Diamond Notes- Opening Weekend

Lance Roffers

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Coach Gino DiMare got his tenure as Head Coach off to an excellent start this past weekend, outscoring Rutgers by a combined 35-7 score en route to a 3-0 weekend sweep. To put it in context with last year’s scoring struggles, Miami did not score their 35th run last year until March 3rd (9th game of the season).

Here at Diamond Notes I will recap weekend series and look forward to the week ahead for the University of Miami baseball program.

Rutgers Recap
Miami had the bats out in a big way against Rutgers, hitting a combined .348/.455/.554 on the weekend for an outstanding 0.432 wOBA. Using RaseRuns, you would’ve expected Miami to score 29 runs compared to the 35 they actually did score. This makes sense as things got out of hand on Friday night and Rutgers essentially gave away some runs late on both Friday and Sunday.

On the mound, Miami was also excellent, as they compiled a combined 1.67 ERA coupled with an equally excellent 2.64 FIP. Pitchers held a 29% K rate and a 7.5% BB rate for a 21.5% K-BB rate overall. According to BaseRuns, Miami should have allowed 7 runs, which is exactly the number they did allow, so their performance was in no way a lucky outcome.

Putting the two metrics together, you would expect Miami to win 93% of the time, which is outstanding. If you account for Strength of Schedule, it is safe to say that Miami put forth the best performance of any ACC team over the weekend.

Individual Performances
Who stood out in the series? There were several standouts over the weekend as Miami showed off their newfound depth in the lineup and their deep stable of arms on the mound.

Anthony Villar- .636/.714/1.000 for a wOBA 0.704. 14.3% BB rate, 14.3% K rate, .778 BABIP.

Freddy Zamora- .417/.500/.833 for a wOBA 0.543. 14.3% BB rate, 7.1% K rate, .400 BABIP.

Adrian Del Castillo- .467/.500/.600 for a wOBA 0.474. 0.0% BB rate, 6.3% K rate, .500 BABIP.

Alex Toral- .250/.400/.750 for a wOBA 0.449. 13.3% BB rate, 26.7% K rate, .167 BABIP.

Evan McKendry- 3.00 ERA, 1.77 FIP, 33.3% K rate, 4.2% BB rate, 29.2% K-BB rate, .267 BABIP

Slade Cecconi- 0.00 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 25% K rate, 0% BB rate, 25% K-BB rate, .333 BABIP

Brian Van Belle- 0.00 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 22.7% K rate, 4.5% BB rate, 18.2% K-BB rate, .313 BABIP


Villar came out and immediately put the league on notice that he’s going to be more than the recruiting services believed him to be. He won’t hold his numbers where they are, obviously, and the K% and BABIP show he had some good fortune this weekend, he put together at-bats that showed he could put the ball in play and has more thump than expected. I’m already believing I was too low on his projection. The left-handed bat is a welcomed addition to the top of the Miami lineup.

Zamora was Miami’s best player last year and he came out looking as if he will be again this year. If anything, Zamora was a little unlucky this weekend, hitting a couple of hard-line drives that were caught for outs. You may be asking how someone can have a lower BABIP than his actual batting average and it’s because a HR is not a ball in play, so it counts in the batting average, but does not help the BABIP. Zamora is primed for a huge year.

Del Castillo is a second true freshman making his Miami debut and he also looked excellent. Generally, if you’re looking for signs from a freshman that they are not overmatched, look to their ability to make contact on pitches. The ability to foul off pitches and extend at-bats and then get the ball in play is called “bat-to-ball skills” and Del Castillo flourishes in this area. He looked like a veteran all weekend long. While he might not be an OBP standout due to his tendency to swing the bat often, if he continues to make loud contact he will be a bright spot in the lineup.

Toral makes the list for hitting two HR’s in the series, but there are still signs here to worry about. The K% is still too high and his BABIP is still shockingly low. He needs to make more contact and the contact he is making needs to be more impactful (outside of the HR’s, which are- obviously- quite impactful). If he becomes a source of big power this season the Canes will deal with his strikeouts.

McKendry picked up right where he left off last season. His changeup is a devastating swing-and-miss pitch. He will give up some singles due to his fastball lacking movement, but he is an All-American caliber pitcher on Friday nights for the Canes.

Cecconi was in a bullpen role, which allows a pitcher’s stuff to play up, and his team had a big lead so we will find out more about Ceconni on Wednesday.

Van Belle gave up some contact early, which resulted in some singles, but he settled in and showed a better-than-advertised curveball. If he continues to consistently throw strikes like he did in this outing, he will hold onto a starting role.

Coming up Next
Things change in a hurry for the Canes as they take on FAU on Wednesday, a team they struggled with mightily last season. There is no debating that midweek games are what kept Miami out of the postseason last year and this is an important game to set the tone early for a better season.

Then Miami takes on their rival Florida Gators over the weekend. Florida started out with an opening weekend sweep of a solid Long Beach State team. Florida did drop a midweek matchup with South Florida on Tuesday.

Florida’s bats are off to a slow start to the season as they are hitting .233/.364/.300 as a team thus far. Pitching is the name of the game for the Gators and there should be some excellent matchups on the mound between these two clubs.

A 2-2 week is acceptable, but anything more really puts Miami on the path to a stellar season. I’m looking forward to seeing how this team responds to the step up in competition.

Just 34 more wins to hitting their projected season total.
 

pcitycane

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Big time baseball coming up early in the season. We will know exactly how good this team is this time next week.
 
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