After not having a player selected on the first two days of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, it didn’t take long for the Miami Hurricanes to get on the board on day three, June 6.
Junior right-handed pitcher Frankie Bartow was selected with the No. 341 overall pick in the 11th round by the Washington Nationals – the first of six Hurricanes to be picked.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bartow said. “Yesterday was a little disappointment, but just to hear your name called is what I’ve been dreaming of since I was little.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound reliever compiled a 12-3 career record and totaled 16 saves with a 3.06 ERA in 94 appearances. This past season, Bartow finished with a 5-0 record and a 3.12 ERA.
“He’s really matured both on and off the field,” Miami pitching coach JD Arteaga said. “He has added some strength and threw the ball a lot harder this season. Frankie was an 88-90 guy when he came in and has topped out at 97 this year with great sink that he has always had.”
The Miami, Florida, native burst onto the scene as a freshman after leading the nation with 43 appearances. The 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American helped Miami reach the 2016 College World Series with a 6-0 record and a 2.72 ERA.
Bartow remains undecided on whether he will turn professional or return to Coral Gables for his senior year.
“I’d say it’s 50-50,” Bartow said. “I have to talk to my parents and the Nationals and make a decision. If this is the end, it has been an honor playing for Miami. My first dream growing up was playing for UM. I just want to thank the coaches, my parents and all the fans.”
Fellow junior Romy Gonzalez was the second Miami player taken with the No. 528 pick in the 18th round by the Chicago White Sox.
“I’m just happy it’s over,” Gonzalez said. “I’m ready to get out there and start balling. To be honest with you, I didn’t go as high as I wanted, but all I need is an opportunity. I’m going to make the most of it for sure.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound infielder/outfielder hit .254 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI in three seasons for Miami. This past year, Gonzalez led the team with a .272 batting average, 30 RBI and 22 stolen bases.
“Romy is an athletic, versatile player, who can play first base, second base, third base and even the outfield,” associate head coach Gino DiMare said. “He can run, has a plus arm and power. His strength, body, speed and power have certainly developed since he arrived.”
Gonzalez is expected sign with the White Sox and report immediately, forgoing his final year of college eligibility.
“It has been a great experience playing in my hometown for the University of Miami,” Gonzalez said. “There is nothing like having your family and friends out there supporting you every game. I’ve grown as a player and a person, and I can’t thank the coaches and support staff enough.”
In the same round, just 14 picks later, right-handed pitcher Andrew Cabezas was selected by the Minnesota Twins.
Words cannot express what I am feeling right now. A Hialeah boy going to live out his dream with the Minnesota Twins. Thank you Minnesota for the opportunity and to all my family, friends and coaches that made this ride enjoyable. On to the next journey… #TwinsTerritory pic.twitter.com/4h27bzSErr
— Andrew Cabezas (@Andrew35Cabezas) June 7, 2018
“This can’t be real; it almost feels fake,” said Cabezas, who was the No. 544 overall pick. “I can’t believe I’m going to live out my dream and play professional baseball with a great organization like the Minnesota Twins. It feels amazing. I’m at a loss for words right now.”
The six-foot, 180-pound hurler totaled a 14-8 career record and five saves with a 3.69 ERA in 82 appearances, including 13 starts, in three seasons.
“He’s got that ‘Napoleon Complex,’ Arteaga said. “He knows he’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he has a big heart. When he takes the mound, he thinks he’s 6 feet 5, 240 pounds, and he’s grunting and screaming. Andrew is a great competitor.”
Similarly to Gonzalez, Cabezas is expected to forgo his senior year and sign with the Minnesota Twins.
Junior outfielder Danny Reyes became the fourth Hurricanes player selected when the Detroit Tigers took him with the No. 825 pick in the 28th round.
“It feels surreal,” Reyes said. “You work your entire life for this one day. Just to get an opportunity to get to play professional baseball and live out your dream is a blessing. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder, who played his freshman year with the Florida Gators before transferring to Broward College, led Miami with a .321 average and five home runs, despite missing half of the season because of a thumb injury. Reyes added nine doubles and 19 RBI in 27 games.
“I came back this year and finished as strong as I possibly could have, especially coming back from thumb surgery,” Reyes said. “I was able to prove to myself and others that I could compete at the D1 level.”
The Miami Springs, Florida, native has not yet made a decision on whether he will turn pro or return to Miami for his senior year.
“I have to wait and see exactly what happens,” Reyes said. “There was no better feeling than coming out every night and wearing a ‘U’ on my chest, proudly representing the city I’m from.”
One round later, the Tigers double downed on Canes by selecting senior left-handed pitcher Jeb Bargfeldt with the No. 855 pick.
“Everything is just sort of numb right now,” said Bargfeldt, who was picked in the 29th round. “Everything that I have done to get to this point just seems so worth while that it just leaves you feeling accomplished, yet excited, to keep going.”
The six-foot, 175-pound starting pitcher compiled an 11-8 career record with a 2.87 ERA and held opponents to a .212 batting average in 30 starts in two seasons at Miami.
“Ever since I started to succeed in high school, there was always someone at the next level that told me I couldn’t make it,” the 2017 All-ACC Second Team honoree said. “Eventually, over time, I just started to make my own destiny and leave what my future holds up to me. Now, I’m sure people will tell me I won’t succeed here, and well, I’ll just have to rinse, wash and repeat a new set of goals.”
Fellow senior left-handed pitcher Michael Mediavilla finished off the day for the Hurricanes with his selection by the Milwaukee Brewers with the No. 1025 pick in the 34th round.
“He is a big left-hander, and if he can get back to where he was two years ago, he’s an outstanding pitcher,” Arteaga said.
A 2016 All-American, Mediavilla had a 18-12 record and a 3.88 ERA in four seasons at Miami. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound pitcher was integral to the Hurricanes’ back-to-back trips to the College World Series in 2015 and 2016.
Other players with ties to the Canes baseball program will have decisions to make this summer as well.
The Hurricanes had two of their signees — corner infielder Triston Casas and outfielder Brennen Davis — selected on the first day of the draft.
Casas, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound lefty slugger, has signed with the Boston Red Sox, per reports. While Davis, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound athletic outfielder, is likely to turn pro and sign with the Chicago Cubs.
Catcher Adrian Del Castillo, who was a 36th round pick of the White Sox, shortstop Henry Villar, who was a 37th round selection by the Cubs, and right-handed pitcher Slade Cecconi, who was a selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 38th round, are all expected to honor their commitment with the University of Miami.
Left-handed pitcher JP Gates, who was ranked No. 145 by MLB Pipeline among prospects, went undrafted. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound hurler confirmed with The Miami Hurricane that he will enroll at Miami.
The deadline to sign a contract is July 6.