Pro Terps Update 9/12/17: Minor League Wrap-Up

Adam Kolarek made his major league debut back in June with the Tampa Rays, but was then sent down after a few weeks with the big club. However, thanks to September roster expansion, Kolarek earned a trip back to the bigs — doubling the MLB Maryland representation. That and more in this edition of the Pro Terps Update.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

Brett Cecil has been the only staple in the big leagues for the Terps for several years now, and his first season with the Cardinals has been a rollercoaster. After a dominant June and a solid July, Cecil was ineffective in August. In 13 innings last month, the lefty allowed 10 earned runs and a .321 batting average against him.

However, Cecil’s 19 strikeouts and two walks in August was by far his best monthly ratio of the season. His 6.92 ERA in the month could be explained by his incredibly unlucky .472 BABIP. Cecil is sporting a 4.15 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 54 strikeouts over 56.1 innings this season and will still be an important piece for the Cardinals down the stretch in their push for an NL Wild Card spot.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After making his major league debut June 29, Adam Kolarek was sent back to the minors in late July after making 11 appearances with the Rays. Back in Triple-A, the former Terps allowed only three earned runs and struck out 17 over 10.2 innings with the Durham Bulls, which earned him a September call-up with the Rays.

Kolarek appeared in only one game after being recalled — he allowed one run on two hits and walked one while recording two outs against the White Sox September 3. The 28-year-old lefty has been dominant in Triple-A (1.65 ERA, 9.48 K/9), but his major league stats haven’t been great this season (6.48 ERA, 4.32 K/9). Because of that, Tampa Bay outrighted Kolarek back to Durham on September 4.

OF LaMonte Wade, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins, AA)

LaMonte Wade put together an all-star campaign for the Lookouts this season, who were co-Southern League Champions after Hurricane Irma prevented them from playing their championship series against the Pensecola Blue Wahoos. He finished the season hitting .292 with seven home runs and 67 RBI and ended up with more walks (76) than strikeouts (71). Wade’s .397 on-base percentage was good for third-best in the Southern League, and he was a key park of Chattanooga’s semifinal series victory.

The 23-year-old outfielder hit .278 in the five-game series, with his most important knock coming in the ninth inning of game five. With the Lookouts trailing the Montgomery Biscuits 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Wade led off the frame with a single and came around to score when Jonathan Rodriguez ended the game with a walk-off two-run dinger.

Wade, who is the Twins No. 17 overall prospect, will now head to the Arizona Fall League to play with the Surprise Saguaros so the Twins can get another look at him before Spring Training. And he already has something in common with one of his coaches.

2B Brandon Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)

It was an all-Terps matchup in the Southern League semifinals, but Wade’s team got the better of Brandon Lowe’s. However, Lowe still had an incredible season. After hitting .311 with a .927 OPS in High-A, Lowe was promoted to Double-A. He hit only .253 in 24 games with Montgomery, but his performance in High-A earned him Florida State League Player of the Year honors.

Lowe went 0-for-7 in the playoffs with the Biscuits, but he should be on track to start at second base for Tampa Bay’s Double-A affiliate next season. He will also have a ranking bump from going into 2018.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

Since coming off the disabled list and being promoted to Double-A on August 5, Jake Stinnett has been almost unhittable out of the Smokies bullpen. He has allowed just one earned run and struck out 14 batters over 14.2 innings. Over his entire 2017 minor league season, Stinnett posted a 1.19 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

Like Wade, Stinnett will also get his chance to further show off his talents in the Arizona Fall League.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, High-A)

The Unicorn ended the season in strong form and as the Red Sox No. 7 overall prospect. Mike Shawaryn finished his 2017 season between Single-A and High-A with a 3.81 ERA and 11.29 K/9 in 26 total starts. The 22-year-old righty also ended his season with two of the best starts of his career. Shawaryn struck out 18 batters and walked only two while allowing just two earned over his final 14 innings of the year, including a career-high eight innings on August 27.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

Alex Robinson was finally able to find his control this season, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.16 in A-Ball, which earned him a call-up to High-A back in July. In 17.1 innings with the Fort Myers Miracle, Robinson posted a 4.67 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. He finished his full minor league season with a 1.28 WHIP and an impressive 12.69 K/9.

INF Jose Cuas, Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers, High-A)

It was again a struggle at the plate for Jose Cuas in 2017. The 23-year-old hit just .187 with a .598 OPS and five home runs this season. Cuas moved around the infield defensively and spent a lot of time at first base despite playing third base at Maryland. However, the former Terp did heat up a little at the end of the season, hitting .258 with four RBI over his final eight games.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Hillsboro Hops (Arizona Diamondbacks, Low-A)

Since being promoted to Low-A in July, Brian Shaffer has been dominant. In 21 innings, the tall righty struck out 21 batters and walked just one. In 24 innings overall in his first minor league season, Shaffer pitched to 3.38 ERA and 0.83 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to a .211 batting average.

Shaffer, who is Arizona’s No. 30 overall prospect, was used as a starter, but only for two or three innings at a time. The short outing helped to limit his usage and increase his productivity while getting Shaffer ready to be a full-time starter next season.

SS Kevin Smith, Bluefield Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, Rookie)

Kevin Smith, who is ranked as the Blue Jays No. 25 overall prospect, was Maryland’s highest 2017 draft pick (4th round), and he lived up to the hype in his first season. Smith hit .271 with a .778 OPS in 61 games, leading Bluefield with 25 doubles, eight homers and 43 RBIs. He was able to show off his power on August 31.

However, the plate discipline was still a bit of an issue for the former Terp, who struck out 70 times and drew only 16 walks.

RHP Ryan Selmer, Kingsport Mets (New York Mets, Rookie)

Ryan Selmer finished up his first professional season with some impressive numbers. The 23-year-old righty pitched to a 2.14 ERA over 21 innings and converted both of save opportunities. In classic Ryan Selmer fashion, the reliever threw almost double as many ground balls as fly balls, which helped overcome 1.52 WHIP and .284 batting average against. Over his 14 appearances, Selmer allowed an earned run in only three of them.

RHP Jamal Wade, AZL Mariners (Seattle Mariners, Rookie)

The younger Wade was drafted in the 17th round in June, but performed like an early-round draft pick in his first professional season. Over 19.2 innings, Wade posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out 27 batters and walking only seven.