Opening Day for the abbreviated 2020 MLB season has finally arrived, and several former Terps find themselves on 30-man rosters in what can only be described as a 60-game sprint to the postseason.
Those in the majors may be the only ones seeing any professional baseball action over the pandemic-filled summer, as the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was canceled on June 30. Some independent leagues are currently active, but a majority of the group of former Terps that were in those leagues are sitting the season out.
Here is a list of the pro Terps that begin the shortened season on their teams’ 30-man and taxi squad rosters:
LHP Adam Kolarek, Los Angeles Dodgers
Many fans and analysts alike have speculated that Adam Kolarek’s role as a Left-Handed One Out Guy (LOOGY) would be diminished with the league’s new three-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers, but Kolarek still stands out as one of L.A.’s best bullpen arms.
Kolarek was one of the 11 relief pitchers to be added to the Dodgers’ 30-man roster, and he earned the win for L.A. in MLB’s Opening Night on Thursday as he recorded five outs with just 14 pitches against the San Francisco Giants
Haters said the 3-batter minimum would spell the end for Adam Kolarek so he pulled up and retired 5 batters on 14 pitches last night 🐐🐢 pic.twitter.com/tlSjuBgCwU
— Connor Newcomb (@ConnorNewcomb_) July 24, 2020
2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays
The versatile Brandon Lowe looks to follow up his all-star 2019 season as a core piece for the contending Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have a crowded, talented infield featuring Yandy Diaz, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, and the newest Japanese import Yoshi Tsutsugo, so Lowe may have to settle into more of a utility role while occasionally starting in the outfield.
Regardless of where Lowe finds his playing time, he’ll continue to play a big part in the Rays quest to the postseason in 2020.
OF LaMonte Wade Jr., Minnesota Twins
LaMonte Wade Jr. made it onto the Twins 30-man roster as one of the final outfield additions to the club, and the former Terp will look to build upon a solid rookie season with a stronger sophomore year, especially after putting together a decent Spring Training. Although it was four long months ago, Wade Jr. slashed .286/.423/.381 through 11 games, striking out only four times in 26 plate appearances.
Wade Jr. may struggle to have outfield starts over the likes of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler, but his on-base proficiency provides a great tool for the Twins off the bench.
RHP Mike Shawaryn, Boston Red Sox
Mike Shawaryn did not make the cut for Boston’s 30-man roster, but he has been included in their taxi squad playing in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In a simulated game Thursday, Shawaryn threw 2 1/3 innings, securing a hold and striking out four batters.
With Boston losing many of its notable relief arms over recent years, Shawaryn could find his way into the bullpen if he continues throwing the ball well in Pawtucket.
A good spring, oops, make that summer training for @MikeShawaryn 2.1 scoreless innings, 2h, 2bb, 4k, and 1 hld. 🦄
— Andrew Kramer (@mercator88) July 23, 2020
INF Kevin Smith, Toronto (Buffalo) Blue Jays
Kevin Smith missed the mark to make it on the Blue Jays’ 30-man roster and will start the 2020 season playing with the Toronto taxi squad.
After having a tremendous 2018 where he slashed .302/.358/.528 across two minor league levels, Smith has struggled to find his footing ever since. In Spring Training earlier this year his on-base percentage-plus slugging was .503.
Smith, along with other Blue Jays on the taxi squad, may have to wait before having intrasquad workouts and games due to the home stadium snafu that Toronto is caught in. Today the team announced it will be playing the majority of its season at their Triple-A affiliate’s stadium in Buffalo, New York, where the taxi squad was originally supposed to play.
Blue Jays To Stage Majority Of 2020 Home Games In Buffalo. pic.twitter.com/BxlV7cgieJ
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 24, 2020