Preseason Countdown #2: Bullpen preview

Maryland is going to have plenty of arms to choose from during later innings this season, as all but about three-to-four of the 22 pitchers on the roster will be providing their stuff from the bullpen. With a schedule that’s limited to weekend series, many of the probable bullpen pitchers will be missing out on reps they would normally get during midweek contests, but for the team’s case, it should allow the best of the group to be fresh for every weekend.

As the season countdown ticks to two days, take a look at the crowded bullpen that Maryland boasts heading into the 2021 season:

LHP Tyler Blohm (Graduate Student)

After not appearing in a game during his senior season last year, Tyler Blohm is returning as a graduate student. The former starter will likely pitch out of the bullpen with younger talent taking his place in the weekend rotation, but his veteran leadership will certainly play an important role with the seven incoming freshmen. Before his absence from the mound in 2020, Blohm recorded a career 3.98 in 150 innings.

LHP Ryan Murphy (Freshman)

Coming in as the first of two freshmen left-handed pitchers, Ryan Murphy was ranked the second-best left-handed pitcher recruit out of Massachusetts. In his final high school season, Murphy earned his conference’s player of the year award.

LHP Drew Wilden (Redshirt Junior)

Drew Wilden was one of Maryland’s midweek starters in 2019 as a redshirt freshman, recording a 5.82 ERA in his 11 overall appearances. The 2020 season didn’t give Wilden much of a fair chance to show improvement on the mound, as his lone appearance saw him give up two runs over one innings against Rhode Island.

LHP Ryan Ramsey (Sophomore)

Ryan Ramsey had a tough go of it in the short 2020 season, appearing four times but recording a 12.60 ERA. While the sample size was extremely small for the then-freshman, keep in mind that Ramsey came into 2020 as the fourth-best left-handed pitcher recruit out of New Jersey, per Perfect Game, and was even drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 36th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Although the bullpen will be especially crowded this season, Ramsey will likely get a chance to prove himself as a reliable arm.

LHP Logan Ott (Freshman)

Logan Ott enters Maryland as a LHP/OF dual-threat, but the majority of his talent comes as a pitcher. Ranked the sixth-best LHP recruit in Pennsylvania, per Perfect Game, his last season in high school ended with him being named his league’s pitcher of the year as he cruised to an 8-0 record and 1.17 ERA.

RHP Will Glock (Redshirt Sophomore)

After pitching to the tune of a 2.38 ERA over 13 appearances in 2019, Will Glock served a redshirt season during 2020 as he recovered from an injury. Having had nearly two years to get back in shape, Glock should provide some very strong innings out of the pen in 2021.

RHP Sam Bello (Sophomore)

Sam Bello couldn’t have had much of a better debut season — if that’s what you would call the 6 2/3 inning he pitched in 2020 — allowing one run in his four appearances while striking out 11 batters. Bello also led the team with an incredible .091 opposing batting average. He made his collegiate debut during Opening Day last season, and proceeded to one-hit Charleston Southern over 3 2/3 innings of relief with seven strikeouts.

RHP Chris Chaney (Sophomore)

Chris Chaney was one of the only Terps pitchers to not allow a single run during 2020, though the then-freshman had pitched just two innings. Part of a 2020 freshmen class that featured so many talented arms, Chaney will likely see plenty of innings out of the pen in 2021.

RHP Trevor LaBonte (Junior)

Trevor LaBonte was shifted to the bullpen last season after a disappointing freshman campaign as the Sunday starter, but he didn’t get many opportunities in 2020 to prove himself. The then-sophomore pitched four innings and allowed six runs while walking more than double the batters he struck out. Now one of the older members of the prospective bullpen, LaBonte will likely get his chances in 2021 to improve on a couple of underwhelming seasons.

RHP Chris Bookhultz (Freshman)

Coming in as the sixth-best RHP recruit out of Maryland, per Perfect Game, Chris Bookhultz is one of four freshmen right-handed pitchers to commit to Maryland from 2020. In his last high school season in 2019, Bookhultz recorded a 0.51 ERA and struck out 12 batters.

RHP Sean Heine (Junior)

Sean Heine looked like he was definitely trending in the right direction in 2020 after concluding his freshman season with a 10.38 ERA in 17 appearances. His ERA through four appearances in 2020 sat at 5.40, but the righty did have two appearances that displayed upside, one being two scoreless innings against Iona and the other being 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Delaware.

RHP Connor Staine (Sophomore)

Connor Staine pitched the most innings out of any freshmen last season, and certainly showed why he deserved it. In 10 1/3 innings, Staine wasn’t overwhelming in terms of whiffing batters — striking out just nine batters — but he ended the short season with a 2.61 ERA.

RHP David Falco (Redshirt Freshman)

The sixth-ranked overall recruit out of New York, per Perfect Game, did not appear during the 2020 season, but he brings plenty of potential with him into 2021. His fastball velocity came in at 93 MPH when he first committed to Maryland, good for the 98th percentile of his class. He will most likely get plenty of opportunities in 2021 to display that fastball and shine.

RHP Elliot Zoellner (Graduate Student)

The leader of Maryland’s bullpen in recent years, Elliot Zoellner is returning in 2021 as a graduate student, potentially playing a monumental role — similar to Tyler Blohm — in guiding the incoming freshmen and all underclassmen with his experience. He appeared seven times in 2020 — the most out of any relief pitcher — and didn’t allow a single run as he picked up 16 strikeouts.

RHP Mark DiLuia (Senior)

After more-or-less treading water out of the bullpen in his freshman and sophomore years, Mark DiLuia looked like a very improved pitcher in his short 2020 stint. He pitched five innings in five appearances, and didn’t allow a run. DiLuia also pitched Maryland’s final inning of the 2020 season, throwing a perfect frame against James Madison.

RHP Gavin Stellpflug (Freshman)

Part of a high school team that won a state championship in New Jersey in 2018, Gavin Stellpflug has some winning experience under his belt as he joins a Maryland team with great aspirations. The Somerville, New Jersey, native was ranked the No. 18 RHP recruit in the state.

RHP Nigel Belgrave (Freshman)

Nigel Belgrave comes to Maryland as the No. 11 RHP recruit out of Massachusetts, per Perfect Game, and the 18th-best recruit in the state overall.

RHP Jason Savacool (Freshman)

If the 2020 MLB Draft was more than five rounds, Jason Savacool would most likely not be mentioned in this list. The righty, who was ranked the 19th-best recruit in the nation, per Perfect Game, was also ranked No. 152 on MLB Pipeline’s top draft prospects. Savacool has already been given preseason praise, earning 2021 Baseball America Big Ten Preseason Newcomer of the Year ahead of the season, and while it’s unknown if he’ll be a starter or reliever for 2021, his talent is certainly going to make a difference for the Terps.