Three Canes Named Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans

Three Canes Named Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans

by David Villavicencio

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Just after the turn of the New Year, a trio of Miami Hurricanes picked up Perfect Game Preseason All-America honors, as announced Tuesday.

Adrian Del Castillo leads the group with another first-team All-America selection at catcher, while Alex Toral was picked for the second team at designated hitter and two-way player JP Gates garnered third-team accolades at utility. Del Castillo and Toral garnered their second preseason All-America distinctions, as the pair was also selected to Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason All-America Teams along with two-way player Ben Wanger. The complete list of Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans can be viewed here.

One of the best hitters in America, Del Castillo is considered among the top prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft class. The third-year catcher has been a hitting machine in his two years at The U, hitting .336 with 24 doubles, 14 home runs and 87 RBI over 77 games played. In a 16-game shortened season a year ago, Del Castillo led the Hurricanes with a .358 batting average and was tied for the team lead in runs scored (13) and hits (19), while his 15 RBI tied for second on the club.

A 2020 Preseason All-American by four different publications, Del Castillo was an offensive juggernaut in his debut season with the Canes. The standout finished the 2019 campaign batting .331 with 78 hits, 22 doubles and 72 RBI, all team-bests. The Miami native also scored 58 runs and clubbed 12 homers, while striking out just 24 times in 236 at-bats. A versatile player who saw time in right field, catcher, designated hitter and third base, he tied for the team lead with 22 multi-hit games and was second on the team with 18 multi-RBI performances.

Del Castillo’s 72 RBI were the second-most by a UM freshman in program history, finishing just four shy of Ryan Braun’s record 76, set in 2003. The 72 runs batted in were also the most by a Miami freshman since Yonder Alonso drove in 69 as a freshman in 2006. His 18 multi-RBI games were the most by a Hurricane freshman since Zack Collins posted 15 in 2014. A Freshman All-America selection by four publications, Del Castillo earned a host of awards after his collegiate debut season, including Second Team All-ACC, ACC All-Freshman Team, ABCA All-Region and All-Starkville Regional Team honors.

"There’s a legitimate chance that Del Castillo is the best pure hitter in the college ranks today."

Perfect Game's Vincent Cervino

Already one of the top power hitters in the nation a year ago, Toral brings his big bat back to the heart of Miami’s lineup after leading the team with five home runs and 16 RBI in 16 games a year ago. The fourth-year junior posted a .296 batting average in 2020, while leading the team with a.593 slugging percentage and was second on the Canes with .435 on-base percentage.

Toral flexed his muscle at the plate in 2019 for the Canes, hitting an ACC-leading 24 home runs that ranked third in Division I and helped propel Miami to a conference-high 85 homers on the year. The herculean first baseman’s 24 homers moved him into a tie with Yonder Alonso for the second-most home runs by a Hurricane in a single season.

In addition to his prolific power numbers, Toral hit .293 with six doubles, 47 runs scored and 67 RBI. The Davie, Fla., native’s 19 multi-RBI games led the Canes and he also posted 15 multi-hit performances. An outstanding performance in his first NCAA tournament earned Toral a spot on the 2019 All-Starkville Regional Team.

Gates is one of the top two-way players in the country. While he opened the shortened 2020 season on a five-game hitting streak, it was his exemplary work out of the bullpen that made the biggest contribution in the 16 games Miami played before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. He went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings pitched, striking out 13 batters and walked just one, allowing just one run on two hits over a team-high nine appearances. Opponents batted a microscopic .056 against Gates in his sophomore season.

The left-handed pitcher/designated hitter was outstanding at the plate as a freshman in 2019, batting .340 with nine doubles, two triples, four homers and 31 RBI in 147 at-bats. Gates, who made 38 starts as Miami’s designated hitter, posted 14 multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI performances and ranked fifth on the team with a .510 slugging percentage. The freshman’s 14-game hitting streak was second-longest on the team and he earned All-Starkville Regional honors after an impressive showing in his postseason debut.

Miami is expected to be one of the top teams in the country in 2021. The Hurricanes came in at No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball’s Fabulous 50 NCAA Division I Pre-Season Poll.