Preseason Countdown No. 5: Starters Preview

After a season of magnificent starting pitching for the Terps, Rob Vaughn’s 2023 squad has lofty expectations to fulfill. However, the departure of 2022 First Team All-Big Ten pitcher Ryan Ramsey to the 2022 MLB Draft leaves a major hole to fill.

But with Ramsey’s departure, the other parts of last year’s dominant big three starting rotation in Jason Savacool and Nick Dean remain, and with a roster oozing with new and seasoned talent, there are others who could jump into the rotation. So with five days left till the team’s season opener, let’s look at those who could make up Maryland’s starting rotation in 2023.

Junior RHP Jason Savacool

2022 was the year that Jason Savacool made the leap to stardom with a 2.93 ERA in 107.2 IP. Savacool, a 2022 First Team All-Big Ten and 2022 D1Baseball Second Team All-American, will come into the year with the No. 1 spot in the starting rotation and has been named a D1 Baseball 2023 preseason All American.

Savacool was also invited to try out for the 2022 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, which is a highly selective list of the 48-50 top college draft prospects in the country. Being part of this prospect list means that Savacool could have a high spot in the 2023 MLB draft up for grabs this year.

Senior RHP Nick Dean

Going into the season, the No. 2 spot in the starting rotation is reserved for Nick Dean. Although his ERA took a slight regression from 2021, Nick Dean still had a 4.57 ERA last year while pitching just over 29 more innings than the year prior at 82.2.

The 6’3 180 lbs 2022 Third Team All-Big Ten member and senior is likely going to be pitching for a chance to hear his name in the 2023 MLB draft. According to Prospects Live, Dean was 457 out of 500 on their ranked prospect list after the College Park Region, and writer Jared Perkins described Dean’s changeup as “incredibly filthy” but added that his “lack of velocity” may have made Dean a lower pick in 2022. 

Fifth Year RHP Kenny Lippman

Vaughn described Lippman’s potential in the starting rotation as one as a “swingman” for the Terps. The 6’4 Lippman is unique as not only is he a fifth year transfer, he is a transfer from Denison, a D3 school.

During his senior year at Denison, Lippman made 16 appearances and 8 starts, compiling a 1.56 ERA in 63.1 IP. The 2022 D3 First Team All-American was named the NCAC Tournament MVP after breaking the Denison single-game strikeout record with 14 strikeouts in the championship game. 

Junior RHP Nate Haberthier

The Ohio State transfer was described by Vaughn as having made “really good adjustments” and “in the mix” for a potential spot in the starting rotation.

As a sophomore as a Buckeye, the 6’5, 245-pound Haberthier had a 6.75 ERA in 70.2 IP while starting 13 games. Although the ERA wasn’t perfect and Haberthier had an 0-6 record, he pitched in a competitive Big Ten and his previous starting experience along with Vaughn’s endorsement may help his chances.

Junior LHP Logan Ott

Although he may not be the biggest pitcher on Maryland’s roster, Ott has proven that he can start for a high-level team in Maryland. In 2022, Ott compiled a 5.68 ERA after 50.2 IP and 14 appearances while also starting in 8 of those appearances.

Ott proved himself to be a valuable asset to the team on many occasions last year, and if he can slightly up his game this year, he could have a strong chance at becoming the third piece of the weekend rotation.

Sophomore RHP Ryan Van Buren

When asked about who would be in the mix this year for a starting role, Vaughn says that Van Buren has “taken a massive step forward from last year.” At first glance at Van Buren’s numbers from last year, a 9.97 ERA in 21.2 IP, one could definitely see why that “massive step” may have been much needed. 

However, Van Buren could very well put himself in the running as a midweek starter, as a big second-year jump wouldn’t be unheard of, especially if Vaughn sees promise in him.

Freshman LHP Kyle McCoy

Described by Vaughn as “tough” and a kid who “competes” and has “a chance to be pretty special,” the New Jersey southpaw had a 0.98 ERA in 35.2 IP with 63 strikeouts for Hunterdon Central High School.

McCoy’s team finished with a 25-5 record and he finished last season as a Skyland Conference all-star while leading his team to the Group 4 sectional finals. Perfect Game ranks McCoy as the 17th best pitcher in the nation and the fifth best player in New Jersey while describing his off-speed arsenal as “show[ing] depth and the deception.”

Freshman RHP Eliakim Stowe

The Poughkeepsie righty was a key component of his high school team that made their first playoff appearance in team history and had an 11-5 record after going 4-8 the year prior. The 6’3 Stowe also has a fastball that can go up to 95 mph along with a slider and changeup in his arsenal.

Stowe is also ranked fourth among New York pitchers and 8th overall in the state according to Perfect Game

Freshman RHP Wagner Morrisette

The 2022 All-State South Carolina pitcher led The Burlington School to a 22-6 record and a ​​NCISAA Class 2-A state title with a 6-1 record and 0.95 ERA in 37 IP while also hitting .385 behind the plate. Morrisette has a fastball that tops out at 95 mph. 

In late April Morrissette became a target of MLB scouts for the 2022 MLB Draft after striking out a top rated UNC commit 3 times in one game.