The Maryland Terrapins were listed in the Top-25 of three preseason rankings ahead of the 2017 season.
The Terps were ranked No. 22 by D1 Baseball, No. 23 by Perfect Game and No. 24 by Baseball America. It is the first time Maryland is ranked in the Top-25 since the end of the 2015 season (Terps were not ranked in Top-25 in 2016).
After a trip to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals last season, D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt believes Maryland has the “star power, depth, balance and experience to make a deep run” in 2017.
“[Maryland’s] lineup returns six everyday regulars and two other players who started about half the team’s games last year,” Fitt wrote, “making this an experienced group that should turn in plenty of quality at-bats.”
Related: D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt joins the Maryland Baseball Podcast
All three rankings have Maryland as the only Big Ten Conference team in the top-25, putting the Terps in the early conversation as conference favorite in 2017. Maryland, after missing NCAA Tournament play last year, looks to return this spring and build on back-to-back Super Regional appearances in 2014 and 2015.
Shortstop Kevin Smith was named D1Baseball’s 2016 Summer Breakout Prospect after a stellar summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Smith was also named the No. 10 junior prospect in the country by Perfect Game, a few weeks after being named a Preseason First-Team All-American by the same publication.
Smith wasn’t the only Terp to receive prospect accolades. RHP Mike Rescigno was named the top prospect in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League after a strong summer with the Baltimore Redbirds. This past week, Rescigno was named No. 1 senior prospect in the country by Perfect Game. He figures to be a key late-inning option for the Terps this season.
Senior Nick Cieri, who was ranked 25th on Perfect Game’s top senior draft prospect list, returns to the lineup while Nick Dunn, who hit .300 in 2016, looks to build on a stellar rookie season.
Additionally, starters RHP Brian Shaffer and RHP Taylor Bloom each pitched over 100 innings with a sub-2.60 ERA in 2016, and both with more starts than walks. RHP Hunter Parsons, who emerged late last season as a strong starting option, also looks to be a big part of the 2017 rotation after garnering Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Pitcher of the Year honors this past summer.
Maryland opens it’s season in the Clearwater Tournament on Feb. 17 against Ball St. Every game this season can be listened to live on the Maryland Baseball Network.