Maryland Baseball Preview – The Bullpen

Closer: RHP Kevin Mooney (Jr.)

Set Up Man: LHP Alex Robinson (Jr.)

Wild Cards: RHP Jared Price (Jr.), RHP Brian Shaffer (Fr.), LHP Zach Morris (Jr.), Bobby Ruse (Sr.)

In the Mix: LHP Robert Galligan (Jr.), RHP Andrew Green (R-Fr.), Willie Rios (Fr.), Taylor Bloom (Fr.), Jack Piekos (Fr.), Chase Brewis (Fr.), Tyler Brandon (Fr.), Ryan Selmer (R-Fr.)

The bullpen could be Maryland’s biggest strength. The back-end is experienced and talented. The big four which includes closer Kevin Mooney, lefty Alex Robinson and righties Bobby Ruse and Jared Price have combined for 182 appearances worth of experience. Mooney, Robinson and Price all feature mid-90s fastballs and have a chance to get drafted early on this June.

Mooney enters the season one save shy of Toronto Blue Jays’ reliever Brett Cecil’s school record of 23. His devastating curveball will keep hitters guessing in the ninth inning.

Bobby Ruse excelled in many different roles in 2014. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

Robinson recorded a 2.87 ERA in 18 outings in 2014, though he did not appear in key games down the stretch. However, Robinson caught the eye of scouts this summer, being named the top prospect in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. His mid-90s fastball should be tough on hitters in the late innings, but he would be well served to lower his 7.2 career walks per nine rate.

Ruse will begin the season in the rotation but could be headed back to the bullpen before long. He would sure up the seventh inning, but could vacate the role when Jared Price is healthy or if he is needed somewhere else.

Price is returning from offseason shoulder surgery and will likely miss the first few weeks of the season. Like Robinson, Price has struggled with control during his first two years in College Park, but can be a lights-out reliever when right.

Ruse, Zach Morris, Brian Shaffer and Willie Rios are all in competition for the midweek starter’s job, which might not be determined until late February. The bullpen will be the destination for those who miss out, but where they fit within that unit remains to be seen.

Junior Robert Galligan and a host of talented freshman will also compete for roles in the bullpen and try and acquire the innings left behind by White Sox farmhand Ben Brewster and Charlotte-bound Brandon Casas.

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