Brandon Gum – 1B/3B/SS
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 185 Year: R-Sr. Bats/Throws: R/R
Hometown (HS): Woodbridge, Va. (George Mason)
G: 53 PA: 230 Slash Line: .338/.451/.468 HR: 5 RBI: 37 K-rate: 16.5 % BB-rate: 13.7 %
Background: Brandon Gum came to Maryland this season as a graduate transfer after spending four seasons across the Potomac River at George Mason. The infielder posted a .298 career batting average in 615 at-bats with the Patriots, including a breakout junior season in 2015, when he hit .338 with 12 doubles and 32 RBIs. After starting his senior year hot, hitting .304 with four extra-base hits in 11 games, his season abruptly ended with a rotator cuff injury, and Gum’s George Mason career was over. The Woodbridge, Virginia, native received a medical redshirt and an extra year of eligibility, and came to Maryland this season to play that fifth and final year of college ball.
A shortstop and third baseman for most of his career at George Mason, Gum transitioned across the diamond this season, becoming the Terps’ every day first baseman and solidifying himself in the middle of the order. Starting in 54 of the team’s 61 contests, he tied his career high with a .338 average, while setting new career marks in homers (5), RBIs (37) and stolen bases (13).
While consistently hitting over .300 for most of the 2017 campaign, Gum came on especially strong in the postseason, reaching base in all eight games across the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, and collecting multiple hits in five of them. In his final ten games, he went 19-for-39 (.487), with two homers and 10 RBIs.
BANG! GUM GRAND SLAM!! 6-4.#DirtyTerpshttps://t.co/vLwbqiLVuY
— Maryland Baseball (@TerpsBaseball) May 28, 2017
Outlook: With a .308 career average across parts of five collegiate seasons and a .338 mark with Maryland in 2017, Gum is one of the better pure hitters that the Terps have had in recent years. While he is not immune to the strikeout, he works the count and sees a lot of pitches, leading Maryland in walks and OBP this season. Solely a contact hitter prior to this season (just two homers in 615 AB at George Mason), he improved his power stroke as a Terp, breaking out for five home runs and a .468 slugging percentage, both of which ranked in the top five on the team. Gum is versatile defensively too, as he spent most of this season at first base but throughout his career has played solid defense all around the infield.
Despite a proven track record at the plate, Gum does carry some red flags into the draft. He missed most of last season with a torn rotator cuff, and it is not known if he still has the same arm strength to throw across the diamond from third or short. Additionally, as a fifth year senior, he is much older than many of his college contemporaries that may possess the same offensive skills without the shaky injury history.
At 23, Gum is the same age as major league players such as Trea Turner and Andrew Benintendi, and he will only be taken if scouts feel that he could quickly rise through the minor league ranks. However, there is no question that he can hit, and given his consistency at the plate over the years, a team may like his bat later in the draft and take a flier on him.