Preseason Countdown #11: Biggest holes to fill

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The Terps have numerous holes to fill heading into the 2019 season, both offensively and defensively, after losing a handful of starters and key contributors.

Between the seven seniors and two draftees, Maryland lost its top five offensive players, top two relievers and one of its weekend starters. On the defensive side, the Terps lost three of their main outfielders, the entire right side of their infield and their most-used catcher.

Starting with the outfield, the Terps start this season without center fielder Zach Jancarski and fellow outfielders Will Watson and Marty Costes.

During his four years with the Terps, Jancarski provided numerous SportsCenter-worthy plays as the everyday center fielder, including these catches his senior year:

A defensive asset, the center fielder also showed out in the batter’s box, finishing the season tied for second-highest batting average on the team, hitting .279 with the second-most hits. 

Watson, who spent the majority of his time with the Terps in left field, finished his tenure with the Terps in strong fashion after transferring from LSU-Eunice in 2016. In a game against Rutgers last season, Watson homered twice in the third inning, including a grand slam to help Maryland put up 11 runs in the frame on its way to a 17-2 victory.

Right fielder Marty Costes struggled in the box at the start of his junior year, going 9-for-59 (.153) in his first 16 games of 2018. But based on two strong previous seasons, the outfielder was still drafted by the Houston Astros in the 22nd round last summer. 

Moving to the infield, the Terps start 2019 without their entire right side, after first baseman Kevin Biondic graduated and second baseman Nick Dunn was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.

After transitioning into a two-way player, Biondic came in clutch for Maryland both on the mound and in the box, while also providing the Terps with a consistent first baseman.

The senior batted .279 in his final season with the Terps, leading the team in triples (4) while also leading the team’s bullpen in ERA (2.59). After going undrafted, Biondic signed with the Red Sox as a free agent, joining Boston’s short season Single-A affiliate as a right-handed pitcher.

Dunn led Maryland in eight offensive categories last season, including batting average (.330), home runs (10) and RBIs (39). His absence now leaves the Terps with a huge gap to fill on the right side as their most consistent player.

Starting catcher Justin Morris also graduated after the 2018 season. Like Biondic, he also inked a minor-league deal as a free agent during the summer. The four-year former Terp signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in late July.

On the mound, the Terps also lost their Friday starter and three relievers. Right-handed starter Taylor Bloom finished the season with the third-lowest ERA amongst regular starters and later signed a professional contract with the Washington Wild Things, an organization in the Independent Frontier League.

Right-handed reliever Ryan Hill also graduated last year. Hill finished the season with the second-lowest ERA among relievers (2.92) and was the only consistent Terps reliever to allow zero home runs.