Entering 2019 one thing is clear for the Miami Hurricanes; catcher is easily the strongest position on the team, and quite possibly the strongest the catching room has been in the history of Hurricanes baseball. With two returning stars and one of the best freshmen in America on the roster the biggest concern surrounding the catcher’s meeting room is how to fit all three players into the lineup.
2018 Statistics: .225 AVG, .288 SLG, .273 OBP, 14 RBI, 80 AB, 18 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 BB
After two injury plagued seasons in 2017 and 2018, Michael Amditis comes into the 2019 season “the healthiest he’s ever been for us,” according to Gino DiMare, and Miami will lean on him to lead the infield on defense. He is great in every facet of the defensive game: framing pitches, throwing out base runners, and playing with smart fundamentals when the ball is in play. On offense the sample size for Amditis is small, with only 94 career at-bats. In his freshman season in 2017 his stats were incredible through his first six games of the season, the only games he played, batting for a .357 AVG with a .429 SLG percentage. Last year his production regressed significantly. Amditis never had a chance to get into a rhythm due to constantly missing games and long stretches due to injuries.
In 2019 Michael Amditis could be, and should be, a huge part of the Hurricanes lineup. However the question of how many games he will be able to play still remains. With only thirty games played in two seasons on campus, Amditis will need to prove his durability to become the cornerstone of the ‘Canes behind home plate. However, no one can question the redshirt sophomore’s leadership ability, and he will serve as a team captain along with Evan McKendry in 2019.
2018 Statistics: .291 AVG, .370 SLG, .380 OBP, 24 RBI, 165 AB, 48 H, 10 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 17 BB
Issac Quiñones was the Hurricanes rookie of the year in 2018, and will look to build on that early success with a strong sophomore campaign in 2019. The Hurricanes will hope to get the same offensive production out of Isaac in his sophomore year, and will have to find a way to get his bat a spot in the lineup along with those of Michael Amditis and freshman Adrian Del Castillo. He isn’t as strong behind the plate as Amditis, which means he’ll probably give up the starting catching role and move into a spot as the designated hitter: a lineup arrangement that was seen several times at the end of last season.
2019 should see Isaac Quiñones as one of the best players on Miami’s team yet again. At the end of last year his bat began to cool off a little bit, but he has the talent and swing to find success at the plate again for Miami this season, and could be a big part of the offense for the ‘Canes this year.
Adrian Del Castillo
2018 Statistics: N/A
“I just want to win,” that’s how Adrian Del Castillo responded to a question on what his goals were for his freshman season at the University of Miami. As one of the most talented freshmen in the nation he’s poised to help the Hurricanes do just that. Gino DiMare told the media “Del Castillo swings the bat probably as well as anyone we’ve had here in awhile,” and he can provide a vital injection of power and production into what has been a terrible offense over the last two years. With the catching position so crowded this season, expect Del Castillo to slot in at first base or as the designated hitter if Issac Quiñones isn’t a part of Gino DiMare’s plan for the lineup. Del Castillo has a lot of pressure on his shoulders as a freshman, but if he swings the bat as well as he can he can power the Hurricanes to a significant improvement in their record in 2019.
Adrian Del Castillo is one of the players that Miami’s 2019 season hinges upon. If he plays well the Hurricanes offensive output should vastly improve, but if he isn’t as good as many hope the Hurricanes offense will be in search of answers somewhere else on the roster.
Catcher is by far the strongest area of the field for the Hurricanes. Much of the difficulties will be getting each player significant playing time in 2019, but for the first time in years Miami can take an injury behind the plate and should not suffer from an immediate drop-off in either offensive or defensive production: an issue which has plagued Miami for the last several years.