Preseason Countdown No. 20: 2021 Offensive MVP

The Maryland Baseball Network preseason countdown is back, and with 20 days before the Terps kick off the season in Waco, Texas, we look back at an unforgettable 2021 season — highlighted by the offensive player who paved the way for the Terps lineup.

With the home run ball powering Maryland to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017, it’s only right to name Big Ten home run-leader Benjamin Cowles as the offensive MVP of last season.

Cowles, who the New York Yankees drafted with the 303rd overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, had a comfortable four-home run lead in the conference standings as he crushed his way to prominence around collegiate baseball. His accolades from last season include 2021 Baseball America Third Team All-American, 2021 First Team All-Big Ten, and he took home Big Ten Player of the Week for the week of March 16.

Cowles didn’t just lead the way for the Terps in home runs, but the junior had also led in slugging percentage (.632) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.041), making huge jumps from numbers since the (COVID-shortened) 2020 season and his freshman season in 2019.

Lastly, he also proved to be an extremely reliable piece to the Terps lineup, starting in all 48 games of the 2021 season at shortstop.

Although Cowles’ bat won’t be returning to the Terps lineup in 2022, he did a tremendous job to put Maryland back on the map in Big Ten baseball as the Terps look to return to the NCAA Tournament.