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Maryland baseball: Terps sizzle in summer leagues

Summer baseball gives college players a chance to hone their skills as well as attract the attention of MLB scouts. The Terps have wholeheartedly embraced this concept, and the team’s success in 2014 demonstrates the wisdom of doing so.

Maryland's Brandon Lowe is tearing up the Cal Ripken League
Maryland's Brandon Lowe is tearing up the Cal Ripken League
The boys of summer

College baseball players don't just head home for the summer. Most try to play summer ball at one of the myriad leagues around the country. In fact, summer baseball leagues cover the country like an ATT wireless map. But all leagues are not created equal; there is a definite pecking order. At the pinnacle is the Cape Cod League. This summer seven Terrapins are playing in that league (see table below). In addition to the Cape Cod League there are ten other leagues that make up the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB), summer baseball's upper echelon. Maryland places most of their players in three of the NACSB leagues: the Cape Cod League, the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and the closer-to-home Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.

A full breakdown of where Terrapins are playing this summer is shown below. The information was compiled in large part from umterps.

Cape Cod

New England

Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken (cont.)

Jake Drossner

John Mazza

Chase Brewis

Matt Onifrey

Kevin Martir

Anthony Papio

Nic Cieri

Ryan Selmer

Kevin Mooney

Mike Rescigno

Robert Galligan

Tayler Stiles

Zach Morris

Alex Robinson

Patrick Hisle

Brandon Casas

Jared Price

Bobby Ruse

Bradley Keith

Other leagues

LaMonte Wade

Jose Cuas

Brandon Lowe

Tim Lewis (Perfect Game CBL)

Andrew Amaro (Coastal Plain League)

Playing summer baseball

Summer ball is different from regular season baseball. The players use wooden bats; teammates come from across the country, some of whom were rivals earlier in the year; and MLB scouts are all over the place, giving players a good opportunity to bolster their draft status. Statistics are updated nightly and are as thorough as those for regular season ball. If you're at all interested in summer collegiate baseball Summer Baseball Insider is the very first site you should check out.

Effort pays off

Each year the NACSB selects the programs/coaches that have "the greatest impact on advancing the goals and objectives of the NACSB". This is determined by "the players' participation as well as performance throughout the summer season". Out of 800 schools evaluated last season, three were chosen as Most Valuable Program: John Szefc/Maryland, Mike Sansing/Kennesaw State, and Scott Stricklin/Georgia. Maryland and Kennesaw State both made it to the NCAA Super Regional round this year. In 2012 Danny Hall/GA Tech (2014 ACCT winner) took home the award while in 2011 it was the eventual 2014 CWS champion Tim Corbin/Vanderbilt. Notice a pattern here?

Q & A with Summer Baseball Insider's Andrew Hartwell

Andrew H. was kind enough to answer some questions I had about summer ball.

TT: Who decides which players go to summer leagues and where?

AH: There are so many factors that go into where a player will spend his summer. Nearly every summer league actively recruits players for their teams, and it's nearly a full-time job to fill out summer rosters. For most college teams, an assistant coach will have a list of players they want to play summer ball. The coach will often then start the process of calling general managers to find a roster spot for their players. With so many players wanting to play summer ball, it's a cutthroat business, so networking is also key. Over time, college teams and coaching staffs will build relationships with leagues or teams, so you will see college's send multiple players to the same team every season. Both sides of this process will also take into account where the player is from, his position and how much playing time they had in the spring.  Several of the bigger summer league's are run like professional organizations, so their GM's will often start the recruiting process by directly reaching out to the college coaching staff.

TT: Players stay at hosts' homes. But who covers other costs, like meals, transportation, etc...?

Most teams and summer leagues cover the players' meals, uniforms, etc. Players are still usually are on their own in terms of travel to their league or team.  Several summer leagues will require the players to pay for registration, travel and lodging.

TT: Are pitchers who saw a fair amount of action in the Spring on a pitch count in summer ball?

Yes. Most college coach's will have a set of instructions, rules or guidelines for their pitchers. If the pitcher saw a lot of action in the spring, he will most likely be on a strict pitch count or inning limit during the summer. On the other hand, some college pitching coaches will want something specific for their pitcher. This is usually something like a coach wants a pitcher to only start games, or only close games, or work on a specific pitch.

TT: Scouts probably flock to the Cape Cod League. Are there scouts in the stands for some of the other leagues?

Yes. While more scouts will watch players in the Cape Cod League, you will find scouts at just about every league. There are many good summer league's out there now, and nearly every league will have several players that scouts will want to see.

2014 Terps and summer ball

The Terps got off to a late start this summer due to their incredible run in the post-season. But that doesn't mean their presence isn't being felt around the east coast. In the Cal Ripken League Brandon Lowe has extended his torrid regular season into summer ball, where he's hitting .341 with two HRs and 13 RBIs. Tayler Stiles has been lights out, going 3 - 0 with 17 strike outs in 15 innings and a 0.00 ERA. Nick Cieri sports a .350 average. Up north in the Cape Cod League two Terps have stood out: Kevin Mooney and Kevin Martir. Mooney has two saves and nine Ks in 7.2 innings of work. He's yet to give up a run. Martir is batting .304. Nearby in the New England Collegiate Baseball League the Terps' Alex Robinson has a 0.62 ERA with 19 strike outs in 14.1 innings. All of which portends good things ahead for 2015.