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Miami Hurricanes Baseball: 2018 MLB Draft Recap

The Miami Hurricanes were treated pretty well by the draft this time around.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Miami vs UC Santa Barbara Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes were treated pretty well by this year’s edition of the draft. The Hurricanes had five recruits rated in the Top 200 available players according to several outlets, yet just two of them that were taken are expected to sign.

Those two are 1B Triston Casas and OF Brennen Davis. Casas was one of the top prep players in the draft, and was a Perfect Game All-American. It was nearly a certainty that Miami wouldn’t get his talents on campus once Casas was invited to attend the draft in person. Most scouts thought the talented high schooler could go as high as the early teens in the draft, but ultimately Casas dropped all the way to the Boston Red Sox at pick No.26. Casas’ father later told David Furones that the Red Sox were his, “dream team” and according to Furones Casas has reached an agreement with Boston, meaning he will forgo his collegiate eligibility. We wish him the best in the future.

The other recruit expected to sign is OF Brennen Davis, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs with pick No.62. At 6-4, 175 lbs, Davis needs to grow physically, but has the frame to grow into a true five tool player in the MLB. A lot of scouts felt that Davis was a hidden gem in the class for Miami, and an organization like the Cubs picking Davis confirms that feeling. He’s expected to sign in the coming days according to multiple sources, and we wish him the best in the future.

However, while those two players will take their talents to the minor leagues. Miami still expects to get three players that were in the Top 200 prospects available in the draft. Headlining that group is 6-4 RHP Slade Cecconi. Cecconi was the 77th best available player in the draft according to Baseball America, but wasn’t drafted until the 38th Round by the Baltimore Orioles. He has a great physical frame and a very relaxed delivery, and was clocked as high as 96 MPH last summer. However, he’s pitched infrequently, but has the arm talent to turn into a dominant pitcher for the Hurricanes. Despite being drafted, he’s expected to bring his talents to Coral Gables.

Below are some highlights of Cecconi’s pitching abilities:

(Credit: Brian Sakowski, YouTube)

The other high caliber prep pitcher that is expected to bring his talents to Coral Gables is LHP JP Gates. Gates was the 130th best MLB Draft prospect according to Baseball America, and was a Perfect Game All-American. Surprisingly Gates went undrafted, and that’s a big plus for the Hurricanes. The 6-2 lefty has a fastball in the low 90s and an absolutely nasty slider that he’s been able to use as a strikeout pitch. He relies on pitch location to be effective, and is very capable of locating pitches when he’s having a good outing. Although he has shown some inconsistency. Gates also plays first base, and has shown some pop in his bat, but his pitching is elite. According to Josh White at The Miami Hurricane Gates has already confirmed he will make his way to campus and become a Hurricane.

Below is some tape of Gates’ pitching abilities:

(Credit: Baseball America, Youtube)

In the last two years Miami has added a plethora of talented arms. Last year Christopher McMahon made it to Coral Gables, and had a solid season despite only pitching a half of a year due to injury. Add this year’s class of both Slade Cecconi and JP Gates (if Cecconi makes it to campus) and that’s a display of the kind of recruiting you need to build a starting rotation:

However, Gates and Cecconi are not the only talented players that should make it to campus after the MLB Draft. Two infielders, C Adrian Del Castillo and SS Henry Vilar were also drafted, in the 36th Round and 37th Round respectively. Del Castillo was one of the best hitters in South Florida last season, and was the 194th best draft prospect according to Baseball America. He has some serious power in his bat, and was a Third Team All-American after his efforts last season. In addition he has a great arm, and should be able to prevent steals and throw out runners from behind the plate. He’s expected to hold true on his commitment and make his way to Coral Gables despite being drafted.

Henry Vilar was a name that I didn’t expect to hear called at the MLB Draft, but the 5-11 shortstop was taken in the 37th Round by the Chicago Cubs. Vilar is a talented player, and bats from the left side of the plate, which is something Miami could definitely use more of. He probably needs to add more strength, but has a good arm and a solid swing. He’s expected to stay true to his commitment and bring his talents to Coral Gables.

In addition to some of Miami’s recruits being drafted, several of the Hurricanes on the team were also drafted. In total six different ‘Canes were drafted; Frankie Bartow, Romy Gonzalez, Andrew Cabezas, Danny Reyes, Jeb Bargfeldt, and Michael Mediavilla.

Frankie Bartow was the first Miami player off the board, selected in the 11th Round by the Washington Nationals. Bartow has had a great career at Miami, with a 3.06 career ERA. Over the past two seasons Bartow has been Miami’s most dominant arm out of the bullpen, and he’s provided several shut down performances to propel Miami to victory. However, he’s only a junior, and according to Josh White Bartow is “50-50” on deciding whether or not to return to Miami for his senior season. If the righty reliever does choose to move on to the majors we wish him nothing but the best, he’s been a pleasure to watch.

Romy Gonzalez was the next player off the board from Miami, he was drafted in the 18th Round by the Chicago White Sox. The third baseman was Miami’s most relied upon infielder over the last two seasons, and has a great mix of power, speed, fielding, and baseball IQ. According to Josh White Gonzalez is expected to sign with the White Sox and forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.

Andrew Cabezas was then taken by the Minnesota Twins in the 18th Round, giving Miami two players drafted just a few picks apart. Cabezas is an undersized pitcher, but he’s shown a lot of heart and more than made up for the few inches that separate him and the typical pitching prospect. The young righty started his career as a reliever, but moved to the starting rotation this season after an injury to Greg Veliz. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops in the Twins organization, because, according to Josh White, he’s also expected to skip his senior year and sign on to play professional baseball.

The fourth Hurricane off the board was OF Danny Reyes, who was selected in the 28th Round by the Detroit Tigers. Despite missing nearly half the season with an injury, Reyes still led the ‘Canes in batting average and homeruns, and the lineup transformed after his recovery. He has a lot of talent, and according to Josh White still hasn’t made a decision on whether or not to turn pro.

Miami saw its’ fifth player go off the board after the Detroit Tigers selected Jeb Bargfeldt in the 29th Round. Bargfeldt has been as talented as they come in the past few seasons for Miami. He earned the Friday Night starting job midway through his junior season, and has never looked back, putting in two great seasons of starting pitching performances for the Hurricanes. The lefty relies more on his location and makeup to get outs, rather than his velocity, and he used those talents to keep opposing hitters off balance during his career at Miami. He was a great pitcher in his time at The U, and we look forward to seeing his accomplishments in the future.

The last Hurricane off the board was left-hander Michael Mediavilla. He was selected in the 34th Round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and he could be a bit of a sleeper pick if he returns to the pitching form that propelled him to the 2016 All-American Team. However, it has been a long time since we’ve seen that kind of outing from the lefty, but hopefully a change of scenery can propel him to better fortune in his professional career. It’s easy to have a recency bias and remember his struggles over the last two years, but Mediavilla was arguably the best pitcher on Miami’s 2016 team that took a trip to the College World Series. He has a lot of talent, and if he can find a way to return to form he could be a talented prospect.

In all, Miami had five signees and six current players taken in the 2018 MLB Draft. Fortunately, the Hurricanes recruiting class should mostly stay intact, and a talented group of high schoolers should make their way to Coral Gables when summer turns to fall. We’ll have more information on which players sign and don’t sign over the next month until the last date to sign rookie contracts arrives, and we’ll make sure to keep you updated on the decision making process for Miami’s new recruits and underclassmen as information becomes available.