Pro Terps Update: 5/9/17

With over a month of the Major and Minor League seasons complete, let’s check out how Maryland alumni have faired in the professional ranks so far this season.

LHP Brett Cecil struggled out the gate in his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals letting up a total of five earned runs in his first four appearances. Since then the Cardinals’ setup man has rebounded nicely. Despite blowing a save against the Braves on Sunday, Cecil has let up just one run in his last 13 outings. He currently has a 4.38 ERA and has struck out 16 batters in 12 1/3 innings.

While Cecil is the only Terp that is currently in the majors, LHP Adam Kolarek has been making a case to be in the big leagues as well. The Baltimore native has posted a 1.35 ERA in 12 appearances for the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays). He has struck out 14 batters with just three walks in 13.1 innings. He has not given up a run since April 16.

RHP Mike Shawaryn dazzled on Saturday for the Class-A Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox). He pitched six innings of one run ball, walking one and striking out 12 batters. The No. 14 prospect in the Red Sox system has been fantastic since he let up nine runs in his first start of the season. In his last five starts, Shawaryn is 2-0 with 42 strikeouts and a 1.33 ERA.

LHP Zach Morris has been solid pitching in relief for the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies). In 12.2 innings the southpaw has struck out ten batters, walked nine, and let up five earned runs on 14 hits. He is 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP and one save in two chances.

LHP Alex Robinson has rebounded well after letting up five earned runs in his first three appearances of 2017. He has not given up an earned run in any of his last five appearances. The Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels’ (Minnesota Twins) reliever is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched.

Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins) outfielder LaMonte Wade, brother of current Terp Jamal Wade, has kicked it up a notch in Double-A. Wade is hitting .536 in his last 10 games, giving his batting average a 75 point boost and giving Wade a spot on MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week. He currently owns a  .321/.468/.494 slash line to go with three homers, five doubles, three stolen bases, 11 RBIs and 21 runs scored.

Third baseman Jose Cuas has struggled lately for the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers), hitting .167 in his last 10 games. He is batting .209 with a .321 OBP, two homers and a .753 OPS.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe has gotten off to a nice start this season for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays). In 28 games Lowe is slashing .340/.431/.570 with three homers, and ranks in the top five in the Florida State League in doubles (10), runs scored (23) as well as OBP and slugging.

While all these former Terps have been doing well on the field, three remain on the shelf. Springfield Cardinals’ (St. Louis Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate) LHP Jimmy Reed was placed on the 7-day disabled list on April 17. He currently owns a 8.10 ERA in three appearances spanning 6.2 innings. The southpaw missed the entire 2016 season due to injury. LHP Jake Drossner made one start with the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers), throwing four innings of one-run ball, before hitting the disabled list April 12. He has since been activated and reassigned to the Rookie affiliate Helena Brewers, but has yet to make an appearance. Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs’ Double-A affiliate) RHP Jake Stinnett has not pitched yet this season due to injuries.

Pro Terps Update: 4/25/17

The Major League Baseball season is now three weeks old and most minor league seasons have begun, leaving us all to wonder how the former Terps are doing in the pros.

LHP Brett Cecil remains the only former Terrapin in the Major Leagues after he signed a four-year, $30.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason. The 2007 first round pick has made 10 appearances for the Cardinals this season, posting a 5.87 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 7 2/3 innings. As a middle reliever for St. Louis, Cecil struggled early, but has posted six consecutive scoreless outings going into Tuesday. In that stretch, he has struck out five batters and walked only two, helping him earn back a spot as a set-up man in the seventh and eighth innings.

Although there is only one Terp currently in the majors, the next one to get his shot in the big leagues could be LHP Adam Kolarek. The 2010 11th round draft pick has pitched well out of the bullpen for the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 7 2/3 innings. Five of Kolarek’s six appearances this season have been scoreless, and in three of the six he has retired every better he faced. The Rays just placed left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno on the 10-day DL, so Kolarek could be a possible option for his first call up to the big leagues.

While Kolarek has pitched well out of the bullpen, RHP Mike Shawaryn has opened some eyes as a starting pitcher in the Red Sox organization. The Unicorn, as he was known at Maryland, has pitched to 6.23 ERA in four starts for the Single-A Greenville Drive. Despite the inflated ERA, Shawaryn has struck out 27 batters and walked just five, and got some attention in his April 13 start in which struck out eight in five one-hit innings. The 2016 fifth-round draft pick is currently ranked as the 12th-best prospect in Boston’s system, and has struck out at least eight batters in each of his last three starts.

A trio of former Terps are sidelined early in the season. LHP Jimmy Reed started the 2017 season with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals). After throwing a scoreless two innings in his first appearances of the season, Reed was knocked around in his next two outing and was placed on the disabled list. The 2013 sixth round pick is coming off of Tommy John surgery last season, and his ERA has ballooned to 8.10 so far this season.

RHP Jake Stinnett has started the season on the disabled list for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs). The 2014 second-round pick is the 30th ranked prospect in the Cubs system, according to MLB.com, but has not yet pitched this season because of injury. He posted a 4.27 ERA in 20 starts with the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans last season.

LHP Jake Drossner made just one appearance for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers) before heading to the DL. The 2015 10th-round draft pick gave up one run on three hits in four innings in his only start this season. Drossner’s current teammate in Milwaukee, third baseman Jose Cuas, has stayed healthy for the Timber Rattlers and is slashing .244/.340/.488 in 41 at-bats so far this season.

As for the relievers, LHP Zach Morris has begun to pitch for the Single-A Lakewood Blueclaws (Philadelphia Phillies). In six appearances this season, the 2015 24th-round pick has pitched to a 3.68 ERA and 1.50 WHIP as a middle reliever.

LHP Alex Robinson has made four relief appearances for the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins), posting a 7.94 ERA. Despite the high ERA, he 2015 fifth-round pick has struck out seven batters in 5 2/3 innings. In his last appearance, he pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three while still throwing gas.

Outfielder Lamonte Wade, who played alongside Robinson at Maryland and in rookie ball in 2015, has since been promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota Twins). A 2015 ninth-round pick, Wade has an on-base percentage of .357 with two home runs and five RBI in 56 plate appearances this season. The brother of current Terp Jamal Wade, Lamonte is the 13th-ranked prospect in Minnesota’s system, and still has that same sweet swing he had in College Park.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe has also made a jump in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after a strong 2016 season. The 2015 third-round draft pick is red-hot through 15 games for the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs. Lowe is hitting .388, which is second in the Florida State League, while he leads the league in both OBP (.508) and OPS (1.141).

RHP Kevin Mooney emerged as the closer for the Short-Season Class-A Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) a year ago, and the right-hander will return there this season. The short-season New York-Penn League will begin in June.

Pro Terps Update: Opening Day Assignments

The Major League season is underway and there is a familiar face on the St. Louis Cardinals.  Former Terps LHP Brett Cecil signed with St. Louis as a free agent in November, after pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2009 to 2016.  Last year with Toronto, the southpaw finished 1-7, with a 3.93 ERA in 54 appearances out of the bullpen.  Cecil remains the only former Terrapin in the majors, but several Maryland standouts look to elongate their professional careers in the minors this year.  Minor league opening day is Thursday, April 6.

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RHP Mike Shawaryn Photo: Hannah Evans/MBN

RHP Mike Shawaryn wrapped up his first season in the minors last year.  The Boston Red Sox drafted Shawaryn in the fifth round and assigned him to the Short-Season A Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox).  With Lowell, Shawaryn had a 2.87 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. After his first year and spring training success, Shawaryn will move up to the Class-A Greenville Drive to start the 2017 season.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe also found success in his first professional season and will move up to the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays) to start the year.  In 2016 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, Lowe finished with a .248 AVG, 94 hits and 42 RBIs, while setting a franchise record with an 18-game hitting streak.  He showed the same patient eye he had as a Terp, walking 60 times in 107 games for a .357 OBP.

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Third Baseman Jose Cuas Photo: Alexander Jonesi

A pair of former Terps will take the field for the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers) this season. Third baseman Jose Cuas moves down to Wisconsin after spending last season with the High-A Brevard County Manatees, where he hit .170 with four home runs and 27 RBIs. RHP Jake Drossner will start the 2017 season alongside Cuas. He pitched for the Rattlers last year, posting a 4.69 ERA with 91 strikeouts through 94 innings of work.

RHP Kevin Mooney will return to the Class-A Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) for the third year.  Maryland’s all time leader in saves, he posted a 3.33 ERA with one save in 21 appearances for the Doubledays last year.

LHP Zach Morris made 48 appearances out of the bullpen for the Class-A Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia Phillies) in 2016.  Morris recorded a 2.57 ERA and five saves through 66.2 innings.  He will return to Lakewood this season.

Two Terps in the Minnesota Twins organization will look to repeat their success from a year ago. LHP Alex Robinson will open 2017 with the Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons in rookie ball with the Elizabethton Twins. The southpaw excelled last year, with a 3.00 ERA and .162 opponents’ average in 33 innings. Outfielder LaMonte Wade got moved up from the Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels to the High-A Fort Myers Miracle in July of last season after making the Midwest League All-Star Team.  He finished the 2016 season hitting .293 with 51 RBIs and 8 home runs across the two levels. This year, he’ll start the season with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.

Coming back from Tommy John surgery, LHP Jimmy Reed will join the Double-A Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) this season. Reed missed last season, but played at the Triple-A, Double-A and High-A levels in 2015.  For Springfield in 2015, Reed was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA through 82.1 innings of work.  When Reed moved down to the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals, he improved his record to 4-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.15.

RHP Jake Stinnett will move up to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs) in 2017 for his fourth professional season.  In 2016 with the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Stinnett performed well the first half of the season, earning his spot on the Carolina League All-Star Team with a 3.78 ERA and a 5-3 record.  He finished the season with a 4.27 ERA and the Pelicans won the Carolina League Championship.

In 2016, LHP Adam Kolarek split time between Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays).  The southpaw posted a 3.32 ERA in 13 appearances with the Biscuits, and lowered it to a 3.05 mark in 33 outings after his call-up to Durham. He will return to the Bulls in 2017 for his eighth professional season.

Catcher Kevin Martir signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this spring.  Last year with Class-A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston Astros), Martir hit .165 with 21 RBIs and a home run.

MBN Podcast: Episode 26 (Mike Shawaryn, Brandon Lowe)

On this edition of the MBN Podcast, Jake Eisenberg and Dylan Sinn break down the Terps’ series against LSU and look ahead to the 2017 home-opener vs. James Madison and the upcoming weekend tournament in Cary, Nc. Also, MBN catches up with former Terps Mike Shawaryn (14:50) and Brandon Lowe (29:30) to talk about their experiences in professional baseball and the beginning of Spring Training.

Former Terp Brett Cecil Signs with Cardinals

Pitcher Brett Cecil, who played for Maryland from 2005-2007, has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Passan later tweeted that Cecil, who has posted back-to-back seasons of over 11 strikeouts per nine innings, had several teams bidding for his services on the open market.

Cecil pitched six scoreless innings in the postseason for the Toronto Blue Jays over the last two seasons.

He posted a 3.93 ERA over 36.2 innings in 2016 and joins a Cardinals team that ranked 13th in bullpen ERA last season (3.62).

The 30-year old Cecil is entering his eighth big league season after striking out 94 hitters in 101.1 career innings at Maryland. The southpaw is second all-time at Maryland in career saves, holding the record until it was broken my RHP Kevin Mooney in 2015.

Cecil is the only former Terrapin currently in MLB.

Pro Terps Update: 9/19/16

As the Toronto Blue Jays make a push for the postseason, they will look to LHP Brett Cecil, the lone Terrapin currently in the majors, to continue his recent success. In 47 appearances this season, he owns a 1-7 record and a 4.22 ERA, but over his last 15 games, his ERA sits at a sparkling 1.80. The Blue Jays currently hold the second AL Wild Card spot, and sit four games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

With Minor League Baseball wrapped up for 2016, RHP Mike Shawaryn and LHP Rob Galligan have finished their first professional seasons after signing contracts earlier this summer. Shawaryn, drafted 5th round (148th overall) by the Boston Red Sox, pitched in six games for the Short-Season A Lowell Spinners. The most-decorated pitcher in Maryland history, he finished the season with an 0-1 record, 2.87 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. Galligan was drafted in the 36th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent the 2016 season in rookie ball. The southpaw struggled at first with the Missoula Osprey, with a 6.92 ERA over 13 innings, but since improved with the AZL D-Backs, allowing two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work.

Splitting time between the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), LHP Adam Kolarek turned in one of the best seasons of his professional career. In 13 outings for the Biscuits, he went 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA. With Durham, he lowered his ERA to 3.05, struck out 46 batters in 41.1 innings, and held opponents to a .194 average.

A pair of 2015 southpaw draftees excelled in their second professional seasons. LHP Zach Morris made 48 appearances out of the bullpen for the Class-A Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia Phillies), going 8-3 with a 2.57 ERA while converting five of seven save opportunities. In 15 appearances with the rookie-ball Elizabethton Twins (Minnesota Twins), LHP Alex Robinson posted a 3.00 ERA and held opponents to a .162 average.

RHP Kevin Mooney appeared 21 times for the Class-A Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals). After a stellar first half (1.96 ERA, .156 BAA over 18.1 innings), he struggled in August and September (7.50 ERA in six innings), but nevertheless turned in a fine sophomore campaign, finishing with a 3.33 ERA and .209 opponents’ average. RHP Jake Drossner split time between the bullpen and rotation for the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers). Overall, he went 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA in 25 appearances (15 starts), but fared much better out of the bullpen (4-0, 3.55 ERA, 33 IP).

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Stinnett (center) with former Maryland baseball radio broadcasters (now Myrtle Beach Pelicans broadcasters) John Vittas (left) and Scott Kornberg (right).

RHP Jake Stinnett made the Carolina League All-Star Team as a member of the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs), thanks to his first half performance (5-3, 3.78 ERA, 11 starts), but struggled in the second half, with a 4.88 ERA and .291 opponents’ batting average over nine outings. Stinnett and the Pelicans won the 2016 Carolina League Championship.

Outfielder LaMonte Wade flourished in his second professional season, splitting time between the Class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels and the High-A Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins). He was named a Midwest League All-Star for his success in Cedar Rapids, as he hit .280 with four homers, 27 RBI and 32 runs scored in 56 games. He kept it up, and then some, after his promotion to Fort Myers, hitting .318 with eight doubles and four homers in 32 games before being sidelined with an injury. He finished 2016 with a .293/.402/.438 slash line across the two levels.

After missing 2015 with a foot injury, second baseman Brandon Lowe has put together a solid first season with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays), posting a .248/.357/.343 slash line with 67 runs scored in 107 games. He set a franchise record earlier this season with an 18-game hitting streak.

However, Lowe’s former teammates third baseman Jose Cuas and catcher Kevin Martir have not found the same success. Cuas played for the High-A Brevard County Manatees (Milwaukee Brewers), hitting .170 with four homers and 27 RBI over 120 games. Cuas will spend this winter

Martir appeared in 25 games for the Short-Season A Tri-City Valley Cats (Houston Astros), hitting .165 with a homer and five RBI. This fall, he has returned to Maryland as a student assistant coach.

Overseas in the Korean Baseball Organization, Justin Maxwell appeared in 23 games for the Lotte Giants after signing with them in July. The 32-year-old outfielder slashed .287/.418/.500 with four homers and 16 RBI in 99 plate appearances.

Pro-Terps Update: 7/20/16

By Ben Harris

By last week’s end, the book was closed on the 2016 Maryland Terrapin draftees, it’s final chapter telling two stories each of looming professional careers and a desire to don the pinstripes in College Park, Maryland.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, the most decorated pitcher to ever stroll the mall at the University of Maryland, agreed to a $637,500 signing bonus with the Boston Red Sox, almost $300,000 more than the slot value of the 148th overall pick. The Unicorn will join the short-season Class A Lowell Spinners some 330 miles northeast of his New Jersey home.

LHP Rob Galligan is the only other Terp taking their talents to the professional ranks in 2016. Drafted in the 36th round (1079 overall), Galligan has appeared in eight games for the Diamondback’s rookie league Missoula Osprey allowing seven earned over 9.1 innings.

On the flip side, two pitchers announced their intention to play for the Terps in 2017. Rising senior RHP Mike Rescigno turned down an opportunity to join the San Francisco Giants as a 25th round pick (755 overall) in favor of serving as a bridge between the Jim Belanger staffs of the past four years and those of newly appointed pitching coach Ryan Fecteau. LHP Tyler Blohm—a rising freshman and Rescigno’s teammate on the Cal Ripken summer league’s Baltimore Redbirds—declared that he too would forgo his offer, this one from his hometown Baltimore Orioles, and enroll at Maryland this fall.

After breaking his foot as a redshirt sophomore in 2015’s season-ending loss to Virginia, 2B Brandon Lowe has made waves since first lacing up for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in April. On July 17, Lowe broke the Hot Rods’ franchise record with a base knock in 18 consecutive games. In his mid-summer crusade against Midwest League pitching, Lowe slashed .371/.421/.529 across 22 days from June 25 to July 17. Eight of the 18 games were multi-hit affairs. The second baseman ranks 13th in the league with a .372 OBP.

LHP Adam Kolarek’s first two months in triple-A have gone swimmingly. Notching 30 innings thus far, Kolarek has held International league opponents to a .152 batting average while striking out 26 percent of batters faced, the highest mark for any sustained stretch in his seven-year professional career.

Returning for the Class A short-season Auburn Doubledays, a newly-mustachioed RHP Kevin Mooney — inspired by the club’s namesake and Old Abner’s famous lip rug — has settled back into the late-inning role he become so accustomed to at Maryland.

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Following the lead of catcher Erik VanMeetren, Kevin Mooney sports a handlebar  mustache that would make Abner Doubleday proud.

And, as he did in College Park, he is thriving. In an eight outing span between his first and most recent appearances (June 20-July 16), Mooney was nearly as perfect as his 0.00 ERA and 0.48 WHIP would lead one to believe. For the year, he’s posted a 1.46 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over 12.1 innings while striking out 11 and walking three.

LHP Zach Morris was named Lakewood BlueClaws Player of the Week to kick off July. Overall Morris has posted phenomenal numbers in the low ranks of the Phillies’ farm system and 2016 has been no different. In 33 relief appearances, Morris has a 2.62 earned run average, 1.34 WHIP and .244 batting average against. In 44 innings, he’s struck out 38, walked 19 and allowed 41 hits.

Despite a less than stellar 2016 campaign, RHP Jake Stinnett was named a Carolina League All-Star for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As the sixth youngest player on the roster, he tossed a perfect seventh inning in the All-Star game with three groundouts. His opponents’ batting averages have risen every month this year from .164 to .200 to .304 to .357 in July. In three starts this month, he’s holds a 9.56 ERA.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 2.49.29 PMFollowing his own well-deserved All-Star appearance, OF LaMonte Wade began his climb up the Minnesota Twins’ minor league ranks. Rewarded with a promotion to the Class A-advanced Florida State League at the beginning of July, Wade picked up where he left off in Cedar Rapids. Through 17 games, he’s hitting .352/.422/.519 for the Fort Myers Miracle. Were he qualified, he’d fall four slugging percentage points short of owning top marks in every triple slash category. His batting average would stand a full 34 points greater than the next highest, and his OBP would lead the league by 19 points. He’s hit safely in 13 of 17 games with five multi-hit games and two homers in his last three games.

A pair of former Terps currently play for Brewers Class A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. LF Troy Stokes has appeared in 53 of 95 games this year with a .237 average and .359 OBP. Both are slightly shy of his minor league career marks. After being given the month of June off from starting duties, LHP Jake Drossner has returned to that role this month. After a good June in the pen (four appearances, 2.25 ERA), Drossner has made three starts in July to the tune of a 3.77 ERA and 2.09 WHIP.

In nine games for the short-season Tri-City ValleyCats, C Kevin Martir has logged seven base hits in 35 at bats. His best outing came in a 2-for-4 July 1 win, when he tagged a two-bagger and a long ball, knocking in three runs from the eight-hole to beat Hudson Valley 5-3.

In the majors, LHP Brett Cecil has appeared in six games this month for the Blue Jays allowing three runs over 4.1 innings to raise his ERA to 5.17. And after signing with the Red Sox in early April and appearing in 61 games for triple-A Pawtucket, Boston granted OF Justin Maxwell his release so that the 32-year-old Maryland native could sign with the Korean league Lotte Giants.