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Returning Faces Highlight Indy's Probable Rotation

All but one of Indy's potential starters donned a Tribe uniform in 2019
RHP James Marvel could return to Indy this season after going 7-0 with the Tribe in 2019. (Photo by Austin Friedline)
February 25, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS - Baseball is back in Bradenton, Fla. with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking the field for their first spring training games over the weekend. As players compete for spots with the big-league club, we looked at the potential arms that could be in Indianapolis' starting rotation come April 9.

INDIANAPOLIS - Baseball is back in Bradenton, Fla. with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking the field for their first spring training games over the weekend. As players compete for spots with the big-league club, we looked at the potential arms that could be in Indianapolis' starting rotation come April 9.

RHP:
JT Brubaker: Although he missed a large portion of the season with a right forearm strain, Brubaker showed dominant command in six starts between Indianapolis and Short-Season A West Virginia. Brubaker didn't allow more than three runs in any of his starts and struck out an impressive seven batters in his second appearance of the season. During the 2018 campaign, he made 22 starts for the Indians with a 3.10 ERA (41er/119.0ip) and went on to be named Pittsburgh's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, along with MiLB.com Organization All-Star honors. He enters this season ranked as the Pirates No. 18 prospect by Baseball America. 
James Marvel: The right-hander out of Duke University enters his fifth season with the Pirates organization and second with Indianapolis. Marvel pitched through three levels last year; most notably making his major league debut with Pittsburgh on Sept. 8 against St. Louis. Before having his contract selected by Pittsburgh, Marvel had a 7-0 record in 11 starts for the Indians with a 2.67 ERA (18er/60.2ip). His impressive year between Double-A and Indy made him a leader in many pitching categories within the Pittsburgh minor league system. Marvel led Pirates farmhands in ERA (2.94 [53er/162.1ip]), wins (16) and strikeouts (136), tied for first in shutouts (two), ranked second in innings pitched, and tied for second in complete games. The Pirates selected him in the 36th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. 
Héctor Noesi: After being signed as a minor league free agent, the 33-year-old Noesi would bring veteran experience to the Indians rotation if he doesn't make the major league club out of camp. His professional career began in 2004 when he was signed by New York (AL) as an undrafted free agent. He split the 2019 season between Miami and Triple-A New Orleans and registered a combined 4.66 ERA (79er/152.2ip). Noesi ended the year with Miami and gave up only one earned run in his last five appearances.
Cody Ponce: Ponce joined the Pirates organization last July after he was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Jordan Lyles. Ponce made his Indianapolis debut on Aug. 16 in a 7-2 loss against Lehigh Valley, where he tossed four innings and gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits. 2019 marked the second season that he's recorded less than 10 starts, as he made 29 relief appearances in 34 games; his final five outings last summer came as a starter, however. Ponce has been a top prospect since he was drafted out of Cal Poly Pomona in 2015. After ending the year with a 4.14 ERA (29er/63.0ip), Ponce appeared in the Arizona Fall League where he found his command, going 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA (6er/23.0ip). 
Pedro Vasquez: Vasquez could impact the Indians starting rotation after his impressive year with Altoona in 2019, where he registered a 2.71 ERA (37er/123.0ip). He joined Indianapolis in May and allowed eight runs in 3.1 innings in his first appearance before reining in his control and tossing six one-hit innings with seven strikeouts in a start. After rejoining Altoona in June, Vasquez dominated the remainder of the season with a 2.37 ERA (21er/79.2ip), 60 strikeouts and 20 walks. He averaged 0.6 home runs per nine innings last year. 
LHP:
Cam Vieaux: The southpaw from Michigan State could be back in familiar territory at Victory Field. Vieaux made 13 starts for the Tribe last year and sported an ERA of 5.05 (35er/62.1ip), the highest mark he's had with a single team in his career. In each of his first five Triple-A starts, Vieaux tossed at least five innings and allowed less than two runs in four of those appearances. The Pirates' 2016 sixth-round draft pick ended the season with Double-A Altoona, where he improved his control with a 1.03 ERA (3er/26.1ip) in four starts. Vieaux averaged 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings between Altoona and Indianapolis and recorded the first two 10-strikeout games of his professional career with the Curve. 

Brandon Waddell: Waddell made 36 appearances (14 starts) between Altoona and Indianapolis in 2019 and compiled a 6-8 record with a 6.29 ERA (68er/97.1ip) for the season. He began the season as a reliever with the Indians and had an 8.16 ERA (29er/32.0ip) in 22 appearances. His best numbers came after he was stretched to a starting role with Altoona; in seven starts he struck out 42 batters and registered a 2.23 ERA (9er/36.1ip). If the left-hander can find his Double-A form for the upcoming season, it'll be a bright year for him and the Indians.