The Maryland baseball team’s season may be over, but its mark on the sport won’t go away anytime soon. Professional baseball is a quarter of the way through, as both the MLB and MiLB start to hit their respective strides. Let’s take a look at how the former Terps are playing thus far.
LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
Cecil is still the only mainstay in the big leagues among former Maryland stars. His career as a relief pitcher has been a very solid one to this point, and the 31-year-old has a lot of baseball still in the tank as he continues adding to his resume. Originally a starter, Cecil shifted to the bullpen in 2012 and his career has been better for it.
Due to a lingering shoulder injury this season, Cecil hasn’t gotten a lot of run out of the pen yet thus far. In just 3.1 innings pitched, he has a 2.70 ERA with an impressive 62.5 percent ground ball rate.
LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)
Kolarek made his MLB debut last season, but it wasn’t as successful as many would’ve hoped. In 8.1 innings pitched, he had a 6.48 ERA and struck out just over four batters per nine. Despite that, he got an invite to major league spring training only to be assigned to Durham once again.
But just as he did in 2017, Kolarek is dominating at the Triple-A level. In 24.1 innings across 14 games, he’s pitched to a miniscule 1.11 ERA with a 10.36 K/9. The Rays are struggling mightily so far this season, so a recalling of Kolarek is not only possible, but probable.
OF Lamonte Wade, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins, AA)
After impressing many in his first three seasons of professional baseball, Wade is listed as the No. 13 prospect in the Twins organization. One of his best qualities thus far has been his plate discipline, which has been on full display to start this season.
Wade’s 2018 campaign has been a special one thus far, lighting the Southern League on fire for the Lookouts. In 155 plate appearances, Wade has six home runs and 19 RBI to go along with a .305 batting average and a .406 OBP. If he keeps up this level of play, Wade could be in store for a promotion.
2B Brandon Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)
Like Kolarek, Lowe has found a home in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. After being promoted to Double-A in the middle of last season, Lowe struggled to get the bat going against a higher level of competition. But fortunately for him and the organization, Lowe is on a hot streak at the plate.
The Rays No. 14 prospect has had a terrific start to the 2018 campaign, cutting down the strikeouts and increasing his walk rate substantially. With a .288 batting average and a .514 slugging percentage, Lowe is not only getting base hits, but he often goes for extra bases. He has six home runs and 31 RBI so far, and if he continues to impress, a trip to Durham might be coming.
RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)
Stinnett dominated last season across three different levels, posting a 1.19 ERA in 22.2 innings from rookie ball to Double-A. His time with the Smokies was particularly eye-opening, pitching to a 0.61 ERA in 14.2 innings. But 2018 hasn’t been as kind to Stinnett thus far, and the righty has struggled to find a consistent level of play in the early goings. He’s pitched just 12.1 innings thus far, but his 5.11 ERA and 7.30 BB/9 isn’t what the 26-year-old was hoping for.
RHP Mike Shawaryn, Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox, AA)
Despite having never pitched in Double-A before this season, Shawaryn has made the most of his opportunity so far in 2018. In eight starts (45.1 IP), the No. 9 prospect in the Red Sox organization has a 3.77 ERA, but a deeper look at the numbers shows that he’s pitching better than that mark would indicate. With a 3.21 FIP and a 0.60 HR/9, Shawaryn has done a good job at limiting hard contact and making quick work of opposing hitters.
LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)
Due to injury, Robinson has barely played in 2018 thus far. He’s pitched three innings, allowing zero runs while striking out five in early April. But Robinson was activated from the disabled list on Monday, so he could be pitching again very soon. In 17.1 innings for Fort Myers in 2017, Robinson had a 4.67 ERA with a 14.02 K/9.
RHP Brian Shaffer, Kane County Cougars (Arizona Diamondbacks, A)
After pitching in rookie ball and Low-A in 2017, Shaffer has found a home and a lot of success with the Kane County Cougars. In 42.2 innings across eight starts, Shaffer has allowed just 12 earned runs (2.53 ERA) and has struck out 48 batters (10.13 strikeouts per nine innings). Still just 21-years-old, Shaffer could find himself moving up the ranks if he keeps up this level of production.
SS Kevin Smith, Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays, A)
What a start to 2018 it’s been for Smith. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 Draft, he struggled to find consistent success at the plate But 2018 has been a different story altogether as Smith has found his stroke in Lansing. In 178 plate appearances thus far, he has a slash line of .362/.421/.652, making him a dangerous threat in the heart of the order for the Lugnuts. He has seven home runs, 41 RBI, 31 runs and 10 stolen bases, making a promotion extremely likely in the coming months.
For the second time in four weeks, #BlueJays prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (@FisherCats 3B) & Kevin Smith (@LansingLugnuts SS) make up the left side of the infield on our Team of the Week: https://t.co/EvBN9kv2uW pic.twitter.com/ZQ8WxI5b5E
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2018
RHP Ryan Selmer, New York Mets organization
Drafted in the 31st round last June, Selmer impressed at the rookie level for the Kingsport Mets. In his 21 professional innings thus far, he was able to post a 2.14 ERA, albeit with a lofty 1.52 WHIP. He walked 11 batters and hit three more, but thanks to a 57.6 ground ball rate he stranded over 80 percent of baserunners. The Mets have yet to release where the right-hander will be this season, but all signs point to him joining the Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones.
RHP Jamal Wade, Seattle Mariners organization
Wade came out firing in his first pro season, posting a 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings in the Arizona League. With a 12.36 K/9 rate and a 3.20 BB/9, he showcased his skill for the Mariners front office to see. Like Selmer, Wade did a fantastic job of stranding baserunners, as evidenced by his 79.0 left on base percentage. This summer, the right-hander is likely headed to the Everett AquaSox, the Mariners’ Short-Season A affiliate.
RHP Jose Cuas and LHP Jake Drossner, Milwaukee Brewers organization
After struggling at the plate in his three years of pro ball, Cuas’s career is taking a sharp turn. The former corner infielder hit just .187 across two levels of A-Ball last year, and in the offseason it was announced that Cuas is transitioning to the mound. His destination is yet to be released. Drossner is also in the Brewers’ system but will be sidelined this year due to injury.