The Major League season is underway and there is a familiar face on the St. Louis Cardinals. Former Terps LHP Brett Cecil signed with St. Louis as a free agent in November, after pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2009 to 2016. Last year with Toronto, the southpaw finished 1-7, with a 3.93 ERA in 54 appearances out of the bullpen. Cecil remains the only former Terrapin in the majors, but several Maryland standouts look to elongate their professional careers in the minors this year. Minor league opening day is Thursday, April 6.
RHP Mike Shawaryn wrapped up his first season in the minors last year. The Boston Red Sox drafted Shawaryn in the fifth round and assigned him to the Short-Season A Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox). With Lowell, Shawaryn had a 2.87 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. After his first year and spring training success, Shawaryn will move up to the Class-A Greenville Drive to start the 2017 season.
Second baseman Brandon Lowe also found success in his first professional season and will move up to the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays) to start the year. In 2016 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, Lowe finished with a .248 AVG, 94 hits and 42 RBIs, while setting a franchise record with an 18-game hitting streak. He showed the same patient eye he had as a Terp, walking 60 times in 107 games for a .357 OBP.
A pair of former Terps will take the field for the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers) this season. Third baseman Jose Cuas moves down to Wisconsin after spending last season with the High-A Brevard County Manatees, where he hit .170 with four home runs and 27 RBIs. RHP Jake Drossner will start the 2017 season alongside Cuas. He pitched for the Rattlers last year, posting a 4.69 ERA with 91 strikeouts through 94 innings of work.
RHP Kevin Mooney will return to the Class-A Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) for the third year. Maryland’s all time leader in saves, he posted a 3.33 ERA with one save in 21 appearances for the Doubledays last year.
LHP Zach Morris made 48 appearances out of the bullpen for the Class-A Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia Phillies) in 2016. Morris recorded a 2.57 ERA and five saves through 66.2 innings. He will return to Lakewood this season.
Two Terps in the Minnesota Twins organization will look to repeat their success from a year ago. LHP Alex Robinson will open 2017 with the Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons in rookie ball with the Elizabethton Twins. The southpaw excelled last year, with a 3.00 ERA and .162 opponents’ average in 33 innings. Outfielder LaMonte Wade got moved up from the Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels to the High-A Fort Myers Miracle in July of last season after making the Midwest League All-Star Team. He finished the 2016 season hitting .293 with 51 RBIs and 8 home runs across the two levels. This year, he’ll start the season with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.
Coming back from Tommy John surgery, LHP Jimmy Reed will join the Double-A Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) this season. Reed missed last season, but played at the Triple-A, Double-A and High-A levels in 2015. For Springfield in 2015, Reed was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA through 82.1 innings of work. When Reed moved down to the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals, he improved his record to 4-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.15.
RHP Jake Stinnett will move up to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs) in 2017 for his fourth professional season. In 2016 with the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Stinnett performed well the first half of the season, earning his spot on the Carolina League All-Star Team with a 3.78 ERA and a 5-3 record. He finished the season with a 4.27 ERA and the Pelicans won the Carolina League Championship.
In 2016, LHP Adam Kolarek split time between Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays). The southpaw posted a 3.32 ERA in 13 appearances with the Biscuits, and lowered it to a 3.05 mark in 33 outings after his call-up to Durham. He will return to the Bulls in 2017 for his eighth professional season.
Catcher Kevin Martir signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this spring. Last year with Class-A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston Astros), Martir hit .165 with 21 RBIs and a home run.