By Jake Eisenberg
Yesterday, we broke down the Terrapins starting pitching. Today, eight days before the season-opener, we’ll take a look at the bullpen.
The bullpen may be one of the Terps’ biggest question marks entering this season after many of the key pieces have either graduated or been drafted.
Most notably, the Terps will be without RHP Kevin Mooney, who established a new school career saves record before he was drafted in the 15th round by the Washington Nationals.
Maryland will also be without key southpaws Alex Robinson and Zach Morris. Robinson was drafted in the 5th round by the Minnesota Twins and Morris was taken drafted in the 24th by the Philadelphia Phillies. Also gone from the bullpen are veteran arms LHP Jake Drossner and RHP Bobby Ruse. Drossner was drafted in the 10th round by the Milwaukee Brewers and Ruse exhausted his NCAA eligibility.
So, in total, the Terps said goodbye to three key left-handers and two veteran righties, one of which is arguably the best closer in Terps history.
But, returning players and an infusion of freshman pitchers from the Terps’ 17th-ranked recruiting class should have no problem filling any holes.
LHP Tayler Stiles is jumping from the starting rotation to the bullpen and will likely be the team’s new closer. Last year, he won the Saturday starting job and made six starts for the Terps before his injury against Cal St. Fullerton. His fastball sits in the mid-80s, atypical of a closer, but makes up for it with a solid curveball and tremendous control. The junior walked just eight batters in his 39.0 IP last year, to go along with 37 punchouts. Finally, Stiles offers a unique arm slot from the left side, only increasing his chance of success.
Joining Stiles in the bullpen is another southpaw, LHP Robert Galligan. The redshirt senior pitched 62.1 innings last year, most on the team by anyone not named Mike Shawaryn, and notched a 2.74 ERA with a 58:21 K/BB ratio. His role varied, as he was both used in long-relief situations, like when he tossed 4.1 IP of scoreless relief against UCLA in the Regional, and in one-batter matchup situations. This year, Galligan will continue to be a reliable late-inning option from head coach John Szefc and pitching coach Jimmy Belanger.
RHP Ryan Selmer is another reliable option for the Terps. The sophomore made the most appearances (31) last season, including four starts, recording a 2.18 ERA in 53.2 IP. Selmer has the ability to be a consistent starter for the Terps, which also makes him the go-to candidate for long-relief. As we mentioned yesterday in our starting pitching preview, if Selmer be as consistent as last year, he could become a mainstay in the mid-week rotation by the end of the season.
RHP Mike Rescigno struggled in his limited use last season, walking seven in his four innings after moving from the infield to the mound. But the junior had a terrific summer in the Cal Ripken Baseball League for the Bethesda Big Train, allowing just eight hits in his 20 IP, good for a 1.80 ERA. With his summer success and more pitching experience, Rescigno could be in for a bigger role in 2016.
Yesterday, we mentioned RHPs Cameron Enck, John Murphy and Hunter Parsons as freshman that could make significant contributions to mid-week starts. Each could also fill a long-relief role like Selmer, as could Andrew Miller, a new southpaw.
LHP Andrew Miller is the only member of the Terps’ 2015 recruiting class besides Hunter Persons to have been drafted—Miller was selected in the 34th round by the New York Yankees. In his senior year at Sterling High School, Miller threw 52 2/3 IP, allowing just 25 hits while notching 88 strikeouts. The southpaw was named first-team All-Conference as both an outfielder and a pitcher. Miller figures to be another key lefty option with the departures of Robinson, Morris and Drossner.