MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — We’ve reached the point in the season where it seems as if all hope is lost until next year’s spring training begins, but the Indians produced their fair share of bright spots toward helping the Pirates find a smidge of success this season.
Let’s take a look.
Bryan Reynolds, who played just 13 games with the Indians before being called up, put together a solid rookie campaign with the Pirates. A switch hitter, Reynolds has seen action in 88 games for the big-league club as of Sunday, and many were clamoring much of the season for him to have a shot at Rookie of the Year honors.
He produced a .332/.406/.508 line in 301 at-bats while smacking nine home runs and driving in 44 runs over that stretch. He managed nine doubles, two triples and a stolen base, too, to go with a .915 OPS. His .332 average is tops on the team among regular players. He’ll likely stick around in Pittsburgh, unless the 24-year-old outfielder gets used for trade bait.
Right-handed pitcher Dario Agrazal showed some spunk in black and gold, too. He’s posted a 2-2 record with a 3.65 ERA in seven games with the Pirates this season. He has 18 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP in 37.0 innings.
Others like outfielder Jason Martin and infielder Cole Tucker provided temporary sparks, too, but both found their way back to Indy to gear up for next season.
But what’s next for the Pirates? Is anyone possibly looming in the shadows to become next year’s breakthrough player?
Obviously, everyone continues to ooze over flamethrower Mitch Keller … until he gets to the Pirates.
General Manager Neal Huntington told reporters Sunday: "Mitch Keller is pounding on the door to get an opportunity in the rotation. The challenge is who do you clear out to put him into the rotation?”
Fans could think of a few, I assume. Our John Perrotto covered that Sunday prior to the Pirates' game with the Mets.
Keller, though, continues to fan Triple-A hitters. In 103.2 innings at that level this year, he struck out 123 batters and has a 7-5 record over 19 starts. He also carried a 3.56 ERA.
He’ll get a look at the rotation, maybe sooner rather than later.
Other pitchers have come up and been sent back down, but none have shown they deserve any type of hard look at the next level yet. Alex McRae is still maybe a year off and other bullpen arms are likely behind that, though James Marvel might have a solid shot out of spring training next season.
Hitting wise, everyone is wondering what the Pirates will do with first basemen Will Craig. It will be hard for Craig to crack the Pirates roster with Josh Bell stapled at first base, so unless Bell moves to right field, Craig could honestly end up as trade bait, too.
Craig is hitting .256 with a career-best 21 home runs this season, but he’s driven in just 63 runs as compared to 102 a year ago. He’s got a .256/.327/.462 line to go with 19 doubles.
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes could be a wild card, too. His defense at a position of need could thrust him into the big leagues, but his bat leaves plenty to be desired. He has been hitting better since coming back from a broken finger, though. He’s collected 31 hits in 115 at-bats since his return while driving in 15 runs with four homers and seven doubles over that 28-game stretch.
Kevin Kramer is also biding his time with a decent .261 average to go with 10 home runs, 51 RBIs and 27 doubles this season. He could be an option in the infield as he's shown versatility this season.
As for relative newcomers, Yefry Ramirez and Parker Markel were able to get some mop-up innings Sunday against the Mets.
From our John's game report Sunday: “Both joined the organization after being designated for assignment – dropped off the 40-man roster, in layman’s terms -- by their previous teams. Ramirez came from the Orioles in a trade May 27 and the Pirates got Markel from the Mariners on a waiver claim July 27."
Ramirez worked 3 2/3 inning and gave up five runs (three earned) and six hits. Markel finished with two perfect innings, striking out three, and opening Hurdle’s eyes by nearly beating out a ground ball to third base in the eighth inning in his first plate appearance since his sophomore year of high school in Glendale, Ariz.
John also talked to a National League scout about the pair: “They are guys who have some raw talent,” the scout said. “If they were really good then they obviously wouldn’t have been available. They have good arms, though, and maybe you get them into the right situation, the right fit and it works out. It’s always worth a shot, especially when you’re a team playing out the string.”
Who would you guys like to see in Pittsburgh next season? Drop it in the comments.
TRIBE’S TOP HITTERS
Here’s who I’ve identified as the Indians’ top hitters over the past week:
Will Craig, 1B: - 12 for 33 (.363) with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs
Jason Martin, CF: - 11 for 29 (.379) with four doubles and four RBIs
Kevin KRamer, INF: - 7 for 27 (.259) with two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs
TRIBE’S TOP PITCHERS
Top starting performance: James Marvel went six innings in a no decision against Toledo Tuesday. He allowed just three hits and struck out six hitters while allowing two earned runs. His ERA sits at 2.12.
Top reliever performance: Dovydas Neverauskas picked up a win in relief against Toledo, going 2.0 innings while surrendering just one hit and no runs. He struck out four.
7/29: RHP Montana DuRapau recalled by Pittsburgh.
RHP Parker Markel claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh (7/27), active in Indianapolis. He is wearing No. 45.
7/30: RHP Geoff Hartlieb recalled by Pittsburgh.
RHP Yefry Ramirez recalled by Pittsburgh.
8/1: LHP Steven Brault begins MLB rehab assignment with Indianapolis. He is wearing No. 37.
LHP Blake Weiman reinstated from 7-day injured list.
8/2: UTIL Pablo Reyes recalled by Pittsburgh.
INF Erik Gonzalez ends MLB rehab with Indianapolis, reinstated from 60-day injured list by Pittsburgh.
RHP Alex McRae optioned by Pittsburgh (7/30), active in Indianapolis. He is wearing No. 43.
RHP Montana DuRapau optioned by Pittsburgh (7/30), active in Indianapolis.
RHP Dovydas Neverauskas is now wearing No. 28.
8/3: RHP Parker Markel recalled by Pittsburgh.
8/4: RHP Yacksel Rios claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh from Philadelphia (8/3), optioned and active in Indianapolis. He is wearing No. 37.
LHP Blake Weiman placed on 7-day injured list (L shoulder tendinitis).
The Indians went 3-4 over the past seven days, taking one of two from Columbus early in the week before sweeping Toledo in a two-game set and suffering a three-game sweep to Columbus to end the week. The Tribe is off today before traveling for back-to-back three-game road series with Norfolk and Durham.
INDY FUN THING
Enjoy some of Kramer's versatility:
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) August 4, 2019
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