.

Barr and Ruiz give the ‘Canes some veteran experience near the top of the lineup, while athleticism is the key word with the rest of the lineup. JUCO transfer Hunter Tackett is expected to provide an immediate impact, especially in the power department (more on that in a bit). Meanwhile, Randy Batista (.272) and (.173) are expected to take sizable steps forward. There’s also Michelangeli back in the mix, while Amditis has an advanced approach for a young player and the outfield duo of Davison and Burns have a chance to be special. The Hurricanes also feel like Barry Buchowski is ready to take a step forward at the plate.

Power: 45

We’re not expecting the Hurricanes to wear too many teams out from a power perspective. Why, you might ask? Well, they have some rather tough holes to fill in that department with the departures of at least 41 homers from last year’s club, including Collins and Abreu, who combined for 28 of those.

Newcomer Hunter Tackett is worth watching this season. He finished last season in junior college with 10 homers and has some clear pop potential, while three-hole hitter Ruiz hopes to build on his 2016 campaign that ended with four homers and 57 RBIs.

Chester can hit for more pop, too, specifically into the gaps, while Gonzalez and Barr each have enough pop to be legitimate threats. There’s also veteran Edgar Michelangeli, whom, if you remember, has a flare for the dramatic at the plate.

Speed: 60

This is an exciting club from a speed and athleticism standpoint, which is a stark contrast from the club that took the field last season. UM finished the 2016 campaign ranked 119th in stolen bases and in the 160s in stolen bases per game. In other words, this wasn’t an overly aggressive team.

Without some power producers such as Collins and Willie Abreu, I’d look for the ‘Canes to find creative ways to make things happen.

Chester sits atop the lineup and is an electric player, while Burns and Davison, among others, can cause some trouble on the basepaths, too, while a veteran like Barr is athletic and has some versatility, too.

Defense: 60

The Hurricanes appear to be in good shape from a defensive standpoint, even without one of the best in the business behind the plate in Collins. Youngster Amditis has some quick growing up to do, but he flourished with USA Baseball’s 18U team and is a high-quality backstop with strong tools.

Going around the infield, Gonzalez at third base is a solid defender, Ruiz is moving from second to third and has a solid and accurate arm, while the right side of the infield is in good shape with the return of Chris Barr at first and Batista is a quality defender at second.

Miami’s outfield also is in good shape. Chester is one of the most athletic and speedy guys in college baseball in center, while Davison has quickness and speed in left and Burns impressed the coaching staff during the fall with his running ability.

Starting pitching: 55

The Hurricanes really could go either way in this category. I could see a situation where the weekend rotation is rather solid, and I could see the opposite come true. Much of the rotation’s success hinges on junior lefty Mediavilla to have another strong campaign. Mediavilla tallied a 3.40 ERA in 103.1 innings last season. And though he didn’t have a strong fall for the Hurricanes, that’s apparently the norm for the hard-nosed veteran.

Cabezas is a talented 6-foot, 180-pounder who showed off a quality slider last season, while Bargfeldt is the rather interesting guy to watch. The junior college transfer and 6-foot, 170-pounder, didn’t get off to a good start at Wichita State, but excelled at Cisco (Texas) College last season and impressed the coaches in the fall. He sat anywhere from 87-90 with his fastball, along with good command of a four-pitch mix.

Also keep close tabs on Lepore, who also has a strong chance to be in the weekend rotation. Lepore is a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, who has sharpened his stuff even more after tallying a 2.20 ERA and 9-0 record in 73.2 innings last season.

There are questions with this unit, but it’s one with potential.

Bullpen: 55

Miami is still trying to figure out some of the bullpen roles, but it doesn’t have a shortage of potential quality options. For instance, the ‘Canes are without Bryan Garcia on the back-end of the bullpen this spring, but welcomes back Bartow, who led the league in appearances last season with 43 while also tallying an impressive 2.72 ERA.

Freshman righty Gregory Veliz has a power arm and can be an immediate impact for the Hurricanes, while submariner Cooper Hammond is a real weapon from the left side and should be back from surgery at some point this season. Freshman righty Evan McKendry is another high quality young arm to watch, while other interesting arms to watch include Keven Pimentel, Mike Perez, Daniel Rivero, Mason Studstill and Connor Manous.

Experience/Intangibles 50

The Hurricanes were loaded with experience last season and reached the College World Series. Well, this team welcomes back at least some experience, but lost a great deal of leadership, starting with stalwart catcher Zack Collins, among others. UM does welcome back a fire-starter such as Chester and a high-quality lefty in Mediavilla on the mound, but the rest of the weekend rotation and back-end of the bullpen is a question mark from an experience standpoint.

Miami needs Chester, Ruiz, Barr and Mediavilla to take the reins early in the season with hopes of improving as the season progresses.
 

StlCane

Sophomore
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
739
This is great stuff STL!

Who do you see stepping up at SS now that Lopez is gone?

Ruiz to SS. Batista and possibly Michelangeli will hold down second. Really hoping Romy will step up this year and take over third full time.
 
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shoeless

Staff Writer
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
405
Thanks for posting. Was going to post my preview this week. I don't really see Michelangeli not starting. I see Romy starting at DH, with the OF being Davison, Chester, Tackett. This Burns kid will get some time but I don't know if he's the every day OF. I could see a situation where Batista struggles at the plate and Michelangeli moves to 2B with Romy at 3rd. Then Burns could see an every day role. Also Mason Stidstill isn't only a pitcher so maybe he gets some at bats. Well don't want to spoil my whole preview! Can't wait for Canes baseball!
 

StlCane

Sophomore
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
739
Cooper Hammond is a righty not a lefty. Not sure of his status starting the season.

I know. There were a couple other mistakes in the article as well. Again, it's not my work. Just posting content from D1Baseball
 
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