Brandon Lowe’s Maryland baseball career ended with a broken fibula in the 2015 NCAA Super Regionals. Now, just over two years later, Lowe’s injury is in the past, and he is lighting up the minor leagues in the Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league system. Lowe’s promotion to Double-A highlights this edition of the Pro Terps Update.
LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
There were two Terps in the major leagues for a short time this season, but Brett Cecil is now again the only former Maryland player in the big leagues. After a rough start to his first season with the Cardinals, Cecil has settled into the St. Louis bullpen, owning a 3.30 ERA in 53 appearances. The lefty has allowed only one run in his last 7.1 innings, and he put together a pretty impressive performance in his second-to-last appearance.
Brett Cecil just threw a 19 pitch inning… zero balls, 19 strikes. Dunno if I’ve ever seen that.
— Kevin Holden (@321cuekevin) August 3, 2017
Cecil’s strikeouts are way down from his usual career numbers, but his stuff has still been effective. Opposing hitters are chasing 36.9 percent of Cecil’s pitches that are outside the strike zone, which is the best mark of his career.
LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)
From June 28 to July 29, there were two Terps in the big leagues. One was Brett Cecil and the other was Adam Kolarek. After eight minor league seasons, Kolarek finally got the big league call up, but didn’t have the most success. The first two appearances of his career were scoreless, but the lefty allowed a run in five of his final nine games. With an unattractive 7.84 FIP and 4.70 K/9 in 7.2 innings, Kolarek was sent back to Triple-A after the Rays acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the White Sox. Kolarek has allowed just one run and struck out four in three appearances since the demotion.
2B Brandon Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)
Ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the Tampa Bay system, Brandon Lowe had been tearing up the Florida State League with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, and promotion seemed inevitable. Then, on August 2, while leading the league in batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.403), OPS (.927) and doubles (34), Lowe finally got the call up to Double-A after setting some Stone Crabs records.
ICYMI: Brandon Lowe will finish as the Stone Crabs’ single-season champion in both OPS and slugging percentage #RepsectTheClaw pic.twitter.com/ccBUXs59MI
— Charlotte StoneCrabs (@StoneCrabs) August 3, 2017
In six games with the Biscuits so far, the former Terp is hitting .208 with a home run and three RBI, and his one long ball came at a pretty important time.
Brandon Lowe hits a solo bomb over the right-center field wall, his first with the Biscuits, to put them up 8-7 midway thru 11…
— Montgomery Biscuits (@BiscuitBaseball) August 8, 2017
OF Lamonte Wade, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins, AA)
Lamonte Wade started the season absolutely red-hot for the Lookouts, but he has cooled off a little bit since then. Wade has gone just 5-for-34 (.147) at the plate in his last seven games, and was placed on the 7-day DL Sunday with a thumb injury. However, even with the slump, Wade is still hitting .277 and his impressive .393 on-base percentage is good for sixth-best in the Southern League. He has 10 more walks than strikeouts, and the 65 free passes is the second-best total in the league. Wade also set a new career high for single-game RBI earlier this month.
👀 LaMonte Wade putting together quite a game for @ChattLookouts:
4-5, HR, 4 RBI (career high), 2 R#MNTwins No. 12: https://t.co/ufHGKZaukdpic.twitter.com/Z2kNRdXEd2
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 20, 2017
RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)
In a 2017 season mostly tarnished by injury, Jake Stinnett finally got some good news this week. After throwing 4.2 scoreless innings on rehab with the AZL Cubs and then making two appearances with the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Stinnett was reassigned to Double-A with the Smokies where he was supposed to start the season. He made his first career Double-A appearance Sunday, working two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and allowing just one baserunner.
RHP Mike Shawaryn, Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, High-A)
Mike Shawaryn is universally ranked the best Maryland prospect in the minor leagues, currently ranked ninth in the Red Sox system, but his numbers haven’t completely translated since being promoted to High-A in June. In 53.1 innings with Single-A Greenville this season, Shawaryn struck out 78 batters and walked just 13. In 52.2 innings since his promotion, the righty has struck out 59 and walked 25, with a 4.27 ERA.
The Unicorn has hit a bit of a rough patch, allowing nine earned runs over his last two starts, and the Red Sox have given him nine days in between starts this week to try to regroup.
INF Jose Cuas, Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers, High-A)
A mainstay at the hot corner in his time with the Terps, Jose Cuas has been playing first base lately for the Mudcats. He has flashed the glove on the opposite corner as well, but it’s been difficult for him to stay in the lineup. Since being promoted to High-A on June 22, Cuas has only 12 hits in 80 at-bats (.150) and has struck out 24 times compared to just four walks.
LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)
Alex Robinson may have the most electric stuff among the Terps in the pros, and he has finally been able to showcase it this season. After really struggling with walks in his first two minor league seasons, Robinson found the control in 2017, and walked only 15 batters while striking out 51 in 38 innings in Single-A earlier in the year.
Those numbers earned Robinson “Twins Minor League Player of the Week” honors in early July. But more importantly, the numbers earned him a promotion to High-A Fort Myers on July 9. Since he was moved up, the lefty has been just as impressive, using his upper-90s fastball to strike out 18 batters in 9.1 innings so far with the Miracle.
LHP Alex Robinson strikes out the side in his FSL debut, hitting 98 on the radar gun in the process…
— Fort Myers Miracle (@MiracleBaseball) July 13, 2017
RHP Brian Shaffer, Hillsboro Hops (Arizona Diamondbacks, Short-Season A)
Brian Shaffer is the only 2017 Maryland draft pick to have already advanced past rookie ball, and he did so fairly quickly. After allowing just one hit and striking out five over three innings in rookie ball, Shaffer was promoted to Hillsboro on July 20. Since the promotion, Shaffer has struck out 12 batters in nine innings.
The Hops have the tall righty starting, but going no more than two innings to keep his workload down. However, Shaffer was almost part of something special in his last start. After Shaffer tossed two hitless innings Saturday, the Hops bullpen came just three outs away from completing a combined no-hitter. The reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year already ranks in the Diamondbacks’ top 30 prospects.
SS Kevin Smith, Bluefield Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, Rookie)
Kevin Smith was Maryland’s highest draft pick in 2017, and he has started his pro career as the everyday shortstop for Toronto’s rookie league team. In 41 games, Smith has slashed .234/.280/.404 with five home runs and 20 RBI. Smith has come up with some big hits, but the strikeouts have been an issue, just as they were during his junior season at Maryland. The fourth-round pick has struck out 47 times while drawing only 11 walks, and is hitting just .162 in his last ten contests for Bluefield.
RHP Ryan Selmer, Kingsport Mets (New York Mets, Rookie)
As a 31st-round draft pick, Ryan Selmer has a steep hill to climb to make it to the big leagues, but he is off to a good start. In 15 innings over 10 appearances, Selmer has struck out seven batters and posted a 2.40 ERA. He has also impressed at the end of games, converting on both of his save opportunities so far.
RHP Jamal Wade, AZL Mariners (Seattle Mariners, Rookie)
If you look at Jamal Wade pro stats on the mound, you’d have no idea he came to College Park as an outfielder. In 9.2 innings in rookie ball this summer, Wade has been lights out, posting a 1.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. The righty has used his put-away stuff to record 16 strikeouts while issuing only five walks and holding opposing hitters to a minuscule .147 batting average. Wade also just keeps getting better, as he struck out five batters in two scoreless innings in his last appearance Monday.