Pro Terps Update: 7/3/18

Two 2018 Terps were selected in the 2018 MLB and two more have since signed professional baseball contracts, as the number of Maryland baseball players in the pros continues to grow. Here’s a look at how all of those guys are performing during the 2018 season.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

While more Terps should make it to the show soon, Cecil is still the only former Terrapin in Major League Baseball. Cecil, who turned 32 on July 2, is in his 10th big league season, and his second with the Cardinals.

He missed a chunk of the 2018 season with an injury, but has been solid since returning to the mound, posting a 4.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 18 innings of work. However, Cecil’s walk rate is currently the highest of his career, and because of that has not been used in many high-leverage situations.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After seven seasons in the minors, Adam Kolarek made his major league debut last June, and worked in 12 games for the Rays in 2017. This season, Kolarek has not yet gotten the call-up, but has been absolutely filthy in Durham.

The lefty has posted a 1.09 ERA over 41.1 innings this season, and his 10.89 K/9 is the best mark of his career since he got to the Triple-A level. With only nine walks and five earned runs allowed in the entire season, it shouldn’t be long before Kolarek gets another chance with the big club.

2B/OF Brandon Lowe, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After again dominating at the Double-A level this season, Brandon Lowe finally got the call-up to Durham on June 7. Since then, Lowe has been on fire. He is hitting .341 with a 1.147 OPS at the Triple-A level and has eight home runs.

Those eight long balls came in a 10-game span from June 21 to June 29 and led Lowe to be named Minor League Player of the Week on June 25. Lowe’s ridiculous stats in June have but him on the major league radar.

OF LaMonte Wade, Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins, AAA)

LaMonte Wade, like Lowe, was again tearing it up at Double-A this season, and just two days after Lowe got his call-up to Triple-A, Wade got his as well. The bat hasn’t been quite as hot for Wade, but he has continued to do what he has done at every level — get on base.

Through 22 games with Rochester, Wade is hitting .250, but is sporting a .397 on-base percentage as he has drawn 17 walks and struck out only 11 times. The power is also starting to come along for Wade, who has already matched a minor league career-high with nine overall home runs in 2018.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox, AA)

In his first year at the Double-A level, Mike Shawaryn may be putting together his best minor league season. Through 15 starts this season, Shawaryn has posted a 3.55 ERA with 77 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 88.2 innings of work.

While his strikeouts are down from last season at Single-A, his walks, home runs, and batting average against are down, as well, as Shawaryn continues to find ways to get guys out. As the Red Sox No. 9 overall prospect according to MLB.com, The Unicorn could be on his way to the big leagues, or possibly the centerpiece of a deal at the trade deadline.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

After fighting his way back from injury in 2017, Jake Stinnett is in his first full Double-A season with the Smokies this year. Stinett has made a full-time transition to the bullpen since the injury, and has found success there this season. In 32 innings of work, he has pitched to a 4.78 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just 14 walks.

In this new role, Stinnett has the best strikeout rate of his career, and has recently been moved into the closer role for the Smokies. Since then, he has converted four saves in a row, and has struck out four batters without allowing a baserunner in those four innings since June 26.

SS/3B Kevin Smith, Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, High-A)

Kevin Smith starting the season in Single-A Lansing, but quickly proved that his bat was due for a promotion. After hitting .355 in 46 games for the Lugnuts, Smith was promoted to High-A Dunedin on May 28. Since then he has continued to swing a hot bat, batting .301 with six home runs in 29 games at the High-A level.

After another strong week for Smith in Dunedin in which he batted .414, he was named the Florida State League Player of the Week on July 1. Now the No. 18-ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system according to MLB.com, Smith could earn himself another promotion soon.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

Alex Robinson battled injuries early in the 2018 season, but has finally made it back to the mound consistently here lately. In 17.2 innings at Fort Myers this season, Robinson has a 3.57 ERA and has struck out 20 batters compared to just 10 walks.

Opponents are batting only .206 against the power lefty this season, and Robinson’s last appearance may have been his best of the year. He worked 2.1 scoreless frames while striking out three batters.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Kane County Cougars (Arizona Diamondbacks, A)

Brian Shaffer’s first season at full-season Single-A has been a dominant one. Over 15 starts this season, Shaffer has worked 84.2 innings and has posted a 2.98 ERA.

And the righty has continued to do exactly what he did in College Park — throw strikes. Shaffer has 86 strikeouts on the year and has walked on 18 batters. In his last four starts dating back to June 12, he has 28 strikeouts and has not walked a batter over 25 innings.

OF Marty Costes, Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros, A)

After being drafted by the Houston Astros for the second straight year, this time in the 22nd round, Marty Costes decided to sign his first pro contract. He started the season in short-season Single-A, where his first professional hit was a triple, but played only four games there before getting the call-up to full season ball on June 24.

Since the promotion, Costes is hitting .235 with an RBI and is currently on a three-game hitting streak.

RHP Jose Cuas, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, (Milwaukee Brewers, A)

Jose Cuas spent his entire college career and his first three minor league seasons as an infielders, but he decided to transfer to the rubber in 2018. His first 12 appearances on the mound have been rough this year, however. He has a 9.92 ERA in 16.1 innings, but has recorded 16 strikeouts in that time.

2B Nick Dunn, State College Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals, Short-Season A)

After an incredible junior season at Maryland, Nick Dunn was drafted by the Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB Draft and signed with St. Louis. Dunn has started his career at the short-season Single-A level, and has continued to hit the baseball.

Through 15 games, Dunn is hitting .302 with eight RBI and has more walks (9) than strikeouts (8). And he had an incredible start to July, going 5-for-9 in his first two games of the month.

RHP Jamal Wade, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners, Short-Season A)

After spending all of 2017 in rookie ball, Jamal Wade started 2018 on the disabled list, but he returned on June 14 and was promoted to short-season Single-A. Wade has appeared six times out of the bullpen this season for the AquaSox and has a 1.82 ERA. In 10 innings of work he has allowed just two earned runs on five hits while striking out nine batters and walking only two.

In his most recent appearance on July 2, Wade recorded his first save of the season, working a rare three-pitch inning to shut the door.

RHP Kevin Biondic, Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox, Short-Season A)

Kevin Biondic was not selected in this year’s draft after his final season at Maryland, but on June 21, the Boston Red Sox took a chance on Biondic, signing him as a pitcher. Biondic made his pro debut on July 1, allowing just one run on one hit and recording a strikeout in two innings of relief.

RHP Ryan Selmer, Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets, Short-Season A)

In second pro season, Ryan Selmer started the year at High-A with the St. Lucie Mets, but was sent to Brooklyn after just two appearances. Selmer has appeared seven times at short-season Single-A this season and has an 8.38 ERA with one save.

LHP Jake Drossner, Milwaukee Brewers Organization

Jake Drossner has struggled with injury over the past two years, and will most likely miss the entire 2018 season. He last pitched for Single-A Wisconsin last season, making one start and going four innings after pitching 94 innings there in 2016.

RHP Taylor Bloom, Washington Wild Things (Frontier League, Independent)

After an incredible four-year career at Maryland, Taylor Bloom was not selected in the MLB Draft, but he will get a chance at a pro career. On June 30 Bloom signed a contract with the Washington Wild Things, and independent team in Washington, Pennsylvania that plays in the Frontier League.

Bloom started for the Wild Things on the same night he was signed, and allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four over five innings.

*All stats are updated through games played on July 2, 2018*

Season Preview: Six things we learned from Media Day

Maryland held it’s spring sports media day on Tuesday, which gave Terps Head Coach Rob Vaughn his first chance to meet with the media before the start of the 2018 season.

Vaughn revealed a lot about his roster and his plans for the year, and we’ve narrowed it down to the six most important things we learned about the Terps on media day.

1. Hunter Parsons will start the season as the Sunday starter

Hunter Parsons posted a 3.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in a freshman season that included five starts and 10 relief appearances. However, last season the success just wasn’t there. Parsons started the year as the Terps midweek starter, but quickly lost that role after three consecutive rough outings. The righty finished the year with a 12.05 ERA and 2.31 WHIP in 21 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Hunter Parsons is slated to be the Sunday starter. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network

Despite a tough 2017, Coach Vaughn is sticking with Parsons, and said Tuesday that he will start on the first Sunday of the season against Tennessee.

“We’re moving forward today like it’s Hunter Parsons,” Vaughn said. “Hunter is back to form. He’s been very, very good. Barring any change there, he’ll go Sunday down at Tennessee.”

“He’s been back to what we were hoping he would be. A lot of power stuff, he’s developed a good secondary pitch with a slider and his changeup’s been good his whole career. Again, the mental side of it, staring adversity in the face last year, and back up to what he’s doing now has been a huge piece for me.”

Parson’s 2017 numbers may have looked bad on the surface, but a deeper dive shows that he may have actually improved in some areas. His walk rate went virtually unchanged from 2016 to 2017, and his K/9 actually improved significantly from 7.00 to 9.97.

2. The left side of the infield is set for now

The loss of Kevin Smith in the MLB Draft left a gaping hole at shortstop for the Terps. However, the easy move was to move AJ Lee over from third base. Lee hit .307 with an .863 OPS last season and will be moving back to his natural position in 2018.

“It’s been an easy transition for [AJ],” Vaughn said. “He’s been super comfortable over there. We’ve had them (AJ and Dunn) working together a ton … AJ’s a natural shortstop, anyways. That’s where he played in high school at St. John’s College right down there road. Him and Dunn working together all fall has been really smooth.”

The Terps had a few options at third base, including junior college transfer Brad Barnett and senior Kevin Biondic, but Vaughn ultimately chose Taylor Wright, the junior transfer from Colorado Northwestern Community College. “[Taylor’s] going to be a middle-of-the-order impact bat for us,” Vaughn said.

3. Jancarski and Costes will be at the top of the order

Zach Jancarski was arguably the Big Ten’s best leadoff hitter last season. As a junior, Jancarski played in all but three games out of the top spot in the order, slashing .325/.424/.887 with 22 extra-base hits and the same amount of walks (33) as strikeouts. However, the now-senior may not be back in that lineup spot to start the season.

On the January 27th edition of the Maryland Baseball Network Podcast, Chris Webb of 10innings.com told us that Marty Costes would be hitting leadoff for the Terps. On Tuesday, Coach Vaughn would not specifically who would dig in to start the game against Tennessee on Feb. 16, but he did say that Costes and Jancarski would be the first two batters in the order.

Outfielder Marty Costes, who led the team in walks and home runs in 2017, will join Zach Jancarski at the top of the order this season. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/12/2017

“We’re going to hit them 1-2,” Vaughn said. “I’ve been thinking about leading Marty off, that’s honestly a conversation we’ve had and something we haven’t necessarily set in stone yet.”

“One of our huge things we’ve talked about is that I want every pitch of the game to matter. I don’t want the pitcher to ever throw one pitch he’s not scared it’s going to be hit in the gap. With Marty’s reputation with what he’s done for himself, if I’m a pitcher, I’m not supper comfortable [throwing] a fastball to start the game if I know he’s walking to the plate.”

Costes actually had a better on-base percentage (.429) than Jancarski last season and led the team in home runs with 13.

4. John Murphy is Maryland’s closer

Maryland had steered away from naming an actual closer over the past two seasons, but Coach Vaughn did just that on Tuesday.

After a stellar run out of the bullpen in 2017, John Murphy will take over closer duties for the Terps this season. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/4/2017

One of the big [relievers] is John Murphy. Murph is going to close for us this year,” Vaughn said. “He’ll be in that role. He’s been very good.”

Murphy pitched to a 1.27 ERA and struck out 27 batters while walking just eight in 31 2/3 innings for the Terps last season. However, he really showed his worth in the postseason, when he struck out 12 batters in nine innings and worked out of two almost-impossible jams.

Despite all the success, Murphy did have only one save last season, so this will be a brand new role for the junior right-hander.

5. Richie Schiekofer and Randy Bednar will split time in right field

While Costes and Jancarski have left and center field locked down, the third outfield spot may still be up for grabs in College Park. It looks like the Terps’ top two options right now are freshman — Randy Bednar and Richie Schiekofer.

“Randy are Richie are both going to play out there a lot,” Vaughn said. “They will both play out there Week 1. We’ll figure out if that becomes a matchup thing or whether it becomes a ‘hey he’s on a hot streak’ kind of thing. But they’re both going to get a ton of at-bats and be right in the middle of what we’re doing all year.”

Bednar was the No. 5-ranked player in Maryland in the class of 2017, according to Perfect Game. The right-handed hitter batted .327 with six home runs for the Baltimore Redbirds in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League this summer.

Schiekofer was the No. 7-ranked outfielder in New Jersey coming out of high school, according to Perfect Game. He hit .306 from the left side for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts of the CRCBL this summer.

6. If there’s a set midweek starter, it could be Mark DiLuia

The Terps used six different midweek starters in 2017, never really committing to one midweek option, and it looks like Maryland could do the same thing this season.

Coach Vaughn said he doesn’t want to get bogged down with pitchers’ roles, and instead just wants to focus on how he can win games and move on to the next.

However, if there is a midweek starter at the moment, it’s freshman right-hander Mark DiLuia, according to Vaughn. We could see DiLuia get the start on Feb. 21 at William & Mary — Maryland’s first midweek game of the season. DiLuia was the No. 38-ranked player in Illinois in the class of 2017, according to Perfect Game, and was taken in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.

Pro Terps Update 9/12/17: Minor League Wrap-Up

Adam Kolarek made his major league debut back in June with the Tampa Rays, but was then sent down after a few weeks with the big club. However, thanks to September roster expansion, Kolarek earned a trip back to the bigs — doubling the MLB Maryland representation. That and more in this edition of the Pro Terps Update.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

Brett Cecil has been the only staple in the big leagues for the Terps for several years now, and his first season with the Cardinals has been a rollercoaster. After a dominant June and a solid July, Cecil was ineffective in August. In 13 innings last month, the lefty allowed 10 earned runs and a .321 batting average against him.

However, Cecil’s 19 strikeouts and two walks in August was by far his best monthly ratio of the season. His 6.92 ERA in the month could be explained by his incredibly unlucky .472 BABIP. Cecil is sporting a 4.15 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 54 strikeouts over 56.1 innings this season and will still be an important piece for the Cardinals down the stretch in their push for an NL Wild Card spot.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After making his major league debut June 29, Adam Kolarek was sent back to the minors in late July after making 11 appearances with the Rays. Back in Triple-A, the former Terps allowed only three earned runs and struck out 17 over 10.2 innings with the Durham Bulls, which earned him a September call-up with the Rays.

Kolarek appeared in only one game after being recalled — he allowed one run on two hits and walked one while recording two outs against the White Sox September 3. The 28-year-old lefty has been dominant in Triple-A (1.65 ERA, 9.48 K/9), but his major league stats haven’t been great this season (6.48 ERA, 4.32 K/9). Because of that, Tampa Bay outrighted Kolarek back to Durham on September 4.

OF LaMonte Wade, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins, AA)

LaMonte Wade put together an all-star campaign for the Lookouts this season, who were co-Southern League Champions after Hurricane Irma prevented them from playing their championship series against the Pensecola Blue Wahoos. He finished the season hitting .292 with seven home runs and 67 RBI and ended up with more walks (76) than strikeouts (71). Wade’s .397 on-base percentage was good for third-best in the Southern League, and he was a key park of Chattanooga’s semifinal series victory.

The 23-year-old outfielder hit .278 in the five-game series, with his most important knock coming in the ninth inning of game five. With the Lookouts trailing the Montgomery Biscuits 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Wade led off the frame with a single and came around to score when Jonathan Rodriguez ended the game with a walk-off two-run dinger.

Wade, who is the Twins No. 17 overall prospect, will now head to the Arizona Fall League to play with the Surprise Saguaros so the Twins can get another look at him before Spring Training. And he already has something in common with one of his coaches.

2B Brandon Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)

It was an all-Terps matchup in the Southern League semifinals, but Wade’s team got the better of Brandon Lowe’s. However, Lowe still had an incredible season. After hitting .311 with a .927 OPS in High-A, Lowe was promoted to Double-A. He hit only .253 in 24 games with Montgomery, but his performance in High-A earned him Florida State League Player of the Year honors.

Lowe went 0-for-7 in the playoffs with the Biscuits, but he should be on track to start at second base for Tampa Bay’s Double-A affiliate next season. He will also have a ranking bump from MLB.com going into 2018.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

Since coming off the disabled list and being promoted to Double-A on August 5, Jake Stinnett has been almost unhittable out of the Smokies bullpen. He has allowed just one earned run and struck out 14 batters over 14.2 innings. Over his entire 2017 minor league season, Stinnett posted a 1.19 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

Like Wade, Stinnett will also get his chance to further show off his talents in the Arizona Fall League.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, High-A)

The Unicorn ended the season in strong form and as the Red Sox No. 7 overall prospect. Mike Shawaryn finished his 2017 season between Single-A and High-A with a 3.81 ERA and 11.29 K/9 in 26 total starts. The 22-year-old righty also ended his season with two of the best starts of his career. Shawaryn struck out 18 batters and walked only two while allowing just two earned over his final 14 innings of the year, including a career-high eight innings on August 27.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

Alex Robinson was finally able to find his control this season, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.16 in A-Ball, which earned him a call-up to High-A back in July. In 17.1 innings with the Fort Myers Miracle, Robinson posted a 4.67 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. He finished his full minor league season with a 1.28 WHIP and an impressive 12.69 K/9.

INF Jose Cuas, Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers, High-A)

It was again a struggle at the plate for Jose Cuas in 2017. The 23-year-old hit just .187 with a .598 OPS and five home runs this season. Cuas moved around the infield defensively and spent a lot of time at first base despite playing third base at Maryland. However, the former Terp did heat up a little at the end of the season, hitting .258 with four RBI over his final eight games.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Hillsboro Hops (Arizona Diamondbacks, Low-A)

Since being promoted to Low-A in July, Brian Shaffer has been dominant. In 21 innings, the tall righty struck out 21 batters and walked just one. In 24 innings overall in his first minor league season, Shaffer pitched to 3.38 ERA and 0.83 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to a .211 batting average.

Shaffer, who is Arizona’s No. 30 overall prospect, was used as a starter, but only for two or three innings at a time. The short outing helped to limit his usage and increase his productivity while getting Shaffer ready to be a full-time starter next season.

SS Kevin Smith, Bluefield Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, Rookie)

Kevin Smith, who is ranked as the Blue Jays No. 25 overall prospect, was Maryland’s highest 2017 draft pick (4th round), and he lived up to the hype in his first season. Smith hit .271 with a .778 OPS in 61 games, leading Bluefield with 25 doubles, eight homers and 43 RBIs. He was able to show off his power on August 31.

However, the plate discipline was still a bit of an issue for the former Terp, who struck out 70 times and drew only 16 walks.

RHP Ryan Selmer, Kingsport Mets (New York Mets, Rookie)

Ryan Selmer finished up his first professional season with some impressive numbers. The 23-year-old righty pitched to a 2.14 ERA over 21 innings and converted both of save opportunities. In classic Ryan Selmer fashion, the reliever threw almost double as many ground balls as fly balls, which helped overcome 1.52 WHIP and .284 batting average against. Over his 14 appearances, Selmer allowed an earned run in only three of them.

RHP Jamal Wade, AZL Mariners (Seattle Mariners, Rookie)

The younger Wade was drafted in the 17th round in June, but performed like an early-round draft pick in his first professional season. Over 19.2 innings, Wade posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out 27 batters and walking only seven.

 

Pro Terps Update: 8/9/17

Brandon Lowe’s Maryland baseball career ended with a broken fibula in the 2015 NCAA Super Regionals. Now, just over two years later, Lowe’s injury is in the past, and he is lighting up the minor leagues in the Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league system. Lowe’s promotion to Double-A highlights this edition of the Pro Terps Update.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

There were two Terps in the major leagues for a short time this season, but Brett Cecil is now again the only former Maryland player in the big leagues. After a rough start to his first season with the Cardinals, Cecil has settled into the St. Louis bullpen, owning a 3.30 ERA in 53 appearances. The lefty has allowed only one run in his last 7.1 innings, and he put together a pretty impressive performance in his second-to-last appearance.

Cecil’s strikeouts are way down from his usual career numbers, but his stuff has still been effective. Opposing hitters are chasing 36.9 percent of Cecil’s pitches that are outside the strike zone, which is the best mark of his career.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

From June 28 to July 29, there were two Terps in the big leagues. One was Brett Cecil and the other was Adam Kolarek. After eight minor league seasons, Kolarek finally got the big league call up, but didn’t have the most success. The first two appearances of his career were scoreless, but the lefty allowed a run in five of his final nine games. With an unattractive 7.84 FIP and 4.70 K/9 in 7.2 innings, Kolarek was sent back to Triple-A after the Rays acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the White Sox. Kolarek has allowed just one run and struck out four in three appearances since the demotion.

2B Brandon Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)

Ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the Tampa Bay system, Brandon Lowe had been tearing up the Florida State League with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, and promotion seemed inevitable. Then, on August 2, while leading the league in batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.403), OPS (.927) and doubles (34), Lowe finally got the call up to Double-A after setting some Stone Crabs records.

In six games with the Biscuits so far, the former Terp is hitting .208 with a home run and three RBI, and his one long ball came at a pretty important time.

OF Lamonte Wade, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins, AA)

Lamonte Wade started the season absolutely red-hot for the Lookouts, but he has cooled off a little bit since then. Wade has gone just 5-for-34 (.147) at the plate in his last seven games, and was placed on the 7-day DL Sunday with a thumb injury. However, even with the slump, Wade is still hitting .277 and his impressive .393 on-base percentage is good for sixth-best in the Southern League. He has 10 more walks than strikeouts, and the 65 free passes is the second-best total in the league. Wade also set a new career high for single-game RBI earlier this month.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

In a 2017 season mostly tarnished by injury, Jake Stinnett finally got some good news this week. After throwing 4.2 scoreless innings on rehab with the AZL Cubs and then making two appearances with the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Stinnett was reassigned to Double-A with the Smokies where he was supposed to start the season. He made his first career Double-A appearance Sunday, working two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and allowing just one baserunner.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, High-A)

Mike Shawaryn is universally ranked the best Maryland prospect in the minor leagues, currently ranked ninth in the Red Sox system, but his numbers haven’t completely translated since being promoted to High-A in June. In 53.1 innings with Single-A Greenville this season, Shawaryn struck out 78 batters and walked just 13. In 52.2 innings since his promotion, the righty has struck out 59 and walked 25, with a 4.27 ERA.

The Unicorn has hit a bit of a rough patch, allowing nine earned runs over his last two starts, and the Red Sox have given him nine days in between starts this week to try to regroup.

INF Jose Cuas, Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers, High-A)

A mainstay at the hot corner in his time with the Terps, Jose Cuas has been playing first base lately for the Mudcats. He has flashed the glove on the opposite corner as well, but it’s been difficult for him to stay in the lineup. Since being promoted to High-A on June 22, Cuas has only 12 hits in 80 at-bats (.150) and has struck out 24 times compared to just four walks.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

Alex Robinson may have the most electric stuff among the Terps in the pros, and he has finally been able to showcase it this season. After really struggling with walks in his first two minor league seasons, Robinson found the control in 2017, and walked only 15 batters while striking out 51 in 38 innings in Single-A earlier in the year.

Those numbers earned Robinson “Twins Minor League Player of the Week” honors in early July. But more importantly, the numbers earned him a promotion to High-A Fort Myers on July 9. Since he was moved up, the lefty has been just as impressive, using his upper-90s fastball to strike out 18 batters in 9.1 innings so far with the Miracle.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Hillsboro Hops (Arizona Diamondbacks, Short-Season A)

Brian Shaffer is the only 2017 Maryland draft pick to have already advanced past rookie ball, and he did so fairly quickly. After allowing just one hit and striking out five over three innings in rookie ball, Shaffer was promoted to Hillsboro on July 20. Since the promotion, Shaffer has struck out 12 batters in nine innings.

The Hops have the tall righty starting, but going no more than two innings to keep his workload down. However, Shaffer was almost part of something special in his last start. After Shaffer tossed two hitless innings Saturday, the Hops bullpen came just three outs away from completing a combined no-hitter. The reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year already ranks in the Diamondbacks’ top 30 prospects.

SS Kevin Smith, Bluefield Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, Rookie)

Kevin Smith was Maryland’s highest draft pick in 2017, and he has started his pro career as the everyday shortstop for Toronto’s rookie league team. In 41 games, Smith has slashed .234/.280/.404 with five home runs and 20 RBI. Smith has come up with some big hits, but the strikeouts have been an issue, just as they were during his junior season at Maryland. The fourth-round pick has struck out 47 times while drawing only 11 walks, and is hitting just .162 in his last ten contests for Bluefield.

RHP Ryan Selmer, Kingsport Mets (New York Mets, Rookie)

As a 31st-round draft pick, Ryan Selmer has a steep hill to climb to make it to the big leagues, but he is off to a good start. In 15 innings over 10 appearances, Selmer has struck out seven batters and posted a 2.40 ERA. He has also impressed at the end of games, converting on both of his save opportunities so far.

RHP Jamal Wade, AZL Mariners (Seattle Mariners, Rookie)

If you look at Jamal Wade pro stats on the mound, you’d have no idea he came to College Park as an outfielder. In 9.2 innings in rookie ball this summer, Wade has been lights out, posting a 1.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. The righty has used his put-away stuff to record 16 strikeouts while issuing only five walks and holding opposing hitters to a minuscule .147 batting average. Wade also just keeps getting better, as he struck out five batters in two scoreless innings in his last appearance Monday.

Pro Terps Update: 6/20/17

Two former Terps have already signed with their pro teams after last week’s 2017 MLB Draft, while many minor league teams have hit the All-Star Break, with a few Maryland alumni involved.

One of those all stars is former Maryland 2B Brandon Lowe, who appeared in the Florida State League All-Star Game after a dominant first half with the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays). Through 51 games this season, Lowe has posted a league-best 1.063 OPS and .433 OBP while launching nine home runs. The 2015 draftee hasn’t played since June 5 due to injury, but he was activated off the disabled list Monday.

While Lowe is slowly trending towards the major leagues, LHP Brett Cecil is still the only Terp in the big leagues. After nine seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, Cecil signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason, but has struggled so far in the Cardinals bullpen. His 4.56 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 25.2 innings caused him to lose his spot as the set-up man, but Cecil has started to pull it together lately. The lefty has held opponents scoreless in 12 of his last 13 appearances. He was also able to make a mid-season number change after the Cardinals designated SS Jhonny Peralta for assignment.

With Cecil being the only big-leaguer, LHP Adam Kolarek is at the highest level in the minor leagues among former Terps. Kolarek has thrown 30.1 innings for the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) and has posted a minuscule 1.48 ERA. He is not on the Rays’ 40-man roster, but the team only has one lefty in the big leagues, so Kolarek could be getting the call-up some time this summer.

Kolarek is the most advanced prospect, but RHP Mike Shawaryn is the top-rated former Terp. Shawaryn is now the No. 11 ranked prospect in the Boston Red Sox system and was promoted to the Advanced-A Salem Red Sox in early June. In 13 starts this season, the righty has pitched to a 4.62 ERA and struck out 89 batters while walking only 18 over 64.1 innings. He has had seven starts with at least eight strikeouts. His lofty ERA is the result of early struggles with Salem and his first start of the season with the Class-A Greenville Drive, when he gave up nine earned runs over two innings.

Another high-rising Terp is OF LaMonte Wade, who is with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins). In 64 games this season, Wade is slashing .276/.413/.379 with four home runs and was named to Southern League All-Star Team. His outfield defense continues to improve and the left-handed hitter is actually hitting lefties better so far this season, which bodes well for a potential call-up.

LHP Alex Robinson, who is also in the Twins organization, has had success as well this season with the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels. Robinson has posted a 3.60 ERA and struck out 38 batters over 30 innings this season, while he continues to pump the fastball close to 100 mph.

Three other former Maryland lefties are also trying to climb their way through the minor leagues. LHP Jake Drossner (Milwaukee Brewers), who made one appearance for the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattler and allowed one run over four innings back in April, has been assigned to the Rookie Helena Brewers, who start their season this week. LHP Zach Morris (Philadelphia Phillies) and LHP Jimmy Reed (St. Louis Cardinals) were both released by their organizations earlier this season.

Like Drossner, RHP Kevin Mooney (Washington Nationals) starts his season this week for the Short Season-A Auburn Doubledays. Mooney, who allowed opposing batters to hit only .209 off him last season, should start this year as the Doubledays’ closer, the same spot he held in the Maryland bullpen back in 2015.

RHP Jake Stinnett (Chicago Cubs) has not yet appeared in a game this season for the Single-A Tennessee Smokies as he rehabs an injury. However, the righty did make it into the Cubs’ Top-30 prospects list at the beginning of the season.

As far as 2017 draft picks go, RHP Ryan Selmer (New York Mets) and SS Kevin Smith (Toronto Blue Jays) are the only two Terps to have already signed their professional contracts. Meanwhile, RHP Jared Price (Miami Marlins) has not signed yet, but should start his pro career soon as the redshirt senior can not come back for another year at Maryland.

Pro Terps Update: 4/25/17

The Major League Baseball season is now three weeks old and most minor league seasons have begun, leaving us all to wonder how the former Terps are doing in the pros.

LHP Brett Cecil remains the only former Terrapin in the Major Leagues after he signed a four-year, $30.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason. The 2007 first round pick has made 10 appearances for the Cardinals this season, posting a 5.87 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 7 2/3 innings. As a middle reliever for St. Louis, Cecil struggled early, but has posted six consecutive scoreless outings going into Tuesday. In that stretch, he has struck out five batters and walked only two, helping him earn back a spot as a set-up man in the seventh and eighth innings.

Although there is only one Terp currently in the majors, the next one to get his shot in the big leagues could be LHP Adam Kolarek. The 2010 11th round draft pick has pitched well out of the bullpen for the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 7 2/3 innings. Five of Kolarek’s six appearances this season have been scoreless, and in three of the six he has retired every better he faced. The Rays just placed left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno on the 10-day DL, so Kolarek could be a possible option for his first call up to the big leagues.

While Kolarek has pitched well out of the bullpen, RHP Mike Shawaryn has opened some eyes as a starting pitcher in the Red Sox organization. The Unicorn, as he was known at Maryland, has pitched to 6.23 ERA in four starts for the Single-A Greenville Drive. Despite the inflated ERA, Shawaryn has struck out 27 batters and walked just five, and got some attention in his April 13 start in which struck out eight in five one-hit innings. The 2016 fifth-round draft pick is currently ranked as the 12th-best prospect in Boston’s system, and has struck out at least eight batters in each of his last three starts.

A trio of former Terps are sidelined early in the season. LHP Jimmy Reed started the 2017 season with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals). After throwing a scoreless two innings in his first appearances of the season, Reed was knocked around in his next two outing and was placed on the disabled list. The 2013 sixth round pick is coming off of Tommy John surgery last season, and his ERA has ballooned to 8.10 so far this season.

RHP Jake Stinnett has started the season on the disabled list for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs). The 2014 second-round pick is the 30th ranked prospect in the Cubs system, according to MLB.com, but has not yet pitched this season because of injury. He posted a 4.27 ERA in 20 starts with the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans last season.

LHP Jake Drossner made just one appearance for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers) before heading to the DL. The 2015 10th-round draft pick gave up one run on three hits in four innings in his only start this season. Drossner’s current teammate in Milwaukee, third baseman Jose Cuas, has stayed healthy for the Timber Rattlers and is slashing .244/.340/.488 in 41 at-bats so far this season.

As for the relievers, LHP Zach Morris has begun to pitch for the Single-A Lakewood Blueclaws (Philadelphia Phillies). In six appearances this season, the 2015 24th-round pick has pitched to a 3.68 ERA and 1.50 WHIP as a middle reliever.

LHP Alex Robinson has made four relief appearances for the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins), posting a 7.94 ERA. Despite the high ERA, he 2015 fifth-round pick has struck out seven batters in 5 2/3 innings. In his last appearance, he pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three while still throwing gas.

Outfielder Lamonte Wade, who played alongside Robinson at Maryland and in rookie ball in 2015, has since been promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins). A 2015 ninth-round pick, Wade has an on-base percentage of .357 with two home runs and five RBI in 56 plate appearances this season. The brother of current Terp Jamal Wade, Lamonte is the 13th-ranked prospect in Minnesota’s system, and still has that same sweet swing he had in College Park.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe has also made a jump in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after a strong 2016 season. The 2015 third-round draft pick is red-hot through 15 games for the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs. Lowe is hitting .388, which is second in the Florida State League, while he leads the league in both OBP (.508) and OPS (1.141).

RHP Kevin Mooney emerged as the closer for the Short-Season Class-A Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) a year ago, and the right-hander will return there this season. The short-season New York-Penn League will begin in June.

2017 Season Preview: Big Ten Conference

With the college baseball season less than two weeks away, it’s time to look forward to the Big Ten season. The Minnesota Golden Gophers finished with the best regular season conference record, but it was the Ohio State Buckeyes who took home the Big Ten Tournament crown.

The Terps finished sixth in the Big Ten, clinching a spot in the Big Ten Tournament on the final day of the season. Maryland then upset No. 3-seed Indiana twice in the Big Ten Tournament, ultimately reaching the semi-finals before falling to Iowa. Despite the strong finish, the Terps missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. Now, with a wide open conference in 2017, Maryland is the consensus favorite according to both D1Baseball.com and PerfectGame.

Projected Big Ten Finish is displayed as D1 Baseball’s projection followed by Perfect Game’s projection. Teams are ordered according to their projected finish. 


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Maryland

Projected Big Ten Finish: 1st/1st

2016 Record: 30-27 (13-11 B1G)

Key Players Lost: RHP Mike Shawaryn, OF Anthony Papio

Key Returning Players: SS Kevin Smith, 2B Nick Dunn

Despite the loss of Papio, the Terps’ lineup comes back for the 2017 revamped and ready to get back to the postseason. John Szefc’s team returns possibly the best middle infield in the country — Kevin Smith and Nick Dunn — to go along with 2016’s freshman sensation Marty Costes in the middle of the order. On the pitching side, Maryland will be without last year’s ace Mike Shawaryn, but a weekend rotation of Brian Shaffer, Taylor Bloom, and Hunter Parsons should be able to fill in nicely. They will also be able to hand the ball off to a nasty back end of the bullpen, which sports a good combination of power (Mike Rescigno) and finesse (Ryan Selmer).


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Nebraska

Projected Big Ten Finish: 3rd/2nd

2016 Record: 37-22 (16-8 B1G)

Key Players Lost: INF Jake Placzek, INF Steven Reveles

Key Returning Players: OF/LHP Jake Meyers, OF Scott Schreiber

2016 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Nebraska: April 7-9 @ Nebraska

Behind Maryland, Nebraska may be the top contender for the Big Ten title in 2017. The Huskers bring back most of a roster that finished second in the conference in 2016, including two-way star Jake Meyers, who hit .326 at the plate and posted a 1.42 ERA on the mound. Joining Meyers in the lineup again this season is Scott Schreiber, who led the conference in slugging percentage and home runs last season. If Nebraska stays healthy, they can be part of an exciting two-horse race for the top spot in the Big Ten.


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Michigan

Projected Big Ten Finish: 2nd/4th

2016 Record: 36-21 (13-10 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Cody Bruder, DH/LHP Carmen Benedetti

Key Returning Players: INF Jake Bivens, LHP Oliver Jaskie

2016 Maryland vs. Michigan: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Michigan: March 24-26 @ Maryland

Michigan finished second in batting average and first in on-base percentage in 2016, but the big bats in that powerful offense will not be back in 2017. The Wolverines will be without their entire starting outfield from last season, which included .372 hitter Cody Bruder, .326 hitter Carmen Benedetti, and .298 hitter Matt Ramsay. Along with the lineup turnover, Michigan  is also losing ace Brett Adcock, who allowed opposing hitters to bat only .190 last season. Junior Oliver Jaskie willl have to step up on the mound while junior Jake Bivens will need to pick shoulder the offensive load for the Wolverines in 2017.


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Projected Big Ten Finish: 4th/3rd

2016 Record: 32-24 (15-9 B1G)

Key Players Lost: LHP Caleb Baragar, LHP Kyle Hart

Key Returning Players: OF Craig Dedelow, OF Logan Sowers

2016 Maryland vs. Indiana: 2-0 in Big Ten Tournament

2017 Maryland vs. Indiana: April 28-30 @ Indiana

The 2017 Indiana Hoosiers will bring back almost their entire lineup from 2016. Freshman all-american Luke Miller returns after hitting .282 last season, and will be joined again by outfielders Craig Dedelow and Logan Sowers, who both project to be important contributors in 2017. The issue for Indiana this season will be the pitching staff, which lost its entire weekend rotation and its best reliever from last season. In 2017, the Hoosiers will have to rely on less experienced starters like sophomore Jonathan Stiever for help on the mound.


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Michigan State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 5th/5th

2016 Record: 36-20 (13-11 B1G)

Key Players Lost: IF Jordan Zimmerman, LHP Cam Vieaux

Key Returning Players: 2B Dan Durkin, RHP Ethan Landon

2016 Maryland vs. Michigan State: 2-2 (0-1 in Big Ten Tournament)

2017 Maryland vs. Michigan State: April 21-23 @ Maryland

Michigan State had the best pitching staff ERA in the Big Ten in 2016, but they will be without 2016’s best two performers on the mound in 2017. Cam Vieaux posted the second-best ERA in the conference, while his teammate Dakota Mekkes pitched to a conference-best ERA out of the bullpen. However, the Spartans will return the rest of a staff that allowed a conference-low 19 home runs last season. On offense, Michigan State will be without Jordan Zimmerman, who batted .374 in 2016, but will still bring back a good lineup that can compete in the conference.


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Ohio State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 7th/6th

2016 Record: 44-20 (15-9 B1G)

Key Players Lost: INF Nick Sergakis, OF Ronnie Dawson

Key Returning Players: C/INF Jalen Washington, RHP Seth Kinker

2016 Maryland vs. Ohio State: 3-0

2017 Maryland vs. Ohio State: Not scheduled

Of all of the Big Ten teams, Ohio State may be taking the biggest hit this season. The Buckeyes are losing six of their regular position players from last year’s team, including Nick Sergakis and Ronnie Dawson, who both hit over .330 in 2016. As for the rotation, the Buckeyes will be without their top two starting pitchers from last season, including first-team All-Big Ten selection Tanner Tully. Ohio State does have plenty of freshman coming in who could step into starting roles, but they will be have to prove themselves before the Buckeyes can be considered a true conference contender.


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Illinois

Projected Big Ten Finish: 8th/7th

2016 Record: 28-23 (12-12 B1G) 

Key Players Lost: RHP Cody Sedlock, C Jason Goldstein

Key Returning Players: 1B/OF Pat McInerney, RHP Cole Bellair

2016 Maryland vs. Illinois: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Illinois: May 5-7 @ Illinois

After a mediocre 12-12 Big Ten performance last season, Illinois is losing its two most productive players from 2016. Starting pitcher Cody Sedlock moved on to the pros after posting a 2.49 ERA and collecting the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year award last season, while catcher Jason Goldstein was also drafted after a season in which he led the Fighting Illini in batting average and on-base percentage. The Illini will, however, bring back most of the rest of their roster, including 1B/DH Pat McInerney, who slashed .301/.373/.456 last season.


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Minnesota

Projected Big Ten Finish: 6th/9th

2016 Record: 36-21 (16-7 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF/RHP Matt Fiedler, C Austin Athmann

Key Returning Players: RHP Toby Anderson, INF Micah Coffey

2016 Maryland vs. Minnesota: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Minnesota: Not scheduled

After winning the Big Ten regular season title and making the NCAA Tournament in 2016, Minnesota projects to take a substantial step back in 2017. The Golden Gophers are losing four of their top five hitters from last season, including Matt Fiedler, who hit .372 with eight home runs and made 15 starts on the mound. The roster turnover for Minnesota continues into the pitching staff, where they have lost 2016 staff ace Dalton Sawyer and closer Jordan Jess. The Gophers now have seven new true freshman on the roster who may need to step up to keep Minnesota competitive in 2017.


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Iowa

Projected Big Ten Finish: 9th/8th

2016 Record: 30-26 (12-12 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Joel Booker, SS Nick Roscetti

Key Returning Players: RHP Nick Gallagher, INF Mason McCoy

2016 Maryland vs. Iowa: 1-3 (0-1 in Big Ten Tournament)

2017 Maryland vs. Iowa: Not scheduled

The middle of the Iowa batting order will look much different in 2017. Its top three hitters, including Big Ten hits leader Joel Booker, have all since graduated and will need to be replaced. Possible early lineup struggles will need to be picked up by a pitching rotation that returns its anchor, Nick Gallagher, in 2017. Gallagher pitched to a 2.57 ERA last season and will be the key piece this season if Iowa wants to make a run back to the Big Ten Championship Game.


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Penn State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 10th/10th

2016 Record: 28-27 (12-12 B1G)

Key Players Lost: 3B Jim Haley, RHP Jack Anderson

Key Returning Players: OF Nick Riotto, RHP Justin Hagenman

2016 Maryland vs. Penn State: 2-1

2017 Maryland vs. Penn State: April 14-16 @ Maryland

Coming off a season in which they were almost perfectly average, the Nittany Lions may be looking at a losing season in 2017. Penn State is losing its three most productive hitters from 2016, including Jim Haley, who hit .315 last season. The Nittany Lions will also feel the losses on the mound, where they will be without their top two starting pitchers last season. Penn State will also miss its 2016 closer Jack Anderson, who’s submarine delivery helped him pick up 13 saves last season. Baseball could make for a not-so-happy Valley in 2017.


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Rutgers

Projected Big Ten Finish: 11th/11th

2016 Record: 27-28 (9-15 B1G)

Key Players Lost: C R.J. Devish, LHP Howie Brey

Key Returning Players: OF Jawuan Harris, OF Tom Marcinczyk

2016 Maryland vs. Rutgers: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Rutgers: March 31-April 2 @ Rutgers

Rutgers struggled in 2016, and it won’t get any easier this season. The Scarlet Knights have lost R.J. Devish, who was the conference leader in batting average (.375) and on-base percentage (.524) last season, and Howie Brey, who posted a 3.50 ERA in 14 starts. Despite Rutgers’ struggles last season, they did lead the conference with 121 stolen bases, and outfielder Juwuan Harris picked up a conference-best 37 of them. The Scarlet Knights will have to continue to run if they want to improve in 2017.


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Northwestern

Projected Big Ten Finish: 12th/12th

2016 Record: 15-39 (7-17 B1G)

Key Players Lost: LHP Reed Mason, 1B/OF Zach Jones

Key Returning Players: OF/LHP Matt Hopfner, 3B Connor Lind

2016 Maryland vs. Northwestern: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Northwestern: May 12-14 @ Maryland

Northwestern struggled in conference play last season, but they will return most of their offense, and those hitters will have had another offseason to get better. The most important returning hitter is Matt Hopfner, who hit .355 in 2016. On the pitching side, however, things are looking bleak at Northwestern. The Wildcats finished last in the Big Ten in ERA and batting average against last season, and they have since lost their only viable starting pitcher, Reed Mason. It will be tough for Northwestern to get outs in 2017.


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Purdue

Projected Big Ten Finish: 13th/13th

2016 Record: 10-44 (2-22 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Kyle Johnson, RHP Matt Frawley

Key Returning Players: C Nick Dalesandro, RHP Tanner Andrews

2016 Maryland vs. Purdue: 2-1

2017 Maryland vs. Purdue: Not scheduled

Coming off of a putrid 2-22 conference record in 2016, Purdue comes into this season with a lot of roster turnover. The Boilermakers will be without last season’s top hitter, Kyle Johnson, who batted .318, and top pitcher, Matt Frawley, who posted a 2.78 ERA. Sporting the second-worst pitching staff and worst offense in the Big Ten in 2016, the Boilermakers have nowhere to go but up.