Preseason Countdown No. 19: 2021 Pitching MVP

When it comes to durability and longevity, right-hander Sean Burke could easily be seen as the Terps’ most valuable pitcher. However, the Chicago White Sox drafted him with the 94th overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft, leaving a hole in Maryland’s ace spot.

With an eye towards the present and future of this team, Nick Dean has earned the “Cy Young” award for the Terps in 2021. Although he started nine games last season — the least of any Terps starter — Dean ended the season with the best earned run average at 2.87 and an elite 39-11 K/BB ratio. The 2.87 mark was fourth among all Big Ten starters.

Righty Jason Savacool also will likely be a prominent piece in Maryland’s rotation for the next couple of years, but the now-junior’s hot start — which included two complete games in his first three starts – came to a cool end after a rollercoaster of April and May.

Dean ended up not pitching in the NCAA Tournament, but he consistently delivered in the regular season and especially down the line. In his last four starts, he gave up five runs in 27 innings pitched. Dean’s final start was a tough 6 1/3 inning, three-run outing versus a Michigan team that was in heavy contention with Maryland near the top of the Big Ten standings.

Another notable start of Dean’s season was against Ohio State on April 17 when the righty threw eight innings of two-run ball, and kept the Buckeyes to one walk. Dean also recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in that outing.

No rotation is set just yet for Vaughn’s squad, but with Dean and Savacool each vying for the ace spot, Dean’s 2021 has given him a great chance to take the mound in 19 days.