Victor Mederos committed to the University of Miami as a freshman at Coral Reef (Fla.) High in 2016-17. He was a highly touted prep right-handed pitcher who scouts flocked to see throughout his high school career.
Mederos drew a plethora of interest leading up to the 2020 MLB draft. Scouts projected him as a potential first-round pick. But major league teams didn’t meet his desired signing bonus figure, causing him to honor his commitment to Miami.
His time at Miami didn’t last long, though. After an underwhelming freshman season, Mederos entered his name into the transfer portal. He committed to Oklahoma State University soon after he announced his intentions to transfer. Now, Mederos hopes the fresh start will lead to more success on the mound.
“I had a lot of interest and was very amazed how quick people reached out,” Mederos said. “When it came to Oklahoma State, the way they saw me and the vision they had for me here stood out. I did not doubt in my mind that this was going to be the place for me.”
Less than two years after declining pro interest, Mederos is on scouts’ radar again this year. He is a draft-eligible sophomore and considered a potential early-round pick in the 2022 draft.
If Mederos shows growth this spring, he could vault himself up draft boards and in the conversation as one of the top college arms in this year’s draft class.
“In high school, you have a lot of interest and scouts coming up to you,” Mederos said. “I felt like I was so anxious and had to do so much better than everyone so I could be that top-round pick. Now, I realize I have to do what got me here and hope for the best.”
Mederos started his freshman season in the starting rotation for Miami last season. The young hurler struggled, posting a 6.08 ERA in eight starts to begin the season. Miami moved Mederos to the bullpen, where he made four relief appearances – all in mid-week games – and pitched in seven innings.
He posted a 5.11 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 18 walks allowed in 44 innings pitch last season. He then pitched in the Cape Cod League, recording a 4.64 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 12 walks allowed in 21 1/3 innings.
Mederos hopes his offseason work and experiences translate to improved results his sophomore season. The 6-foot-4, 224-pound right-handed pitcher throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, curveball, slider, and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot and an athletic and repeatable delivery.
Out of his four-pitch mix, Mederos’ best pitch is his high-90 fastball. His slider has become a tighter and faster offering, increasing from the mid-80s to hitting 91 mph during his collegiate career. His curveball also serves as a swing-and-miss pitch while his changeup flashes solid potential.
Mederos grew up in Cuba before moving to Miami at 6 years old. It has given him a different perspective on life and baseball. It motivates him, along with his family, to thrive on the mound.
“I would say my mindset and the way I attack the game,” said Mederos on his biggest strength. “Once I am up there, I don’t care if we are playing intersquads or in a real game, you’re not my friend. You are up there to try to take food from my family. I have to go out there and win. I have to win and do everything I can to beat that team at that point, and I take that very personally. That is what has created me to be very aggressive and to attack hitters.”
After averaging less than four innings per appearance last year, Mederos hopes to pitch deeper into games this season. He also wants to improve the control and command of his pitches. He believes he has improved his pitch mix and mentality to make those strides this season.
“If your pitch count is low and you are throwing the ball well, the coaches here will let you go,” Mederos said. “I want to pitch deep into ball games. I want to get into the eighth and ninth innings and throw complete games. I’m excited to see what the season brings. I also want to command my fastball more too.”
This season, Mederos will play a vital role as a starting pitcher for Oklahoma State. If he can perform up to his potential, the Cowboys will have a solid one-two punch with All-American Justin Campbell returning atop their rotation.
Expectations are high for the Cowboys this season. They have a talented roster and are seeking their ninth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. The Cowboys also are hoping to qualify for the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since 2016.
“This team for me is the best team I have played on,” Mederos said. “I have played on a lot of talented teams, even when I played travel baseball. This team is completely different. The bond we have with each other is amazing. We play a lot like a brotherhood, and I think we are going to do really well.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.