It's almost inevitable that a college sports program will have a player(s) leave and/or transfer to another school. We saw that in spades this year with the men's basketball program. Last year the Terps' baseball team also saw quite an exodus, with nine players leaving the program prematurely. While that was an unusually high number, it was in large part due to the changeover in playing philosophy from Coach Bakich to Coach Szefc. Most players bought in to the new coach's scheme, but not all. Then there's the issue of academics: one starting player did not meet his academic obligations and parted ways with Maryland.
The 2014 team was superb. So why transfer?
In the major leagues rosters are fixed at 25 and a season is 162 games. Compare that with college ball, where 35 players seek action in a season that is around 55 games: playing time is dear. Further, during 2014 the players who were utilized declined as the season wore on. As the team caught fire in the month of May the line-up became almost fixed.
Besides playing time another important factor that bears mention is the number of scholarships allowed by NCAA rules. The baseball team has approximately 13 schollys, which need to be spread out among the players in some fashion. Not everyone is going to get a full ride, or even a 50% allowance. This is particularly difficult for out-of-state players who are paying a high tuition.
The last factor coming into play is that each season a significant number of freshman enter the program come Fall. The 2014 class is a solid one (rated #34 nationally by Perfect Game) and should yield players who contribute right away. This makes playing time even less likely for upperclassmen who saw their PT decline this season.
Recently Maryland posted the roster of players returning for 2015. It appears that five individuals from the 2014 squad will be playing elsewhere from here on: Andrew Amaro, Brandon Casas, Brady Kirkpatrick, Krysthian Leal, and Michael Montville.
A rundown on the players transferring
Kirkpatrick and Montville have graduated, but both were eligible for another season at Maryland. Each player showed plenty of promise early on but were plagued by injuries throughout their career. Kirkpatrick racked up eight wins while at Maryland and was a weekend starter before being sidelined by a serious injury prior to the 2014 season. He will be throwing for the University of San Diego in 2015, a Division I team that was very competitive this past year. Montville brought a power bat to the line-up, but was not the type of contact hitter that fit into Coach Szefc's style of play. The right-handed outfielder belted nine home runs for the Terps, the most memorable being a walk-off shot in the tenth inning against Duke in 2012. In summer ball this year Montville hit .292 with seven home runs in 40 games. As a consequence he was voted to the Coastal Plain League's All-Star team. Next year Montville, a New Hampshire native, will be playing for Division II Southern New Hampshire University, where he will also be pursuing a Master's degree in Sports Management.
Amaro was a speedy outfielder that swiped 12 of 14 bases while at Maryland. In 2013 he hit .296, but unfortunately his average dropped to .193 this past year. As the 2014 season progressed Amaro saw his playing time diminish, partly due to the emergence of Tim Lewis, as well as to Anthony Papio solidifying his role as a starter. Amaro will be playing his senior year at the Division II University of Tampa.
Leal joined Maryland after playing ball at Yavapai College in Arizona. He hit .410 in his final year for Yavapai, but his playing time at Maryland didn't really take hold. He did fill in admirably when Brandon Lowe was injured. But Lowe's Freshman All-American season meant that Leal would have essentially the same role in 2015 as he had in 2014. I do not have information on where Leal will be playing next year.
Casas had an impressive freshman year in 2013 where he went 3 - 2 with a 3.22 ERA and one save. At times he could be dominant on the mound, but things turned rough for him in 2014. His innings pitched declined by over 50%. Infrequent use is difficult for any player to adjust to, but it is particularly tough for a relief pitcher to overcome while the season is ongoing. This summer Casas had a fine stint in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, where he went 2 - 1 in six appearances (five starts), posting a 2.19 ERA. Casas is transferring to UNC-Charlotte, a Division I school. As he's a rising junior that means he'll have to sit out a season before competing for Charlotte in 2016.
I wish the best to Amaro, Casas, Kirkpatrick, Leal, and Montville. Most of all, I thank them for their contributions to the Maryland baseball team's success.