Pro Terps Update: 2019 MLB Postseason edition

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October baseball is here, and two former Terrapins shined in their postseason debuts. Tampa Bay Rays’ Brandon Lowe and Los Angeles Dodgers’ Adam Kolarek represented Maryland in the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs.

Both Lowe and Kolarek were knocked out of their respective divisional series in the first round, each of which in a winner-take-all Game 5. Here’s how these former Terrapins fared on the national stage.

2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

Lowe entered the postseason without a division title. The Rays earned the second Wild Card spot and traveled to Oakland for a one-game round matchup against the A’s. The rookie made the start at second base for Tampa Bay and totaled three at-bats in the win.

The Rays then traveled to Houston to face off against the top-ranked Astros for the five-game divisional set. Lowe started the first four games of the series, finishing with a postseason batting average of .250. 

In Game 3, the first game back home after Tampa Bay dropped the first two in Houston, Lowe tallied two hits–one of which flew over the left-field wall and made him the first Terrapin to homer in an MLB postseason since 1942. 

The former Terrapin did not see time in the final game of the series, which ultimately stopped the Rays’ season short. Lowe ended his first year in the MLB with a .270 average and 17 home runs. He currently sits in third place for the American League Rookie of the Year, according to CBS Sports. 

LHP Adam Kolarek, Los Angeles Dodgers

The southpaw joined the Dodgers’ stacked roster in July after being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays. Kolarek earned a spot in the bullpen and pitched his way to a National League West Division Title. 

Los Angeles entered the 2019 MLB playoffs as the No. 1 team in the National League and, after they on the Wild Card, faced the Washington Nationals for a five-game set. The second-year pitcher appeared in three of the five postseason games, totaling one inning pitched. 

The Dodgers used Kolarek as a specialty left-hander out of the bullpen against the Nationals’ Juan Soto, facing the youngster three times, all of which resulted in outs. Kolarek never went over 10 pitches in any of his outings, and struck out Soto twice. 

Kolarek finished his second year in the Majors with a 3.27 earned-run-average and 45 strikeouts. Since joining the Dodgers in July, the former Terrapin had an ERA of 0.77 to close out the season. 

Pro Terps Update: 9/30/19

As the MLB regular season comes to its close, the four out of the five former Terps that are currently on Major League rosters will see their teams play baseball in October. Other former Terps weren’t as fortunate, but some still wrapped up the season with solid performances.

Here’s the end-of-the-season update on how these pro Terps have done as they cross the finish line of the regular season.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

While the Cardinals clinched the National League Central division title Sunday afternoon, Cecil may not get a chance to pitch during the Red Birds’ pursuit of their first World Series Championship since 2011. Cecil is still on the 60-day injured list with left-hand Carpal Tunnel syndrome, but he could see some action midway through the month.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)

Kolarek, who had been a stalwart lefty out of the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen for the first half of the season, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the July 31st trade deadline.

Since the trade, Kolarek has done a quality job making his case for the Dodgers’ postseason roster, pitching 11.1 innings to the tune of a 0.79 earned-run average. He faced 44 batters in those innings, and a solo home run was the lone dent.

2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

After his time on the 60-day injured list (right shin bone bruise) was extended after suffering a setback in a rehabilitation game (left quadriceps strain), Lowe made his return to the diamond on September 22nd. In six games since returning, Lowe has continued to work back from the injuries, slashing .176/.300/.353 in 20 plate appearances. However, it remains likely he will be the Rays starting second baseman for Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card showdown versus the Oakland A’s.

OF LaMonte Wade, Minnesota Twins (MLB)

LaMonte Wade made a few plate appearances for the Twins before September call-ups, in part due to a right-thumb dislocation that placed the outfielder on the 10-day injured list from early-July to mid-August. But, once in the majors for good, Wade became a reliable bat and glove off the bench.

In 65 total plate appearances in September, Wade proved to be an on-base machine and amassed a line of .212/.369/.404. He also picked up his first pair of major-league home runs. While the Twins have yet to announce their official American League Division Series roster, there remains a chance that Wade could be added after displaying his value off the bench.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Boston Red Sox (MLB)

After Shawaryn spent all of June in the majors, he finished out the Triple-A season with Pawtucket before he was recalled in early September. The righty threw a 4.52 ERA in 14 starts in 26 appearances (including 70 strikeouts) in Triple-A. Combined with his first set of outings in the majors (20 strikeouts in 12.2 innings with an 8.53 ERA), his numbers were enough for the late-season promotion.

In his 14 total relief appearances for the Red Sox, Shawaryn set down 29 batters in 20.1 innings, though his ERA is relatively inflated (9.74).

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

After settling into his role out of the Smokies bullpen, Stinnett began to struggle as the season progressed through the months of July and August. In 32 innings from the start of July to the end of the season, he cumulated 6.19 ERA. While Stinnett did start a handful of games, none of them lasted more than three innings.

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

Kevin Smith spent the entirety of 2019 in New Hampshire, though his stats did not reach the same level as in the previous year. In mid-July, Smith spent just over a week on the 7-day injured list.

In 116 games, Smith slashed .209/.263/.402, with a drop in his power numbers (six fewer home runs and nine fewer doubles than in 2018). Even so,

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

Shaffer had an impressive junior season in the minors, pitching  102 innings to the tune of a 2.38 ERA. Since being promoted to Montgomery in mid-May, Shaffer started a few games — 10 innings pitched, seven earned runs — but remained in the bullpen for the rest of the season. There, he posted a 1.74 ERA in 62 innings.

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

It was not the 2019 season that Alex Robinson was hoping to have, but an injury has kept him off the diamond for the entirety of the season. The southpaw missed time in 2018 due to left shoulder impingement and hasn’t pitched since the end of August last year.

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

After getting called up from Low-A Cedar Rapids in June, Bechtold continued to put in quality work. While his OPS saw a minor drop after his promotion, Bechtold still left the season with a slash line of .261/.359/.380 while playing stellar defense at the hot corner.

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

Nick Dunn ended his 2019 season in Palm Beach where he finished the year with a .629 on-base plus slugging percentage and a team-leading .247 average. He also notched career-highs in doubles (19), RBIs (38) and walks (24).

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

Costes remained with the Woodpeckers through the end of the season after being promoted early in the spring. He finished hitting .270 overall on the season with five home runs and 32 RBI.

The outfielder helped push Fayetteville to the Carolina League championship, though the Woodpeckers finished as runners-up.

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

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, Jamal Wade continues to recover after his season came to a sudden early end.

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

Biondic had a hot start to the season, going 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA. Though he fell behind later in the season, the right-hander still finished  with a 4.68 ERA in 100 innings pitched, including 14 starts and one complete game. Biondic also tallied 52 strikeouts over those 20 appearances.

INF A.J. Lee, Quad-Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros, Low-A)

After tearing up Short-Season A with the Tri-City Valleycats, A.J Lee was given a promotion to the Low-A River Bandits on August 15th.

Through Lee’s first 41 games with the Valleycats, he notched five home runs while logging a .759 OPS. He struggled some following his promotion to Quad-Cities, where his OPS sunk to .429 although he had a rather small sample of at-bats (41).

RHP Hunter Parsons, Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets, Short-Season A)

In his debut season with the Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones, Parsons was only limited to a bullpen role, but he still made a great first impression in the Mets farm system.

Through 11 appearances, Parsons recorded a 2.89 ERA while striking out 21 batters against nine walks.

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

After making the Atlantic League All-Star Game roster for the second season in a row, Rodriguez finished his season hitting .267/.353/.353 with a career-high in doubles (26).

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

Schmit completed his fourth season in independent ball with his third team since joining the American Association. This time, he’s going on vacation on top, as the St. Paul Saints won the league’s championship for the first time in 15 years.

Schmit batted a .650 OPS, his lowest in four years but still notched 10 stiles bases and 32 RBIs, plus three home runs.

 

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

Murphy wrapped up his first year in professional baseball  with a 1-2 record and a 4.91 ERA. He had signed with the Woolly Mammoths after going undrafted out of Maryland earlier this summer.

RHP Ryan Hill, Alpine Cowboys (Independent-Pecos League)

After taking the summer of 2018 off from professional baseball, Ryan Hill signed with the Alpine Cowboys of the independent Pecos League.

In Alpine, Hill pitched 13.2 innings with a 3.95 ERA to go along with one save.

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 Velázquez 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.