Brian Shaffer, the 2017 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, was selected in the 6th round (172nd overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Baseball Draft, Tuesday. He was the second Terp taken in the 2017 MLB Draft, after Kevin Smith was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 4th round.
Shaffer was a mainstay on the mound for three seasons at Maryland. After a promising freshman campaign in 2015, in which he went 5-1 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of over five, the 6-foot-5 right-hander made a leap into the conference’s elite as a sophomore. In 2016, Shaffer ranked second in the Big Ten in wins (eight) and innings (103.2), and also finished in the league’s top 10 in ERA, strikeouts, and opponents’ batting average. His performance earned him an All-Big Ten Third Team selection and the unenviable task of filling Mike Shawaryn’s shoes as the Terps’ ace the following season.
Shaffer made another impressive improvement as a junior, ensuring there was no drop off in Friday-starter quality despite Shawaryn’s departure. The Pylesville native finished fourth in the conference in ERA (2.66) and was one of only two pitchers in the league, along with Michigan’s Oliver Jaskie, to notch over 100 strikeouts. Along with the prolific punchout total, Shaffer demonstrated remarkable control, walking just 1.49 hitters per nine innings.
The tall righty’s performance in Big Ten play was even better. His 5-1 record and 1.76 ERA, along with a league-best 56.1 IP, earned him Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team.
After three standout seasons in College Park, Shaffer has worked his way on to some all-time Maryland lists. The right-hander is fifth in Terps history in innings pitched, and tied for second in wins, with 20.
The Diamondbacks are getting a pitcher who has also pitched well in big games. As a freshman, Shaffer, hurled seven innings to lead Maryland to a Big Ten Tournament win over No. 5 Illinois, which entered the contest on a 27-game win streak. In 2017, the Maryland ace faced Michigan State’s Alex Troop when Shaffer and Troop were 1-2 in the Big Ten in ERA. Shaffer pitched seven innings of one-run ball and struck out seven, while Troop surrendered 11 runs in four innings.
Maryland Baseball Network’s Joe Catapano took a look at Shaffer’s stock prior to the MLB Draft.