Pro Terps Update: 7/10/19

At the halfway point in the 2019 season, three former Terps are on MLB rosters, while numerous others have been in the big leagues at some point during the spring.

Here’s an mid-season update at how those pro Terps have played on the diamond thus far:

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

In his 11th MLB season, Cecil has not touched the mound yet as he is dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, which landed him on the 60-day injured list . The one time All-Star began throwing from short distances in late June and aims begin in rehab assignment in the latter half of the summer.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

After making the opening day roster, Kolarek has remained a key part of the Rays’ bullpen for most of the spring. He threw 34.1 innings for Tampa in the 2018 season, surpassing that total this season heading into the midseason break.

In 45 appearances, Kolarek has tossed 35 innings with a 3.86 ERA and a 3-2 record. His last seven outings from the bullpen have been successful for the lefty as he sustained an ERA of 1.17.

2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

Lowe had the best first half of any former Terps this year and earned himself a spot on the American League All-Star team. After being called up in 2018, the infielder has become a staple in the Rays’ lineup, posting a .276 average with a team best 16 homers and 49 RBIs.

After fouling a ball off his right leg, Lowe was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 4 and did not play in the Midsummer Classic, though he was in attendance. New York Yankees’ Gleyber Torres replaced Lowe on the roster.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, AAA)

Shawaryn is back in Triple-A ball after being called up to the majors for just over a month earlier in the season. In his debut on June 7, the righty came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning and recorded four strikeouts in two innings for Boston. In his 12.2 innings in MLB, he punched out 20 total batters.

After being sent back down after the London series on July 1, Shawaryn has solidified his role as a starter for the Sox. In 12 games this season, the former Terp has a 4.10 ERA and 48 strikeouts.

OF LaMonte Wade, Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins, AAA)

Wade spent a short three days in the majors with Minnesota in their series against the White Sox in Chicago. In his debut on June 28, the speedy outfielder reached base once on a hit-by-pitch and was caught stealing in the inning.

After being called up again by the Twins, Wade suffered a right thumb dislocation, placing him on the 10-day injured list on July 6. In Rochester, he earned a .246 average with a .392 OBP so far this season.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

After starting the season on the injured list, Stinnett has taken the mound quite often for the Smokies. In 18 appearances, the right hander has a 3.73 ERA with 35 fanned batters.

SS/3B Kevin Smith, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays, AA)

Smith has climbed through the minors fairly quickly and started 2019 with the Fisher Cats after playing in Low-A and High-A last season.

So far Smith has eight homers and a .183 batting average, but is currently on the seven-day injured list.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays, AA)

After starting the season in Charlotte with the Rays’ High-A affiliate, Shaffer earned the call up to Double-A Montgomery to play for the Biscuits. The righty has a 2-2 record with a 2.45 ERA with his new club.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

In a frustrating 2019, Robinson has remained on the seven-day injured list since April 1. The southpaw appeared in 25 games in 2018, posting a 4.98 ERA with more time out due to injury.

2B Nick Dunn, Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals, High-A)

Dunn has spent his entire 2019 season with Palm Beach after playing for two ball clubs a season ago. The everyday second baseman is batting .224 with 19 RBIs for the Cardinals. Dunn also has 12 doubles on the year.

OF Marty Costes, Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Houston Astros, High-A)

Costes started the spring with Quad Cities in Low-A, but after 28 games with 20 RBIs and a .291 average, the former Terp was called up to Houston’s High-A affiliate in Fayetteville.

Since being called up, Costes is hitting .261 with an OBP just shy of .390. The outfielder is currently not playing due to an injury that landed him on the seven-day injured list.

3B Andrew Bechtold, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

Bechtold is another Terp who climbed up the minor league rankings in the first half of 2019. Beginning the spring with Low-A, and after 66 games with a .367 OBP, the former Terp was called up to Fort Myers on June 18.

So far with the Miracle, Bechtold is hitting .235 with five RBIs. In his last 10 games he has a .286 average and eight hits.

RHP Jamal Wade, West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners, Low-A)

In an injury-plagued season, Wade only appeared twice for the Power in early April. In 4.2 innings, he earned 10 strikeouts. Wade is now on the injured list after having Tommy John surgery in late May.

RHP Kevin Biondic, Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox, Low-A)

Biondic started just under half of his appearances on the mound so far this season. In 11 outings, the righty has a 4-0 record and a 2.91 ERA. The right-hander’s five starts of the season all came in a row and cemented him as one of the Drive’s rotation men.

LHP Jake Drossner, Helena Brewers (Milwaukee Brewers, Low-A)

Drossner was placed on the 60-day injured list before the season, and has not pitched since September 2016.

INF A.J. Lee, Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston Astros, Short-Season A)

After finishing his senior season at Maryland this spring, Lee was drafted to the Houston Astros in the 34th round of the MLB draft. Since then, the former Terp has put on a show for the Tri-City ValleyCats: in 18 games, Lee is hitting .288 with an OBP over .400.

 

1B Alfredo Rodriguez, Somerset Patriots (Independent-Atlantic League)

In his third season with the Patriots, Rodriguez is coming off a hot year that earned him Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star honors, the All-Star Game MVP award and the Patriots’ team MVP award.

This year, the former Terp is batting .264 with a .336 OBP and has earned a second consecutive All-Star appearance.

INF Blake Schmit, St. Paul Saints (Independent-American Association)

Schmit is off to a hot start this season with the Saints, posting a .288 average through 37 games. After three season with Sioux Falls Canaries, the infielder is in his first season with St. Paul, looking for his first All-Star selection since 2016.

RHP John Murphy, Westside Woolly Mammoths (Independent-USPBL)

Murphy finished his senior season with the Terps this spring, and after going undrafted in the MLB draft, he signed a deal with the Woolly Mammoths of the United Shore Professional Baseball League.

 

Pro Terps Update: LaMonte Wade Jr. Makes MLB Debut

Former Terp LaMonte Wade Jr. stepped onto a Major League field for the first time Friday night as he made his debut with the Minnesota Twins. After being called up on Thursday from Triple-A Rochester, Wade made the starting lineup in the team’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

In the nine hole and starting in right field, Wade earned two plate appearances, one of which he reached base on a hit-by-pitch. He was caught stealing second base in the inning. Wade was pinch hit for in the seventh by Nelson Cruz, who walked in his only plate appearance in the Twins’ loss.

Wade got the call to the majors after a series of unfortunate events for the ball club, where four outfielders suffered injuries in the last month. Left fielder Eddie Rosario sprained his ankle in the game Wednesday night, prompting Wade’s transition to the Minnesota Twins.

Wade’s journey to the major leagues were fast. After being drafted by Minnesota in the ninth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the outfielder quickly moved up the ranks to Double-A, where he spent his entire 2017 season. The following season, Wade was sent to Triple-A Rochester.

In Triple-A ball, Wade posted a .238/.366./.351, complimented with nine home runs and 11 stolen bases. The outfielder’s defensive skills also proved to be a valuable asset to the Red Wings team.

With the numerous injuries plaguing the Twins’ outfield, Wade should see plenty of time on the field and in the lineup. The playoff-contending organization will finish out the weekend series on the south side of Chicago with Wade on the roster.

Pro Terps Update: Twins reportedly recall LaMonte Wade Jr.

The Minnesota Twins have reportedly recalled former Terp LaMonte Wade Jr. from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, after injuries depleted the Twins’ outfield depth. The move was first reported by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Minnesota drafted Wade in the ninth round of the 2015 MLB Draft after his three years with Maryland. In those three seasons Wade consistently notched just over 50 hits a season, while he finished his junior year slashing .335/.453/.468.

Wade began his climb through the Twins’ minor league system, starting 2015 with the Rookie Elizabethton Twins before moving up to Single-A Cedar Rapids.

In 2016 Wade made the jump to the High-A Fort Myers Miracle, after batting .280 in 56 games in Cedar Rapids.

Wade spent all of 2017 and part of 2018 in Double-A with the Chattanooga Lookouts, before he was promoted to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

In Rochester, Wade cemented himself as a key component of the Red Wings defense and offense, as he made diving grabs in the outfield while also slashing .238/.366/.351 with nine homers and 11 stolen bases in 590 plate appearances since his 2018 Triple-A debut.

Wade’s recall comes after the Twins’ left fielder Eddie Rosario sprained his ankle Wednesday, the fourth Minnesota outfielder to be sidelined due to injury (outfielders Byron Buxton, Martin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza all landed on the injured list in the past month).

It is uncertain when Wade will make his MLB debut, but it is possible he plays any time over the next few days.

Pro Terps Update: Shawaryn makes MLB debut

On Friday night, former Terp Mike Shawaryn made his major league debut in relief for the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays after he was recalled at the end of May.

Shawaryn entered in the eighth inning, throwing four strikeouts in two complete innings while allowing only one run, a solo homer, in Boston’s 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox drafted Shawaryn in the 5th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, after three stellar seasons at Maryland. As a Terp, Shawaryn won 30 games and punched out 307, while throwing a career 2.61 ERA.

As the right-hander quickly moved through the Red Sox minor league system after the draft, he continued to strike out batters and showcase his talent. After starting with the Short-A Lowell Spinners in 2016, by 2018 Shawaryn was already in double-A with the Portland Sea Dogs.

In Portland, Shawaryn stuck out 99 batters in 112.2 innings, before moving up to the triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox for the end of the 2018 season. There, the righty struck out 33 in 36.2 innings to finish the year.

At the start of 2019, Boston invited Shawaryn to its official spring training as a non-roster invitees sign the right-hander was on the major-league club’s radar. Before his late-May call-up, Shawaryn threw 10 starts for a total 55.2 innings in Pawtucket, setting down 28 while holding opposing batters to a .230 average.

Then, on May 30 after right-hander Hector VelĂĄzquez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a low back strain, the Red Sox recalled Shawaryn.

Just over a week later he entered in the eight inning against the Rays and notched three straight outs, including his first major-league strikeout. And, after giving up a solo home run to Kevin Kiermaier to start the ninth, Shawaryn whiffed three straight batters to end the half.

Two seniors, three signees selected in 2019 MLB Draft

Hunter Parsons and A.J. Lee were the only Terps selected in the 2019 MLB Draft earlier this week, marking the second consecutive year where only two Maryland players have been drafted.

In addition to the two seniors, three signees––Tucker Flint, Ryan Ramsey and Bobby Zmarzlak––were drafted. If they choose to attend Maryland, they won’t be eligible for the draft again until after their junior year or after they turn 21 years old.

The New York Mets drafted Parsons in the 19th round on Wednesday, the first Terp drafted this year. In his four seasons at Maryland Parsons punched out 192 batters in 251 innings while making team history his senior year after a breakout junior campaign. As a senior Parsons earned 10 wins, the third-most in a single season by a Maryland pitcher, joining former Terp Mike Shawaryn as one of only two Terps to achieve double-digit wins in a single season.

In the 34th round Houston drafted Lee, the second Terp the Astros have drafted in as many years after they selected Marty Costes in the 22nd round in 2018. Lee put up a stellar second half of his senior season, finishing the year leading Maryland in batting average (.317), his highest of his four years as a Terp. In his final regular season series at Maryland, Lee launched a two-run walk-off homer to left field to help propel the Terps to their first Big Ten Tournament under second-year head coach Rob Vaughn.

The three signees––outfielders Flint and Zmarzlak and right-hander Ramsey––were drafted in the final five rounds of the draft. Flint and Ramsey were both drafted in the 36th round, by the New York Mets and the Cleveland Indians, respectively, while the Orioles selected Zmarzlak in the 40th round.

Both Parsons and Lee are likely to sign with the teams that drafted them, while Flint, Ramsey and Zmarzlak have until mid-July to decide whether to sign or to attend Maryland.

AJ Lee drafted by Astros in 34th round

OSU7.jpgThe Houston Astros drafted Maryland shortstop A.J. Lee in the 34th round on Wednesday. Lee is the second player drafted in the 2019 MLB Draft, after the Mets took Hunter Parsons in the 19th round.

A three-year starting infielder for the Terps, Lee’s final season at Maryland marked a comeback after a lackluster junior campaign. The Millersville, Maryland, native joined the Terps after receiving numerous accolades for his performance at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., including being named the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year both his junior and senior seasons

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File photo by Paige Leckie

Though Lee played shortstop in high school, both positions on the left side of the Terps’ infield were filled by older, more experienced players during Lee’s freshman season. Lee only got 29 at-bats that year, as the infielder bided his time waiting for a spot to open.

After Lee’s freshman season, a spot opened up at third base and he made the transition to the hot corner, as former Terps Kevin Smith still occupied shortstop. As a sophomore Lee slashed .307/.389/.474 and found unexpected power, finishing with eight home runs, the third most on the team.  In addition to his strength in the box, Lee provided the Terps with speed on the base paths and stole 15 bases in his 59 games played.

When the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Smith in 2017, it enabled Lee to finish his tenure at Maryland back in his high school position. Though Lee hit a slump after his breakout sophomore campaign and struggled at the plate during his junior season, the shortstop stayed consistent with his ability to get on  base, working a .375 OBP and stealing 12 bases. As a junior Lee batted only .232 with one home run, but notched 47 hits in his 54 starts.

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File photo by Paige Leckie

Lee proved his junior year slump was a fluke with what became an outstanding senior campaign. Though the shortstop struggled at the start of the 2019 season, batting only .148 in eight games before an ankle injury benched Lee for seven games, the senior bounced back and finished the season with a team-high .317 batting average and .443 OBP.

Lee capped his final regular season as a Terp with Maryland’s first walk-off win of the year, when the senior sent a two-run bomb to left field for the Terps’ 8-6 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes on May 16. His walk-off homer set the tone for the rest of the series, Maryland’s first sweep against a Big Ten opponent on the year, and helped propel the Terps to their No. 6 seeding in the conference tournament.

After that weekend, the Big Ten named Lee Player of the Week, his first time receiving the honor.

With his comeback senior year, Lee showed the TEAM that he has the power at the plate, speed on the base paths and agility on defense to make a worthwhile draft pick.

Hunter Parsons drafted by New York Mets in 19th round

The New York Mets selected Maryland starting right-hander Hunter Parsons in the 19th round (568th overall) of the MLB Draft on Wednesday. The junior is the first Terrapin taken in this year’s draft..

Parsons, who threw a pair of no-hitters before his Maryland career, was drafted in the 40th round by the Cleveland Indians out of Parkside High School (MD) in 2015. Four years later, the Fruitland native was worthy of a second selection after starting in 37 career games in college.

The right-hander showed signs of a bright future during his freshman campaign, holding hitters to a .201 batting average in 36 innings. He made 15 appearances, five of which were starts, and earned one Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after a seven-inning, two-hit midweek start. He threw on big stages early in his career, pitching against the SEC’s Alabama and against Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal.

Parsons pitched for the Baltimore Redbirds the following summer in the Cal Ripken Baseball League, creating even more excitement for his development. He was named the league’s pitcher of the year, leading all pitchers in wins (6) and strikeouts (44). He finished the summer with a slim 1.40 ERA in 38.1 innings.

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Pitcher Hunter Parsons on the mound. Photo by Amanda Broderick/Maryland Baseball Network

As a sophomore, though, Parsons’ trajectory took a negative turn, setting up what would eventually be an incredible comeback story. He stumbled throughout the year, yielding a 12.05 ERA in 21.2 innings while letting up 29 earned runs 41hits. Parsons was expected to be the primary midweek starter, but struggled with confidence.

After allowing eight runs in his first start of 2018 against Tennessee, Parsons was the most confident and consistent starting pitcher for the remainder of the season. He began the year as the Sunday stater, but eventually took advantage of opportunities to end the season pitching on Fridays. The righty threw two complete games, including a two-hit shutout against Stetson, which helped earn Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Week honors.

All it took was a new grip on his two-seam fastball and confidence for Parsons to turn into a pitcher that led all of Maryland’s primary starters in wins (5), innings (89), strikeouts (62) and batting average against (.225). The junior thrived under first-year Maryland pitching coach Corey Muscara, getting better as the season progressed.

Parsons continued his dominance on the mound his senior season as he became the Terps’ ace and threw a team-high 104.1 innings. The right-hander continued to lead Maryland’s main starters in wins (10), strikeouts (78) and batting average against (.232). Parsons’ 10 wins are the third most in team history, just behind former Terp Mike Shawaryn, who holds the second (11) and third (13) most wins for Maryland.