By Ben Harris
As summer leagues across the country recorded their seasons’ final outs, many positives could be drawn from the triumphant performances of Maryland ballplayers over the prior summer months.
Last week, Chris Rogers broke down the final numbers for every active summer Terp, eight of whom won their respective league championships. This week, Collegiate Summer Baseball released their comprehensive annual ranking of the nation’s Top 35 summer league teams.
Fifteen out of 25 Terps (60 percent) played on teams ranked in CSB’s Top 35.
Five Terps played for the Cal Ripken League’s Baltimore Redbirds, the most of any club. Four pitchers (Tyler Blohm, Mike Rescigno, Hunter Parsons, Andrew Miller) combined for a 1.79 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 110.1 dominant innings, while Marty Costes tied for third in the league with seven homers.
Three more played for the Redbirds’ league rival Bethesda Big Train. The two clubs have met in the CRCBL championship the last eight seasons. John Murphy, Justin Morris and Peyton Sorrels all brought the CRCBL title back to Bethesda this summer after the Redbirds won the last four league titles.
Kevin Smith was vital to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox taking home their third-straight Cape League championship and the top spot in CSB’s rankings. In addition to being named the CCBL Championship Series MVP, Smith led his club in hits, doubles and extra base knocks. While the Brewster Whitecaps failed to crack the rankings, both Smith and Brewster’s Nick Dunn earned All-League infield honors. Also on the Cape, Ryan Selmer’s Wareham Gatemen checked in at no. 31 on CSB’s list.
The Matsu Miners, summer home to both AJ Lee and Madison Nickens, battled to the nineteenth national ranking after winning the Alaskan Baseball League title. As Perfect Game League champions, Danny Maynard and Cameron Enck’s Amsterdam Mohawks fill the no. 12 spot. This summer, Enck set a league record with a miniscule 0.39 ERA.
Up north in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the runner-up Sanford Mainers were powered in large part by center fielder Zach Jancarski. The rising junior led the Mainers in both runs and hits.
After a disappointing 2016 compared to their 40-win seasons and NCAA Super Regional appearances in 2014 and 2015, a sharp summer looks to be a positive early start for the 2017 Terps.
By Chris Rogers
Now that summer leagues around the country have concluded, we’ll take a final look at how Terps performed.
The biggest story by far is shortstop Kevin Smith, who helped lead the Y-D Red Sox to the Cape Cod League championship. He hit .370 with 3 homers, 7 RBI and 6 runs scored to capture the CCBL Playoff MVP award as the Red Sox won their third straight title. During the regular season, Smith was just as impressive, leading the Red Sox with 43 hits and 12 doubles while hitting .301 and playing in all but three of the team’s games.
Second baseman Nick Dunn enjoyed a fine summer in the Cape as well, finishing in the top ten in the league in hitting (.311, 9th), hits (51, T-3rd), RBI (25, T-3rd) and runs scored (26, 5th) while knocking eight doubles, two triples, and a homer. Brewster failed to make the playoffs, but that doesn’t take anything away from Dunn’s stellar summer campaign. Right-hander Ryan Selmer finished the regular season with a 3.17 ERA and 12 strikeouts across 22.2 innings of relief for the Cape’s Wareham Gatemen. He made only one playoff appearance, allowing an earned run on two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings.
In the Cal Ripken League, outfielder Marty Costes put together a nice season for the Baltimore Redbirds, hitting .319 with a team-high seven home runs and 24 RBI.
His fellow Terps in Baltimore, pitchers Mike Rescigno, Andrew Miller, Tyler Blohm and Hunter Parsons each enjoyed strong seasons as well, all finishing with ERAs below 2.50. In one playoff appearance, Rescigno tossed 2.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts. Miller was just as dominant in the postseason, allowing just one earned run in 5.1 innings of work. While Blohm and Parsons struggled in the playoffs, their regular season numbers are nothing to scoff at, as they posted ERAs of 2.07 and 1.41, respectively.
Down the road, catcher/first baseman Justin Morris finished his summer with the Bethesda Big Train hitting .287 with 10 doubles and 25 RBI. He drove in four more runs in the playoffs en route to the Big Train winning their first Cal Ripken League championship in five years. John Murphy and Peyton Sorrels did not blossom in Bethesda however, as Murphy’s ERA neared 5 while Sorrels hit just .156.
With the Ripken League’s Gaithersburg Giants, infielder Pat Hisle hit just .221 in the regular season, but went 2-for-8 in the playoffs with an RBI in the postseason. His teammates, Nick Pantos and Truman Thomas, struggled as well. Pantos’s solid 3.53 ERA was overshadowed by his worrisome 1:1 K:BB ratio, and Thomas finished the season with a 5.91 ERA. For the Silver Spring Takoma Thunderbolts, catchers Nick Cieri (.301, 5 HR, 24 RBI) and Ty Friedrich (.351, 7 RBI) both flourished in limited time, while Jared Price notched four saves.
In the Valley League, Andrew Green made 13 appearances in the regular season, posting a 6.88 ERA, and did not make a playoff appearance.
Meanwhile with the Amsterdam Mohawks, Cameron Enck set a Perfect Game League record with a 0.39 ERA during the regular season. He continued his brilliance in the playoffs as well, going 2-0 in two starts with a 1.38 ERA in 13 IP as the Mohawks won their fourth league title in five years. Catcher Dan Maynard never got hot during the regular season, hitting just .185 with 16 RBI in 26 games, but he turned it on come playoff time, going 4-for-13 with three doubles.
In the New England Collegiate Baseball League, outfielder Zach Jancarski was a key player on a Sanford Mainers team that made it all the way to the championship series. During the regular season, he hit .288 with 10 doubles and 20 stolen bases, and he stayed hot into the playoffs, hitting .294 with eight runs scored in eight games. Jamal Wade contributed in more ways than one for the Keene Swamp Bats, hitting .267 in 75 at-bats, while pitching to a 1.58 ERA in 11.1 innings on the mound.
In the Alaskan League, AJ Lee and Madison Nickens played for the title-winning Mat-Su Miners, although neither saw any playing time in the postseason. Lee recovered from a slow start to hit .255 with 20 runs scored in the regular season, but Nickens struggled the whole summer, hitting just .146 with no extra-base hits.
Each player’s regular season statistics are available in the table below.
Miss the game? Listen to the full call from the Terps matchup with the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Tournament. Matt Present and Jake Eisenberg had the call from Omaha, Neb.
Miss the game? Listen to the full call from the Terps matchup with the Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament. Matt Present and Jake Eisenberg had the call from Omaha, Neb.
By Chris Rogers
As summer ball across the country comes to a close, let’s take a look at how Terps have done in their respective leagues.
In the Cape Cod League, second baseman Nick Dunn and shortstop Kevin Smith were both named to the All-Star roster. Dunn, playing for the Brewster Whitecaps, ranks near the top of the league in numerous offensive categories, including average (.317, 7th), hits (51, 3rd), runs scored (25, 5th) and RBI (24, 4th). He has been reliable too, as he is the only Whitecaps player to appear in at least 40 games. Smith was deservingly named the starting shortstop for the East in the July 23 All-Star Game. Through August 2, he is hitting .295, and leads the Y-D Red Sox in hits (41) and doubles (12). Ryan Selmer, the lone Terps pitcher in the Cape, struggled early in the summer but has rebounded nicely of late. In 12 relief appearances, he has posted a 3.17 ERA, and tossed 4.1 scoreless frames last time out.
Closer to home, the Cal Ripken League is filled with Terps. Coming off a stellar freshman campaign, outfielder Marty Costes continued to hit this summer with the North Division champion Baltimore Redbirds. He led the team in homers (7) and RBI (24), ranking third in the league in the former, while hitting .319. Four Terps pitched for the Redbirds, including Hunter Parsons, who led the league in wins (6) and strikeouts (44), while ranking second in ERA (1.41). Sophomore left-hander Andrew Miller served mostly as a reliever this summer, making 13 appearances (one start) and posting a 2.37 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 30.1 innings. Mike Rescigno, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants (25th round) in June but elected not to sign, was brilliant out of the bullpen as well, striking out 19 in 15.2 innings, with a magnificent 1.14 ERA. Incoming freshman Tyler Blohm was also drafted this June (Baltimore Orioles, 17th round) but chose to attend Maryland instead. This summer he posted a 1-0 record with a 2.07 ERA in seven games (four starts).
Down the road in Montgomery County, catcher/first baseman Justin Morris shined for the league-champion Bethesda Big Train, hitting .287 with 10 doubles, 25 RBI, and a team-high four triples. John Murphy and Peyton Sorrels, however, did not enjoy the same success Morris did in Bethesda. Murphy showed flashes of brilliance but pitched to a 4.71 ERA in seven starts, while Sorrels hit .156 with 6 RBI in 45 at bats.
While Morris impressed with the Big Train, two other Terps’ catchers did the same with the nearby Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Nick Cieri hit .301 with 24 RBI and a team-high 5 long balls, and incoming freshman Ty Friedrich hit .351 in 37 at-bats. Tayler Stiles pitched only one game, allowing one run over five innings pitched, but teammate Jared Price turned in a solid summer, posting a 3.55 ERA in 12 relief appearances.
Senior utilityman Pat Hisle struggled to get anything going with the Gaithersburg Giants, as he finished the summer with a .221 average and 16 RBI, although he did throw a scoreless inning on the mound. His teammates, Nick Pantos and Truman Thomas also had mixed seasons pitching for the Giants. Pantos, an incoming freshman, made nine appearances (four starts) and owned a respectable 3.53 ERA, but struggled with his control (17 walks, 17 strikeouts). Thomas started off the summer hot, with a 2.82 ERA through his first four starts, but did not finish strong, as he ended up with a 5.91 ERA over 35 innings pitched.
Of the 15 Terps in the Cal Ripken League, seven (Costes, Rescigno, Parsons, Blohm, Morris, Cieri, Price) were named to the All-Star team.
In the nearby Valley League, Andrew Green has struggled for the Purcellville Cannons, with a 6.88 ERA and 2.18 WHIP in 13 games.
Going back up the coast, Zach Jancarski and Jamal Wade both put together nice summers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Jancarski, playing for the Sanford Mainers, hit .288 with 10 doubles, 27 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases (good for second in the league). Meanwhile, Wade made an impact with the Keene Swamp Bats on both sides of the field. In 72 at bats, he posted a .278 average and 11 RBI. Additionally, he returned to the mound for the first time since high school, tossing 11 innings as a reliever with an impressive 1.58 ERA and 22 strikeouts.
With the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game League, right-hander Cameron Enck set a league record with his 0.39 ERA. In nine games (eight starts) he threw 46 innings, allowing just two earned runs while striking out 24. His battery-mate Dan Maynard has not found the same success, however, hitting just .185 with 16 RBI in 35 games.
In the Alaskan League, AJ Lee has rebounded nicely after a slow start to the summer. The infielder has hit .255 with 20 runs scored in 35 games. His Mat-Su Miners teammate, Madison Nickens, remains glacially cold, hitting just .150 in 18 games.
By Ben Harris
By last week’s end, the book was closed on the 2016 Maryland Terrapin draftees, it’s final chapter telling two stories each of looming professional careers and a desire to don the pinstripes in College Park, Maryland.
RHP Mike Shawaryn, the most decorated pitcher to ever stroll the mall at the University of Maryland, agreed to a $637,500 signing bonus with the Boston Red Sox, almost $300,000 more than the slot value of the 148th overall pick. The Unicorn will join the short-season Class A Lowell Spinners some 330 miles northeast of his New Jersey home.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 14, 2016
LHP Rob Galligan is the only other Terp taking their talents to the professional ranks in 2016. Drafted in the 36th round (1079 overall), Galligan has appeared in eight games for the Diamondback’s rookie league Missoula Osprey allowing seven earned over 9.1 innings.
On the flip side, two pitchers announced their intention to play for the Terps in 2017. Rising senior RHP Mike Rescigno turned down an opportunity to join the San Francisco Giants as a 25th round pick (755 overall) in favor of serving as a bridge between the Jim Belanger staffs of the past four years and those of newly appointed pitching coach Ryan Fecteau. LHP Tyler Blohm—a rising freshman and Rescigno’s teammate on the Cal Ripken summer league’s Baltimore Redbirds—declared that he too would forgo his offer, this one from his hometown Baltimore Orioles, and enroll at Maryland this fall.
After breaking his foot as a redshirt sophomore in 2015’s season-ending loss to Virginia, 2B Brandon Lowe has made waves since first lacing up for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in April. On July 17, Lowe broke the Hot Rods’ franchise record with a base knock in 18 consecutive games. In his mid-summer crusade against Midwest League pitching, Lowe slashed .371/.421/.529 across 22 days from June 25 to July 17. Eight of the 18 games were multi-hit affairs. The second baseman ranks 13th in the league with a .372 OBP.
LHP Adam Kolarek’s first two months in triple-A have gone swimmingly. Notching 30 innings thus far, Kolarek has held International league opponents to a .152 batting average while striking out 26 percent of batters faced, the highest mark for any sustained stretch in his seven-year professional career.
Returning for the Class A short-season Auburn Doubledays, a newly-mustachioed RHP Kevin Mooney — inspired by the club’s namesake and Old Abner’s famous lip rug — has settled back into the late-inning role he become so accustomed to at Maryland.
And, as he did in College Park, he is thriving. In an eight outing span between his first and most recent appearances (June 20-July 16), Mooney was nearly as perfect as his 0.00 ERA and 0.48 WHIP would lead one to believe. For the year, he’s posted a 1.46 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over 12.1 innings while striking out 11 and walking three.
LHP Zach Morris was named Lakewood BlueClaws Player of the Week to kick off July. Overall Morris has posted phenomenal numbers in the low ranks of the Phillies’ farm system and 2016 has been no different. In 33 relief appearances, Morris has a 2.62 earned run average, 1.34 WHIP and .244 batting average against. In 44 innings, he’s struck out 38, walked 19 and allowed 41 hits.
Despite a less than stellar 2016 campaign, RHP Jake Stinnett was named a Carolina League All-Star for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As the sixth youngest player on the roster, he tossed a perfect seventh inning in the All-Star game with three groundouts. His opponents’ batting averages have risen every month this year from .164 to .200 to .304 to .357 in July. In three starts this month, he’s holds a 9.56 ERA.
Following his own well-deserved All-Star appearance, OF LaMonte Wade began his climb up the Minnesota Twins’ minor league ranks. Rewarded with a promotion to the Class A-advanced Florida State League at the beginning of July, Wade picked up where he left off in Cedar Rapids. Through 17 games, he’s hitting .352/.422/.519 for the Fort Myers Miracle. Were he qualified, he’d fall four slugging percentage points short of owning top marks in every triple slash category. His batting average would stand a full 34 points greater than the next highest, and his OBP would lead the league by 19 points. He’s hit safely in 13 of 17 games with five multi-hit games and two homers in his last three games.
A pair of former Terps currently play for Brewers Class A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. LF Troy Stokes has appeared in 53 of 95 games this year with a .237 average and .359 OBP. Both are slightly shy of his minor league career marks. After being given the month of June off from starting duties, LHP Jake Drossner has returned to that role this month. After a good June in the pen (four appearances, 2.25 ERA), Drossner has made three starts in July to the tune of a 3.77 ERA and 2.09 WHIP.
In nine games for the short-season Tri-City ValleyCats, C Kevin Martir has logged seven base hits in 35 at bats. His best outing came in a 2-for-4 July 1 win, when he tagged a two-bagger and a long ball, knocking in three runs from the eight-hole to beat Hudson Valley 5-3.
In the majors, LHP Brett Cecil has appeared in six games this month for the Blue Jays allowing three runs over 4.1 innings to raise his ERA to 5.17. And after signing with the Red Sox in early April and appearing in 61 games for triple-A Pawtucket, Boston granted OF Justin Maxwell his release so that the 32-year-old Maryland native could sign with the Korean league Lotte Giants.
By Ben Harris
Just one week ago, the Terps watched their pitching coach Jim Belanger pack up and head to Lexington, Kentucky to take the same position for the Kentucky Wildcats.
But in a small college town of 21,000 in east Rhode Island, one man caught the eye of the burgeoning Maryland program. To fill the void in John Scefz’s coaching personnel, Maryland tapped Bryant University pitching coach Ryan Fecteau, who in six years led perennially dominant Bulldog pitching staffs.
Bryant hired Fecteau in 2011 after an impressive three-year stretch as a summer ball manager in Virginia. In 2010, the last of his three seasons in the Valley Baseball League, his club won their second straight league championship as he added a Coach of the Year award to his mantle.
From 2011-2016 under Fecteau’s supervision, Bryant’s pitchers separated themselves from the rest of their mid-major NEC competition, ranking atop the conference’s statistical leaderboards year in and year out. Only four times in that span did an NEC team post an ERA under 3.10. Each was a Fecteau-led Bulldog staff, and they stand as the four lowest team ERAs in the NEC since 2003.
In those six years, the Bulldogs’ team ERA averaged a run-and-a-half less than the rest of the league—it was never within 0.80 of the league average in any season, and was twice more than two full runs lower.
This season was no different, as Bryant’s NCAA-best .797 winning percentage was powered largely by their shutdown pitching staff that led the NEC in nearly every measurable way. They allowed 72 fewer runs than any other team, struck out 77 more batters than the next best staff and allowed the fewest extra base hits. Their opposing batting average (.241), slugging percentage (.321), WHIP (1.32) and ERA (3.09) were all best in the conference. The next best conference ERA was 4.36.
Joining the staff of new head coach Steve Owens in 2011, Fecteau’s inherited pitching staff posted the third best ERA and allowed the fewest hits in the conference while finishing in second in strikeouts. That’s an impressive start for a first time college pitching coach. But in the following five seasons as the maestro of Bryant’s impressive rotation and bullpen, he proved that quick start was no fluke.
After his first season, the Bulldogs finished with the conference’s best WHIP every year and the lowest ERA in the NEC all but once (2015, second). Bryant was the only mid-major with an ERA in the top 25 in the nation for three years running between 2012-2014 and, in that span, their ERA ranked 17, 10 and 21 in the country. In 2013 and 2014, they finished in the top 15 in the NCAA in WHIP as well.
Such sustained dominance left in its wake a trail of honors: three of six NEC Pitcher of the Year awards made their way to Smithfield, Rhode Island. From 2011-2016, five of 12 First Team All-NEC starting pitchers were Bryant Bulldogs. So were two of the six relievers. All in all, nearly 40 percent of pitchers selected to the All-NEC First Team during Fecteau’s tenure wore Bryant black and gold.
Even amid some conference reshuffling in the NEC, Fecteau’s staffs performed better against conference opponents every season.
Fecteau’s starters thrived deep in games, eating innings and pitching efficiently just as Maryland’s rotation did in 2016. In the last three years the Bulldogs have thrown 26 complete games. The other six teams in the NEC have combined for 50 in that time, averaging 2.78 per season. Bryant has averaged nearly nine complete games per season since 2014.
Terrapin starters went the distance 11 times this year, almost one in every five games, accounting for nearly a third of the entire Big Ten’s complete games. The next best Big Ten club compiled just six complete games.
In College Park, Taylor Bloom tied for eighth in the NCAA with five complete game efforts in 2016, while Brian Shaffer and Mike Shawaryn each pitched in three of their own. From the get go, the Bloom and Shaffer’s longevity will provide Fecteau with a solid foundation with which to begin working.
His staff’s in-game performance is only the beginning of what Fecteau brings to the table. At Bryant, he shuttled pitchers through the program and into the minor leagues at a rate the school had never experienced. In three seasons between 2013-2015, Fecteau sent six pitchers to the majors, one more than the five players (only two pitchers) that Bryant saw drafted in their first 41 years of existence.
He coached Kevin McAvoy, the highest drafted player in program history (2014, fourth round) for his entire three-year college career. He mentored James Karinchak, a 2015 Freshman All-American. Under his watchful guidance, Bulldog pitchers have etched their names atop the program’s record books in career wins, ERA, strikeouts and shutouts, while also posting single-season bests for ERA, punchouts and complete games. Of the program’s top 10 career innings leaders, Fecteau coached nine of them. And over 30 percent of all NEC Pitcher of the Week awards (26 of 83) since 2011 have been awarded to Bryant hurlers.
The program has won five straight NEC championships, and, since jumping up into the Division I ranks in 2009, has made NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons. By any measure, Ryan Fecteau’s impact on Bryan success has been immense, and the Terps look to have filled an unexpected hole with a diamond in the rough.