The University of Miami baseball team got an unexpected surprise Friday when second-round Washington Nationals draft pick Andy Suarez, a left-handed pitcher, chose to return to UM instead of turning pro.
Suarez, on the phone with the Miami Herald as Friday’s 5 p.m. signing deadline passed, said he was “positive” he made the right decision.
The bottom line, according to Suarez: The Nationals did not offer him more than the slot value of $987,800 for his place as the 57th overall draft pick.
“They said they were just going to offer me slot [value],” Suarez said. “I wasn’t going to sign for slot, and we didn’t agree in negotiations. And that was it, pretty much. I feel like coming back is a good decision for me. I’m going to get my degree and I’ll be a junior, so I can still negotiate.
“I’m feeling stronger than ever — really good — and, hopefully, it stays the same throughout the year. We have unfinished business to take care of. I feel like this could be our year to make it to Omaha.”
Suarez, who is 6-2 and 205 pounds, graduated from Miami Columbus High. He finished 6-3 this past season as a redshirt sophomore with a 2.95 ERA. He struck out 87 batters and walked 15.
“Everything is special about Andy,” UM coach Jim Morris said Friday night. “He’s a great kid, outstanding student, and he throws the best pitch in baseball — a strike.”
UM finished 44-19 in 2014 and lost to Texas Tech in the championship game of the Coral Gables Regional. The Canes won the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference crown with a 24-6 league record.
Also choosing to play at UM in 2015 instead of turning pro: left-handed Mater Academy pitcher Michael Mediavilla (40th round, Cincinnati Reds); outfielder Carl Chester of Longwood (38th round, Milwaukee Brewers); and infielder George Iskenderian, who played his freshman season for South Carolina before transferring to Indian River State (34th round, St. Louis Cardinals).
UM junior running back Duke Johnson is one of 50 players to watch for the 2014 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the nation’s fourth-oldest individual college football accolade.
Johnson, a 2012 Walter Camp Second Team All-American, is one of six Atlantic Coast Conference players on the list. Johnson has already been named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award (college player of the year) and Doak Walker Award (best running back).
track and field
UM track and field signees Henri Delauze and Ian Kerr were selected to represent the Bahamas at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships.
Delauze and Kerr will be part of the 22-member Bahamian team that will travel to Eugene, Oregon, to compete against the world’s top junior athletes from July 22-27.
This year’s World Junior Championships marks the first time the event will be held in the United States.