MLB Opening Day is (finally) here!
After the 2020 season was postponed for almost four months due to the coronavirus crisis, a 60-game slate will begin Thursday and run through the end of September.
Due to the unique circumstances, MLB clubs are allowed to carry 30 players for the first two weeks of the season, 28 players for the following two weeks and 26 from thereon out.
Here is a look at the former Arizona Wildcats who will be active on Opening Day. (Note that the descriptions are from a previous article we wrote on June 29.)
Kevin Ginkel, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
A strikeout machine, Ginkel made his MLB debut in 2019 and immediately thrived in a setup role for the Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed just four earned runs in 24.1 innings, fanning 28 batters. Before being promoted to the big leagues, Ginkel was logging a video-game-like 19.4 strikeouts per nine innings in AAA Reno.
Mark Melancon, RP, Atlanta Braves
The veteran reliever was dealt by the San Francisco Giants to the Braves at the trade deadline last July and posted a 3.68 ERA in 21 innings. The 35-year-old right-hander used to be an elite reliever but has not posted an ERA under 3.23 since 2016. He is in the final year of a four-year, $62 million contract.
Scott Kingery, UT, Philadelphia Phillies
Kingery, 26, is entering his third season in the majors after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. His 2019 campaign was his best yet after he slashed .258/.315/.474 with 19 homers, 34 doubles, 15 stolen bases and 55 RBI in 126 games. He can play virtually every position on the diamond.
Kevin Newman, INF, Pittsburgh Pirates
The best player on this list, Newman slashed .308/.353/.446 last season with 12 homers, six triples, 20 doubles, and 16 stolen bases in 130 games. It was his second season in the bigs after he was the 19th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Robert Refsnyder, UT, Texas Rangers
The MVP of Arizona’s 2012 national championship run, Refsnyder has not appeared in the majors since 2018. He played for three AL East teams—Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays—in four seasons, slashing .218/.308/.302 in 367 at-bats. Refsnyder has played first, second and both corner outfield spots in the majors.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
We’re applying the term “former Wildcat” lightly here since Calhoun was kicked off the UA baseball team after one season, but he’s been a solid hitter for the Rangers. In 2019, the 25-year-old slashed .269/.323/.524 with 21 homers, 14 doubles and 48 RBI in 83 games.
Daniel Ponce de Leon, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Another hardly-an-Arizona-Wildcat, Ponce de Leon pitched three innings as a freshman before transferring to Cypress Junior College. He’s been a solid, albeit infrequent, starter for the Cardinals the last two seasons, posting a 3.31 ERA in 24 games (12 starts).