Maryland’s baseball season ended about two weeks ago in Omaha, but Monday night is an important day for the program. Monday marks the beginning of the 2019 MLB Draft and the Terps are expecting a few names to get picked.
Last year, commit Nick Decker and junior Nick Dunn were picked in the first five rounds, and other high picks in recent years include now-big leaguers Brandon Lowe and Mike Shawaryn.
This year’s Terps aren’t expected to have as many players drafted so early, but several could hear their names called late. Here’s who to keep an eye on.
Hunter Parsons, RHP
After a horrid 2017 season where his ERA was north of 12, Parsons has turned a corner, with a 3.44 and 3.45 ERA in the past two seasons. In 193.1 innings pitched since 2018, the right-hander has given up 74 earned runs and held batters to a .225 and .232 average, respectively. This season, Parsons was 10-3 and threw 104.1 innings in 15 starts, an average of almost seven innings a start.
For a team that had a combined 5.42 ERA this season, having the Friday starter go that deep into games on a consistent basis was a huge way to start any weekend series. Parsons is a workhorse on the mound, throwing 100-plus pitches in 12 of his 15 starts, including numerous outings with pitch counts over 110 or even 120. Starters with that longevity are a valuable commodity in the pros.
Parsons hasn’t popped up in many mock drafts, but with his skill set and body of work, it’s easy to see a team taking a chance on him in the middle or late portion of the draft.
AJ Lee, SS
Despite some early-season injuries, Maryland’s everyday shortstop finished the season strong, having arguably his best season in college. Lee earned a Third Team All-Big Ten selection in 2019 after hitting .317/.443/.497 in 51 games with seven home runs, 36 RBIs, 13 doubles, 60 hits and 10 stolen bases. His .940 OPS was the second-highest on the team, and he was a big part of helping Maryland get back to the Big Ten tournament.
Lee’s glove will need work if he is to establish himself in the pros. Over the past two years, he has committed 29 errors at short and third, recording a .937 and .936 fielding percentage at those positions, respectively. However, his success at the plate could be enticing enough for a late-round selection.
Taylor Wright, 3B
Wright had his best season with Maryland as a senior, batting .290 in 2019 with 67 hits, 20 doubles, four home runs, 31 RBI and 12 stolen bases. He was tied for the team lead in steals and was second in hits and average. After batting just .230 in 2018, Wright raised his average by 60 points and his OPS by 152 points.
At third, he’s a reliable fielder with an above-average arm and average range. His .940 and .942 fielding percentages aren’t great, but he has enough skill to improve on those numbers. Wright came to Maryland as a JuCo transfer and hasn’t always drawn attention from scouts, but he has a chance to earn a selection this week.
John Murphy, RHP
“The Sheriff” had a tough season on the mound despite becoming the third closer in program history to record double-digit saves in a season. Murphy recorded 11 saves for Maryland in 2019, but it was to the tune of a 4.32 ERA, giving up 16 earned runs in 33.1 innings over 27 appearances. The senior allowed three earned runs in three different outings this season, which is where most of the damage came from (take those three games out and he has a 2.12 ERA this season).
Murphy allowed a .286 opponent average and walked 17 batters in 33 innings, both poor numbers for a closer. However, he made up for it with 54 strikeouts, third-most on the team. His stuff could help give him a late-round look in the draft, but he’ll need to be more consistent at the next level.
Ryan Ramsey, LHP, Pascack Hills
Ramsey is a left-handed pitcher from Montvale, New Jersey. His fastball sits 88-90, topping out at 91. He also throws a curveball in the low-mid 70s and a changeup in the high-70s, low-80s. In 2018, Ramsey was named the NJ.com Pitcher of the Year, going 9-1 with a 0.45 ERA and 120 strikeouts and 19 walks in 60.1 innings.
NJ.com has Ramsey projected to go between rounds 7 and 12. If he’s picked in that range, the question becomes whether he elects to turn pro or attend Maryland. Two Terps commits last year—Nick Decker and Jack Herman—signed with the teams that drafted them.
Bobby Zmarzlak, OF, Westhill HS
Scouts are high on the outfielder from Stamford, Connecticut. Zmarzlak was given a 10 grade by Perfect Game, the highest in their Player Rating System, given to a “potential very high draft pick and/or Elite level college prospect.”
Zmarzlak has the highest PG grade of Maryland’s recruits, and one mock draft has him getting drafted in the sixth round. What impressed scouts most was his raw power. His exit velocity was clocked at over 100 mph, in the 99.74th percentile according to Perfect Game. His max barrel speed and 60-yard dash time are also in the 95th percentile or higher.
Troy Schreffler, OF/RHP, Central Dauphin HS
Schreffler is arguably Maryland’s second-best recruit, given a 9.5 grade from Perfect Game. He’s currently a two-way player in high school, and as one would expect for a pitcher, his arm translates to the outfield. He’s been clocked at over 90 mph from the outfield.
Schreffler’s bat has also impressed scouts, with 94 mph exit velocity and 83.3 mph max barrel speed, ranked in the 93rd and 99.87th percentiles, respectively. He has the ability to really break out in professional ball, depending on where he gets picked. His raw power, much like Zmarzlak, is a hot commodity.