Pro Terps Update: 2020 Opening Day edition

Opening Day for the abbreviated 2020 MLB season has finally arrived, and several former Terps find themselves on 30-man rosters in what can only be described as a 60-game sprint to the postseason.

Those in the majors may be the only ones seeing any professional baseball action over the pandemic-filled summer, as the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was canceled on June 30. Some independent leagues are currently active, but a majority of the group of former Terps that were in those leagues are sitting the season out.

Here is a list of the pro Terps that begin the shortened season on their teams’ 30-man and taxi squad rosters:

LHP Adam Kolarek, Los Angeles Dodgers

Many fans and analysts alike have speculated that Adam Kolarek’s role as a Left-Handed One Out Guy (LOOGY) would be diminished with the league’s new three-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers, but Kolarek still stands out as one of L.A.’s best bullpen arms.

Kolarek was one of the 11 relief pitchers to be added to the Dodgers’ 30-man roster, and he earned the win for L.A. in MLB’s Opening Night on Thursday as he recorded five outs with just 14 pitches against the San Francisco Giants

2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

The versatile Brandon Lowe looks to follow up his all-star 2019 season as a core piece for the contending Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have a crowded, talented infield featuring Yandy Diaz, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, and the newest Japanese import Yoshi Tsutsugo, so Lowe may have to settle into more of a utility role while occasionally starting in the outfield.

Regardless of where Lowe finds his playing time, he’ll continue to play a big part in the Rays quest to the postseason in 2020.

OF LaMonte Wade Jr., Minnesota Twins

LaMonte Wade Jr. made it onto the Twins 30-man roster as one of the final outfield additions to the club, and the former Terp will look to build upon a solid rookie season with a stronger sophomore year, especially after putting together a decent Spring Training. Although it was four long months ago, Wade Jr. slashed .286/.423/.381 through 11 games, striking out only four times in 26 plate appearances.

Wade Jr. may struggle to have outfield starts over the likes of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler, but his on-base proficiency provides a great tool for the Twins off the bench.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Boston Red Sox

Mike Shawaryn did not make the cut for Boston’s 30-man roster, but he has been included in their taxi squad playing in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In a simulated game Thursday, Shawaryn threw 2 1/3 innings, securing a hold and striking out four batters.

With Boston losing many of its notable relief arms over recent years, Shawaryn could find his way into the bullpen if he continues throwing the ball well in Pawtucket.

 

INF Kevin Smith, Toronto (Buffalo) Blue Jays

Kevin Smith missed the mark to make it on the Blue Jays’ 30-man roster and will start the 2020 season playing with the Toronto taxi squad.

After having a tremendous 2018 where he slashed .302/.358/.528 across two minor league levels, Smith has struggled to find his footing ever since. In Spring Training earlier this year his on-base percentage-plus slugging was .503.

Smith, along with other Blue Jays on the taxi squad, may have to wait before having intrasquad workouts and games due to the home stadium snafu that Toronto is caught in. Today the team announced it will be playing the majority of its season at their Triple-A affiliate’s stadium in Buffalo, New York, where the taxi squad was originally supposed to play.

2020 MLB Draft Recap

With the 2020 MLB Draft coming to a close Thursday night, many young ballplayers had their names called at the podium, but the typical 40-round draft was shrunk to a mere five rounds as a change made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This change negatively affected the chances of many prospective players of getting drafted, including a handful of Terps.

Among the names eligible for selection was sophomore Maxwell Costes and junior Randy Bednar, both of who have strung together pairs of stellar seasons in College Park, Maryland. Others who join the list of draft-eligible players include seniors Tyler Blohm and Elliott Zoellner, and juniors Tommy Gardiner, Chris Alleyne, Justin Vought, Sean Fisher, Mark Diluia, Brenton Davis, Austin Chavis, Mike Vasturia, Billy Phillips, Tavan Shahidi, and Zach Thompson.

Who knows how many of these Terps players would have been selected over the past two nights, but with the draft being just an eighth the size of a normal draft, they will all likely be returning to College Park to play out the 2021 season and hope for another shot in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Out of the 13 commitments Maryland has in the 2021 recruiting class, one of them did get their name called Thursday night. The Houston Astros selected right-handed pitcher Alex Santos of Mount St. Micheal Academy in New York with the No. 72 overall pick.

Santos, who was No. 45 in Baseball America’s ranking of best draft prospects, provides much-needed pitching talent in an Astros farm system that has recently been depleted. Santos has yet to officially sign with Houston, but the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome said that he is leaning towards it.

Other notable picks of the draft include the No. 1 overall pick, Spencer Torkelson, who the Detroit Tigers selected out of Arizona State University.

The Baltimore Orioles selected outfielder Heston Kjerstad out the University of Arkansas with the No. 2 overall pick, and the reigning champion Washington Nationals used the No. 22 pick to draft right-handed pitcher Cade Cavalli out of the University of Oklahoma.

 

2020 Maryland Draft preview

The 2020 MLB Draft will look a lot different than previous years’ drafts. With multitudes of change being seen in the baseball world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the typical 40-round draft will only be five rounds, drastically affecting the chances of getting drafted for many collegiate and high school players, including many Terps.

With that being said, there are a handful of Terps that may have their name called Wednesday and Thursday nights. Here’s a look at the Maryland players who are draft-eligible as well as incoming recruits who could also be drafted.


LHP Tyler Blohm, Sr.

Tyler Blohm saw the 2020 season end the weekend he was supposed to return to the mound after spending the young season rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The senior’s chances of getting selected in the five-round draft are slim to none, but the 2020 season won’t be Blohm’s last year in College Park, Maryland, thanks to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to senior spring athletes.

RHP Elliot Zoellner, Sr.

Elliot Zoellner will also benefit from the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility, and that extra year may allow Zoellner to improve his draft stock after the work he put in during the 2020 season.

In seven appearances, the senior was just one of three pitchers on Maryland’s staff to not allow a single run. He also paced the Terps’ bullpen in strikeouts (16).

OF Randy Bednar, Jr.

Bednar was on pace for his best season as a Terp, leading the team in hits (24), RBI (16), doubles (9), and total bases (36). His batting average also stood at an exceptional .337.

Although Bednar’s name hasn’t shown up in many mock drafts, some MLB clubs may show interest in the latter rounds of the draft. The junior was named a 2020 NCBWA Third Team All-American, adding to the honor of Second Team All-Big Ten that he earned in 2019.

IF Tommy Gardiner, Jr.

Gardiner was only able to make six starts at third base during the short season due to an injury.

While he posted a .350 batting average in those six games — a great improvement from his past two seasons despite the sample size — it is not likely that he will get selected.

OF Chris Alleyne, Jr.

After somewhat of a breakout season in 2019 when he slashed .223/.337/.412 in 45 games, Alleyne was on pace to surpass that over a full 2020 season.

In 15 games this spring, Alleyne’s on-base plus slugging percentage stood at .913 as he led the Terps in runs (18) and stolen bases (6). He’ll likely need to repeat his effort during his senior year next spring to have a chance at getting drafted.

C Justin Vought, Jr.

Vought also missed some time this season due to injury, but the junior catcher struggled in the seven games he started.

After slashing .222/.354/.432, Vought had proven that he was in for a big 2020, but prior to the injury, he had only gotten four hits in 21 at-bats.

LHP Sean Fisher, Jr.

Fisher spent his shortened 2020 season as the Terps’ Friday night starter, where the junior made noticeable leaps from past seasons when he strictly pitched out of the bullpen.

In three of Fisher’s four starts, he recorded quality starts. He did experience a road bump versus a talented Coastal Carolina team when he allowed nine runs in three innings, but his overall performance may indicate that the junior is in for a big for 2021 season.

RHP Mark Diluia, Jr.

Diluia was limited to only five appearances out of the bullpen during the 2020 season, but he made the most out of the five innings he pitched. Just like Blohm, Diluia was part of the pitching trio that succeeded at surrendering zero runs over the season.

IF/C Brenton Davis, Jr.

Davis’s first season with Maryland was cut short, and only starting two games, the Southeast Community College (Beatrice, NE) transfer was limited to six at-bats. Although he didn’t have much of a chance to impress at UMD, it’s worth noting that at Southeast CC, Davis hit at a .328 clip with nine home runs and 40 stolen bases over two seasons.

IF Austin Chavis, Jr.

The Bel Air, Maryland, native started ten games at second base during the shortened season, slashing .194/.268/.306.

Chavis transferred to Maryland over the summer from Potomac State College, where he had two very strong seasons. Most notably, his sophomore campaign featured a 1.051 OPS.

RHP Mike Vasturia, R-Jr.

Vasturia made just two appearances out of the bullpen in 2020, including a 3 1/2-inning long relief appearance versus Coastal Carolina when he recorded a career-high five strikeouts. He also threw one scoreless inning versus Bryant.

LHP Billy Phillips, R-Jr.

Phillips did not make an appearance during the 2020 season.

C Tavan Shahidi, R-Jr.

After serving a redshirt season due to an injury in 2019, Shahidi came back strong in 2020, starting six games at catcher and posting a .412 OBP.

This season was Shahidi’s first time playing since he slashed .336/.445/.611 at Iowa Lakes Community College.

RHP Zach Thompson, R-Jr.

Zach Thompson saw his role shift to midweek starter after recording a 5.08 ERA in 2019 as the Saturday starter.

In his new role, Thompson had seen similar struggles, posting a 6.75 ERA in three starts, although his season debut versus George Mason had shown promise with a five-inning, one-run performance.

IF Maxwell Costes, So.

Maxwell Costes followed up his 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year season with an even bigger offensive onslaught and he very well may have the attention of several MLB clubs, despite the draft being just five rounds.

In the shortened 2020 season, Costes started all 15 games and led the team in batting average (.432), OBP (.620), SLG (.750), and home runs (4). His strong 2020 performance helped him be named a 2020 Collegiate Baseball Third Team All-American.

RHP Alex Santos, Commit (Mount Saint Michael Academy)

Alex Santos is Maryland’s prized possession in the 2021 recruiting class but has been labeled as a potential top-50 pick in Wednesday night’s draft.

According to MLB Pipeline, the New York native is No. 56 in the Top 200 Prospects ranking.

 

Confidence, chemistry key in successful start to season for Terps

In their best start to a season since 2015, the Maryland Terrapin’s heads were held high after winning a closely-contested Sunday matinee versus the Rhode Island Rams.

While that 2015 squad was the last to make the NCAA tournament super regionals, the prospect of the Terps fully replicating that season doesn’t have head coach Rob Vaughn chomping at the bit.

“It’s so early,” said the third-year head coach las week, after a perfect 3-0 road trip to begin the season. “We sit here this weekend and we have a good weekend, the boys are on top of the world, they feel good, but you and I both know that this game can flip at the drop of a hat.”

Not one to jump to conclusions, Vaughn still saw the first weekend of the year as an early barometer for the remainder of the season, and Maryland outscoring opponents 23-6 in this three games, along with three stellar performances from the starting arms, certainly makes that barometer spike.

Before Maryland’s home opener versus Rhode Island this past weekend, Vaughn preached the importance of confidence to his team.

“He often says, ‘Do the right thing, it’ll pay you back,'” said senior pitcher Elliot Zoellner. “So we’re just trying to continue with that and head in with confidence into the weekend.”

Zoellner pitched once in the season-opening road trip a week ago, a perfect sixth inning to keep Charleston at bay, and this Sunday notched the final out in the top of the sixth to keep Rhode Island out of the run column.

While confidence has proven a vital tool for the young Maryland team in these first two weekends, this season’s squad has the most chemistry of any team in the past four years, according to Zoellner.

“We’ve bonded really well, the freshman class is great, all the transfers fit in really well,” said Zoellner. “The coaches have put together a really good culture over the past couple of years, and it’s great to be a part of.”

That sentiment of a strong team bond is felt by players across the board, including freshman Tucker Flint, who played a crucial role — hitting for a .545 average — in the Terps’ first three victories. Flint explained that the team’s chemistry has enabled some of the conficence Maryland has shown of late.

“I think everyone seems to know their role really well,” said Flint following opening weekend. “I think confidence-wise, having a great first weekend helps a lot. Going 3-0, it’s huge, and it makes us believe we can beat anybody going forward.”

While the Terps went only 2-1 in their second weekend — the loss being a near-comeback 11-8 slugfest — having a high level of confidence is crucial for such a young Maryland squad.

Sean Burke, a redshirt freshman who missed the 2019 season recovering from an injury, is an example of the innate power of confidence. The righty threw his second gem in as many starts Sunday versus Rhode Island, striking out eight batters over 5 1/3 scoreless innings en route to Maryland’s 3-0 victory.

“I’ve only been here for this year and last year, but I think this year our team obviously is very close,” Burke said last Wednesday. “We get along with each other really well off the field so I think that translates well on the field with us trusting each other and being confident in each other…I think everybody’s pretty confident.”

Maryland’s confidence will be put to the test on Tuesday, as the Terps play host to the George Mason Patriots in their first midweek matchup of the season. Last season Maryland went 9-4 in midweek matchups, a result the team hopes its confidence and chemistry — and abilities on both sides of the ball — will better this year.

Series Preview: Rhode Island Rams

After a 3-0 road trip to kick off the 2020 season, the Terrapins will be opening up their home schedule when they host the Rhode Island Rams this weekend. Maryland returns to College Park after dominating a trio of Charleston Southern, Iona and College of Charleston, outscoring the three teams 23-6 on the weekend.

Rhode Island wasn’t as fortunate as Maryland in its first three games of the season, putting up a 1-2 record, including two blowout losses (7-3, 8-2) versus Lamar on the road last weekend.

The last time the Rams clashed horns with the Terps was in a similar fashion, facing off in the teams’ second series of the 2016 season. Maryland bagged two of the three games, the first of which featured an eight-inning shutout performance by former Terp and current Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Shawaryn.

With Maryland’s pitchers showing nothing but pure dominance in its opening series, they’ll look to replicate Shawaryn’s past work against Rhode Island and keep the train rolling. Despite the Terps’ rotation not being set in stone, they’ll run out the same starters this weekend — Sean Fisher, Nick Dean and Sean Burke — according to Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn. Between the three, they only surrendered three total runs over 15 innings pitched while racking up 19 strikeouts.

As for Maryland’s offense, the plus-17 run-differential last weekend speaks for itself. But, the biggest highlight from the opening weekend was the hitting prowess displayed by freshman outfielder Tucker Flint. Flint, ranked the No. 1 recruit out of Rhode Island, paced the Terps with a .545 batting average in 11 at-bats and currently leads the Big Ten with a .667 on-base percentage.

“That’s a really competitive kid,” said Vaughn about the Rhode Island native. “He’s got a really high level of confidence and that’s what you need to be a good hitter in this league.”

Meanwhile, Rhode Island’s bats weren’t as strong, combining for a .194 batting average through their three games, although redshirt-sophomore Joe Fortin (.400 average) and freshman Alex Ramirez (.300) seem to be the early offensive leaders.

Rhode Island Rams (1-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Last Season

Rhode Island finished the 2019 season with a 24-29 record but going 14-9 within the Atlantic 10, good enough to make it into the conference’s tournament. But as the No. 6 seed in the tournament the Rams suffered a first-round loss to the Dayton Flyers.

This season

Starting the season 1-2 isn’t the start that Rhode Island likely wanted, but one win is better than none. With a collective .569 on-base plus slugging percentage through three games, the Rams’ offense seems to be having some early struggles.

Hitters to watch

Rhode Island only has three hitters with an OPS greater than .750: Fortin, Ramirez, and junior Jackson Coutts. Coutts is right on the fence with a .250 OBP and .500 slugging percentage, but Fortin and Ramirez have carried the offense so far with a .971 OPS and .800 OPS, respectively, in the early season.

Pitcher to watch

“Their Friday night guy can really, really pitch,” said Vaughn of Rhode Island sophomore Justin Cherry. “He’s only a sophomore, but he’s got a really, really good feel for what he’s doing.”

Cherry threw 6 1/3 innings in his start against Lamar, striking out seven batters while giving up just one earned run.

But the Rams also have some solid arms in their bullpen; after its opening weekend Rhode Island boasts three relievers with 0.00 ERAs after throwing at least one inning, including redshirt-senior Tyler Brosius, who tossed six strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings over two relief appearances, including one save.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Friday, 4 p.m. ET

So. RHP Justin Cherry vs. Jr. LHP Sean Fisher

Image result for rhode island logoJustin Cherry vs.   imageFisher090518_06

In 2019, Cherry only spent half of his time pitching, as a two-way player he took reps in the infield as well. But what’s important is that Cherry made nine starts last season, pitching to the tune of a 2.93 ERA over 55 1/3 innings.

Fisher kicked off the 2020 season in quality fashion, pitching 5 1/3 innings with zero earned runs to go along with five strikeouts. After struggling out of the bullpen in 2019, Fisher will look to continue his success as a starter.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET

 Sr. RHP Nick Robinson vs. Fr. RHP Nick Dean

Image result for rhode island logoNick Robinson vs.   imageNicholas Dean

Robinson spent the earlier half of his college career pitching out of the pen, but he was given the opportunity to start ten games in 2019 where he went 2-7 with a 6.13 ERA. In his first start this season, he was lit up by Lamar for three runs, six hits, and a walk over just 3 1/3 innings. Robinson is also the younger brother of former Maryland left-hander Alex Robinson.

Dean’s first career start went just as well as a freshman could imagine, as he struck out six batters while limiting Iona to only two runs over 4 2/3 innings. With a foundation to build on, Dean will seek to repeat that performance versus the Rams.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Vitaly Jangols vs. R-Fr. RHP Sean Burke

Image result for rhode island logoVitaly Jangols vs.   imageBurke_2020

After posting a stellar 2.23 ERA over 60 2/3 innings in his freshman year, Jangols has seen that number increase each year since, as his 2019 ERA reached 6.61. While he spent his first three years at Rhode Island pitching half of his appearances out of the bullpen, Jangols received the ball versus Lamar and pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run.

Vaughn perfectly described Burke’s start against Charleston as “electric,” after the redshirt freshman showed his team what they missed last year while he recovered from an injury. Burke tallied eight strikeouts over just five innings, setting a great first impression heading into the Terps’ home opener and the remainder of the season.

Preseason Countdown No. 4: Outfield preview

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In 2019, the Maryland outfield had proven to be one of the team’s offensive and defensive strengths, and the bulk of that outfield will be returning for the 2020 season.

Highlighted by juniors Randy Bednar and Chris Alleyne along with senior Caleb Walls, the outfield features plenty of new faces as well, including three freshmen and the returning Ben Irvine.

Here is a breakdown of each Terp that’s expected to be roaming the outfield this Spring:


Junior Randy Bednar bednar

The returning Bednar is coming off a spectacular offensive 2019, slashing .288/.362/.531 as his .893 OPS ranked third on the team. Bednar also led the team in total bases (129) and racked up a team-high 55 RBI.

Bednar will likely continue to be the Terps’ stalwart right fielder in 2020 and should be a solid leader for the incoming freshmen.


Senior Caleb WallsWalls082818_02

As a redshirt junior, Walls put up pretty solid numbers as the everyday left fielder in 2019, getting on base at a .352 clip and hitting for a .704 OPS.

He’ll attempt to repeat his on-base tendencies in 2020, as his .352 OBP was over .100 points higher than his batting average.


Junior Chris Alleyne Alleyne090518_01

The second junior to be likely starting in the outfield in 2020, Alleyne will be bringing his incredible glove and agility back to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

After hitting for a quality .749 OPS in 2019, “Bubba” will look to improve upon that while maintaining his game-changing range in center field.


Senior Ben Irvine Irvine082818_01

Irvine only made 14 appearances in his debut season last year, three of those being starts. He batted .087 with an OBP of .158 but didn’t see much playing time following April.

With a rather-crowded outfield compared to last season with three incoming freshmen, Irvine will likely still get the majority of his plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.


Freshman Troy Schreffler Jr. Schreffler_2020

Schreffler Jr., who pitched as well as playing the outfield at Central Dauphin High School in Pennsylvania, will strictly be an outfielder for the Terps in his freshman year.

The freshman was ranked as the 11th-best player in the state of Pennsylvania, and in the Terps’ Fall World Series games recorded a pair of singles.


Freshman Tucker Flint Flint_2020

Flint was awarded the title of 2019 Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior year at Bishop Hendricken High School. He had been drafted by the New York Mets in the 36th round of the 2019 MLB Draft but opted to commit to Maryland.

With the core of Maryland’s outfield being made of a senior and two juniors, Flint leads a very talented group of freshmen outfielder looking to make their presence known.


Freshman Bobby Zmarzlak Zmarzlak_2020

Like fellow freshman Tucker Flint, Zmarzlak was also drafted in the 2019 MLB Draft — selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 40th round. Nationally, Zmarzlak ranked 17th among all outfielders and was the No. 1 ranked player in Connecticut.

Named the No. 1 prospect in the Big Ten, according to Perfect Game, Zmarzlak will look to have a huge impact as he leads the incoming freshmen with his teammate Flint.

Preseason Countdown No. 7: Starting pitchers preview

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Heading into the 2020 season, head coach Rob Vaughn will have plenty of options as he tries to mold his starting rotation, but it won’t be an easy decision. After losing ace Hunter Parsons to the 2019 MLB Draft, the pitching staff will attempt to find its next anchor with much of its bulk returning.

With names like Zach Thompson, Trevor LaBonte, Sean Fisher, Drew Wilden and Tyler Blohm headlining the returning starters, the staff will also include some new faces with freshmen Sean Burke, Nick Dean, Ryan Ramsey, and Sam Bello.

Here’s a look into how each starting pitcher is expected to be utilized in the 2020 season:


Senior LHP Tyler Blohm Blohm090518_01

Blohm has seen his number of starts dimish over his college career, morphing more into a bullpen arm and midweek although he remains in the mix for a rotation spot as he heads into his final year at Maryland.

He started six times last year, finishing with a 1-2 record and a 5.74 ERA over 15 2/3 innings pitched. While Blohm spent part of 2019 recovering from an injury, the hope is that he can return to what he was prior to last year.


Redshirt-Junior RHP Zach Thompson Thompson082818_02

Thompson spent all of his 2019 season in the weekend rotation, manning the No. 2 spot in the staff. He finished the year with a 5.08 ERA but had shown plenty of glimpses of why he may end up starting on weekends for another season.

In four straight starts in March, Thompson compiled a 2.59 ERA including one eight-inning start versus Eastern Carolina.


Junior LHP Sean Fisher Fisher090518_06

The returning junior pitched most of 2019 out of the bullpen, but heading into 2020 Vaughn is eyeing Fisher for a potential rotation spot.

Fisher spent his summer pitching in the Cape Cod Summer League for the Brewster Whitecaps, and he dominated with a 3-0 record while compiling a 2.84 ERA over 25 1/3 innings pitched.


Redshirt-Sophomore LHP Drew Wilden Wilden090518_01

Wilden had 11 appearances last season, including five starts, and put up a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

Although his role could be more heavily-based in the bullpen this season, he could see some early midweek starts as Vaughn works to solidify his starting rotation.


Sophomore RHP Trevor LaBonte Labonte082818_02

LaBonte served as the backend of the Terps’ weekend rotation for the majority of last season, after an initial bullpen role.

Although he finished the season with a 5.98 ERA, he displayed bright spots, including an eight-strikeout, one-run performance versus a powerful Creighton offense, over the course of the season.


Redshirt-Freshman RHP Sean Burke Burke_2020

After being injured for all of 2019, the 6″6′ redshirt freshman will definitely be in the mix for the starting rotation, according to Vaughn.

Vaughn described Burke as having “electric stuff,” and it’s expected that the same pitcher who went 5-0 with a 0.44 ERA in his senior year of high school will be ready to provide a major impact to the Terps’ rotation.


Freshman RHP Nick Dean Dean_2020

Before missing time during his senior year at high school recovering from an injury, Dean had helped his high school win a district championship in his junior year with a 1.16 ERA with 60 strikeouts over 48 1/3 innings pitched.

Dean is “in the mix” for a starting spot this season, according to Vaughn, who has praised the freshman’s talented arm.


Freshman LHP Ryan Ramsey Ramsey_2020

The lefty freshman was named 2019 New Jersey Pitcher of the Year and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 36th round of the MLB Draft, but opted to instead play at Maryland.

Bello led his high-school team with a 19-2 record and a 255/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio; he was named All-state twice during his junior and senior years. Ramsey is also ranked fourth among all New Jersey left-handed pitching prospects, according to Perfect Game.


Freshman RHP Sam Bello Bello_2020

Vaughn described Bello as a tough kid, “cut from the same cloth as [Sean Fisher],” during his media presser on February 29. Bello definitely earned that description after picking up several accolades during his high school career, including 2019 Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) Player of the Year.

According to Perfect Game, Bello is the fourth-best right-handed pitcher out of New York and the tenth-best overall in the state.

Preseason Countdown No. 19: Best moment of 2019

7

While the 2019 season didn’t end the way the Terps may have wanted, falling 10-4 to the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament, the game itself contained arguably the greatest moment of the season.

Senior infielder A.J Lee was among the team-leaders in a multitude of stats as his final year at Maryland came to a close, including batting average (1st, .317), on-base percentage (1st, .443), on-base percentage plus slugging (2nd, .940), and stolen bases (2nd, 10), and he had certainly been one of the strongest leaders in the Terps’ clubhouse.

When Maryland entered the ninth inning of the game, down 10-3, it was fairly certain that Lee would take his last plate appearance as a Terrapin. But when Lee stepped up to the plate for the final time, he made sure it counted.

The emotional home run wasn’t enough to push Maryland to a victory, but it was a sweet way to cap off an incredible 2019 season where he slashed .317/.443/.497 and slugged for seven home runs and 36 RBI.

Lee was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 34th round of the 2019 MLB Draft and spent his summer splitting time between the low-A Quad City River Bandits and short-season A Tri-City Valley Cats, where he slashed .211/.327/.354 with five home runs.

 

Preseason Countdown No. 21: Best 2019 offensive performance

5

The 2019 season featured many incredible performances for the Maryland Terrapins by an offense that may not have been consistent but displayed tons of upside nonetheless. However, none of those performances quite compare to a pair of midweek contests in late March versus the Elon Phoenix.

The first dominant showing by the Terps’ bats began in the second inning of Tuesday’s match on March 19. After two Maryland runners moved into scoring position, a passed ball by Elon’s catcher allowed Maryland sophomore Justin Vought to score from third base. Outfielder Caleb Walls added to the early onslaught by bashing a pitch to center field and sprinting around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run to give Maryland an early 3-0 lead.

The Phoenix took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, after a few anemic innings from the Terps’ offense, but when the sixth inning came along Maryland quickly snatched the lead back on a pair of wild pitches. The Terps didn’t stop there, however.

In the seventh inning, A.J. Lee — who led the 2019 team with a .317 batting average — hammered a double to left-center field for another pair of runs and later crossed home on an RBI bunt single from Walls, giving Maryland an 8-4 lead with two frames to go.

The cherry on top came the following inning when both Lee and Walls went liftoff with a two-run home run and a solo home run, respectively. After blowing their early lead, the Terrapin offense had scored a total eight unanswered runs after the fifth inning to assert their offensive dominance as they took game one of the two-game midweek series, 11-4.

The following day the Terps did not waste any time piling on runs versus the Phoenix’s pitching. While Maryland’s own starter, junior Tuck Tucker, threw five one-hit innings, Elon’s starter didn’t even make it out of the first. Five Maryland runners scored in the first inning as the Terps batted around the lineup once.

Elon nearly escaped with no damage, but with two outs and the bases loaded the Phoenix allowed a pair of walks and a pair of singles to Sebastian Holte-Mancera and Walls before getting the final out leaving Maryland with a first-inning 5-0 lead.

The Terps did not bring as many fireworks in the second inning, but tacked on another run with an RBI groundout off the bat of Vought. The following inning junior Randy Bednar joined in on the fun with a two-run double crushed to left-center field and would later scored on an RBI single up the middle by third baseman Taylor Wright.

Unfortunately, the Terps were not able to score in every inning of the game, but they made sure not to stop just after three innings. While they were limited to zeros in the run column through the fourth and fifth innings, Maryland took advantage of a weak Elon bullpen by loading the bases on three walks in the sixth inning.

Tommy Gardiner cashed in on a single to right field for two runs, leaving runners on the corners. The final Terrapin run of the game scored simply, on a wild pitch, and thus Maryland had given itself a powerful 12-1 lead en route to an ultimate 12-4 victory.

Five things to know from Maryland’s exhibition versus St. John’s

Maryland hosted the St. John’s University Red Storm Sunday afternoon in an 18-inning scrimmage as Fall baseball for the Terps is nearing its conclusion. Many newcomers to this Terrapins team had an opportunity to display their talent on the diamond while returning members were able to get in some reps versus a generally highly-regarded St. John’s squad. Here are five takeaways from the exhibition:

1. Terps bullpen cleaned up an early mess

Starter Nick Dean came into the game with some clear command issues. While his first two innings went unscathed, the lack of command was evident as seen by three walks being issued paired with no strikeouts. The command issues bit Dean in the back in the third inning when two walks and a bunt single combined to load the bases in the St. John’s third followed by a sacrifice fly. The damage continued when St. John’s Ryan Markey shot a two-run single over the head of Dean, who was then pulled in favor of freshman Sam Bello. Bello immediately made a difference after maneuvering his way out of the third inning and through a scoreless fourth inning. The Terps bullpen continued to put up zeroes in the St. John’s run column as the first half of the 18-inning marathon moved on with Sean

2. Patience paid off early

After falling behind 3-0 early in the game, the Terps offense made some great adjustments to get themselves back in the game. The biggest difference they made in their approach was having more patience at the plate and on the base paths. This was especially key after they watched their starting pitcher, Nick Dean, walk five St. John’s players. What that patience led to was a huge three-run fourth inning that began when freshman Troy Schreffler Jr. wisely held up at third base on a shallow single to center field off the bat of Randy Bednar. Freshman Tucker Flint then took a walk to load the bases, and the Terps ultimately unloaded them after a bases-loaded walk from Austin Chavis and a big two-run double by catcher Tavan Shahidi. The Terps proceeded to load the bases a second time but failed to do any more damage in the fourth. However, that inning would set the tone for the offense as the game progressed through the afternoon.

3. Tavan Shahidi flexes power with big performance

Redshirt junior Tavan Shahidi didn’t see the diamond that much in the 2019 season, but he made a great impression during Sunday afternoon’s contest. The Iowa native had grounded out in his first at-bat, but his next appearance came with a major opportunity to cash in some runs with the bases loaded. Shahidi looped a pitch into the right-field corner — just out of reach of St. John’s right fielder — to bring in two runs and tie the game which could later be seen as a big momentum swing. Shahidi followed up his first big at-bat another double, a monster shot off the right-field wall that nearly cleared the fence. His third at-bat put him in a big RBI spot with runners on second and third, and he converted yet again with a hard-hit single to left field. He would have one final at-bat in the ninth inning of game one, and he clearly didn’t slow down as he notched his fourth hit of the day. Shahidi would sit for the second half of today’s exhibition.

4. Randy Bednar had a monster day

Bednar finished the first half of the day by reaching three times in five appearances. His first was a walk in the first inning as he was the only Terp to reach base in the first two innings. His next appearance had a much larger impact as he helped progress the Terps’ fourth-inning rally with a single. He would later come around to score on Shahidi’s two-run double. The game was tied at three runs apiece by the time Bednar came up for his third plate appearance, but Bednar wanting to change that, he smacked a pitch deep over the left-field fence to give Maryland a 4-3 lead. His next at-bat came with two runners in scoring position, and despite airing a ball towards the St. John’s left fielder, the sun prevented a clean play from being made as the left fielder misplayed the ball allowing two runs to score. His final at-bat of game one came in the eighth inning, but nothing came of it as he softly flew out to right field. Bednar started for game two, but after reaching on a walk in two plate appearances, he was pulled in favor of freshman Tucker Flint.

5. Freshman bullpen arms make great first impressions

In their first innings against a Division I school in St. John’s, both Sam Bello and Sean Burke put on great first impressions. As mentioned earlier, both were sent to the mound following early trouble for the Terps starter, but there’s nothing more they could’ve done to hold St. John’s to three runs. Bello had entered the game in the second, inheriting three base runners after Nick Dean was unable to record an out. While Bello allowed all three to cross the plate, he was able to escape the third inning without allowing further damage as he ultimately produced a flyout and struck out a pair of hitters. Bello looked to be settled in during the fourth inning as he recorded two more strikeouts induced a flyout. Sean Burke would take over for the next couple of innings. Despite some control issues for the redshirt freshman (three walks in two innings), Burke shut down St. John’s bats for two innings while racking up four strikeouts. In game two of the doubleheader, lefty Ryan Ramsey was another freshman that emerged from the Terps bullpen, and he had looked just as good as his fellow freshman for an inning. He would run into some trouble in the next after walking the bases loaded, but his appearance ended there.