Despite dealing with two coronavirus outbreaks, the MLB was able to complete its shortened 60-game 2020 season. As the playoffs get underway, let’s check in to see how all the former Arizona Wildcats fared this year.
Mark Melancon, Atlanta Braves
- 2020 stats: 2-1, 2.78 ERA, 11 saves, 22.2 IP, 22 H, 8 R (7 ER), 1 HR, 7 BB, 14 K
- Overview: The Braves acquired Melancon from the Giants last winter in a salary dump, what proved to be a wise move. The 35-year-old posted his lowest ERA since he was an All-Star in 2016. Melancon only blew one save all season, which came on the penultimate day of the season. He’s in the final year of a four-year, $62 million contract and has put himself in position for another sizable payday this offseason. But first, Melancon and the Braves have a playoff run ahead of them. He’s the only former Wildcat that will play in the postseason this year.
Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox
- 2020 stats: 93 AB, 8 HR, 16 RBI, .263 AVG/.359 OBP/.600 SLG
- Overview: Dalbec was called up on Aug. 30 and took MLB by storm by crushing six homers in his first 10 games, including a stretch in which he homered five times in five games, the first rookie to ever do that. Despite spending most of his Arizona and minor league career at third base, Dalbec almost exclusively played first base for the Red Sox. The 25-year-old will be a fixture in their lineup for years to come if he continues to hit for the kind of power he did in the abbreviated 2020 season. It helps that he has a healthy walk rate too.
Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates
- 2020 stats: 156 AB, 5 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, .224 AVG/.281 OBP/.276 SLG
- Overview: Newman started in 41 of the 44 games in which he appeared, splitting time between shortstop and second base. He posted a -0.2 offensive and defensive WAR, a steep drop-off from the 2019 season when he logged a 3.1 WAR in 130 games—a mark that indicated he was a quality starter. Newman missed the final week of the 2020 season after being hit by a pitch on his left knee. To make matters worse, the Pirates finished with the worst record in the league, going 19-41. They were the only team in MLB to not win at least 22 games.
Scott Kingery, Philadelphia Phillies
- 2020 stats: 113 AB, 5 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .159 AVG/.228 OBP/.283 SLG
- Overview: Like Newman, Kingery regressed quite a bit in 2020, posting a -0.9 WAR in 36 games after posting a 2.8 WAR in 126 games in 2019. Kingery was below replacement level on offense and defense. He made 25 starts at second base and nine starts in center field. Kingery signed a six-year, $24 million deal with the Phillies in March 2018, so he’s probably still part of the team’s future even though the 2020 season was one to forget.
Kevin Ginkel, Arizona Diamondbacks
- 2020 stats: 0-2, 6.75 ERA, 1 save, 16.0 IP, 21 H, 13 R (12 ER), 3 HR, 13 BB, 18 K
- Overview: Ginkel could not build on the 1.48 ERA he posted in 24.1 innings in 2019. His strikeout rate remained high in 2020, but his walk rate skyrocketed. So did his hit and home-run rates. Ginkel had a chance to solidify himself in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen for the long haul but was demoted on Sept. 4 and will have to re-earn his roster spot next spring.
Joey Rickard, San Francisco Giants
- 2020 stats: 5 AB, 1 R, 1 BB, .000 AVG/.167 OBP/.000 SLG
- Overview: Rickard was called up on Aug. 26 and went hitless in five at-bats before being placed on the 60-day IL with left elbow inflammation. He is a free agent this offseason and seems likely to ink a minor-league deal somewhere assuming his injury is nothing too serious. The 29-year-old was a slightly above replacement-level outfielder for the Orioles from 2016-2019.
Jared Oliva, Pittsburgh Pirates
- 2020 stats: 16 AB, 3 H, 1 SB, .188 AVG/.188 OBP/.188 SLG
- Overview: The speedy outfielder became the 84th Arizona Wildcat to make his MLB debut. He was called up in the final week of the season and had three hits—all singles—and a stolen base in 16 at-bats. He did strike out six times, though. Oliva, who turns 25 in November, will compete for a roster spot next spring and has a real shot to earn one given how bad Pittsburgh is. He made starts in center field and left field in his brief stint in the big leagues.
Brandon Dixon, Detroit Tigers
- 2020 stats: 13 AB, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, .077 AVG/.143 OBP/.154 SLG
- Overview: Dixon was promoted in the final week of the season and started five games—one at first base and four in the outfield. The Tigers selected him off waivers from the Reds in 2018. He was a pretty productive player in 2019 when he hit 15 homers and drove in 52 runs while hitting .248/.290/.435 in 391 at-bats. Dixon has started at every position except catcher, shortstop, center field and pitcher during his MLB career.
Robert Refsnyder, Texas Rangers
- 2020 stats: 30 AB, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, .200 AVG/.265 OBP/.233 SLG
- Overview: The 2012 College World Series MVP returned to the majors after spending the entire 2019 season in the minors, but still hasn’t had much offensive success in the big leagues. He made starts at first, designate hitter, and both corner outfield spots for the Rangers, who were one of the worst teams in MLB. Refsnyder turns 30 in January. He’s a career .217 hitter who’s never been an MLB regular.