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Arizona baseball: Four players to keep an eye on

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat Austin Wells (#16) during the game vs Washington on Friday April 5, 2019. The cats defeated the huskies, 9-3.

The Arizona baseball team will look to get back on track this season as they attempt to re-enter the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017. If they are going to get back to where they want, they’ll need a few players to step up this season. Here is a look at a few of those key players to keep an eye on at Hi Corbett Field this season.

1. Mac Bingham

The freshman out of California is expected to play an immediate role in the Wildcats lineup this season. He impressed in his debut with the team two weeks ago against Team USA, blasting three doubles all down the third base line and showing off his speed rounding the bases.

“Mac [Bingham] did a nice job,” said Head Coach Jay Johnson  following the game. “We picked him up this summer due to some coaching changes and he fits our profile very well. He’s strong, physical, fast, athletic and he’s a great competitor.”

In his two years playing varsity baseball at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, Bingham combined to hit for a .356 batting average with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs. He’ll look to provide an immediate impact — both with his bat and with his glove — for the Wildcats this season. 

2. Austin Wells

The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year will look to build off his monstrous first campaign here in Tucson, where he hit for a .353 average with 60 RBIs. He became the first Wildcat to earn the honor. 

Wells led all Division I freshmen with 73 runs scored, the most any Arizona freshman had ever recorded and the most by a Pac-12 freshman since 2009. His .353 batting average was the highest among any freshman in the Power 5 conferences, while he also hit 7 triples, which was the eighth-most in the nation. He was truly an all-around player his freshman season and will look to continue where he left off as he looks to gear the Wildcats’ offense toward another big season.

RELATED: An early look at the Wildcats highly-touted freshman class and the release of the fall schedule

3. Matthew Dyer

The junior who can play so many different positions for the Wildcats is going to be another key component to the team’s success this season. In the Wildcats’ first fall game against team USA, Dyer not only went 2-3 at the plate with a stolen base but also played three different positions on the field: center field, catcher and third base. 

“He is the best player on our team at every single position, with the exception of maybe shortstop, but if we put him at shortstop, I’d expect us to win the game,” Johnson said. “He is a great athlete and there can’t be a more complete player in the country relative to defensive versatility, and he’s a good offensive player.” 

Dyer’s versatility on the field is going to be huge for Arizona this season, and that’s not even taking into account that he still hit for a .393 average with 46 runs scored, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs and 28 RBIs last season. 

4. Randy Abshier

After posting a dominant summer, Abshier was named by Johnson as the Arizona Summer Pitcher of the Year.

Abshier pitched in 10 games with eight starts for the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League. He posted a 3-1 record with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 42 batters across 47.1 innings of work. 

“He did have a great summer,” Johnson said. “I’m excited for some of the development I have seen out of him. As a matter of fact, going back to bullpens a few weeks back, and he was dominant against our offense last Saturday.”

Abshier struggled with his command in the team’s opening fall game a couple weeks ago, and Johnson alluded to the fact that the pitching staff as a whole will be much better if Abshier is on top of his game.


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Updated September 25, 2020