#7 Miami Baseball 2016 Preview

Miami Hurricanes
Overall Rank: #7
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
 Miami Logo
No road to the College World Series is easy, but Miami got a pretty nice draw last season. They earned a spot hosting a regional and beat FIU and Columbia a couple times to reach the Super Regionals. Their opponent there was surprise team VCU, who was brought back down to Earth with a couple Hurricane victories. At the CWS, Miami was beaten bad by Florida twice, but did pick up a win over Arkansas. With a strong pitching staff returning, the Hurricanes will make another push for a trip to Omaha.
2015: 50-17, 23-8
2015 Postseason: NCAA CWS
Coach: Jim Morris
Field Players:
The pitching staff may be the strength, but do not tell that to Zack Collins, Willie Abreu and company. The loss of George Iskenderian, who led the team with 91 hits, and David Thompson, who hit 19 homeruns, does leave a few questions though. Collins is a great catcher and the new top power hitter on the team. He belted 15 homeruns as a sophomore and drove in 70 runs. Abreu added six homeruns and ten doubles, but does need to be more consistent at the plate. Jacob Heyward could stand to be more patient, but he hit .327 with four homeruns in just 110 at-bats.
Andrew Suarez left for the professional ranks, but Miami returns starters Thomas Woodrey and Enrique Sosa. Woodrey went 7-2 in 17 starts. He is not the most overpowering pitcher, but Woodrey is certainly reliable, even if he gives up a few too many homeruns. Sosa will feel competition for a weekend starting spot from players like Jesse Lepore and freshman Andrew Cabezas. But Sosa is an experienced senior who went 7-5 in 17 starts in 2015 with a 4.35 ERA. Lepore pitched just 14 innings as a freshman, but he is a great talent and ready to make a much bigger splash as a sophomore. Danny Garcia has plenty of starting experience too after going 7-1 with a 3.69 ERA in 2015. Cooper Hammond and Bryan Garcia will anchor a superb bullpen. Garcia is a great closer and earned ten saves in 35 appearances.
Who to Watch:
Miami will ask to get more out of players like Christopher Barr, Brandon Lopez and Carl Chester. Those three were regular starters last season and have the experience to help replace the production lost with the departure of Iskenderian and Thompson. Barr hit .306 as a sophomore and was a perfect 14-for-14 stealing bases. But he does need to be more patient at the plate and get on base more often so the power hitters can drive him home.
Final Projection:
Miami has a little bit of rebuilding to do, but this is a very talented team that will compete for an ACC title. The Hurricanes host Florida early in the season and that will be a great series to see where both teams stand. As always the ACC is going to be tough, but Miami does benefit by getting both Virginia and Louisville at Mark Light Field. A trip to Florida State to close out the regular season could play a big part in who ends up winning the ACC. But ACC title or not, Miami will be a dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament and should be among the favorites to reach the College World Series.
Projected Postseason:  College World Series
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Zack Collins, C, 242
Hits: Zack Collins, C, 73
Home Runs: Zack Collins, C, 15
RBIs: Zack Collins, C, 70
Runs: Zack Collins, C, 61
Stolen Bases: Christopher Barr, OF, 14
Wins: Danny Garcia, P, 7; Enrique Sosa, P, 7; Thomas Woodrey, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Thomas Woodrey, P, 103.0
Strikeouts: Danny Garcia, P, 80
Saves: Bryan Garcia, P, 10
Madness 2016 Draft Rankings:
#47 Zack Collins
#49 Willie Abreu