It’s officially game week. Maryland baseball will take on Campbell on Friday to kick off the 2019 season — the second year under head coach Rob Vaughn.
We’ll carry on with our preseason countdown with just four days until the first pitch. We’ve previewed the starting pitchers, the bullpen and the infield. Last up on the positional previews: the outfield.
Sophomore Randy Bednar
The list of returning Maryland starting outfielders is short: Randy Bednar. He played in 44 games last year, the most of anyone in the Terps freshman class.
Seniors Zach Jancarski and Will Watson graduated, while junior Marty Costes left a year early after he was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2018 MLB Draft. With just one year under his belt, Bednar is now the most experienced outfielder Maryland has returning.
Bednar played a majority of his games in right field, and it’s still unknown if he’ll remain in that spot moving forward. At the plate, Bednar will look to improve after hitting .208 a season ago. His six home runs, though, were tied for the third-most on the team and the most among returning hitters.
Junior transfer Caleb Walls
Walls is one of three transfers head coach Rob Vaughn brought into College Park this season with the ability to play in the outfield. Last season, he played at Pasco Hernando State College after spending two years at George Mason.
Walls played in two different outfield positions at George Mason, starting 10 games in left field and nine in center in 2016. Last year, the outfielder hit a team-high .385 with 58 runs scored, 43 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
With the amount of departures from Maryland’s outfield, Walls could step in entering this season already acclimated to what’s now been three different college programs.
Junior transfer Ben Irvine
Irvine, like Walls, is entering his first season at Maryland. He played two seasons at Northern Essex Community College in his home state of Massachusetts. During his time there, he hit over .330 in both seasons, and lost in the NJCAA World Series last year.
Irvine is coming off a sophomore season in which he was named a second-team All American, and could also bring some college experience to an outfield with a lot of questions still waiting to be answered.
Junior transfer Sebastian Holte-Mancera
Holte-Mancera is the third transfer who also has the ability to play in the outfield, but he’s also listed as a catcher. The junior played his last two seasons at Ellsworth College in Iowa, and was a bright spot in Maryland’s Fall World Series and exhibitions upon his arrival.
The utility player hit .384 with 22 doubles and seven home runs in his last season at Ellsworth. That came off another seven-homer campaign as a freshman, in which he also hit over .300. Whether he’s needed in the outfield or behind the dish to give starting catcher Justin Vought rest, Holte-Mancera is one of seven transfers that could give the Terps more depth in 2019.
Sophomore Chris Alleyne
Alleyne is a returning face to the Maryland roster, but he didn’t play much last season, and none of that time came in the outfield. But with the number of departures, the coaching staff has tried to turn the sophomore into a potential outfielder for this season.
The former infielder only started seven games as a freshman — primarily as a designated hitter — and only managed two hits in his limited 25 at-bats on the season. He did, however, pick up 31 hits this summer in the Cal Ripken Baseball League.
It’s unclear if Alleyne’s transition to the outfield will turn into a role in any of the three positions in 2019.
Sophomore Michael Pineiro
Pineiro was included in our infield preview, with the first baseman job up for grabs after Kevin Biondic graduated after last season. But if he doesn’t end up starting at that position, Pineiro could find himself contributing in the outfield.
While he didn’t play at all as a true freshman, Pineiro spent a majority of his high school career in the outfield in California. While he initially might have been transitioning to a spot in the infield, it’s possible Pineiro could wind up back in the outfield at some point this season.
Pineiro was a standout performer at the plate throughout the Fall World Series and two exhibitions, so his position flexibility gives him potential opportunities in what could be his first season getting on the field.
Freshman Maxwell Costes
Like Pineiro, Costes was featured in our infield preview at his natural position at third base, but with that spot locked down by senior leader Taylor Wright, that opportunity isn’t immediately available.
It’s a similar situation to the one his older brother Marty faced when he came to College Park several years ago. The elder Costes’ bat was needed in the lineup, so the coaching staff placed him in a position in the outfield with less competition.
With a similar need in the outfield once more, the younger Costes might also end up making that switch to the outfield to fill a void. He’s coming off a senior season of high school in which he hit .392 with nine doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs and 2018 Baltimore Sun first team All-Metro recognition.