Recapping the 2020 MLB season for former Maryland players
Second baseman Brandon Lowe swings at a pitch in the Terps’ 1-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton at Bob "Turtle" Smith Field on April 19, 2015.
The shortened 2020 MLB season came to an end Sunday afternoon, and the postseason picture finally took its shape. It’s no surprise that a few of the teams that made it into the postseason got there from the help of former Maryland Terrapins.
Three pro Terps will see their teams play in October with Brandon Lowe, Adam Kolarek, and LaMonte Wade Jr. Lowe and Kolarek both find themselves as important pieces to each league’s respective top seeds, but Wade won’t get the chance to contribute to the Minnesota Twins journey to a championship as he was optioned off the team Saturday evening.
Regardless, all three Terps played a strong role in giving their teams an extra push to the 2020 Postseason. Here’s a look at what each player has done in this shortened season to contribute to their teams’ trophy pursuit.
Lowe has by far been the Tampa Bay Rays most important player, leading his team in slugging percentage (.554), home runs (14), and wRC+ (150). He played in 56 games this season and has stayed healthy as the Rays prepare to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wildcard Round starting Tuesday. If anything, Lowe would surely be the Rays MVP if they make a deep postseason run, as he’ll have to carry a lineup that has only produced a .753 on-base plus slugging percentage, barely scratching the top half of the league’s offenses.
After being optioned off the team at the end of July, the Los Angeles Dodgers recalled the lefty specialist Kolarek on August 10, and he remained with the team through the rest of the season. Despite spending most of his career coming out of the bullpen to face only left-handed batters, he faced nearly as many righties in 2020 as lefties, but that didn’t faze the former Terp. In 19 innings, Kolarek surrendered just two runs against all batters he faced, and limited 40 left-handed bats to a .077/.100/.103 slash line.
Just like last year before the Dodgers fell to the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, Kolarek will serve an important role for the champion-starved team as they begin their journey to the World Series Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.
LaMonte Wade Jr.
Wade Jr. only started 11 games for the Twins after being recalled for the remainder of the season on August 20, but took important at bats for the Twins amidst a heated divisional race while key players such as Josh Donaldson were sidelined with injuries.
In those 11 games — plus some pinch-hitting appearances — Wade Jr. hit .231/.318/.308 while splitting his time defensively between first base and the outfield. However, with Twins infielder Luis Arraez returning from the injured list Saturday, Minnesota had to option Wade Jr. to make room, thus ending his 2020 season. As mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that he’ll make an appearance in the postseason barring any injuries, but he did a great job absorbing the impact of injuries for the Twins.