The Miami Hurricanes have always been one of America's finest programs for recruiting baseball talent. However, in recent years, many of Miami's great recruiting classes have been shredded by the draft, resulting in a thinner, less-talented roster. However, this year, the Canes managed to get several of their top-rated prospects to campus, and will look to use these prospects, and an outstanding transfer, to shore up some of last year's weakness.
1B, Alex Toral: Toral arrives as one of Miami's most anticipated recruits in several years. He comes in as the best first baseman recruit in the entire nation, and the No.2 prospect overall. He is essentially a top of the line five-star recruit, and has many valuable skills. Toral will look to be the Hurricanes' first baseman for the next 3-4 years, and will try to match or exceed the performance of the now departed long time starter Chris Barr. Toral comes with a perfect scouting score of 10 from Perfect Game, and is a highly touted two time Under-Armour All-American and one time Perfect Game All-American. He is a fantastic ball-player, and if he finds the power stroke that he had in high school, which I trust he will, he will be a much needed boost to Miami's offense.
SS Freddy Zamora: While listed as a shortstop, Zamora plays with enough quickness to play anywhere in the infield, and will look to compete for a starting job in the wake of the departure of so many infielders. Zamora was No.53 in Perfect Game's top 400 freshman rankings, and was a spectacular player at local Miami Killian. He was also two-time first-team All-Dade County, and was Killian's MVP in his senior year. He looks like a very real option to pair with Romy Gonzalez in the middle infield. If he gets placed at shortstop and his bat translates to college, he could present a big offensive improvement over the departed Johnny Ruiz, who struggled with consistency last season.
3B Raymond Gil: Ray Gil is an immensely talented third baseman who will look to provide stability to what was a troubled position last year. Gil comes in at No.60 in Perfect Game's top 400 freshman rankings, and is a great and confident fielder. However, Gil probably needs the most work at the plate out of anyone listed so far. He occasionally drops his hands at the plate, and as we all know that can be a killer for anyone. MLB players such as Jason Heyward have struggled with this habit for years, so it is a must that Miami coaches him out of this bad habit, and ensures he improves his hand and bat placement. By all accounts Gil has been a fantastic addition, and he presents an immense opportunity for Miami to improve at a long troubled spot, especially defensively.
Other Players: Tyler Paige, Willy Escala, Isacc Quinones, Connor Allen, Joe Sparber: All of these players need some time to develop and grow into the college game, but for the most part they all have potential. In a few years expect these players to start making some noise, and some of them will have value as backups and pinch hitters this season.
OF Danny Reyes: Reyes comes as a highly touted transfer from the Florida Gators. Before spending 2017 at Broward College so he could transfer to Miami, he spent 2016 with Florida, and appeared occasionally during the season. However, Reyes was a spectacular player for UF in the SEC Tournament and in the NCAA Tournament, and many expected him to be an important player for UF in the next few years, however, he left UF and transferred to Miami. Reyes will look to provide Miami with some consistency in the outfield following the departure of star center fielder Carl Chester. He will be a crucial part of Miami’s success, and many will hope he can be another valuable offensive weapon for this Miami squad.
Other Players: Tony Jenkins, Gabe Rivera: Both of these players were high school standouts who were crucial to their teams’ success. In addition both come in as solid players with good physical traits and opportunities for growth. Tony Jenkins has great defensive tools, but a lot of room to grow on offense. While Rivera has a lot of raw talent but needs to refine his game a little bit. Expect both of these players to see some playing time, especially Jenkins as a defensive standout, but with outfield being one of the places with the most talent returning, it seems unlikely that either will start.
RHP Chris McMahon: A standout right handed pitcher from West Chester, Pennsylvania. McMahon comes to Miami as the highest rated pitcher in the Hurricanes recruiting class, according to Perfect Game. McMahon comes to Miami with a 95 mph fastball, which is incredible velocity, and looks to develop his offspeed pitches further. At 6-2, 190 lbs, McMahon has a lot of desired physical traits, and those will be extremely important in adding to his game. He was extremely good in high school, earning first team all-conference honors in every year of his career, and he will look to transition that success into the college game.
LHP Dylan Cloonan: Cloonan is another fantastic pitching prospect with incredible physical traits. At 6-2, 195 lbs, Cloonan is nearly the same size as Chris McMahon, and presents a lot of ability to grow and strengthen. Cloonan also plays the outfield, but expect him to primarily focus on pitching. At his most recent measurement, Cloonan was clocked with a 90 mph fastball. In his final high school season Cloonan was a first-team All-Dade selection, and will look to fulfill his potential for the hometown team.
RHP Daniel Federman: As the teammate of standout first baseman Alex Toral, Federman has been often overlooked as a prospect. However, in my opinion, Federman is one of the most underrated players in this class for Miami. Perfect Game ranks him at No.348 in their top-400 freshman rankings, and at 6-1, 205 lbs Federman presents good physical qualities. Federman also brings a 91 mph fastball to Miami, and has room for growth from an already solid starting point. In addition Federman was an All-State and All-County pitcher in his senior season. Being an All-State player is extremely hard to do in Florida, and Federman accomplished that and so many other things in his high school career.
Other Players: RHP Alex Ruiz, LHP Jeremy Cook: Both pitchers seem to have solid upside, but will probably need more time to grow into go-to pitchers for Miami. Things will be especially tough for Alex Ruiz, who profiles as a closer, and will have to wait for the spectacular duo of Andrew Cabezas and Frankie Bartow to depart Miami and release their holds on the set-up and closer spots. Meanwhile Jeremy Cook appears to be a solid starting pitcher prospect down the road, and should have some time to develop behind some of Miami’s current, established starting pitchers.
Miami has brought in a recruiting class that fills in many spots of need and provides depth and talent for not only this season, but also into the future as well. This is one of the most impressive Miami recruiting classes to make campus in several years. It is almost certain that these players will have a huge impact on the amount of success Miami will have not only this year, but in the years to come.