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Indy Watch: Ebbs, flows of life in the minors ☕


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Cole Tucker triples Sunday in Indianapolis. — INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — When a big-league team gets ravaged by injuries like the Pirates have this season, the Triple-A squad can often pay the price.

Players oftentimes get called up to the big show and ride the high for a few games before falling flat and wind up getting sent back down. Those players can then struggle re-adjusting to life in Triple-A. Sometimes it goes the other way.

The Indians have had 14 significant players head to Pittsburgh this season. Some have made the adjustment and found a spot on the big-league roster and have been making an impact — looking at you, Bryan Reynolds. Others, have been bounced back and forth like Mitch Keller. And others are working to make the adjustment back to Triple-A like Cole Tucker and Jason Martin.

Of course, there are in-betweens, too. But let’s look at some of these situations, player by player, in no particular order:


• Reynolds spent just 13 games in Indianapolis before being called up to Pittsburgh to get into the Pirates outfield rotation. He was hitting .367 in Indianapolis before that move with five home runs, one double, one triple and three stolen bases. He had 11 RBIs and was slugging .735 with a .446 on-base percentage.

Since, he’s become a reliable player in the Pirates outfield. He’s seen action in 51 games at the big-league level this year, and he’s got a .361 batting average to show for it to go with five home runs and 23 RBIs. He’s slugged 15 doubles and two triple. He’s struck out just 39 times in 169 at-bats, and he carries a .562 slugging percentage and a .416 OBP.

• Martin started the season getting called up to Pittsburgh before getting to suit up for the Indians. He played in 17 games before being sent back down. He’s still finding his way after hitting .229 with two doubles and just two RBIs. Since, he’s collected 36 hits in 157 at-bats with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 39 games with the Indians this season.

• Many thought Tucker would be the Pirates’ everyday shortstop after he blasted a home run in his first plate appearance up at the show. But the speedy, charismatic shortstop hit just .196 with two home runs, eight doubles and nine RBIs in 38 games in Pittsburgh. Before his callup, he was hitting .333 with three home runs, seven RBIs in 13 games with the Indians. Since, however, he’s struggling to find a rhythm at the plate, hitting just .200 with just one run driven in in six games back.

Kevin Kramer was called up to Pittsburgh April 11 and then sent back down April 16, and it seemed to really take him out of his early-season rhythm. Before being called up, he was on a six-game hitting streak with four doubles and two RBIs. After he came back, he went hitless in his first four games. He didn’t play a single game in Pittsburgh.

Jake Elmore has been around the block a few times, having been on five different MLB teams in his career before being called up from Indianapolis on May 13. Before that, he was hitting .379 with two home runs, 12 doubles and 16 RBIs. His versatility gave the Pirates options, but he recorded just one hit in 20 at-bats in 11 appearances with the big-league club before being sent back down in late May. Since, he’s hitting .340 with a home run, five doubles and six RBIs.


• Keller’s major league debut was one that he likely won’t want to remember, but his Triple-A season has been top notch. When the Pirates called on his services on May 27, Keller was 5-0 with the Indians with a 3.45 ERA. He was blowing guys away with his fastball, earning a total of 58 strikeouts. Then, on the mound for his first major-league start, Keller lasted just 4.0 innings while giving up six earned runs on seven hits.

He came back mostly strong in his next Triple-A contest, going 6.0 innings and giving up just two runs albeit in a losing effort. His next start, however, saw the flame-throwing right-hander record a career-best 13 strikeouts in a no-decision, earning him a spot back in the Pirates’ rotation. But his next MLB start lasted just 3.0 innings as he gave up six runs on 10 hits. So far, he’s 0-1 with a 13.45 ERA with the Pirates.

Dario Agrazal made his MLB debut Saturday after beginning the season in Double-A Altoona and making the move to Triple-A after four starts. His MLB debut saw him go just 4.0 innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. He held the Marlins scoreless over the first three innings, facing just 10 batters – one over the minimum. During his time in Triple-A, Agrazal was 4-2 in eight starts with a 3.10 ERA and just a .216 average against him. He held a 0.97 WHIP.

Alex McRae’s move to the majors may have surprised a few folks after he went 5-2 in Indy with a 5.10 ERA in 10 starts. Though able to pick up wins in Indy, teams were hitting .271 against him. Opponents fared better against him in Pittsburgh, hitting .302 against him in 12.1 innings pitched. He carried an 8.76 ERA over his time in the majors before coming back down. McRae picked up a win in his first game back with Indianapolis Sunday, going 6.0 innings and allowing just three earned runs.

Rookie Davis, who is beginning a rehab stint in Indianapolis, could be considered another head-scratching decision after he went 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA in eight starts in Indy, giving up six home runs along the way. He appeared in five games in Pittsburgh, with one start. He carried a 6.75 ERA over 10.2 innings pitched. Teams were hitting .300 against him.

Dovydas Neverauskas has been up and down, but his seven major-appearances weren’t anything to write home about — a 9.95 ERA over 6.1 innings pitched. But in Triple-A, he’s got a 2.29 ERA in 16 appearances, holding opponents to a .200 batting average.

Geoff Hartlieb has found his way onto Pittsburgh’s roster, and he’s stayed there despite an ERA of 8.00 in 12 appearances and the fact that teams are hitting .346 against him. He had a 3.32 ERA in 12 appearances in Indy with a .225 average against in 19.0 innings.

Montana DuRapau drew rave reviews, maybe more so because he looked like he should, as one fan said, “be doing taxes.” Still, his skill set didn’t directly translate to the MLB, where he posted a 9.31 ERA in nine appearances. His Triple-A stats, though, remain solid overall — 1.37 ERA and 4-for-4 on save opportunities.

Clay Holmes wasn’t spectacular in Indy, posting a 6.32 ERA in 10 appearances, but he’s managed a 4.26 ERA over 12 appearances with the Pirates. It’s been good enough to keep him in Pittsburgh.

Michael Feliz’s struggles in Pittsburgh continue, but he has kept a roster spot. He’s got a 7.31 ERA in 15 appearances there. In Indy, he’s posted a 1.20 ERA in 10 appearances.

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