The University of Miami baseball team was ranked No. 9 in the Perfect Game College Baseball Preseason Poll, the organization announced recently.
The Hurricanes, which finished the 2017 season 31-27 (16-13 in ACC play), return 15 players from last season’s squad and welcome the addition of the No. 8 ranked recruiting class (by Baseball America) to Coral Gables.
The latest ranking is Miami’s second of the preseason – UM was ranked No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in December – and it is the second time in program history that the Canes were ranked in Perfect Game’s preseason top 10 (No. 10 in 2015).
Miami, which will open its season on Feb. 16 with a three-game series against Rutgers (Feb. 16-18), will be relying heavily on infielder Romy Gonzalez this coming season. Gonzalez, a Hialeah American High alum, raked 11 home runs in 2017 and finished with 38 RBI.
The Canes pitching staff’s ace will be lefthander and All-ACC performer Jeb Bargfeldt, who went 7-3 this past season with a 2.28 ERA while Andrew Cabezas (2.15 ERA, 80 strikeouts in 2017) will serve as the team’s top reliever.
While expectations of early contributions from incoming freshmen remain tepid, the Canes could get some extra juice from right-handed pitcher Chris McMahon and infielder Ray Gil. McMahon and Gil were selected in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft, in the 33rd and 37th rounds respectively.
Also, first baseman Alex Toral (No. 199), outfielder Gabe Rivera (No. 329) and first baseman Connor Allen (No. 440) were all ranked among Baseball America’s top 500 draft-eligible prospects.