MLB Postseason Teams Filled with Former Indy Indians
INDIANAPOLIS - The 2019 Major League Baseball postseason begins with the National League Wild Card Game between the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers tonight, Tuesday, October 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Eight of the 10 teams in the playoffs have players or coaches who have ties to the Indianapolis Indians.
Houston Astros (AL West Champions)
Player(s): RHP Gerrit Cole (2012-14, 2016)
Coach(es): First Base Coach Don Kelly (2007)
Cole, 29, compiled Cy Young-worthy numbers this summer, going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts in 33 starts for the 107-win Astros. His 326 punchouts were the most by a right-handed pitcher in a single season since Nolan Ryan fanned 341 in 1977. He set major league records by becoming the first pitcher to ever strike out 10-plus batters in nine consecutive starts, and his 13.8 strikeouts-per-9.0-innings was the highest ever by a starting pitcher. Further, he joined Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson as the only hurlers in baseball history to have at least 21 double-digit strikeout performances in a campaign. He won his last 16 decisions, led the AL in ERA and strikeouts and finished second in wins, average against (.186) and WHIP (0.89).
Kelly, 39, appeared in 52 games and hit .247 for the Tribe in 2007. He had a 16-year professional playing career before joining the Detroit Tigers as a professional scout for the 2017 and '18 seasons. He is currently in his first season on a major league coaching staff serving as Houston's first base coach.
New York Yankees (AL East Champions)
Player(s): LHP Tyler Lyons (2019)
Coach(es): Manager Aaron Boone (1997-99), Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild (1977-80)
Lyons, 31, was on Indy's Opening Day roster this April and posted a 4-3 record, three saves and a 3.35 ERA in 35 appearances. He struck out 55 batters and held opponents to a .210 average. He also made three appearances for the Pirates but was released on August 11. Four days later, the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract, and he showed promise in their bullpen, recording a 4.15 ERA in 11 outings. He has an outside shot at making New York's postseason roster.
Boone, 46, guided the injury-plagued Yankees to 103 wins and an AL East title. His Pinstripes meet Minnesota in the AL Division Series. Boone was named Indianapolis' Team MVP in 1997 after leading the team in homers (22) and batting average (.290). In 229 career games with Indy from 1997-99, he hit .273 with 29 home runs and 120 RBI.
Rothschild, 65, is overseeing the Yankees pitching staff for a ninth consecutive season. He played for Indianapolis from 1977-80, when the Indians were the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In 103 career games (44 starts) for Indy, Rothschild posted a 17-17 record, eight saves, 4.20 ERA and 223 strikeouts.
Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champions)
No former Indians are on Minnesota's coaching staff or projected postseason roster, but there is a distant tie if you really want to root for the Twins. Reliever Geoff Hartlieb, who made 26 appearances for Indy this summer, attended the same high school - Highland High School in Illinois - as Twins starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
Oakland Athletics (AL Wild Card Winner)
Coach(es): Assistant Hitting Coach Mike Aldrete (1989), Bench Coach Ryan Christenson (2002), Bullpen Coach Marcus Jensen (2002)
Aldrete, 58, played for the Tribe in 1989, a year in which the club won its fourth straight American Association championship. He only appeared in 10 games for Indy and instead spent most of his '89 season in the big leagues with Montreal. He is currently in his fifth consecutive season on Oakland's coaching staff, going from bench coach (2015) to third base coach (2016-17) to assistant hitting coach (2018-19).
Christenson, 45, played center field for Indians in 2002 and hit .254 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 67 games. He is currently in his second season on a major league coaching staff serving as Bob Melvin's bench coach in Oakland both years
Jensen, 46, was a catcher for the Tribe in 2002 and played in 70 games overall. He is in his fifth season on Oakland's coaching staff, moving from assistant hitting/catching coach (2015-17) to bullpen coach (2018-19).
Tampa Bay Rays (Second AL Wild Card)
Player(s): RHP Tyler Glasnow (2015-17), OF Austin Meadows (2016-18), RHP Charlie Morton (2009-10, 2012-13, 2015)
Coach(es): Hitting Coach Chad Mottola (1995-98), First Base Coach Ozzie Timmons (1997-98)
Glasnow, 26, got off to a fast start with Tampa Bay this season before suffering a mild forearm strain in mid-May. The setback landed him on the injured list for 31/2 months before an early September return. He went 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 76 strikeouts in 12 starts and should be a major factor for the Rays not only this October, but in the years moving forward. He pitched for Indy for parts of the 2015, '16 and '17 seasons and compiled a 19-6 record, 1.95 ERA and 321 strikeouts in 43 starts.
Meadows, 24, was named to the AL All-Star team this summer and put together a monster season at the plate, batting .291 with 33 home runs, 89 RBI and a .922 OPS in 138 games. From 2016-18 with Indy, Meadows hit .250 (144-for-575) in 151 games but battled through various injuries and ailments that slowed his progression as a Pirates farmhand.
Morton, 35, is slated to start the AL Wild Card Game for Tampa Bay in Oakland on Wednesday, October 2. Over the last three seasons, the right-hander has posted 3.62, 3.13 and 3.05 ERAs while upping his strikeout totals each year from 163 to 201 to 240. Morton has gotten better with age and is seeking another World Series ring - he won his first with Houston in 2017. With Indy, Morton made 22 starts and went 5-6 with a 3.26 ERA.
Mottola, 47, is in his third full season as the Rays hitting coach. Selected by the Reds in the 1992 MLB Draft - one pick ahead of Derek Jeter, no less - Mottola played for the Tribe from 1995-98 and clubbed 25 home runs while batting .272 in 260 games.
Timmons, 49, was teammates with Mottola in Indy in both 1997 and '98. He's in his second year as first base coach for the Rays and serves as assistant hitting coach. Timmons played in 242 games in the late 90's for the Indians, where he launched 26 home runs and had 91 RBI.
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champions)
Player(s): RHP Casey Sadler (2013-15, 2017-18)
Coach(es): Hitting Strategist Brant Brown (2001)
Sadler, 29, has flourished this year with two contending teams. He opened the season with Triple-A Durham and notched a 1.86 ERA in nine games for Tampa Bay before being traded to the Dodgers on July 3. With Los Angeles, Sadler registered a 4-0 record and 2.33 ERA in 24 games (one start). He pitched for the Tribe for parts of five seasons and tallied a 24-15 record and 3.66 ERA in 72 games (44 starts).
Brown, 48, appeared in 50 games for the Indians in 2001, his last playing season in affiliated baseball. He joined Dave Roberts' coaching staff as assistant hitting coach in 2018 and took on the title of hitting strategist ahead of the 2019 campaign.
Atlanta Braves (NL East Champions)
Player(s): C Francisco Cervelli (2016, 2019)
Coach(es): Assistant Hitting Coach Jose Castro (1990), Catching Coach Sal Fasano (2002)
Cervelli, 33, joined Indianapolis on a rehab assignment this past August but was granted his release after five games, allowing him to sign with the Braves. He hit .281 in 14 games for Atlanta and is expected to be one of three catchers they carry on its postseason roster. In eight career games for Indy, Cervelli batted .423 (11-for-26).
Castro, 61, closed out his 14-year minor league playing career in Indianapolis, appearing in 19 games for the Tribe before retirement. He joined Atlanta's coaching staff in October 2014 and assists hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Fasano, 48, made Indianapolis home as one of three Triple-A stops in 2002. He hit .206 in 34 games and eventually retired after a 16-year playing career that included parts of 11 seasons in the majors. He is in his second season on Atlanta's staff as catching coach.
St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central Champions)
Want to see a former Tribe player or coach win a ring? St. Louis, like Minnesota, has no connection to the Indianapolis Indians this October.
Washington Nationals (NL Wild Card Winner)
Coach(es): Bullpen Coach Henry Blanco (2001)
Blanco, 48, played in just one rehab game for the Tribe in 2001. He spent parts of 16 seasons in the majors as a catcher and is currently in his second year as bullpen coach with the Nationals.
Milwaukee Brewers (Second NL Wild Card)
Player(s): RHP Jay Jackson (2014), RHP Jordan Lyles (2019)
Jackson, 31, converted to full-time relief duties in 2015, one year after going 5-4 with a 4.89 ERA in 25 games (12 starts) for Indianapolis. He recorded a 1.33 ERA over 34 games with Triple-A San Antonio in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this summer and churned out a 4.45 ERA in 28 appearances with Milwaukee.
Lyles, 28, made a rehab start for the Indians on June 23 at Pawtucket and threw 5.1 innings of one-run ball, fanning seven along the way. He was later traded to the Brewers for RHP Cody Ponce and quickly became one of Milwaukee's most reliable starters, going 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts down the stretch.
For more on the Tribe, visit IndyIndians.com or contact the Victory Field Box Office at (317) 269-3545 or [email protected]
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International League Stories from October 1, 2019
- MLB Postseason Teams Filled with Former Indy Indians - Indianapolis Indians
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