ALTOONA, Pa. — The mental game of Minor League Baseball is often overlooked when looking at prospects at even the highest of levels. The rigors of life on the road can lead to all sorts of mental gymnastics from being called up or sent down to the long, arduous bus rides through middle of nowhere towns across the country.
For Altoona closer Matt Eckelman, who was promoted to Class AAA Indianapolis earlier this season and subsequently sent back to Altoona, the mental aspect of the game was the biggest factor in his performance earlier this season.
A 21st-round pick of the Pirates in the 2016 draft, Eckelman failed to get an out during his time with Indianapolis, yielding four runs on four hits with three of those runs earned. Despite the lack of success, there was much to be learned for the right-handed reliever.
"Just trying to forget as much as possible what happened, but at the same time learning from what mistakes I had," Eckelman said.