27.3 F
Pittsburgh
Monday, December 5, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Minor League Recaps: Indianapolis Indians

As you would expect from a Triple-A team, the Indianapolis Indians saw a lot of roster turnover as players were shuttled back-and-forth from the minors to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The most notable name to play this year for Indianapolis was Oneil Cruz, who began the year with the team to get some extra work before joining the major league team.

Indianapolis floated around the middle of the pack the majority of the season, and a five game losing streak to end the schedule blew up their chances of finishing with a winning record. At 74-75, the Indians scored the eighth most runs in the International League, along with seventh in average, 10th in OPS and 16th in home runs. The lack of power was made up by the fact that they stole the fifth most bases in the IL.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Minor League Recaps

Indianapolis Indians

Altoona Curve

Greensboro Grasshoppers

Bradenton Marauders

FCL Pirates

DSL Pirates Hitters

DSL Pirates Pitchers

Catchers

The Indians used eight different catchers on the season, and the collective group finished 14th out of 20 teams in OPS. Carter Bins ended up with the majority of the games played behind the plate, getting an early season promotion from Altoona before spending the rest of the season in Triple-A.

Bins struggled with strikeouts (35.6 K%), but really hit the ball hard when he did make contact, belting nine home runs and slugged .429. As the season started to wind down, they got a boost in Blake Sabol, who chipped in offensively, but spent a minimal amount of time behind the plate once getting to Indianapolis. 

The biggest boost came from Endy Rodriguez’s end of season promotion. In three games behind the plate, he recorded three hits – a triple and home run – along with three RBI. He also DH’d and played second base as well.

Infielders

Oneil Cruz was the most notable name to play in the infield for the Indians this year, and made some news with his slow start to the season (.176/.282/.284 in April). He finished his time in Indianapolis with 19 extra-base hits in about 250 plate appearances.

Mason Martin got off to one of the hottest starts out of any player in the system this season before going ice cold for the next chunk of games. He finished strong, and ended up hitting 19 home runs on the year, but really struggled with strikeouts and a .210 average.

There’s probably a good case to be made that Ji Hwan Bae had one of the best seasons of any minor leaguer in the entire Pirates system, stealing 30 bases, his power also taking another step forward after picking up 37 extra-base hits. 

Outfielders

The Indians saw a few players get off to slow starts, and Travis Swaggerty was another one. Slowed by a couple of injuries at the beginning of the year, the former first round pick hit .254/.348/.399 in 2022, picking up 101 hits, 32 for extra-bases, and stole 20 bases.

Jared Oliva began the year by getting designated for assignment, but by the end of the season was arguably the best hitter on the Indianapolis squad. In the month of September, Oliva slashed .351/.405/.533 with 10 extra-base hits in 84 plate appearances.

As stated at the top, the Indians saw a lot of players bounce back and forth between the minors and majors, and one of them was Cal Mitchell. He ended the season with the Pirates, but during his time in Triple-A, Mitchell was tearing the cover off the ball. In 63 games with Indianapolis, the left-handed outfield slashed .339/.391/.547 with 29 extra-base hits (nine home runs) and 49 RBI.

Pitchers

The pitching staff, like the offense, was mostly on the average side when looking back over the course of the entire season. They finished 10th in team ERA, sixth in opponent’s average, but also finished second to last in strikeouts.

Chase De Jong’s stint with the Indians was brief, but he made a lasting impression, combining with Austin Brice and Yerry De Los Santos for a no-hitter on April 13. 

Speaking of strikeouts, Osvaldo Bido never really put up big numbers in his minor league career, but rung up 122 batters in 111.2 innings. Only Bido and Jerad Eickhoff topped 100 innings this season for the Indians.

After not pitching for two years, and only 40 innings at Altoona, the Pirates pushed Cody Bolton all the way up to Triple-A in 2022. They were especially cautious with the 24-year-old righty, as he also dealt with a bout of COVID-19 during the season that forced him to miss time.

He would end up making 30 overall appearances, just 14 starts, finishing the year with 75.2 innings while posting a 3.09 ERA and 82 strikeouts. He did struggle with his control, walking 40 but did hold his opponent’s to just a .207 average.

Indianapolis got some added help out of the bullpen, with Eric Hanhold leading the team in saves (10), posting a 3.40 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 53 innings. He was joined by other notables like Joe Jacques and Hunter Stratton, among others. The lefty Jacques posted 27 strikeouts in 29 appearances (37 ⅓ innings). While Stratton was beat around a bit (5.71 ERA) he also struck out 82 batters in 63 innings pitched.

+ posts

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

SUPPORT PIRATES PROSPECTS

Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

Related articles

Subscribe
Notify of
16 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PirateRican21

one of the most important guys in AAA imo is Swaggerty, if he finds that missing gear and becomes an above average CF in the bigs it would completely solve the outfield in the coming years. It would do wonders to have an above average fielder there, and no Bae is not that.

emjayinTN

Reynolds was a -7 OAA, last of 46 CF’s in 2022. On some plays he just looked like he was not getting a good jump – not seeing the ball well off the bat.

The two Rookies on either side of him, Suwinski in LF and Mitchell in RF, had decent OAA numbers. Suwinski tied for 9th of LF at 0 OAA, and Mitchell 30th of RF with -3 OAA.

john_fluharty

If he can stay healthy…

skliesen

I think Gorski is more likely the long-term CF option, not TSwag. But I’m hoping TSwag finds that extra gear.

emjayinTN

Gorski was well on his way to becoming another fast rising prospect who made it to MLB in 2022. His speed and arm have been recognized by the Pirates, but he needed to adjust his swing and cut down the K’s.

He did very well at A+ and then just as well in AA, until injury benched him for the season. 141 AB in AA and a Slugging % of .489 and an OPS of .844 should have him primed for AAA to start 2023 (I hope). The fact that he is a RH hitter who can hit for power plays up for him.

But, if Matt Fraizer returns to a season like 2021, he will be hard to beat by either Swaggs or Gorski.

john.benedict

Gorski was injured, not benched

john.benedict

90% SPECIAL

BAE- professional headache

GONZO-professional XBH

DAVIS-professional power hitter (start him ALTOONA, let him catch the second wave of P

SUWINSKI btw has another level if they let him find it

john.benedict

Opening day Indianapolis Indians line up card

Bae SS
Gonzo 2B
Endy C
Nunez 1B
Gorski CF
Sabol DH
CSN/Swaggerty RF
Triolo 3B
Marcano LF

Shack
Alverez
Oliva
Bins
Martin

IF THEY DO THE RIGHT THING with Bae and keep him in BIGS

JT to SS, AA to 3rd
1st and 8th in the order

SBRO

Indy could really be loaded in 2023.

C Endy/Bins with a little Sabol.
1B Martin (?)/Shackleford at 1B with a little Nuñez.
2B Gonzales (right?) with a little Bae (They’ll find an excuse to start him at Indy)
3B Triolo/Nuñez
SS Bae/Marcano/does Peguero stay at Altoona after his below average season?
OF Swaggerty/Smith-Njigba/does Mitchell make the OD roster in PIT?/Gorski with some Bae, Sabol and Shackleford sprinkled in.
SP Ortiz/Bido/Burrows/Priester/Bolton – do any of the other starters from ALT (esp. Nicolas) graduate?

pantherfan83

What one internal option, even with a position change could solve our 1st base problems. For how many middle infielders we have, their should be a line for 1st base tryouts.

roberto

I’ve already expressed my reservations about statistical scouting of MiLB players, so I won’t harp on it. Do internal or external sources see any of the AAA players as special?

skliesen

What’s your definition of special?

A starter on a contending team? A future All-Star? A future MVP/Cy Young candidate?

Of those who played in Indy last year, I believe Cruz and maybe Endy are only ones who check each of the boxes. I could see Castro becoming an All-Star one day if he continues to develop his defense and hit tool. His hit for power tool is special for a MI/UT player.

As for guys who can be starters on a contender, there’s definitely Bae and Jack S. Maybe Swaggerty, CSN, and Cal M. Hopefully Bolton will be a swing guy out of a contenders bullpen one day.

Wish I could believe in Mason Martin, but he just lacks consistency.

Am I missing anyone?

emjayinTN

Malcom Nunez, Cuba, played all of 2022 as a 21 year old. Exc numbers (823 OPS) for St Louis in the AA Texas League, exc numbers (857 OPS) at AA Altoona after the trade, and did well in only 5 games at AAA to end the season. 95 games at 1B over 2 seasons fielding .996. Will play all of 2023 as a 22 year old.

skliesen

Good call Emjay. Nunez is definitely a much better prospect than Mason Martin. Likely has the inside track to be Pirates starting 1B at some point in next year or two.

john.benedict

I know more about these kids watching them 6 days a week than the posers who make the lists and predict their future based on pedigree, stats or small sample of live action.

SPECIAL=ENDY, watch him and you will see special

Future, he will change everything

Mtgj

I couldn’t agree more. There is something different about him every time I watch him. Is going to be special.

Share article

Latest articles

PIRATES PROSPECTS WEEKLY

Latest comments

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x