#11 Miami Baseball 2015 Preview

Miami Hurricanes

Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #3 ACC  
#11 Miami Baseball 2015 Preview
Miami Team Page


Miami came into the 2014 NCAA Tournament on a roll after going 24-6 in ACC Conference play during the regular season. However, the unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament reared its ugly head again in the Coral Gables Regional as the offense just could not get enough done to hold off a red-hot Texas Tech team. The Hurricanes bring back plenty of experienced players who will be looking for more in 2015 after a trip to Omaha has eluded this program since 2008.

2014: 44-19, 24-6
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Morris

Field Players:
Catcher Zack Collins will be the sparkplug for the Miami offense this season. Collins hit .298 with 11 homeruns, 54 runs batted and boasted a .556 slugging percentage. In addition, Collins was the 2014 Baseball America National Freshman of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year. Outfielder Willie Abreu does not hit for power like Collins does, but he can drive in runs at a solid clip, droving in 29 runs last season. Abreu is also a great asset defensively as he only committed one error throughout the 2014 season. Infielder/outfielder Christopher Barr and Brandon Lopez will need to be effective again with their speed after combining for 13 stolen bases in 21 attempts last season.

This will be the unquestioned strength of the Hurricanes this season. The pitching staff will be led by two preseason All-American candidates in Andrew Suarez, who earned second team recognition, and closer Bryan Garcia. Suarez did a nice job of eating up innings, throwing109.2 innings and walking just 15 batters while striking out 87. Suarez was the highest draft pick to return to school after being drafted in the second round by the Washington Nationals. Garcia was 7-4 with a 1.75 earned run average and collected 15 saves last season as the closer. Garcia does a great job of going after hitters and struck out 56 batters in 51.0 innings pitched last season.

Who to Watch:
The starting pitching rotation after Suarez has plenty of questions to be answered as Miami will need to replace Chris Diaz and Bryan Radziewski within the weekend rotation. It will be up to Derik Beauprez to step up and lock down one of the two open weekend starting spots. Beauprez put up impressive numbers in limited action last season, going 1-0 with a 0.83 earned run average in six appearances that included four starts.

Final Projection:
The Hurricanes should start out of the gates in good shape. The schedule is not overly taxing in the early part of the season outside of a series up in Gainesville against Florida starting on February 20th. That series with the Gators will test the inexperience in the starting rotation behind Suarez and will force the offense to have to execute at a high level in order for Miami to win that series. The conference schedule opens at Louisville, which could be the beginning of a great future rivalry in college baseball. Two key road series in conference play will be a trip to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina and a trip to Charlottesville to play Virginia. It is going to be very important for the Hurricanes to pitch well and play great defense in those two series for Miami to win both series. Florida State visits Coral Gables starting April 24th and should also be one of the best series of the year. If the offense can get rolling to take some pressure off the pitching staff, the Hurricanes should at least be a Super Regional team.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Willie Abreu, IF, 220
Hits: Willie Abreu, IF, 61; Zack Collins, C, 61
Home Runs: Zack Collins, C, 11
RBIs: Zack Collins, C, 54
Runs: Zack Collins, C, 32
Stolen Bases: Christopher Barr, IF/OF, 7

Wins: Bryan Garcia, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Andrew Suarez, P, 109.2
Strikeouts: Andrew Suarez, P, 87
Saves: Bryan Garcia, P, 15


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