Incumbent: Tim Lewis (Sr.)
In the Mix: Jamal Wade (Fr.)
Junior college transfer Tim Lewis unexpectedly stepped into a starting role and thrived mid-way through the 2014 season, outhitting long-time Terps Michael Montville, Kyle Convissar and Andrew Amaro. With Convissar and Montville graduating and Amaro transferred out, Lewis will man left field for the Terps in 2015.
The Kansas native put together a 15-game hitting streak down the stretch last year, with the final six games of that streak coming in the postseason. Standing at just 5-foot-9, Lewis relies on a short, compact and level left-handed stroke to spray base hits to all fields.
True freshman Jamal Wade will back up Lewis and like his older brother, is making a transition to the outfield. Wade has shown the ability to make consistent solid contact throughout the fall and winter, and if that continues into the regular season, he could force himself into the right-handed half of a platoon situation.
In the Mix: LaMonte Wade (Jr.), Zach Jancarski (Fr.)
Having to replace Charlie White’s superb defense and school record 86 stolen bases will be difficult. But Maryland is going with a proven commodity to man center field.
LaMonte Wade will return to the outfield after occupying first base during his first two years in College Park. Wade played the outfield in high school as well as during his collegiate summer seasons. Given his experience and athleticism, the transition should be seamless.
After batting .260 in his true freshman year, Wade took a step back with the bat in 2014. However, as was the case with most of the Terps, his offense warmed up as the weather did. Wade enjoyed a strong postseason, which was sparked by a multi-home run game against No. 2 Virginia in the ACC Tournament. He earned spots on the ACC All-Tournament Team and the Columbia All-Region Team, proving to be a key part of Maryland’s postseason success.
Freshman Zach Jancarski is athletic enough to play the position, but will get a chance to learn behind Wade in 2015. Rated the ninth best player in Pennsylvania by Perfect Game, Jancarski was also recognized by the scouting service as an all-region performer and two-time Underclass High Honorable Mention All-American.
Incumbent: Anthony Papio (R-Jr.)
In the Mix: Jamal Wade (Fr.), Kengo Kawahara (Fr.)
The former walk-on Papio earned his spot late in 2013 and held down the job admirably last year, batting .271 with an on-base percentage close to .400.
Winner of the Terp Tough award this fall, Papio will provide a good glove, strong arm, unquestioned leadership, and hopefully a consistent bat. Papio was as streaky as anyone in 2014 and can become an all-conference caliber player if he can minimize his slumps.
Jamal Wade will back up both Papio and left fielder Tim Lewis and can provide some pop from the right side against left-handed pitching. Freshman Kengo Kawahara will also be in the fold, and will offer speed and a left-handed bat off the bench.
Check back tomorrow for MBN’s pitching rotation preview. The bullpen preview will debut on Saturday.