College : : Story
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Quick Take: Miami

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Miami Athletics

McKendry, Canes salvage seriesArms carry Gators to series win | Singer, Gators bite back
Quick Take: Florida
Quick Take: Oregon State | Quick Take: Saint Mary's
Perfect Game College Player Database

During the season Perfect Game scouts will be traveling to some of the top series to watch the very best players in college baseball. Those observations, captured with both written notes and video, will be shared in the College Player Database as linked above, notes that can also be accessed on the players' individual PG profile pages. Throughout the season select reports will be shared in feature format to promote the players, the teams and college baseball as a whole.

Miami Hurricanes

What Happened: The Canes ran into one of the tougher opponents in the country as they dropped the first two games and the series to the visiting rival Florida Gators. There were numerous areas where the Canes were just overwhelmed by the talent of the Gators, but Miami was in every game and had a chance to win each contest until the later innings and showed off things that can be built upon with a relatively young team.

Carrying Tool: The Miami offense did not do much in the way of putting up runs, scoring only seven in three combined games, however that undersells just how impressive some of their at-bats were. Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar are two potential first round picks and in their nine innings they only struck out 7 batters as the Canes put up a combined five runs against them. The results may not have been consistently there for Miami, but they certainly grinded out at-bats, especially early in games.

Concerns: This probably fits as a mix between the last category and this category as the situation is clear as the freshmen on this team are going to dictate which way the season goes. Four freshmen start across the lineup and they were a mixed bag in terms of overall results, while another small handful of freshmen are going to have impact roles out of the bullpen, or even in the rotation once ACC play starts. The freshmen need to step up and for the most part they have the talent to do so.

Best Player on the Field: The best pitching performance of the weekend, regardless of team, was that of ACC Pitcher of the Week Evan McKendry. The righthanded pitcher struck out eight Gators over six shutout innings while racking up and absurd 15 swings-and-misses on his plus changeup. The righthander had a strong freshman campaign and looks like a potential ace in terms of stuff and poise for the Miami Hurricanes.

Fearless Forecast: With young players the oft-heard crisicism is that they’re inconsistent or streaky. In head coach Jim Morris’ final season, there is a pretty impressive mix of young talent and experience as leaders like Jeb Bargfeldt and Romy Gonzalez could be given a late season boost by the next wave of talent. Morris won’t allow this team to miss Regional play for a second year in a row, and some of the young guys, led by Freddy Zamora and Alex Toral, will make this last season one to remember for Morris with a deep postseason run.

Database Player Reports (10):

Michael Amditis
Jeb Bargfeldt
Andrew Cabezas
Daniel Federman
Romy Gonzalez
Tony Jenkins
Evan McKendry
Danny Reyes
Alex Toral
Greg Veliz

Prospect Spotlight: Romy Gonzalez, OF/3B

Third baseman and outfielder Romy Gonzalez returns as the second leading hitter for the Canes in 2017 and is looking for a big junior season hitting in the three-hole. Gonzalez is a junior, and therefore draft eligible, and while he is both athletic and physical, the majority of his draft stock is going to depend on how well he does offensively. He came away with only two hits on the box score this weekend in Miami's three-game set against No. 1 Florida, but there were more than a few that were smoked or just missed. 

Gonzalez has excellent, likely plus, raw power that he showcased during BP that plays to all fields. He took a number of balls over the scoreboard in left field as well as showed that he can put balls out to the opposite field. Two of his hardest hit flyouts came to deep right field where they were caught at the warning track. Gonzalez hit .265 last year with 11 home runs so he gets to the power at a very good clip, however, he does swing and miss often, something that evaluators will be watching to see how often he strikes out compared to how often that power is allowed to play in game. 

The swing path is naturally lofted for a fly ball approach, aided by his hand hitch in the back that gets at a lower overall hand set to create a positive launch angle for fly balls. This swing mechanic is perhaps best for Gonzalez as it allows him to get the ball into the air and allows his bat speed and strength drive the ball for both extra bases and home runs. Gonzalez' swing also allows him to create natural leverage when working to pull, something he flashed in game action with a hard hit single in game two.

Defensively in right field, where he played in all three games during this series after playing third base in the past, he showed off a pretty strong arm and there's no reason why he wouldn't profile at a corner at the professional level with enough athletic versatility to play multiple positions. Gonzalez has underrated speed with good athleticism, with 13 stolen bases in 2017, that allows him to play the position at a solid level. 

What it comes down to for Gonzalez is how well he will hit. This weekend's series against Florida was a good test for Gonzalez, not only because he was facing frontline-level arms, but also because it showed you a good snippet of his entire game. He struck out four times while making consistent, hard contact and showing you a little bit of both. How high Gonzalez gets drafted is still a little bit far out to decide, but it will likely be by someone who thinks that he can get to his huge power consistently in games.

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