MLB Draft Preview: OF Marty Costes

Marty Costes – OF

Ht: 5’9″        Wt: 200        Year: So.        Bats/Throws: R/R

Hometown (HS): Baltimore, Md. (Archbishop Curley)

2017 Stats

G: 57      PA: 274    Slash Line: .326/.427/.535      HR: 11     RBI: 42     K-rate: 16.8 %      BB-rate: 11.3 %

Sophomore Marty Costes smacks a ball down the third base line. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 5/9/2017

Background: Marty Costes arrived in College Park with little expectations as a former three-sport athlete that was added to the recruiting class during the second semester of his senior year of high school. After not starting during the first weekend, Costes had a big weekend in the Keith LeClair Classic—including his first career home run—and never looked back. 

Two years later, he has been Maryland’s most consistent offensive threat in the middle of one of the Big Ten’s better lineups. The Baltimore native belted nine homers his freshman year, averaging one long ball every 21.1 at bats. He led all Big Ten freshmen in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage, while slashing .263/.363/.479.

After his first season as a Terp, Costes joined the Cal Ripken League as a member of the Baltimore Redbirds and kept up his power spree, tying for third in the league with seven home runs. He improved his average and showed speed on the basepaths as well, hitting .319 while swiping 10 bags in 14 tries as he was named to the Cal Ripken League All-Star team. 

Returning to Maryland this year as a sophomore, Costes established himself as one of the best all-around hitters in the Big Ten. He tied with Kevin Smith for the team lead in homers and RBIs, with 11 and 42, respectively, while his .326 averaged ranked among the top ten in the conference. Thanks to the strong showing at the plate, Costes joined Brian Shaffer as the only Terps to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Outlook: Costes has proven he can hit over the course of his two seasons at Maryland. He is a power threat at the plate, racking up 44 extra-base hits in two years, and owns a career slash line of .298/.398/.510. He holds his own defensively as well, serving as the starting left fielder in 2016 before transition across to right field this year, where he has excelled. Costes also got a taste of center field in mid-May when he spelled Zach Jancarski there for three games and did a fine job. Because of his ability at the plate and in the field, he is one of the more intriguing prospects on the Terps, despite being just a sophomore. 

Sophomore Marty Costes continues his hot streak. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/16/2017

His plate discipline and power, as well as increasing averages, have him slated as one of college baseball’s better offensive threats. Baseball America ranked him as one of the top 200 draft prospects this year, and D1Baseball.com’s Frankie Piliere told Maryland Baseball Network that Costes “comes up a lot as one of the best pure hitters out there.” Piliere compared him to Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker, a draft-eligible sophomore in 2016 who was taken in the 38th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Rooker decided to return to school, and hit a team-high .404 with 21 homers while being awarded SEC Player of the Year honors.

Costes could go down a similar path as Rooker, as the two put up very similar numbers in their sophomore seasons. While Costes undoubtedly has the tools to succeed at the next level, his draft stock is limited as of now since he is a sophomore, and since he has two years of eligibility remaining, teams may pass on him in earlier rounds if they have questions about his signability. He will get drafted, but the question remains whether or not it will be high enough for him to decide to forgo his junior season.

While Costes may not find himself atop the draft boards this season, if he returns to Maryland for a junior season and continues to refine his craft at the plate, he will raise himself much higher up the draft boards in 2018. 

MLB Draft Preview: RHP Ryan Selmer

Ryan Selmer RHP

Ht: 6’8″        Wt: 220        Year: R-Jr.        Bats/Throws: R/R

Hometown (HS): Beltsville, Md. (Riverdale Baptist)

2017 Stats: 

G: 26        IP: 41.0          ERA: 2.20         K/9: 5.7            BB/9: 2.4          H/9: 9.0

Arsenal: Fastball with sinking action (90-92), slider; both thrown from a three-quarters arm angle.

Background: Ryan Selmer has been a mainstay in the Maryland bullpen since he equaled a program record for most appearances in a season with 31 in his redshirt freshman campaign of 2015. In his first season, the tall right-hander posted a 2.18 ERA, despite walking nearly as many batters (16) as he struck out (19).

Redshirt junior Ryan Selmer celebrates after making his way out of a 9th inning jam. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/7/2017

Selmer has improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio in all three seasons he’s been a Terp, increasing it from 1.19 as a freshman to 1.67 as a sophomore and now to 2.36 as a junior. His ERA regressed as a sophomore, rising to 4.34, but he has brought it back down to just 2.20 this season. He’s also taken up the mantle of the Maryland closer, notching seven saves in 2017, including two in which he was asked to get more than three outs.

In the summer of 2016 the Beltsville, Maryland, native pitched for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League and posted similar stats to those he compiled at Maryland. Selmer went 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA as a long reliever for the Gatemen and, after the season, D1Baseball ranked him as one of the top 150 prospects in the Cape Cod League.

Outlook: In many ways, Selmer’s 2017 has been his best season at Maryland. He has set career-highs in saves and strikeouts, and a career-low in walks per nine innings. His ERA is a touch higher than in 2015, but it would be much lower if not for one outing at the end of April against Indiana, in which he surrendered four runs in 0.2 innings. Since that game, Selmer has appeared seven times, including twice in the Big Ten Tournament and pitched to a 1.88 ERA. He’s also shown a willingness to pitch as many innings in relief as his teams needs, as he did when he fired 5.2 frames against Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, allowing just one run in the process.

Selmer pitches to contact (just 26 strikeouts in 41 innings this season), but the sinking action on his fastball makes him a very effective ground ball pitcher. He can become too reliant on his fastball at times, but he’s capable of making in-game adjustments as he did in the semifinals against Northwestern. The first three Wildcats reached against Selmer, but once he started mixing in his slider, he allowed just two hits over the next four innings.

Redshirt Junior Ryan Selmer pitches for the Terps. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/4/2017

Selmer’s performances last summer at the Cape and this spring in College Park, combined with the possibility that he could a few more ticks to his fastball in the coming years, make him an intriguing prospect. D1Baseball’s Frankie Piliere thinks the Maryland right-hander could go as high as the sixth or seventh round in the upcoming draft. Piliere mentioned the movement Selmer gets on his fastball as a significant factor in his rising draft stock:

“Low 90s with heavy life, this is what teams look for,” Piliere said in an interview with MBN’s Jake Eisenberg. “I think he’s got still more velocity to come, he works down in the zone, his downhill plane, from his angle, that’s going to be really difficult no matter what type of hitter he’s facing…that’s the type of guy who can sneak up on people.”

While the Terps’ closer may not get the widespread recognition that Brian Shaffer and Kevin Smith do, his ability to pitch in any situation, his lanky frame and the life on his fastball make Selmer one of the better draft prospects on the Maryland roster. He will likely be taken in the first 10 rounds of this year’s MLB draft.

MLB Draft Preview: RHP Brian Shaffer

Brian Shaffer – RHP

Ht: 6’5″        Wt: 200        Year: Jr.        Bats/Throws: R/R

Hometown (HS): Pylesville, Md. (North Harford HS)

2017 Stats

G: 15 (15 GS)  IP: 103.1    ERA: 2.18     K/9: 8.9       BB/9: 1.6     H/9: 7.1

Arsenal: Fastball (low 90s), Changeup, Slider

Background: While Brian Shaffer’s first career appearance for Maryland as freshman resulted in a one-hit three-inning save against Western Kentucky in mid-February, it was in postseason play where the right-hander showed he had a bright future on the Maryland pitching staff. Shaffer set season-highs with seven strikeouts in seven innings pitched against fifth-seeded Illinois in the 2015 Big Ten Tournament. The Maryland win behind his strong start snapped a 27-game winning streak for Illinois, who later made it into the NCAA Super Regionals. 

Junior Brian Shaffer pitches during another stellar outing. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/21/2017

Shaffer backed up his promising freshman season in a weekend starting role with the Terps as a sophomore. Serving most of the year as the Sunday starter, the Pylesville, Maryland, native went 8-3 with a 2.60 ERA in a team-high 103.2 innings pitched. He struck out 75 batters while only walking 13. The right-hander continued to shine in postseason play, throwing a complete game, two-hit shutout to keep Maryland’s season alive in an elimination game against Indiana in last year’s Big Ten Tournament.

Coming into the 2017 season, Maryland knew it would have to replace its highly-decorated Friday night starter Mike Shawaryn, who decided to forgo his senior season when he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. Replacing an arm that holds Maryland’s career win and strikeout total is no small task, but Shaffer did so by pitching his way to a Big Ten Pitcher of the Year selection.

He led the conference in innings pitched this season while also ranking in the top-five in ERA (2.18), batting average against (.218) and strikeouts (102). No other Terp has cracked 70 strikeouts this season, and Shaffer’s strong performances on the mound allowed the Terps to win every single series opener at home.

Outlook: While Shaffer may not boast the flashy pitch arsenal that other big-name right-handers in the country do, he makes up for with incredible command. The junior struck out nearly nine batters per nine innings this season while averaging under two walks per nine innings. His fastball sits consistently in the low 90s, but has been clocked at 94 mph in late stages of different ballgames this season. Like his fastball, he throws his changeup for strikes, allowing him to change speeds throughout an at-bat. His solid slider has been able to confuse hitters, leading to his first 100 strikeout season in his career. Opponents are only hitting .218 against him this season, a mark that ranks fourth in the conference.

His dominant junior season hasn’t gone unnoticed. Baseball America ranked him as the 154th best draft prospect in the country, and D1Baseball.com’s Frankie Piliere believes he could be selected in between the third and fifth rounds. His ability to command all of his pitches while missing bats will make him a desirable early round pick. Shaffer and shortstop Kevin Smith easily have the two highest draft stocks on the Maryland roster, and if Shaffer is drafted early in the window he’s projected to be taken in, the Terps could have two players drafted in the top five rounds for the first time since 2015. 

MLB Draft Preview: SS Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith – SS

Ht: 6’0″        Wt: 188        Year: Jr.         Bats/Throws: R/R

Hometown (HS): East Greenbush, N.Y. (Columbia High School)

2017 Stats: 

G: 51     PA: 210    Slash Line: .269/.324/.538     HR: 11       RBI: 42     K-rate: 21.4 %      BB-rate: 6.2 %

Junior Kevin Smith singles to left field 10/21/2016 Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network

Background: Kevin Smith came to Maryland as a freshman in 2015 and immediately made in impact, appearing in all 66 of the Terps’ games and starting in 65 of them. He finished the season with a .273 average, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 11 stolen bases, ranking in the top four on the team in each of these categories.  Following the success in 2015, Smith continued his success as Maryland’s starting shortstop in his sophomore season. He was one of two Maryland players to start all 57 games in 2016, and put up impressive power numbers. Smith led the team with 95 total bases, and ranked second behind Marty Costes in homers (8) and RBIs (34). He did see a dip in average (.259) and walks (16 in 259 PA) but his strong season overall earned him a spot on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List for best college shortstop.

Setting himself apart last summer, Smith played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League where he he posted a .301 with 14 RBIs en route to being named a CCBL All-Star. In the playoffs, he went 6-for-12, earning League Championship Series MVP honors as the Red Sox won their third straight CCBL title. His performance on the Cape led him to be named D1Baseball.com’s Summer Breakout Prospect and the best defensive infielder in the CCBL by Perfect Game. Going into the 2017 season, Smith was named a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Baseball America and Perfect Game.

This season, Smith posted the best power numbers of his career, hitting .269 with 11 homers, 10 doubles, 42 RBIs and a .538 slugging percentage. He now has 26 career home runs, tying him with John McCurdy for tenth all-time in Maryland history. While he had an up-and-down regular season, Smith came on strong in the Big Ten Tournament, going 7-for-20 with five RBIs, including a clutch three-run double that lifted Maryland over Purdue in an elimination game.

Outlook: With high expectations as a potential first round draft prospect, Smith and the Terps got off to a slow start this season. Maryland lost five of their first six games in the 2017 season and Smith struggled at the plate. Right as Smith started to get back on track, he missed seven games at the beginning of April due to an injury. When he returned, he struggled to stay consistent, but ultimately his power made him a key piece in the Terps’ lineup, as he led the team in home runs and RBIs. While the power was there, he failed to replicate the high average he posted in the Cape, as he hovered between .250 and .270 for most of the season, a mark consistent with the rest of his collegiate career. As he did in 2016, Smith continued to struggle with strikeouts, as his 21.4 percent K-rate this season was the highest of his career, while his 13 walks ranked last among Maryland regulars.

Junior Kevin Smith prepares to field a ball. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/12/2017

Despite the lack of average, Smith’s draft stock remains relatively high. He continues to impress on defense, and this combined with his pop at the shortstop position balances out his inconsistency at the plate. Additionally, he has shown the ability to hit for a high average, with his impressive season in the CCBL last summer. While his swing-and-miss tendencies may have dropped him out of the first round, he still has the potential to be an everyday shortstop with solid offensive production at the professional level.

He has consistently been ranked in the Top 100 MLB Draft prospects throughout the season: Baseball America ranks him 71st and MLB.com ranks him 78th. With the potential he has shown offensively over the past few years, he is very likely to go in the first five rounds of this year’s draft.