Arteaga discusses coaching additions, importance of analytics and approach to building relationships with players

J.D. Arteaga, pictured after he was hired as Miami baseball's next head coach. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes, a once-revered baseball program and one of the pinnacles of college baseball have taken steps to return to greatness this offseason, led by its new head coach.

On July 18, former Miami baseball player and now head coach J.D. Arteaga reaffirmed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead the “program he grew up watching, grew up playing in, and coaching for the last twenty-one years,” before opening questions for his introductory press conference.

Arteaga has made several moves since his promotion by adding multiple notable names to his coaching staff, such as former Nova Southeastern University head coach and Miami pitcher Laz Gutierrez to fill in the vacancy left in the pitching staff.

“Having someone that played here, had success here, and played in the college world series all three of his years is important. The expectations here are greater than about anywhere in the country,” Arteaga said about the addition of Gutierrez.

Darren Fenster, a key figure in the Boston Red Sox’s farming system and coach for Team USA, was hired to Miami’s coaching staff. Fenster is known for his versatility, as he has coached the infield, outfield, baserunning and managed a minor league team.

Arteaga emphasized the importance of analytics in today’s game and how UM plans on integrating them into the program moving forward.

“The administration has given me the ability to hire an analytics staff. We have the instruments to generate all the data, but to break it down is a whole other ball game,” Arteaga said.

Being able to combine the “old school” with the “new school” while keeping the human element in mind is still one of Arteaga’s main strategies to bring prestige back to the program.

Arteaga’s approach to building relationships with players is dependent on trust and recognizing that players can be “more than just a pitcher.” The first-time head coach acknowledged that while he played at Miami, he had multiple father figures that helped him develop as a person and a player.

Arteaga intends to take on the same role and leave a similar impact on Miami’s roster. This will create a team that “listens,” according to Arteaga.

As for the team’s personnel, Arteaga confirmed with reporters that Miami is “almost done with the roster” and that he’s unsure “what the starting lineup will be.” Many noteworthy players from last year’s team, like Yohandy Morales, Andrew Walters, C.J. Kayfus, Alejandro Rosario, Zach Levenson and Dominic Pitelli, were drafted in the 2023 MLB Draft and will not be returning. This leaves power-hitting rising sophomore Blake Cyr as the only starting infielder to remain on the team. Arteaga confirmed that there are “a lot of new faces” this upcoming season.

Arteaga is focused on reaching Omaha for the College World Series, a common goal shared by Division I baseball coaches. This goal will take a great deal of “mental toughness”, as emphasized by Arteaga.