(Photo courtesy of @romygonzalez_5)
As the 2017 summer league season comes to an end, it is time to roll out CBBSN’s collegiate summer league updates from around the country. Over the next several weeks, our scouts will be sharing how their school’s players have fared over the season, and how they look to project going into fall practice.
The Miami Hurricanes are used to success and winning. Last year, the Canes saw their 44-year NCAA postseason tournament streak come to an end. Due to high-end talent drafted the year before, the 2017 Hurricanes entered the season looking to re-tool with a younger, less experienced roster. Ultimately, a lack of experience played a role in the team failing to reach postseason play for the first time since 1972.
With a relatively young roster, summer baseball leagues offer an opportunity for playing time and game experience. Playing year-round is nothing new for those who make up the roster for Miami, as five of its six players who participated in summer ball this offseason are from South Florida.
With the focus on staying in baseball shape and improving their game, the Canes look to get back to the NCAA tournament, and these six players are well on their way.
Romy Gonzalez: Orleans Firebirds, Cape Cod League
The 6-foot-2 third baseman played all 58 games for the Canes in 2017, leading the club in home runs (11) and RBI (38), while hitting .265.
Gonzalez was named an All-Star in the Cape Cod League for his offensive production. Playing in 29 games, Gonzalez went 35-for-110 with four HR, 17 RBIs, and slashed .318/.342/.509 and had a .851 OPS. After getting off to a slow start, Gonzalez turned it around in a hurry with a power surge in his last 16 games. His power plays, and if Gonzalez can consistently make contact, he is going to be a tough out for ACC pitchers in 2018.
Michael Perez: Delray Beach Lightning, South Florida Collegiate Baseball League
Playing in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League, Perez stayed close to home. His performance this summer was off the charts. In 81 at-bats, Perez scattered 32 hits, including eight doubles and one homer, while driving in 14 runs. Overall, Perez finished the summer on a very high note, though it should be mentioned there is lesser competition in this league compared to the Cape Cod and others.
Frankie Bartow: Wareham Gatemen, Cape Cod League
After a phenomenal 2016 with 2.72 ERA in 56 1/3 innings pitched, Bartow saw a slight regression in 2017. The right-handed reliever had a 3.60 ERA in 30 innings pitched. While his ERA jumped almost a full run, Bartow took over as the team’s closer, coming in fourth in the ACC with 12 saves.
With a fastball ranging 94-96 mph, and a solid command of his breaking ball and changeup mix, it didn’t take much for Bartow to get his work in this summer. The reliever appeared in three games, threw six innings and had a 1.50 ERA, all while striking out five and walking one. Look for Bartow to continue to develop in 2018 and become a threat in the ninth inning.
Daniel Rivero: Saunton Braves, Valley Baseball League
In limited innings as a true freshman, Rivero had an 8.38 ERA in nine innings pitched. But Rivero has a big arm, sitting 91-94 with a solid feel for his breaking stuff this summer. He appeared in 10 games, making five starts, and posted a 5.63 ERA, but he had his moments throughout the summer. His best performance came in six innings of work, accumulating eight strikeouts with only two runs allowed. Overall, Rivero had 33 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched – look for him to keep improving the more he pitches, as his arm and stuff play.
Kam Lane: Saunton Braves, Valley Baseball League
An outfielder committed to Miami as a JuCo transfer, Lane played alongside future teammate Rivero in the Valley League. In 54 at-bats, Lane scattered 11 hits. Lane hit .246 with Salt Lake Community College, driving in 25 runs and had a slightly above average .333 OBP. It will be interesting to see where Lane fits in the Canes’ outfield come next season.
Benito Varela: Pompano Beach Clippers, South Florida Collegiate Baseball League
Another transfer for Miami, Varela is a catcher from Palm Beach State College. He played in only six games for the Clippers and put together a .214 batting average.