Florida Memorial fall ball gets started September 30th. Guys are working really hard in the weight room and during their individual field work. New strength coaches, Aaron Thompson and Ryan Huffman, have them getting stronger, faster and mentally prepared for their upcoming spring season. Players are energized and working hard. The Lions have a lot of competition at every position this year. Head coach Tino Burgos is very excited to see them on the field competing this fall.
The Lions have drawn interest from Major League Baseball scouts. Coach Burgos stated “we have several players that have drawn interest from MLB scouts. I expect to see a few scouts out during fall ball practices and scrimmages following these guys, among others.” Those ballplayers being:
Right Handed Pitcher Christian Rivera
Third Base Axel Gomez
Outfield Darrin Brown
Outfield/Infield Raymond Guerrero
Right Handed Pitcher Kris Negron
On the pitching side, Christian Rivera returns to lead the pitching staff. The junior ace should once again be one of the top arms in the Sun Conference. Senior Edgar Aparicio has been a strong, steady arm for three years and will look to finish his senior year strong. The big right hander is very good when he is on. Incoming freshmen from Italy, Nikko Marzialli, has a chance to be very special. He is big, strong and can pitch. Local freshmen newcomer Michael Paez should see a lot of innings. He is a strike throwing machine, with command of 4 pitches. Michael Paez lost 2 games in 4 years of varsity baseball as a starter for Westland Hialeah High School. Transfers Kris Negron, from Coppin State and Samuel Briehn, from Lawson St Community College, will push for starter innings. If not starting, they will be two big arms coming out of the bullpen. They both add depth and experience, giving Florida Memorial a deep pitching staff. If they are healthy, the Lions should be very competitive on the mound in 2020.
Returning: JR Christian Rivera RHP, SR Edgar Aparicio RHP, JR Carlos Alcon RHP and SR Brandon Carter RHP.
Incoming: FR Nikko Marzialli RHP (Fermo, Italy), FR Michael Paez RHP (Hialeah, FL), FR Armando Ceballo RHP (Homestead, FL)
Transfering: SR Kris Negron RHP (Coppin St), SO Samuel Briehn RHP (Lawson St CC), SO Johnaikel Acosta RHP (Connors St)
Offensively, FMU should be a good hitting team again. Returners third base Axel Gomez, the 2018 Sun Conference Freshmen of the Year and outfielder Jouseph Renovales, a 2019 2nd team All-Sun Conference team selection and infielder Yunior Sanchez, a 2018 First Team All-Tournament selection, should lead the way in 2020. Jacquel Perry, who led the team with 5 home runs last year, is expected to continue to develop into one of the better hitting first baseman in the conference. Key additions are transfer sophomore outfielder (Saint Thomas University) James Spatafora, the 2017 Sun Conference Freshmen of the year and junior outfielder Gabriel Marinez, from perennial power JUCO Palm Beach CC. Both players should add speed and versatility to the outfield and lineup.
According to Coach Burgos “defensively, we should be very good in the outfield. In the infield, we are working on improving our consistency. We made too many simple mistakes in the infield last year that really hurt us. I anticipate this area will improve for 2020. Behind the plate we return Jose Chavez, who also struggled to remain consistent last year. However, with the addition of junior Josue Guzman (Palm Beach St CC) and junior Hector Chirinos (Arkansas Baptist), we should also see an improvement behind the plate. All three catchers will be competing for the starting position this fall.”
Returning Infielders: JR Axel Gomez, JR Manny Mollinedo, JR Jacquel Perry, JR Yunior Sanchez, SR Luis Rivera
Returning Outfielders: SR Jouseph Renovales, SR Darrin Brown, SO Nathan Llanes
Incoming Infielders: FR Malik Shinosaki (Fukijama, Japan), FR Jonathon Vasallo (Miami Beach, FL),
Incoming Outfielders: JR Gabriel Marinez (Palm Beach St CC), SO James Spatafora (St. Thomas University), FR Sam Urso (Weston, FL)
Returning Catchers: SR Jose Chavez, SO Raul Torres
Incoming Catchers: JR Josue Guzman (Palm Beach St CC), JR Hector Chirinos (Arkansas Baptist College)
Burgos’ heavy recruitment of both freshmen and transfers should pay dividends for Florida Memorial in 2020.