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.
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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.
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) June 15, 2022
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.
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.
Mason Martin is hitting .323 this season with 15 of his 21 hits going for extra bases. pic.twitter.com/Z2kMEYHECl
— Young Bucs (@YoungBucsPIT) April 28, 2022
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.
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.
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) July 5, 2022
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.
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.
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) May 18, 2022
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.