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Previewing Miami’s 2020 Infield

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Miami could have one of the best infields in the country in 2020.

Credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes could have one of the best offensive infields in the country heading into 2020. The ‘Canes have immense power at the corners, with standout sluggers Ray Gil and Alex Toral manning third and first respectively. In the middle of the infield Freddy Zamora is one of the most complete hitters in the country at shortstop and Anthony Vilar posses an elite ability to get on base.

The biggest question for the Hurricanes is going to be infield defense. The ‘Canes have been disappointing defensively in the infield for the last several years, and for the team as a whole to take the next step forward this season Miami’s defense must improve.

Returning Players

SS Freddy Zamora

2019 Statistics: .296 AVG, .393 OBP, .447 SLG, 46 RBI, 12 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 31 BB, 199 AB

Freddy Zamora is one of the best shortstops in the ACC and the country. Zamora is a complete hitter, with solid power, great contact abilities, and a good eye. He’s also an excellent baserunner, having stolen 13 bases on 16 attempts last season. Zamora’s biggest issue is his defense, he made a team high 22 errors last season, and struggled to a .893 fielding percentage. Zamora can, and often does, make spectacular plays in defense, but all too often routine plays go wrong at shortstop, something that will have to be cleaned up in 2020.

Freddy Zamora is one of the best players on the team and he’ll be a key piece of everything Miami does this season. Zamora will need to lead by example by improving his defense this season. If he does, this could be his last year in green and orange, because he could greatly improve his draft stock ahead of June’s MLB Draft.

1B Alex Toral

2019 Statistics: .293 AVG, .400 OBP, .656 SLG, 67 RBI, 6 2B, 0 3B, 24 HR, 39 BB, 215 AB

2019 ACC Home Run Leader

2020 Preseason All-American

Alex Toral is one of the best power-hitters in the country. Last season, Toral led the ACC in home runs and did an excellent job of drawing walks and getting on base. One of the biggest areas of improvement Toral could make is cutting strikeouts, especially on breaking balls, which was something he struggled with at the end of last season. Defensively, Toral is one of the strongest defenders on the team, having showed great improvement at first base during last year. He made just five errors all season, and with another step forward he could be even better.

Alex Toral will be one of Miami’s best players in 2020. This season will almost certainly be his last in green and orange, because like several other members of the team, he projects to be taken in the early rounds of the MLB Draft.

3B Ray Gil

2019 Statistics: .318 AVG, .396 OBP, .565 SLG, 44 RBI, 14 2B, 0 3B, 13 HR, 26 BB, 214 AB

2019 All-ACC Third Team

2020 Preseason All-American

Ray Gil is excellent third baseman, especially on the offensive side of the game. He has an aggressive approach that leads to a lot of solid contact which has led him to put up solid slugging numbers in his first two years at Miami. Like Toral, Gil could take a step forward by limiting his strikeouts. Gil also needs to improve his defense, as he made 16 errors last season and played to just a .869 fielding percentage. Like Zamora, Gil has the capability to make great plays, but all too often routine plays go wrong.

Ray Gil will be a key middle of the order bat for the Hurricanes this season. He could improve his draft stock enough to become a high-pick in the MLB Draft next year with a solid 2020. If his defense improves and his strikeouts go down, Gil could become an elite college third baseman this year.

2B Anthony Vilar

2019 Statistics: .291 AVG, .416 OBP, .414 SLG, 39 RBI, 12 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 49 BB, 237 AB

Anthony Vilar had an excellent freshman season in 2019. He did an excellent job at the top of the order in getting on base, and he’ll look to continue to set the table for Miami’s middle of the order bats in 2020. Additionally, Vilar did a solid job defensively in the middle of the infield and is a great double-play partner for Freddy Zamora. Vilar could improve this season by finding a little more power in his bat.

Anthony Vilar is the least experienced piece of Miami’s starting infield, but he’s still an excellent offensive player and complements the rest of the Hurricanes’ lineup very well. He should continue to be a great player at the top of the ‘Canes lineup this year.

IF Tyler Paige

2019 Statistics: .111 AVG, .200 OBP, .222 SLG, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 9 AB

Tyler Paige saw very limited action as a reserve infielder last season. Early in the year he saw time off the bench due to his ability to play well at multiple infield positions, but sat out the last few months of the season with an injury. Paige could see a bigger role on the field this season and could quite possibly be Gino DiMare’s first option for an infielder off of the bench.

Tyler Paige has dealt with injuries in his first few seasons at Miami, but could see an increased role on the diamond this season. He should be one of the Hurricanes’ first options off of the bench this season and should see his at-bats go up in the season to come.

IF Austin Pollack

2019 Statistics: .167 AVG, .167 OBP, .167 SLG, 0 RBI, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 BB, 6 AB

Austin Pollack saw just six at-bats as a true freshman in 2019, but like Tyler Paige, should see more at-bats as a bench-bat in 2020. Pollack saw more action at the end of the year last season, and with more development he could be a great depth-piece for the Hurricanes in the upcoming year.

Austin Pollack and Tyler Paige should be able to fill in a crucial role for Miami. Last season, the Hurricanes suffered injuries and struggled to get their infielders rest when they needed it. In 2020, Pollack and Paige should be able to change that.

Newcomers

IF Josh Lauck

2019 Statistics (Mission College): .309 AVG, .476 OBP, .576 SLG, 16 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 37 BB, 139 AB

Josh Lauck is a talented JUCO transfer that Gino DiMare will look to find a place to play throughout the season. At the very least, Lauck should be another strong option off of the bench throughout the year. Lauck should see a bigger role than that though, he should see starts from time to time, and will be a great option to fill in holes arising from injuries as the season goes on.

Josh Lauck is a talented infielder who provides valuable depth on Miami’s roster. Lauck had two great seasons at Mission College, and it’s very well possible that he could continue the success that past JUCO transfers have had for the Hurricanes.