Preseason Countdown #7: Meet the freshmen

Out of the 11 recruits that committed to Maryland before the 2021 season, ten are now freshmen for the Terps ahead of what will be a very weird first collegiate season. The lone exception to the group was right-handed pitcher Alex Santos, who the Houston Astros drafted 72nd overall in the 2020 MLB Draft.

With no Fall World Series or any exhibition games prior to the 2021 season, many of these freshmen’s first taste of college ball will be after the season starts. To get familiarized with all of the new, young faces on the diamond, take a quick glance at who they are.

C Blake BadmanHuntingtown, Maryland (DeMatha Catholic)

A product of DeMatha Catholic, Blake Badman was ranked No. 2 among catchers and the fourth-best overall recruit out of Maryland, per Perfect Game. He batted .412 to go along with a .667 slugging percentage in his high school career while hitting 18 home runs.

RHP Nigel BelgraveAuburn, Massachusetts (Auburn Senior High School)

Nigel Belgrave hails from Auburn, Massachusetts, and the RHP is ranked as the No. 18 overall recruit out of the state, per Perfect Game.

RHP Chris BookhultzBrookville, Maryland (St. John’s College)

Just like Badman, Chris Bookhultz is a Maryland native, except comes from St. John’s College. During 2019, he went 2-0 while recording a 0.51 earned-run average. He came in as the sixth-best RHP recruit out of Maryland, and the 30th-best recruit out of the state overall, per Perfect Game.

IF Kevin KeisterSmyrna, Delaware (Caravel Academy)

Kevin Keister was among the best recruits out of Delaware in 2020, coming in as the fourth-best overall recruit in the Blue Hen State, per Perfect Game. While also being the second-ranked shortstop in the state, he was a finalist for the 2020 Gatorade Delaware Player of the Year Award.

LHP Ryan MurphyBillerica, Massachusetts (Billerica Memorial)

Ryan Murphy is the second freshman to come out of Massachusetts, and despite being ranked as the 11th-best overall recruit out of the state, he was the second-best left-handed pitcher, per Perfect Game. He led his high school with a career 1.80 ERA, and was named Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2020.

LHP/OF Logan OttMontoursville, Pennsylvania (Montoursville Area)

The pitcher/outfielder has plenty of baseball talent in his blood, as his grandfather, Ed Ott, helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1979 World Series. As for Logan himself, the 18-year-old was ranked as the sixth-best LHP recruit in Pennsylvania, per Perfect Game. While he has played outfield and could likely see reps as a Terp, his strength is his pitching, as he recorded a 1.17 ERA over 60 innings in 2019, earning a pitcher of the year award.

RHP Jason SavacoolBaldwinsville, New York (Baker)

If the 2020 MLB Draft was more than five rounds, Savacool likely wouldn’t be at Maryland. The pitcher was ranked as the No. 156 draft prospect, per’s rankings. Instead, he’ll be continuing his academic career while pitching for the Terps in hopes of improving his draft stock.

Savacool was ranked as the second-best overall recruit out of New York while being ranked as the second-best RHP in the state, only behind Santos. In high school, he threw 11 complete games — including a no-hitter — as he recorded a 1.34 ERA in the 156 innings he pitched.

IF Matthew ShawBrimfield, Massachusetts (Worcester Academy)

Ranked as the No. 3 shortstop recruit out of Massachusetts for 2020, per Perfect Game, Matthew Shaw will be bringing a very strong bat with him into his freshman season. The Massachusetts native spent Summer 2020 playing with the Worcester Bravehearts of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England, where he hit .370/.414/.907 in 58 plate appearances. The strong bat of his was also responsible for nine home runs in the 14 games he played.

C Luke ShligerDanbury, Connecticut (Trinity-Pawling School)

The lone Connecticut native in this group of freshmen, Luke Shliger was ranked the best catcher recruit out of his home state, per Perfect Game. In his last high school season, he hit .489 with five home runs and 20 RBI, earning him a spot on the 2019 All-Founders League First Team.

RHP Gavin StellpflugWhitehouse Station, New Jersey (Somerville)

Gavin Stellpflug comes in as the No. 18 right-handed pitcher out of New Jersey, per Perfect Game. In his sophomore year at Somerville, he helped his team win a state championship.