Sweet Sixteen: Major League Baseball's Postseason Filled with Former Indians

Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs littered with former Tribesmen

Andrew McCutchen, now with the Yankees, is back in the postseason for the first time since 2015. (Photo by Bill Gentry)

By Cheyne Reiter / Indianapolis Indians | October 3, 2018 5:39 PM

INDIANAPOLIS - A combined sixteen former Indians players and managers are scattered through the clubhouses of six teams in the 2018 Major League Baseball postseason. The New York Yankees have four former Tribesmen either playing, coaching or managing, while the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs each have three. The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers should each have two former Tribe players on their postseason rosters when the Division Series round begins on Thursday, Oct. 4. Atlanta, Colorado, Los Angeles (NL) and Oakland do not have any former Indianapolis players, coaches or managers on their respective teams.

YANKEES (4)
Manager, Aaron Boone - In his first season removed from the broadcast booth and at the helm of the Pinstripes, Aaron Boone met high expectations as the Yankees delivered a 100-win campaign. Boone's star-studded roster will face Oakland tonight at Yankee Stadium in the American League Wild Card Game, with the winner advancing to face Boston in the ALDS. Boone was named Indianapolis' Team MVP in 1997 after leading the team in home runs (22) and batting average (.290). In 229 career games with Indy from 1997-99, he hit .273 (232-for-849) with 29 long balls and 120 RBI.

OF Andrew McCutchen - The five-time National League All-Star (2011-15) and 2013 NL MVP will appear in his fourth career postseason after splitting the season between San Francisco and the Bronx. The 31-year-old hit .255 with 20 homers, 65 RBI and a 2.7 combined WAR between the Giants and Yankees. McCutchen played in three straight postseasons with Pittsburgh from 2013-15. 'Cutch' was with Indy from 2007-09 and paced the '08 team in batting average (.283), hits (145), doubles (26) and OPS (.770) while finishing second in stolen bases (34). He racked up a team-high eight triples in just 49 games in '09 before finally ascending to the Pirates.

Pitching Coach, Larry Rothschild - Overseeing the Yankees pitching staff for an eighth consecutive season, Rothschild helped guide his hurlers to a collective 3.78 ERA (fifth in AL) and 1,634 strikeouts (second in MLB). Rothschild 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 (155 ER/332.0 IP) and 223 strikeouts (6.05 K/9.0 IP).

UTIL Neil Walker - Indy's 2008 Team MVP cracks New York's 25-man postseason roster after seeing significant time at first, second, third and right field in 2018. Walker, 33, played in 113 games this year and batted .219 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. He spent parts of five seasons with Indy (2007-10, 2013) and hit .259 (285-for-1102) with 36 home runs and 78 doubles in 293 games combined. His MVP season in 2008 saw him lead the Indians in homers (16), triples (7) and RBI (80). He again led Indy in home runs (14), doubles (31) and RBI (69) the following year.

RED SOX (3)
Assistant Hitting Coach, Andy Barkett - Indy's 2017 skipper, who led the club to a 79-63 record and won an International League West Division title in his only season with the Tribe, joined the Red Sox last winter as assistant hitting coach. Barkett enjoyed the fruits of guiding one of baseball's most prolific offenses all season long en route to a franchise-record 111 wins. Boston led all of baseball in average (.268), hits (1,509), doubles (355), runs scored (876), runs per game (5.41), on-base percentage (.339), slugging percentage (.453) and total bases (2,550).

INF Brock Holt - The 30-year-old utilityman hit .277 (89-for-321) with seven homers and 46 RBI in 109 games for the Red Sox this season. Holt played in just 24 games for the Tribe in 2012 but left his mark, batting .432 (41-for-95) with a 1.013 OPS.

1B/DH Steve Pearce - Primarily used as a righty-vs-lefty platoon player at this stage of his career, the 35-year-old Pearce put up a .284 average (61-for-215) with 11 dingers, 14 doubles and 42 RBI in just 76 regular-season games between Toronto and Boston. Pearce appeared for the Tribe in five straight seasons (2007-11) and hit .281 (264-for-940) with 37 homers, 69 doubles and 152 RBI in 256 games.

CUBS (3)
RHP Jesse Chavez - The 35-year-old journeyman tossed one scoreless inning for Chicago last night to cap a tremendous season out of the bullpen. Chavez made 62 appearances between the Rangers and Cubs and went 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA and five saves in the regular season, fanning 92 batters along the way. Those strong numbers resulted in a 3.2 WAR for the right-hander. Chavez totaled 109 games (one start) for Indy from 2006-08 and went 7-10 with 16 saves and a 3.90 ERA. He struck out 150 batters in 166.0 career innings with the Tribe.

LHP Jorge De La Rosa - For a second consecutive postseason, De La Rosa faced Colorado in the NL Wild Card Game. He was pitching out of the 'pen for the Diamondbacks in 2017 before joining the Cubs midseason this summer. Oddly enough, De La Rosa is the Rockies' all-time wins leader with 86. The 37-year-old went 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 59 relief appearances between Arizona and Chicago this year and struck out the only batter he faced in the Cubs' 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Rockies last night. His lone season with the Tribe came in 2004, Indy's last of a five-year run as Milwaukee's top affiliate. He registered a 5-6 record and 4.52 ERA in 20 starts for the Indians.

LHP Justin Wilson - Acquired by the Cubs from the Tigers in a July 2017 deadline deal, the 31-year-old Wilson had a bounce-back season on the North Side, going 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 71 relief appearances. He pitched in relief last night for Chicago and retired the only Rockie he faced. Wilson spent the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons with Indy and was a key rotation member for the Tribe. In 59 games (46 starts) for the Indians, Wilson went 19-14 with a 3.95 ERA and 232 strikeouts in 260.0 innings pitched. He has a hand in two of Indianapolis' 12 no-hitters all-time, both coming in 2012.

ASTROS (2)
RHP Gerrit Cole - The 28-year-old was traded from Pittsburgh to Houston in mid-January in exchange for RHP Joe Musgrove, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Michael Feliz and OF prospect Jason Martin. Early signs from the trade indicate it was a win-win for both sides; Cole put up career-best numbers in Houston (15-5, 2.88 ERA, 276 strikeouts in 200.1 IP, .198 average against) while Musgrove, Moran and Martin each showed flashes of being impact players at the highest level. Cole is slated as Houston's No. 2 starter this postseason behind veteran Justin Verlander. Cole went 9-4 with a 2.59 ERA (30 ER/104.1 IP) and 82 strikeouts in 19 career starts with Indy spanning four seasons (2012-14, 2016).

RHP Charlie Morton - If the ALDS between Houston and Cleveland reaches Game 4, Morton will likely make a crucial start for the Astros. Last October, Morton made five appearances (four starts) in the postseason for Houston and went 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA (11 ER/23.1 IP) and 25 strikeouts. He was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series and carried that success into the 2018 regular season, going 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA (58 ER/167.0 IP) and 201 strikeouts over 30 starts in his first All-Star campaign. His .833 winning percentage was the best in baseball. The 34-year-old debuted in the majors in 2008 with Atlanta and then pitched for Pittsburgh from 2009-2015. During that time, he made a total of 22 starts with Indianapolis over five separate campaigns (2009-10, 2012-13, 2015), going 5-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 127.0 innings.

INDIANS (2)
OF Rajai Davis - Davis is back in the postseason for a fourth time in his career and second with the Cleveland Indians. His first postseason go-round with the Tribe featured a game-tying home run off then-Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the 2016 Fall Classic. He also reached the postseason in 2014 with Detroit and 2017 with Boston. The 37-year-old hit just .224 (44-for-196) this year but did swipe 21 bases. Davis batted .295 (176-for-596) with 72 stolen bases in 153 games combined for Indy in 2006 and 2007.

LHP Oliver Perez - The 37-year-old veteran was used primarily as a lefty specialist for Cleveland this season, his 16th in the majors. He logged a 1-1 record and 1.39 ERA (5 ER/32.1 IP) with 43 strikeouts in 51 appearances. Perez pitched parts of 2005 and 2006 with Indianapolis, going 1-4 with a 6.64 ERA in nine starts combined.

BREWERS (2)
OF Keon Broxton - Broxton, 28, bounced between Triple-A Colorado Springs and Milwaukee this year. In the majors he hit a meager .179 (14-for-78) with four home runs and 11 RBI in 51 games, but his outfield defense proved to be a late-inning asset for manager Craig Counsell. Broxton played for Indianapolis in 2015 and recorded a .256 average (80-for-312) with seven home runs, eight triples, 15 doubles, 42 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 88 contests.

C Erik Kratz - The 38-year-old backstop appeared in 67 games for Milwaukee this season, backing up Manny Pina. Kratz batted .236 (48-for-203) with six home runs and 23 RBI. He was a mainstay behind and at the plate for the Tribe during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, launching 20 home runs and 52 doubles with 84 RBI in 163 games. He made his MLB debut with the Pirates in July 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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