After a disappointing 2018, Maryland baseball doesn’t have as many draft prospects as it did a year ago. In fact, most of the Terps’ prospects are incoming players who are part of a strong recruiting class.
Therefore, the vast majority of eligible Terps will probably be late-round fliers drafted on the third day of the draft. Maryland will be more concerned with where its recruits go rather than its expected returning players.
The MLB Draft begins Monday at 7 p.m. ET, with the first two rounds being broadcast on MLB Network. Day two will feature rounds 3-10 at 1 p.m.Tuesday, and day three will have rounds 11-40 at noon on Wednesday, with MLB.com broadcasting both.
Now, let’s take a look at Maryland’s most important prospects:
Incoming OF Nick Decker
Baseball America: 110
Maryland’s best recruit is also the team’s best prospect in the draft. Decker is an all-around solid hitter and fielder, known for his power at the plate and arm in the field. The lefty is projected as a bit of a project, with raw offensive skills, but the potential he brings should be enough to get him drafted in the top 100. With Zach Jancarski graduating and Marty Costes having one more season at most (more on him in a bit), the Terps have spots in the outfield to fill. However, if Decker is drafted in the top 100 as expected, then he may not choose to play in College Park at all next year.
Junior 2B Nick Dunn
Baseball America: 153
Throughout a disappointing 2018 for Maryland, Dunn was the team’s top performer. In his junior season, Dunn hit .330 with 10 home runs and 39 RBIs, leading the Terps in all three categories. His bat is so strong, with very few weaknesses on the offensive end, that it should allow him to get drafted in the top 200 despite a subpar glove. With that expectation, similar to that of former Maryland shortstop Kevin Smith, who was drafted at 129 last year, Dunn will likely forgo his senior season, as most prospects in his position do.
Incoming RHP Sean Burke
Baseball America: 209
A big pitcher from Massachusetts, Burke is expected to make immediate contributions with Maryland next season. Burke isn’t a flamethrower, but he has good command to go along with his low-90s fastball and is still working on developing his secondary pitches, mainly a curveball and changeup. Since Burke is a high school pitcher, Maryland may dodge a bullet and keep Burke to help replace Taylor Bloom’s departure. However, if the Baseball America ranking rings true, Burke will go near the seventh round.
Incoming OF Jack Herman
Baseball America: N/A
A New Jersey outfielder like Decker, Herman isn’t as ready nor as highly-regarded his fellow Maryland commit. However, his raw tools are still enticing for an MLB team, potentially allowing him to be drafted relatively high. With college players being more likely to get selected higher than high school graduates, Herman probably won’t be drafted high enough to get him to sign. As with Decker, Herman has a spot on the Terps’ roster if he chooses the college route, and he is more likely to do so than his fellow outfielder.
Junior OF Marty Costes
Baseball America: N/A
Last season, Costes entered the draft in Baseball America’s top 250 but was drafted in the 25th round by the Houston Astros, prompting him to stay at Maryland another year. However, Costes’ production declined, with only six home runs and a .235 average, dropping him off Baseball America’s list. The corner outfielder will still probably be drafted, but by failing to improve upon his stock, it may not be high enough for him to forgo his senior season.
- Senior outfielder Zach Jancarski will probably get drafted late thanks to his strong defense and speed but, like Costes, he failed improve his stock this season.
- Incoming corner infielder Kody Milton is likely to get drafted late, but it probably won’t be high enough to keep him away from Maryland.
- In Baseball America’s list of the best prospects in the state of Maryland, sophomore shortstop AJ Lee is listed a spot higher than Costes, but it’s unlikely he goes high enough to turn pro.
- Despite a rough 2018 campaign for junior reliever John Murphy, some team could take a shot on him late in hopes Murphy can return to his 2017 form.
- Finally, Maryland’s biggest riser this year was Hunter Parsons, who pitched his way onto the radar with a 3.44 ERA. However, the junior right-hander probably didn’t raise his stock enough to get him drafted in a range where he would sign, so he’s also more likely to return next season.