Maryland Baseball Network counted down to Opening Day! Today marks the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #0, Anthony Papio.
ANTHONY PAPIO | 0
Position: Student Assistant Coach
Hometown: Olney, Md.
High School: Sherwood High School
Alma Mater: University of Maryland (’16)
About Anthony: Anthony Papio returns to College Park to join the Terrapin’s coaching staff as a student assistant coach after four remarkable seasons on the team. He holds the team record for most games played (230) and finished second all-time in triples (9).
Papio started his career at Maryland as a walk-on and quickly turned into a key player for the Terps. As a redshirt freshman, Papio appeared in 47 games, splitting time between right and left field. He posted a .245 batting average with five doubles and 21 RBIs. Papio started 53 games as a sophomore, solidifying his spot in right field and batting .271 with nine doubles and two home runs. As a Junior, Papio became one of just two Terps to start in all 66 games. He recorded 16 doubles, 26 RBIs and six home runs. He earned All-Tournament honors at the Los Angeles Regional after a noteworthy defensive performance. During his final year on the Terps roster, Papio batted .261 with eight doubles, four triples and four home runs. He finished the year with a hit and a walk in the Big Ten semifinals against Iowa.
Off the field, Papio earned Big Ten All-Academic honors, Maryland’s Outstanding Sportsmanship Award and won the “Iron Terps” competition three years.
MBN’s Jake Eisenberg sits down with Head Coach John Szefc to discuss the Maryland team. Szefc discusses his expectations for the 2017 season, the benefits of strong summer seasons, and this weekend’s opening series.
About Jamal: After a solid freshman year that saw him slug .451 with five home runs in 35 games, Jamal Wade only appeared in 19 games in 2016. While he batted just .111 in the spring, Wade found success on both sides of the ball while playing summer ball for the Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Owings Mills, Md., native batted .267 with two home-runs, six doubles, and 11 RBIs, while also seeing time on the mound, where he was 1-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 11.1 IP. Wade’s two way success goes back to high school; in his senior year he posted an 8-1 record and an 0.52 ERA while hitting .500 with 35 RBIs. He is the brother of current Twins’ minor leaguer and former Terp LaMonte Wade. While the Terps’ bullpen and outfield are both crowded this spring, Wade’s versatility could make him an intriguing option at the plate and on the mound.
Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks two days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #2, Rob Vaughn.
ROB VAUGHN | 2
Position: Associate Head Coach
Hometown: Humble, Texas
Alma Mater: Kansas State (’11)
Experience: 5th season at Maryland
About Vaughn:Rob Vaughn is set to begin his fifth season at Maryland, his first as associate head coach. He first joined the Maryland coaching staff in 2012 after a two-year stint as a volunteer assistant coach at Kansas State University, his alma mater.
After a standout career as a catcher in his four years at Kansas State, Vaughn was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He spent parts of two seasons in the minors, where he played with current major leaguers such as Dodgers’ outfielder, Trayce Thompson, and Mets’ reliever, Addison Reed.
While directing Maryland’s recruiting efforts, Vaughn brought in the highest ranked recruiting class in team history in 2015. Under his tutelage, many recent recruits have made an immediate impact at the plate, including Nick Dunn and Marty Costes, who were both awarded Big Ten All-Freshman honors in 2016. In his six years as a coach, Vaughn has coached 24 players who have either been drafted or signed by a professional team, including 2015 draftees Brandon Lowe and LaMonte Wade.
Vaughn’s refers to his hitting philosophy as “The Pack.” In the Pack, each hitter has his own role, whether it be to run, drive in runs, be a “master of execution,” or a combination of the three. The three Pillars of the Pack, as Vaughn calls these attributes, are vital in the Pack’s effort to function as a single unit.
MBN’s Jake Eisenberg sits down with Associate Head Coach Rob Vaughn to discuss the Terps’ offense ahead of the 2017 season. Vaughn discusses his projected starting lineup, the benefits of having his entire lineup return, the team’s offensive approach, and expectations for the 2017 season.
Jake Eisenberg sat down with Pitching Coach Ryan Fecteau ahead of the 2017 season to discuss the Terps’ pitching staff. Fecteau discussed his transition from Bryant to Maryland, the depth of the Maryland rotation, bullpen philosophy, and potential impact arms.
About Zach: As a freshman, Zach Jancarski appeared in 28 games for the Terps, starting in four. He went on to establish himself as the every day center fielder during late April of his sophomore season. He hit .257 but got on base at a .348 clip and ranked third on the team with five stolen bases. Jancarski was an All-Star for the Sanford Mainers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer, and finished second in the league with 20 stolen bases.
Jancarski was featured on the latest episode of the Maryland Baseball Network podcast, which can be found below.
2016 Spring Stats:
57 games (57 starts), .259/.308/.409, 9 2B, 8 HR, 34 RBI
About Kevin: No other player on the Terps’ roster has received more summer and preseason accolades than Kevin Smith.
The junior shortstop was named the Cape Cod Baseball League LCS MVP after leading his Y-D Red Sox team to a third straight title, batting .370 with three home runs during the playoff run. Of his 10 postseason hits, five were for extra bases (three home runs, two doubles). As a result of his stellar summer, Smith was named D1Baseball.com’s “Breakout Summer Prospect,” the No. 5 prospect in the Cape Cod League, and has consistently been in the top-20 in various 2017 college prospect breakdowns.
Last season, Smith was one of just two players—the other Nick Dunn—to start and play in all 57 games. He tied with Madison Nickens for second on the team in home runs (8), finished second on the team with 60 hits (trailing Dunn, 68), and was second on the team with 34 RBIs, trailing only Marty Costes (37).
The junior also played in every game his freshman season, when he was named a Freshman All-American. Dating back to that year (2014-2015), Smith has started—at shortstop—for 115 consecutive games.
About Brandon: Transfer infielder Brandon Gum comes to Maryland as a redshirt senior, playing in just 11 games last season for George Mason due to an injury. He started in all 11 games he played in, however, and hit above .300 for the Patriots, adding a pair of doubles, a home run and 11 runs scored. In Gum’s last full season in 2015, he was a key player for George Mason. He ranked second on his team with a .338 batting average, and tallied the third-longest hitting streak in George Mason history — 25 games. He also earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team honors. Gum played against the Terps three times as a Patriot, going 4-for-10 with 3 RBIs. Gum has experience at both positions on the left side on the infield but will get the bulk of his opportunities this season at third base, along with AJ Lee.
The Maryland Baseball season is officially less than one week away. After dissecting the starting pitching, bullpen and the outfield earlier this week; here is a look at Maryland’s talent-loaded infield.
It remains to be seen who will begin the season behind the plate for the Terps, but all signs point to a situation similar to last season, with junior Justin Morris starting at catcher and senior Nick Cieri serving as the designated hitter.
Morris is considered as the better defensive catcher, but struggled offensively last season, batting .194 over 40 appearances (34 starts). However, the backstop swung the bat much better over the summer, hitting .287 with 25 RBIs for the Cal Ripken League Champion Bethesda Big Train.
Cieri had what some consider a disappointing offensive campaign in 2016, hitting .256 with three home runs after a breakout summer season that saw him hit .320 in the Cape Cod League. However, Cieri finished the 2016 season with a .379 on-base percentage thanks to a team-high 31 walks. He was the only player on the team with more walks (31) than strikeouts (25). Over the summer, he played for the Thunderbolts in the Ripken League and crushed five home runs (three of them coming in one game) while batting .301. The senior will likely split time at catcher with Morris while being a mainstay in the lineup at DH.
Danny Maynard and Ty Friedrich are other names to keep tabs on throughout the season. Despite only six starts as a freshman, Danny Maynard appeared in 36 games and was one of head coach John Szefc’s go-to pinch hitters. Maynard turned in a .306 average and an on-base percentage of .359. Meanwhile Friedrich, a freshman, batted .491 in his senior year of high school and .351 in 13 games this summer with the Silver-Spring Takoma Thunderbolts, playing with Cieri.
Maryland junior Kevin Biondic will return to first base after starting 56 games (of 57 possible) at the position last season. He ranked second in the team in batting average (.278), on-base percentage (.377) and doubles (10) in 2016, and made just two errors in the field.
During the offseason, the former high school hockey goaltender was named the best defensive first baseman in the Big Ten by Baseball America.
Following an impressive freshman campaign, sophomore Nick Dunn is back to anchor the middle of the field and the middle of the lineup. He started all 57 games and led the team in batting average (.300), hits (68), doubles (16) and multi-hit games (15) en route to earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team, Big Ten All-Third Team, and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors in 2016.
Dunn sparkled in the Cape Cod Baseball League over the summer, finishing ninth in the league in batting average (.311) and fifth in the league in runs scored (26). He was also seventh in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio (.882) after striking out 17 times and drawing 15 walks.
Dunn was named the No. 1 Big Ten prospect for the 2018 MLB Draft by Baseball America and was also named the “best pure hitter” in the conference.
Kevin Smith’s name has become synonymous with terms like “All-American” and “Top Prospect” after a breakout summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Smith hit .301 with two home runs in 41 games for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, then led the team to the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship by hitting .370 with three home runs and seven RBIs in seven postseason games.
D1Baseball.com named Smith the “Breakout Summer Prospect,” the No. 5 prospect in the Cape Cod League, and a Preseason Third-Team All-American. Smith was named a Preseason-First Team All-American by Baseball America and Perfect Game.
Additionally, Kevin Smith was named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year by all three publications and named the “Top Defensive Shortstop” by Baseball America.
Last spring, Smith was one of two players to start all 57 games, hitting .259 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs, a mark that was second on the team.
With the departure of Andrew Bechtold (transfer), the starting position at third base was up for grabs this fall, with the battle between graduate transfer Brandon Gum and sophomore A.J. Lee.
Lee is the favorite to begin the season at the hot corner after an impressive fall. According to the coaching staff, Lee’s summer in the Alaskan League with the Mat-Su Mines, while not statistically eye-opening, helped Lee develop as both a player and a person. He’s consistently been regarded as having one of the best fall seasons of anyone on the team.
Last spring, Lee struggled in limited time, hitting .179 in just 19 games (9 starts).
Gum, a transfer from George Mason, suffered a torn rotator cuff last season that cut his season short and has limited him this offseason.
The infielder hit .297 in his career at George Mason, including a career-high .338 in 2015. Gum has also seen action this fall at first base, given his limited throwing ability following his injury.
This spring, Gum could become one of Szefc’s first options off the bench as a pinch-hitter, or emerge as a starter at the hot corner or first base should Lee or Biondic struggle.