Over the summer of 2019, nine Maryland pitchers appeared across five different summer leagues. These pitchers combined for seven wins and five saves 78 appearances, 15 of them starts. Of the nine hurlers to get innings over the summer, the two who stood out the most were two veteran bullpen arms, Sean Fisher and Elliot Zoellner.
Sean Fisher, LHP, Brewster Whitecaps (Cape Cod League): 12 apps, 25.1 IP, 3-0, 3 SV, 2.84 ERA, 15 K/4 BB
Fisher, a junior from Parsonsburg, led the Whitecaps in appearances and was named the teams reliever of the season. Fisher’s role in Brewster was similar to his one in College Park, often going multiple innings, including over three innings four times.
The southpaw pitched to contact over the summer as he did in the spring, with relatively low numbers of both strikeouts and walks. But while his style remained the same, his results differed wildly, with an ERA more than four runs lower than his mark from the spring.
While Fisher was solid from start to finish over the summer, his two-week period from July 10 to 24 sealed him as the team’s reliever of the season. Over four appearances in that span, Fisher went 12 ⅔ innings over four appearances without allowing an earned run and recording three wins and a save.
With the departure of closer John Murphy, Fisher figures to take on a larger role in the Terps’ bullpen, with more appearances in more crucial situations.
Elliot Zoellner, RHP, Bethesda Big Train (Ripken): 12 apps, 16 IP, 1-0, 1 SV, 1.12 ERA, 17 K/5 BB
Zoellner was a key cog of the Big Train’s championship team, coming second on the team with 12 appearances and allowing only two runs. The senior from Annapolis was coming off a tough spring where he had a 7.40 ERA in 18 appearances. Like Fisher, Zoellner was almost lights-out from start to finish, with 11 of his 16 appearances ending scoreless, including six consecutive shutout appearances to end the summer.
Zoellner was mostly a short-innings option, going only an inning over four times. While he did not have many long outings, he was also consistently getting outs, never going less that a full inning after failing to record three outs eight times in the spring.
Like Fisher, the righty sidewinder has the potential to be a key veteran presence in the Terps bullpen, as the only senior reliever on the roster. While the experience can be helpful regardless of on-field performance, Zoellner’s ability to carry his summer-ball form into the spring could be a key to the reliability of Maryland’s bullpen.