Pro Terps Update: 4/16/19

Three former Terps started the 2019 season in the majors, and it’s likely more will reach the big leagues for the first time in their careers by the end of the year.

Here’s a look at those pro Terps whose seasons have already started:

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

While Cecil spent part of 2018 as the only Terp in the pros, both Adam Kolarek and Brandon Lowe joined him as major-leaguers by the end of the season. Cecil is still struggling with an injury, however, and is currently on the 60-day injured list.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

After making his major-league debut in 2017, Kolarek put up stints in the majors in 2017 and 2018, before making the opening day roster for Tampa Bay this season. The lefty started last season in Durham with the Bulls, but got the call up to Tampa after only 31 appearances in the Rays’ AAA-affiliate, during which he boasted a 1.61 ERA.

Kolarek has made nine appearances in 2019 after throwing 34.1 innings for Tampa in 2018. This season, Kolarek holds a 0.00 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched, which include four strikeouts.

2B/OF Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

Since his major-league debut last August, Lowe proved himself worthy of a full-time spot on the Rays’ roster, signing a six-year contract extension in March.

In his 15 games with Tampa this season, Lowe has stayed hot, batting .302 and slugging .585 with four home runs, including a two-homer game on April 12.  After signing his contract extension, the second baseman has showed Tampa he was worth the cash.

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

Wade made the move up to AAA partway through 2018 after hitting close to .300 with the Twins’ Chattanooga Lookouts. Since the move, the outfielder hit .229 in his 74 games with Rochester in 2018, including 11 home runs.

Now, Wade remains in Rochester, batting .219 in his first 10 appearances, though he has a .375 OBP after working eight walks and putting up seven hits.

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

Shawaryn quickly ascended the Red Sox’s minor-league system after being drafted in the fourth round in 2016. Last season, Shawaryn started out with the Portland Sea Dogs in AA before making the move to AAA. In Pawtucket, Shawaryn threw a 3.93 ERA in seven appearances, six of which were starts. He went 36.2 innings, striking out 33 and allowing only 16 runs.

After making the Red Sox’s major-league camp to start spring training, Shawaryn is back in AAA. In his 11.1 innings pitched over two starts he’s struck out 14 and allowed four runs on 10 hits and only two walks.

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

Stinnett is currently on the Smokies’ seven-day injured list, according to thecubreporter.com.

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

Like many former Terps, Smith moved through the Blue Jays’ minor-league system quickly. After spending time with Toronto’s Low-A and High-A teams in 2018, Smith started this season in AA with the Fisher Cats.

So far he’s batting .268 with one home run and 11 hits in 10 games. The season is still young, however, and if Smith’s 18 homers in 83 games in High-A are any marker, Smith may turn things on soon.

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

After struggling with injury early in 2018, Robinson returned to the mound for 25 games with the Miracles, posting a 4.98 ERA before another brief stint on the injured list in late August.

This season, Robinson has been listed on Fort Myers’ seven-day inured list since April 1.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays, High-A)

Since his sixth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2017, Shaffer has stayed solid in the minors. This season is the right-hander’s first full season with the Stone Crabs, after Arizona traded him to Tampa Bay in August last year.

Shaffer remains steady on the mound, boasting a 2.57 ERA in seven innings pitched over three relief appearances so far this year. The righty recorded four strikeouts in those three outings, while allowing only two runs on seven hits.

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

Dunn spent time in both short-season A and low-A last season after his fifth-round draft pick from the Cardinals. In his 65 games between the two leagues, Dunn batted .253 with three home runs and 14 doubles (all of which came in Low-A).

This year, Dunn started the season in High-A with Palm Beach. In 44 at-bats over 10 games so far, Dunn is hitting .273 with three RBIs and 12 hits, including one double. Additionally, Dunn has only struck out four times so far this season.

OF Marty Costes, Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros, Low-A)

After only four games in short-season A, Costes spent the majority of last season with Houston’s Low-A affiliate. Between the two leagues, the outfielder batted .231 with a .345 OBP.

Now, Costes remains with the River Bandits, hitting .300 in eight games. Among his nine hits so far, Costes has one triple and three RBIs, while he struck out only four times.

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

In his first season with the Power, Wade is continuing his dominance on the mound. The right-hander struck out 10 batters in his 4.2 innings of relief so far, meaning of those 4.2 innings, only four outs have not been Ks.

Wade boasts a 3.86 ERA in those two outings, having allowed only two runs on four hits and four walks.

Former Terps Kolarek, Lowe make Rays’ Opening Day Roster

Two former Maryland Terrapins, left-hander Adam Kolarek and infielder Brandon Lowe, will begin the 2019 MLB season on the Tampa Bay Rays’ 25-man roster, manager Kevin Cash revealed Tuesday.

Kolarek, who edged out teammate Emilio Pagán for the final roster spot, didn’t have the best spring, pitching 9.2 innings with an 8.38 ERA. However, Kolarek is coming off a quality 2018 season, which is part of the reason that Cash opted to have him on the Opening Day roster.

After spending 31 games last year with the Durham Bulls (AAA), in which the lefty cruised through 44.2 innings to the tune of a 1.61 ERA and a 10.48 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, Kolarek made his next 31 appearances at the major-league level. In 34.1 innings with the Rays, Kolarek became a reliable lefty out of the bullpen, limiting opposing lefty batters to a .208 batting average.

Lowe, who recently signed a six-year deal with Tampa Bay, now appears to be a player that the Rays view as a major contributor for the foreseeable future. He had himself an outstanding Spring Training after finishing his debut season in 2018 with a .774 on-base plus slugging percentage.

In 53 at-bats, Lowe slashed .377/.411/.698 while tying teammate Avisail Garcia for the team’s most Spring Training home runs at three and leading the team in RBI at 17.

Both former Terrapins have made it a long way since being major contributors on some of the better teams Maryland has seen in the past couple of decades. Prior to getting drafted by the New York Mets in 2010, Adam Kolarek pitched two seasons (2008-2009) with the Terps, making 43 total appearances and recording a 4.26 ERA and 4.68 ERA in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Lowe, who had been drafted by the Rays in 2015, was a major component in helping the Terps make their first two NCAA Super Regional appearances in the school’s history in 2014 and 2015, slashing .338/.448/.509 between the two years.

This is the first time that either former Terrapin will be breaking camp with a major-league team as they’ll open the season Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg when the Rays take on the Houston Astros at 4 p.m. ET.

Former Terps pitcher Ryan Hill signs pro contract

Former Maryland right-hander Ryan Hill signed a professional contract with the Florence Freedom (Ky.) of the Frontier League on March 18, according to the league website.

Hill transferred to Maryland from Grayson County College in 2016, where he put up a 2.29 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched in 2016, and recorded a combined 89 strikeouts over his two years as a Viking.

One of the Terps’ go-to relievers, Hill played at Maryland for two seasons. In 2017, the righty made 29 appearances, including two starts, throwing 46.2 innings while working a 5.01 ERA and striking out 55.

After starting 2018 on the bench due to eligibility issues, Hill made nine relief appearances, finishing his senior year with a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched, while striking out 14.

Right-hander Taylor Bloom, Hill’s college teammate who went undrafted after last season, signed with the Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things last June and made four appearances before being released in July. He is not currently listed on a roster for the 2019 season.

Hill and the Freedom open their season on May 9.

 

Pro Terps Update: Lowe signs six-year deal with Rays, per reports

Former Terrapin infielder Brandon Lowe has signed a six-year extension with the Tampa Bay Rays, per reports. The deal guarantees Lowe with $24 million and includes two club options.

After making his major-league debut last August, Lowe appeared in 43 games for the Rays, batting .233 and ending the season with a .324 on-base percentage in 148 plate appearances.

With his call-up in 2018, Lowe became second Terrapin on the Rays’ active roster, and the third Terp on an active MLB roster in 2018, joining southpaw Adam Kolarek in Tampa Bay and reliever Brett Cecil, who at the time was on the 10-Day Disabled List for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to the draft in 2015, Lowe spent two seasons in Maryland’s infield and helped the Terps make their first two NCAA Super Regionals appearances in program history. He finished his collegiate career with a .338/.448/.509 line, contributing to Maryland’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971 in his first year as a Terp in 2014.

Drafted by Tampa in the third round (87th overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft, it took Lowe less than three years to reach the majors after his entrance into the Rays’ minor-league system in 2016 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods

Lowe then spent time with the Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Class-AA Montgomery Biscuits in 2017, during which he hit .298 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs between both clubs. He started 2018 in Montgomery, but moved up to the Class-AAA Durham Bulls after 54 games. Lowe spent 46 games with the Bulls, batting . 304 with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Now, Lowe is hitting .359 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 42 plate appearances with the Rays in the Grapefruit League. With his extension, Lowe is likely to make Tampa’s roster for opening day.

The Tampa Bay Rays have not yet confirmed Lowe’s deal.

Former Terp Brandon Lowe set to make MLB debut

Former Maryland infielder Brandon Lowe is set to make his Major League Baseball debut for the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon. He received his first call up to the majors on Saturday after playing in 46 games this season for the Durham Bulls (AAA).

Lowe is the third Terrapin on an active MLB roster in 2018. He joins left-handed pitcher Adam Kolarek on the Rays, who are one game above .500 and less than 10 games out of the second wild card. Brett Cecil is currently on the 10-Day Disabled List for the St. Louis Cardinals.

In two seasons with Maryland, Lowe helped the Terps toward the first two NCAA Super Regionals appearances in program history. He slashed .338/.448/.509 over his two-year college career, as Maryland made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1971 in his first season on the field in 2014.

Tampa drafted Lowe in the third round (87th overall) in the 2015 MLB Draft. It took less than three years for him to work his way through the Rays’ minor-league system to get his first MLB opportunity. He began his ascension in 2016 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Lowe played on two levels in 2017, the Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Class-AA Montgomery Biscuits. He hit .298 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs combined between the two clubs. He started this year with Montgomery, but moved up to Durham after 54 games. In 46 games in AAA with the Bulls, Lowe hit .304 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs.

Second baseman Daniel Robertson, who Lowe replaced on the Rays roster, is reportedly out for the season with a thumb injury according to MLB.com. Lowe will start in left field — a position he learned in the minors — and bat seventh against the Chicago White Sox at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Former catcher Justin Morris to sign contract with Pittsburgh Pirates

Former Maryland baseball catcher Justin Morris confirmed that he’ll sign a minor league contract Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’ll fly to Florida on Monday before making it official at the team’s Spring Training facility in Bradenton.

The Edgewater native made an announcement Friday morning via Twitter.

Morris will be the third undrafted Terp this offseason to ink a professional deal. Kevin Biondic signed a contract with Red Sox last month and has pitched in six games since for the Lowell Spinners. Taylor Bloom has thrown in four games this summer for the Washington Wild Things, a team in the Independent Frontier League.

Juniors Marty Costes and Nick Dunn both were drafted in early June, signing contracts with the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively.

The catcher was drafted in the 35th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of DeMatha Catholic High School in 2014, but opted to come to College Park instead. He played in 129 games for the Terps, but wasn’t drafted again after his junior or seniors campaigns.

Morris’ bat got hot in time for Maryland’s 2017 postseason run, finishing with a career-high five home runs. Maryland played in the Winston-Salem Regional, earning one win against in-state foe UMBC. In the 16-2 victory, Morris went 1-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a homer.

During his senior year, Morris hit .208 with only one homer and 14 RBIs. Defensively, though, he was very solid and threw out a team-high nine runners on the bases. He’ll now be the fifth Terp from the 2018 roster to begin a professional career this summer.

Pro Terps Update: 7/3/18

Two 2018 Terps were selected in the 2018 MLB and two more have since signed professional baseball contracts, as the number of Maryland baseball players in the pros continues to grow. Here’s a look at how all of those guys are performing during the 2018 season.

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

While more Terps should make it to the show soon, Cecil is still the only former Terrapin in Major League Baseball. Cecil, who turned 32 on July 2, is in his 10th big league season, and his second with the Cardinals.

He missed a chunk of the 2018 season with an injury, but has been solid since returning to the mound, posting a 4.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 18 innings of work. However, Cecil’s walk rate is currently the highest of his career, and because of that has not been used in many high-leverage situations.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After seven seasons in the minors, Adam Kolarek made his major league debut last June, and worked in 12 games for the Rays in 2017. This season, Kolarek has not yet gotten the call-up, but has been absolutely filthy in Durham.

The lefty has posted a 1.09 ERA over 41.1 innings this season, and his 10.89 K/9 is the best mark of his career since he got to the Triple-A level. With only nine walks and five earned runs allowed in the entire season, it shouldn’t be long before Kolarek gets another chance with the big club.

2B/OF Brandon Lowe, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA)

After again dominating at the Double-A level this season, Brandon Lowe finally got the call-up to Durham on June 7. Since then, Lowe has been on fire. He is hitting .341 with a 1.147 OPS at the Triple-A level and has eight home runs.

Those eight long balls came in a 10-game span from June 21 to June 29 and led Lowe to be named Minor League Player of the Week on June 25. Lowe’s ridiculous stats in June have but him on the major league radar.

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

LaMonte Wade, like Lowe, was again tearing it up at Double-A this season, and just two days after Lowe got his call-up to Triple-A, Wade got his as well. The bat hasn’t been quite as hot for Wade, but he has continued to do what he has done at every level — get on base.

Through 22 games with Rochester, Wade is hitting .250, but is sporting a .397 on-base percentage as he has drawn 17 walks and struck out only 11 times. The power is also starting to come along for Wade, who has already matched a minor league career-high with nine overall home runs in 2018.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox, AA)

In his first year at the Double-A level, Mike Shawaryn may be putting together his best minor league season. Through 15 starts this season, Shawaryn has posted a 3.55 ERA with 77 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 88.2 innings of work.

While his strikeouts are down from last season at Single-A, his walks, home runs, and batting average against are down, as well, as Shawaryn continues to find ways to get guys out. As the Red Sox No. 9 overall prospect according to MLB.com, The Unicorn could be on his way to the big leagues, or possibly the centerpiece of a deal at the trade deadline.

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

After fighting his way back from injury in 2017, Jake Stinnett is in his first full Double-A season with the Smokies this year. Stinett has made a full-time transition to the bullpen since the injury, and has found success there this season. In 32 innings of work, he has pitched to a 4.78 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just 14 walks.

In this new role, Stinnett has the best strikeout rate of his career, and has recently been moved into the closer role for the Smokies. Since then, he has converted four saves in a row, and has struck out four batters without allowing a baserunner in those four innings since June 26.

SS/3B Kevin Smith, Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays, High-A)

Kevin Smith starting the season in Single-A Lansing, but quickly proved that his bat was due for a promotion. After hitting .355 in 46 games for the Lugnuts, Smith was promoted to High-A Dunedin on May 28. Since then he has continued to swing a hot bat, batting .301 with six home runs in 29 games at the High-A level.

After another strong week for Smith in Dunedin in which he batted .414, he was named the Florida State League Player of the Week on July 1. Now the No. 18-ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system according to MLB.com, Smith could earn himself another promotion soon.

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

Alex Robinson battled injuries early in the 2018 season, but has finally made it back to the mound consistently here lately. In 17.2 innings at Fort Myers this season, Robinson has a 3.57 ERA and has struck out 20 batters compared to just 10 walks.

Opponents are batting only .206 against the power lefty this season, and Robinson’s last appearance may have been his best of the year. He worked 2.1 scoreless frames while striking out three batters.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Kane County Cougars (Arizona Diamondbacks, A)

Brian Shaffer’s first season at full-season Single-A has been a dominant one. Over 15 starts this season, Shaffer has worked 84.2 innings and has posted a 2.98 ERA.

And the righty has continued to do exactly what he did in College Park — throw strikes. Shaffer has 86 strikeouts on the year and has walked on 18 batters. In his last four starts dating back to June 12, he has 28 strikeouts and has not walked a batter over 25 innings.

OF Marty Costes, Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros, A)

After being drafted by the Houston Astros for the second straight year, this time in the 22nd round, Marty Costes decided to sign his first pro contract. He started the season in short-season Single-A, where his first professional hit was a triple, but played only four games there before getting the call-up to full season ball on June 24.

Since the promotion, Costes is hitting .235 with an RBI and is currently on a three-game hitting streak.

RHP Jose Cuas, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, (Milwaukee Brewers, A)

Jose Cuas spent his entire college career and his first three minor league seasons as an infielders, but he decided to transfer to the rubber in 2018. His first 12 appearances on the mound have been rough this year, however. He has a 9.92 ERA in 16.1 innings, but has recorded 16 strikeouts in that time.

2B Nick Dunn, State College Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals, Short-Season A)

After an incredible junior season at Maryland, Nick Dunn was drafted by the Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB Draft and signed with St. Louis. Dunn has started his career at the short-season Single-A level, and has continued to hit the baseball.

Through 15 games, Dunn is hitting .302 with eight RBI and has more walks (9) than strikeouts (8). And he had an incredible start to July, going 5-for-9 in his first two games of the month.

RHP Jamal Wade, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners, Short-Season A)

After spending all of 2017 in rookie ball, Jamal Wade started 2018 on the disabled list, but he returned on June 14 and was promoted to short-season Single-A. Wade has appeared six times out of the bullpen this season for the AquaSox and has a 1.82 ERA. In 10 innings of work he has allowed just two earned runs on five hits while striking out nine batters and walking only two.

In his most recent appearance on July 2, Wade recorded his first save of the season, working a rare three-pitch inning to shut the door.

RHP Kevin Biondic, Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox, Short-Season A)

Kevin Biondic was not selected in this year’s draft after his final season at Maryland, but on June 21, the Boston Red Sox took a chance on Biondic, signing him as a pitcher. Biondic made his pro debut on July 1, allowing just one run on one hit and recording a strikeout in two innings of relief.

RHP Ryan Selmer, Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets, Short-Season A)

In second pro season, Ryan Selmer started the year at High-A with the St. Lucie Mets, but was sent to Brooklyn after just two appearances. Selmer has appeared seven times at short-season Single-A this season and has an 8.38 ERA with one save.

LHP Jake Drossner, Milwaukee Brewers Organization

Jake Drossner has struggled with injury over the past two years, and will most likely miss the entire 2018 season. He last pitched for Single-A Wisconsin last season, making one start and going four innings after pitching 94 innings there in 2016.

RHP Taylor Bloom, Washington Wild Things (Frontier League, Independent)

After an incredible four-year career at Maryland, Taylor Bloom was not selected in the MLB Draft, but he will get a chance at a pro career. On June 30 Bloom signed a contract with the Washington Wild Things, and independent team in Washington, Pennsylvania that plays in the Frontier League.

Bloom started for the Wild Things on the same night he was signed, and allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four over five innings.

*All stats are updated through games played on July 2, 2018*