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Former UF standouts in MLB playoffs

Special to Gatorsports.com

Five former standout UF baseball players are playing for teams in this year’s expanded Major League Baseball playoffs.

When MLB Pipeline put together its All-Rookie Team earlier this month, they noted Chicago White Sox right-hander Dane Dunning.“went two years between competitive starts, missing all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery,” but is now “a mainstay in a rotation of the staff with the third-lowest ERA in the American League.”

A sixth former UF player – David Ross – is managing the Chicago Cubs, who won the National League’s Central Division and are seeded third in the NL.

The 16 playoff teams (eight from the AL and NL) will square off in best-of-three series for the Wild Card round, with the higher seeds hosting all three games. The eight advancing teams play the traditional best-of-five Divisional Series at four neutral sites – San Diego and Los Angeles for the American League, Houston and Arlington, Texas for the National League.

Each league’s Championship Series and the World Series will be the traditional best-of-seven length. San Diego will host the ALCS, while Arlington will host the NLCS and the World Series.

Playoff-Bound Gators

Harrison Bader, Outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals (No. 5 seed in NL)

Scored 21 runs, tied for fifth on the team

Tied for third on the team with seven doubles, and tied for the team lead with a pair of triples

Finished the regular season with a .226 batting average and .336 on-base percentage

Played in 50 of the team’s 58 games, making 36 starts in center field

Previously made his MLB debut in 2017, played full seasons with the Cardinals in 2018 and 2019, and will play in the postseason for a second consecutive year

Anthony DeSclafani, Right-Handed Pitcher, Cincinnati Reds (No. 7 seed in NL)

Logged a 1-2 record and 7.22 earned run average across nine appearances and seven starts (33.2 innings pitched)

Set to make his first postseason appearance in his fifth season with the Reds (2015-16, 2018-20) and sixth overall MLB season (debuted with the Miami Marlins in 2014)

Dane Dunning, Right-Handed Pitcher, Chicago White Sox (No. 7 seed in AL)

Posted a 2-0 record and 3.97 ERA across 34 innings pitched in his seven starts

Racked up 35 strikeouts against just 13 walks

Held opponents to a .197 batting average

Threw six shutout innings in a Sept. 9 road start against the Pittsburgh Pirates

Threw five shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in the second start of his career (Aug. 30)

Named to MLB Pipeline’s 2020 All-Rookie Team (First Team)

Listed at No. 18 on MLB Pipeline’s 2020 Rookie Rankings

Made MLB debut Aug. 19, 2020, becoming the fourth member of Florida’s 2016 MLB Draft class to reach the majors

Also became the 21st Gator to reach the big leagues after playing for head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

Darren O’Day, Right-Handed Pitcher, Atlanta Braves (No. 2 seed in NL, East Division champions)

Posted a 4-0 record and 1.10 ERA in 19 appearances, making him one of the Braves’ top relievers

Amassed 22 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched

Held opponents scoreless in 16 of his appearances, allowing just three runs (two earned) all season

This will be O’Day’s sixth postseason appearance in his 13 MLB seasons (debuted in 2008 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), previously playing in the playoffs with Texas (2010), Baltimore (2012, 2014, 2016), and Atlanta (2019)

David Ross, Manager, Chicago Cubs (No. 3 seed in NL, Central Division champions)

Managed the Cubs to their third division title in the last five years in his debut season

Guided the Cubs to a 34-26 overall record, the ninth-best record in MLB this year

Previously won World Series as a member of the Boston Red Sox (2013) and Cubs (2016)

Mike Zunino, Catcher, Tampa Bay Rays (No. 1 seed in AL, East Division champions)

Made 25 starts and 28 appearances at catcher this season

Hit four doubles, four home runs, and tallied 10 runs batted in

Helped Tampa Bay reach the playoffs for a second consecutive season, following his six-year stint with the Seattle Mariners (2013-18)

2020 Season Notes for Active MLB Gators

Pete Alonso, First Baseman, New York Mets

Followed up his 2019 NL Rookie of the Year campaign with 16 home runs – which ranked tied for seventh among all MLB players

Also racked up 35 RBI (tied for 29th in MLB) and 102 total bases (tied for 34th)

Shaun Anderson, Right-Handed Pitcher, San Francisco Giants

Made 18 appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 3.52 ERA across 15.1 innings pitched

Allowed just three hits and held opponents scoreless in his final six appearances of the season (5.1 innings)

Completed his second MLB season with the Giants (debuted May 15, 2019)

Justin Shafer, Right-Handed Pitcher

Made five appearances with the Miami Marlins prior to his Sept. 9 release

Joined the Marlins this season after two years with the Toronto Blue Jays (traded to Cincinnati last November, claimed off waivers by the Marlins in July)

Brady Singer, Right-Handed Pitcher, Kansas City Royals

Made his MLB debut in the second game of the season (July 25)

Racked up a team-high 61 strikeouts (tied for 36th in MLB) across 64.1 innings pitched

Finished with a 4-5 record and 4.06 ERA in 12 starts

Held opponents to two or fewer runs in six of his starts

Carried a no-hitter through 7.2 innings at Cleveland (Sept. 10), finishing with just one hit and one walk allowed across 8.0 innings

Held Detroit scoreless across six innings and allowed just two hits in what was his start after the no-hit bid (Sept. 16)

Closed his rookie season with just one run and three hits allowed across seven innings against Detroit (Sept. 27)

MLB Pipeline 2020 All-Rookie Team (Second Team)

Became the second first-round pick from the 2018 MLB Draft to reach the big leagues