Cards in the Majors: 2020 Postseason Update

MatthewMcGavic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It's that time of year again. Playoff baseball is back.

Much like the regular season, this year's postseason looks radically different due to COVID-19. The field has been expanded from 10 to 16 teams, with the Wild Card round getting tweaked to be a best-of-three series instead of a single game showdown.

As you can imagine, the University of Louisville is well represented in the 2020 postseason with four former Cardinals participating. 

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith & Atlanta Braves left fielder Adam Duvall will compete for their shot at the National League pennant, while Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Engel & New York Yankees RHP Chad Green will be vying for the American League pennant

In total, eight former Cards saw action at the major league level this season. On top of the four still going strong in the postseason, right-handed pitchers Nick Burdi, Zack Burdi and Kyle Funkhouser and infielder/outfielder Nick Solak also made appearances this season.

Right-handed pitchers Bobby Miller & Tony Zych, left-hander Reid Detmers, outfielder Corey Ray, infielder Devin Mann and LHP/1B Brendan McKay each had their shot to get called up from their team's taxi squads, but never were.

Take a look below at how former Cards have performed in the big leagues at the conclusion of the regular season:

Nick Burdi

Position: RHP
Years at UofL: 2012-14
Organization: Pittsburgh Pirates

W-L
GP-GS
IP
K-BB
H
ER
ERA
WHIP

0-1

3-0

2.1

4-2

2

1

3.86

1.71

After just three outings into the 2020 season, one of which earned him his first career save, the righty reliever suffered a "significant strain" to his forearm and landed on the 45-day injured list. Fortunately, surgery is not necessary.

Zack Burdi

Position: RHP
Years at UofL: 2014-16
Organization: Chicago White Sox

W-L
GP-GS
IP
K-BB
H
ER
ERA
WHIP

0-1

8-0

7.1

11-3

11

9

11.05

1.91

After spending four seasons in the Whtie Sox farm system following his first-round selection by the South Siders in 2016, Burdi finally made his Major League debut on August 8 in a relief appearance against the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately he would be sent back down to the taxi squad just one month later after giving up an earned run in four straight relief appearance - including five in 0.1 IP during an Aug. 29 outing vs. the Kansas City Royals.

Adam Duvall

Position: Left Fielder
Years at UofL: 2009-10 (JUCO)
Organization: Atlanta Braves

G/AB
HR
RBI
BB
K
AVG
OBP
SLG

56/205

16

33

15

54

.237

.302

.538

Thanks to an incredibly hot month of September, Duvall has transformed into one of the Braves' top pure power hitters heading into the postseason. His 16 homers is good for second on the team (Freddy Freeman), his .538 slugging percentage places fourth (Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, Ronald Acuna Jr.), and he is one of five Braves to tally 30+ RBI. He might not be the name that sticks out on a star-studded Atlanta roster, but he has more than proven his worth.

Adam Engel

Position: Center Fielder
Years at UofL: 2011-13
Organization: Chicago White Sox

G/AB
HR
RBI
BB
K
AVG
OBP
SLG

36/88

3

12

3

19

.295

.333

.477

Know primarily as a defensive asset during his time with the South Siders, Engel's offensive stats have seen a noticeable uptick during his fourth year in the league. He has set career-highs in every category of his slash line, as well as a career-low strikeout rate of 22.6%.

Kyle Funkhouser

Position: RHP
Years at UofL: 2013-16
Organization: Detroit Tigers

W-L
GP-GS
IP
K-BB
H
ER
ERA
WHIP

1-1

13-0

17.1

12-11

22

14

7.27

1.90

Funkhouser finally made his Major League debut earlier this season in a Jul. 27 relief appearance vs. the Kansas City Royals, and so far the former starter for Louisville has struggled a touch since the Tigers made the decision to make him a full-time reliever. While he would eventually be optioned back down to the taxi squad, nine of his 14 earned runs came in his debut and his final two appearances of the season. In fact, he had a ten-game stretch where his ERA was only 3.38.

Chad Green

Position: RHP
Years at UofL: 2011-13
Organization: New York Yankees

W-L
GP-GS
IP
K-BB
H
ER
ERA
WHIP

3-3

22-0

25.2

32-8

13

10

3.51

0.82

Once again, Green is having yet another solid year as one of the mainstays of the Bronx Bombers' bullpen. He leads the team in strikeouts among pitchers without a start on the season, and 17 of his 22 outings have resulted in him not giving up a run.

Will Smith

Position: Catcher
Years at UofL: 2014-16
Organization: Los Angeles Dodgers

G/AB
HR
RBI
BB
K
AVG
OBP
SLG

36/133

8

25

20

20

.300

.414

.600

Had Smith not missed some time early in the season due to a neck injury that landed him on the injured list (and the fact that Clayton Kershaw prefers Austin Barnes as his backstop), Smith would be in the conversation as the MVP of the hottest team in all of baseball. He leads the Dodgers in: on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, strikeout percentage (15.0%), and at-bats per RBI (4.4). He was also third in at-bats per home run (13.7).

Nick Solak

Position: Infielder/Outfielder
Years at UofL: 2014-16
Organization: Texas Rangers

G/AB
HR
RBI
BB
K
AVG
OBP
SLG

57/206

2

23

18

42

.267

.326

.345

Solak has been a bright spot on an otherwise lackluster Rangers squad who finished with the second-worst record in baseball (22-38). He finished with the second-best batting average & on-base percentage on the team, and second-most hits (55) and RBI.

(Photo of Will Smith: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

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