First Impressions: Miami-Florida

Florida C Taylor Gushue

Kiley shares some scouting notes & news of surprising velo bumps from the Miami-Florida series.

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There are lots of prospects on Florida and Miami and in every class. Before I try to write up everyone from the series in a more formal way, I wanted to run down some quick notes from Saturday's game.

Florida Pitchers

Freshman RHP Brett Morales started for the Gators and was 87-90 mph with an above average changeup and he relied on those two pitches almost the whole outing. He has a good curveball but had trouble commanding it, so put it away for awhile and still had the problem from high school where he left flat fastballs up in the zone too often.

Sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold came in relief of Morales and was 88-91 mph with a solid-average slider and changeup. He looked, in a short look, like a better candidate to be the Saturday starter than Morales. Morales' lack of dependable third pitch will hurt him later in outings and Hanhold looks to be able to turn over a lineup better. To be fair, I thought this before the season started as well but I think the coaches want to see what they have in Morales while they're stretching everyone out.

The depth of the Gators staff shone through late in the game, and there's still plenty of arms left for Sunday's series finale. Sophomore RHP Jay Carmichael was 88-90 mph in his handful of pitches and threw a slider that looked average or slightly above, but got a quick hook. Sophomore LHP Danny Young was 88-89 mph with an average slider. Freshman LHP Tyler Deel was 88-90 with a solid-average slurve. Freshman RHP Frank Rubio was 87-89 with an average slider. Freshman RHP Dane Dunning was in and out quickly but was also in the high 80's withe a good breaking ball.

Florida Hitters

Junior 1B Braden Mattson, a juco transfer, looked to be markedly better at the plate than in the the fall to the point that I'm wondering if he was banged up at scout day when I saw him. He's got above average bat speed, average raw power to his pull side and some fluidity to his swing.

I'm still a little worried about junior Taylor Gushue as a pro catcher. He's fringy as a receiver and his above average arm plays down due to a slower release in games. I'm still not sure how I feel about him and he hasn't improved as much as scouts expected given how advanced he was as a freshman.

Junior 2B Casey Turgeon also looks to have leveled off a bit after looking advanced as a freshman and may be a candidate to return for his senior year. Speaking of standout freshmen, 3B Pete Alonso continues improving and looks like every bit of the new Preston Tucker. Freshman CF Buddy Reed's tools are amazing--plus-plus run, plus arm, good defender, 6'3/200 switch-hitting athlete with some pop--but he's as raw as you'd expect a northern multi-sport guy to be at this point. Easy 1st round tools, though.

Miami Pitchers

Miami redshirt junior LHP Bryan Radziewski was 91-92 mph in the first inning and settled in to 89-91 the rest of the way. In the middle of last year, he was throwing 85-87 mph cutters, wasn't a pro prospect and had the same, maxed-out 5'10/195 frame: this is a surprising development to say the least. His 77-81 mph slurve was above average and he commanded it well all night while his 80-81 mph changeup was fringy but has average potential.

The most interesting part of this velo bump is Radziewski isn't the only one. Junior LHP Chris Diaz was 85-88 mph last year and is now 88-91 while junior LHP Andrew Suarez was 87-90 mph last year and is 91-94 mph this year.

I don't have to tell you guys that all three starters getting 3-4 mph bumps in their draft year is extremely rare, especially with none of these pitchers being especially projectable. If it was any other school, it would be a fun story that's fueling the team's return to the top 25...but, well, you know what I'm getting at here. Some scouts are wondering aloud how this happened.

Freshman RHP Cooper Hammond is a submariner righty that worked 78-81 mph, Senior LHP A.J. Salcines pitched 86-89 mph and hit 90 with a solid average changeup at 78-79 mph. Freshman RHP Bryan Garcia pitched for the second day in a row and was 89-91 mph with good cut to his fastball tonight. I'm told he was a tick or two higher last night.

Another notable arm that I've seen in the past, senior RHP Javi Salas, could be used in relief of Suarez tomorrow and was 88-90 with a heavy sinker and solid-average slider last year as a spot starter. LHP Danny Garcia (command lefty that's been used in relief) and RHP/1B Derik Beauprez (hasn't played yet) are two freshmen with potential to watch in the coming years.

Miami Hitters

Senior CF Dale Carey continues to have a very up and down career, but offers some potential as a projectable 6'2 center fielder with plus speed, an average arm and some feel to hit. He was atrocious last year to where you couldn't put him on the field, but looks back to normal this year. Could be a solid senior sign, possibly in the top 10 rounds.

I don't like Sophomore 3B David Thompson's swing that much and he doesn't have the massive raw power or advanced plate discipline to make up for it, but he makes the most of what he has and he'll play in pro ball. I really liked freshmen RF Willie Abreu and 1B Zack Collins as prep draft prospects last year and they have both improved since, making them the best long-term hitting prospects in the program by a good margin.

Junior C Garrett Kennedy doesn't have the most tools but also maximizes what he has and will be a professional player, likely after returning for his senior season. Senior LF Tyler Palmer was very interesting: he's just a solid-average runner and is limited to left field, but has bat speed, a short stroke and makes a ton of contact. He could be another solid senior sign, possibly in the top 10 rounds. Some freshmen to look out for that aren't yet playing a lot: 1B Brad Zunica and C Carlos Diaz.

Really looking forward to seeing Karsten Whitson match up versus Andrew Suarez today (I mention the buzz on both of them here).

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