Preseason Countdown #12: Best summer ball hitters


Maryland baseball sent a handful of its hitters to summer leagues after the 2018 campaign, but catcher Justin Vought and third baseman Taylor Wright had the two standout performances in the offseason.

Vought, now a sophomore, struggled to get into a groove during his freshman season playing behind former catcher Justin Morris. He only played in 22 games, but he still managed to hit three homers before getting in 18 more games last summer with the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken Baseball League.

The Pennsylvania native hit .347 with the Redbirds, a mark that led all Terps during the summer. He also ended the season leading his college teammates in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS.

Vought enters the 2019 campaign as the only returning catcher on the Maryland roster. Head coach Rob Vaughn added two junior transfer catchers in Sebastian Holte-Mancera and Tavan Shahidi, while freshman Zach Doss entered the program.

Like Vought, now-senior Taylor Wright started slow in his Maryland career a season ago. Wright hit .230 after transferring from Colorado Northwestern Community College, but he was fourth on the team in doubles (9), tied for fifth in RBIs (25) and second in stolen bases (11).

Wright went to the West Coast League again to play for the Kelowna Falcons, where he played in 55 games in 2018. The infielder hit just under .300 while smashing six home runs and recording 38 RBIs. Wright had only hit two homers in the spring with the Terps, making his uptick in power in the offseason a positive sign.

At the end of the summer, Wright earned first team All-WCL honors at third base, making him the best player in the league at that position. During the regular season, he ranked in the top 10 in the WCL in runs, hits and runs batted in.

In 2019, Wright is one of two returning starting infielders alongside senior shortstop AJ Lee. The Terps lost second baseman Nick Dunn to the MLB Draft, while first baseman Kevin Biondic graduated.