While the season may not have gone according to plan, collectively, for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, a quartet of players on the roster earned postseason accolades from the Atlantic League.
Southern Maryland starting pitcher Daryl Thompson, a La Plata High School graduate and former major league hurler with the Cincinnati Reds, and shortstop Edwin Garcia, were both named to the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s Postseason All-Star Team and Red, White and Blue All-Defensive Team. Relief pitcher Mat Latos earned postseason all-star team honors and center fielder Cory Vaughn was named to the All-Defensive Team.
“It’s not often that you can say that one team represented one-fourth of the All-Star team,” Southern Maryland general manager Courtney Knichel said. “But that just shows you the elite level that these Blue Crabs played at. Thompson and Latos are two of the best arms this league has seen and Garcia’s glove speaks for itself.”
Blue Crabs manager Stan Cliburn also commended the quartet of players for the seasons they had in 2019. Thompson excelled on the mound as well as in his new role as pitching coach and Latos was clearly among the league’s most dominant relievers with 25 saves in 27 opportunities and an ERA of 1.06.
“I can’t say enough about the job that Daryl did for us this season,” Cliburn said. “Every time you gave him the ball he gave you a chance to win. He also did an outstanding job as pitching coach and that was probably his biggest contribution to the team. Latos was exceptional in relief. He was outstanding in the closer’s role. Garcia and Vaughn made all the plays in the field.”
Garcia, Thompson and Vaughn were all named to the All-Defensive Team, which came as no surprise to Cliburn but proved to be very rewarding for the Blue Crabs center fielder. Thompson has actually fielded his position flawlessly in each of the last two seasons, having not committed an error since the 2017 campaign.
“Daryl has always been tremendous at fielding his position and Garcia and Vaughn were the two best defensive players at their positions in the league, from my viewpoint,” Cliburn said. “Pitching and defense is the name of the game. We got outstanding pitching all season from Daryl and Garcia and Vaughn were both great in their roles defensively for us.”
“I’m very excited to be named to the All-Defensive team,” Vaughn said in a team news release on Tuesday announcing the all-defensive team honors. “Defense is something that I take pride in and there is no better feeling than taking hits away.”
Other league players named to the Postseason All-Star Team were catcher Isaias Tejada (York), first baseman Telvin Nash (York), second baseman Jonathan Galvez (New Britain), third baseman Will Kengor (Somerset), outfielder Caleb Gindl (Lancaster), Stephen Cardullo (High Point), outfielder Melky Mesa (York), designated hitter Jason Rogers (New Britain) and closer Jim Fuller (New Britain).
Other league players named to the all-defensive team were catcher Logan Moore (New Britain), first baseman K.C. Hobson (Lancaster), second baseman Craig Massey (Somerset), third baseman Hector Gomez (High Point), outfielder Caleb Gindl (Lancaster) and outfielder Darian Sandford (Lancaster).
Blue Crabs select three in dispersal draft
On Nov. 6, Cliburn took part in the dispersal draft of one of his former teams, the New Britain Bees, which was conducted by the Atlantic League and the current seven teams selected players in reverse order of their win-loss record in 2019.
The Lancaster Barnstormers had the first pick, then Southern Maryland chose Galvez with the second pick. Galvez spent two seasons at the Triple-A level in the San Diego Padres organization.
“There is a lot of good talent on that team,” Cliburn said. “I saw it first-hand when I was there and they have some guys that can certainly help our ballclub in 2020. They have some really good hitters and we had trouble scoring this past season. I think we were last or next-to-last in a number of offensive categories.”
Southern Maryland then selected outfielder Bijan Rademacher in the second round and outfielder Zach Collier in the third round.
Rademacher, who batted .289 last season with New Britain, spent seven seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization and played for Triple-A Iowa in their system for three years. Collier began 2019 in the Washington Nationals farm system and played briefly for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators before joining the Bees in mid-July.