INDIANAPOLIS – With the Major League Baseball postseason beginning today with four three-game Wild Card series, we looked at the number of former Indianapolis Indians who could make an impact on their respective teams in October.
New York Yankees (99-63, No. 2 seed)
Player(s): RHP Gerrit Cole (2012-14, 2016), RHP Jameson Taillon (2013, 2016-17), RHP Clay Holmes (2017-19)
Cole, 32, owns a lifetime record of 8-5 with a 2.93 ERA (28er/86.0ip), 0.93 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 14 postseason starts. After spending the first five years of his major league career with the Pirates, he was traded to Houston following the 2017 season and then signed with the Yankees as a free agent on Dec. 18, 2019. After posting an MLB-best 326 strikeouts in 2019, Cole again led the majors and broke the single-season Yankees record with 257 strikeouts. With a 13-8 record and 3.50 ERA (78er/200.2ip), he also ranked among American League leaders in games started (T-1st, 33), innings pitched (2nd), WHIP (6th, 1.02) and average against (7th, .209). As the first overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Cole quickly made his way to Indianapolis where he compiled a 9-4 record and 2.59 ERA (30er/104.1ip) in 19 starts over parts of four seasons.
Taillon, 30, tossed 177.1 innings over 32 starts – his most in each category since throwing 191.0 innings in 32 outings in 2018 with Pittsburgh – and ranked among American League leaders with a career-high tying 14 wins (T-7th) and a 1.13 WHIP (9th) in his second season with New York (AL). He has never pitched in the MLB postseason and has just one career playoff start under his belt, coming on Sept. 6, 2013 with Indianapolis against Durham at Victory Field (5.0ip, 1h, 0r, 5bb, 5k). He was traded from Pittsburgh in exchange for RHP Roansy Contreras, RHP Miguel Yajure, OF Canaan Smith-Njigba and INF Maikol Escotto on Jan. 24, 2021 after undergoing two Tommy John surgeries. His best season with the Pirates came in 2018, when he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA (68er). With the Indians, Taillon made 18 starts spanning parts of three seasons and went 5-6 with a 2.87 ERA (35er/109.2ip), 1.01 WHIP and 113 strikeouts.
Holmes, 29, was lights out for the Yankees in the first half of the season, registering the longest scoreless streak in MLB across 31.1 innings from April 9-June 18. In that time, he went 4-0 with 11 saves, a 0.57 WHIP and .142 average against (15-for-106), leading to his 1.31 ERA (6er/41.1ip), 0.87 WHIP and .182 average against (27-for-148) in the first half of the season. Holmes was traded from Pittsburgh to New York (AL) on July 26, 2021 in exchange for INF Hoy Park and INF Diego Castillo. Since going 5-7 with a 5.57 ERA (74er/119.2ip) in 91 outings (four starts) across four years with Pittsburgh, Holmes is now 12-6 with a career-high 20 saves – all of which came in ’22 – and a 2.26 ERA (23er/91.2ip) in 87 games across two years with New York (AL). Holmes has made one MLB postseason appearance, throwing 2.0 shutout innings in the American League Wild Card Game against Boston last October in a 6-2 loss. He made 57 appearances (40 starts) with Indianapolis over the course of three seasons and went 20-9 with a 3.58 ERA (89er/223.2ip) and 212 strikeouts.
Coach(es): Manager Aaron Boone (1997-99)
Toronto Blue Jays (92-70, No. 4 seed)
Coach(es): Interim Bench Coach Casey Candaele (1985-86, 1988, 1994), First Base Coach Mark Budzinski (2003), Third Base Coach Luis Rivera (1986-87)
Seattle Mariners (90-72, No. 5 seed)
Player(s): INF Adam Frazier (2016-18)
Frazier, 30, has been an everyday presence in his first year as a Mariner, appearing in a career-high 156 games this season with a .238 average (129-for-541), 61 runs scored, 22 doubles and 42 RBI. He has never played in the MLB postseason. After being traded from Pittsburgh to San Diego on July 26, 2021 in exchange for INF Tucupita Marcano, OF Jack Suwinski and RHP Michell Miliano, Frazier was sent to Seattle in a trade that brought LHP Ray Kerr and OF Corey Rosier to the Padres. Between the Pirates and Padres last season, the second baseman hit .305 (176-for-577) with a career-high 36 doubles and 83 runs scored. Frazier appeared in 103 total games with the Indians from 2016-18 and hit .301 (118-for-392).
Tampa Bay Rays (86-76, No. 6 seed)
Player(s): RHP Tyler Glasnow (2015-17), C Christian Bethancourt (2021)
Glasnow, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery last August and finally made his return to Tampa Bay’s starting rotation on Sept. 28, surrendering just one earned run in 6.2 innings between two starts. In his last outing on Oct. 3 at Boston, he struck out seven of 15 total batters faced across 3.2 scoreless innings. Glasnow appeared in 56 games (17 starts) with Pittsburgh from 2016-18 and went 3-11 with a 5.79 ERA (91er/141.1ip) before being traded to Tampa Bay on July 31, 2018 with OF Austin Meadows and a PTBNL (RHP Shane Baz) in exchange for RHP Chris Archer. In five seasons since, Glasnow has gone 17-9 while registering a 3.05 ERA (91er/268.1ip) with 364 strikeouts in 50 starts, but he is just 2-5 with a 6.56 ERA (26er/35.2ip) over eight postseason starts. In three seasons with Indianapolis from 2015-17, he went 19-6 with a 1.95 ERA (53er/245.0ip) and 321 strikeouts.
Bethancourt, 31, made his return to MLB for the first time since 2017 this year and was a difference maker for both Oakland and Tampa Bay. In 101 total games, he hit .252 (80-for-318) with a .992 fielding percentage (three errors, 388 total chances) and 43.3 caught-stealing percentage. After a season in which Bethancourt hit .281 (93-for-331) with an .807 OPS to be named Indy’s 2021 Team MVP, he was signed by Oakland as a minor league free agent. He was then traded to Tampa Bay on July 9 in exchange for OF Cal Stevenson and RHP Christian Fernandez. He has never appeared in an MLB postseason.
Coach(es): Hitting Coach Chad Mottola (1995-98)
The Houston Astros (106-56, No. 1 seed) and Cleveland Guardians (92-70, No. 3 seed) do not have any former Indianapolis Indians on their respective coaching staffs or postseason rosters.
*NATIONAL LEAGUE *
Los Angeles Dodgers (111-51, No. 1 seed)
Coach(es): Hitting Coach Brant Brown (2001)
Atlanta Braves (101-61, No. 2 seed)
Player(s): RHP Jesse Chavez (2006-08), RHP Charlie Morton (2009-10, 2012-13, 2015)
Chavez, 39, did not allow a run over seven postseason appearances (one start) with Atlanta last season, and has since bounced between Chicago (NL), Atlanta and Los Angeles (AL) before returning to the Braves on Aug. 30. Between the three teams, he has gone 4-3 with a 3.76 ERA (29er/69.1ip) with 74 strikeouts in 60 games (one start). His 15-year major league career began in 2008 with the Pirates, and since he has appeared with Kansas City, Atlanta, Oakland, Toronto, Los Angeles (NL), Los Angeles (AL), Texas and Chicago (NL) while being included in 10 total trades, the most by any player in MLB history. Chavez made 109 appearances (one start) with Indianapolis over three seasons and went 7-10 with a 3.90 ERA (72er/166.0ip) and 150 strikeouts.
Morton, 38, has an abundance of postseason experience from his time with Pittsburgh, Houston, Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Last season with the World Series champion Braves, he went 0-1 with a 3.24 ERA (6er/16.2ip) in four postseason starts against Milwaukee, Los Angeles (NL) and Houston. Morton signed with Atlanta as a free agent prior to the 2021 season and has since gone 23-12 with a 3.82 ERA (152er/357.2ip) and 421 strikeouts in 64 starts. Over parts of five years in Indianapolis, he went 5-6 with a 3.26 ERA (46er/127.0ip) in 22 starts.
Coach(es): Catching Coach Sal Fasano (2002), Assistant Hitting Coach Jose Castro (1990)
St. Louis Cardinals (93-69, No. 3 seed)
Player(s): OF Corey Dickerson (2019), RHP Chris Stratton (2019)
Dickerson, 33, is in his 10th major league season with his seventh different organization after spending time with Colorado, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto and St. Louis. He’s been a left-handed outfielder and bench option for the Cardinals, appearing in 97 games with a .267 average (75-for-281). In two seasons with Pittsburgh from 2018-19, he hit .303 (191-for-631) with 80 RBI and an .829 OPS. He played in nine games with Indianapolis in 2019 as part of a rehab assignment and hit .182 (6-for-33). He appeared in five MLB postseason games with the Marlins in 2020.
New York Mets (101-61, No. 4 seed)
Player(s): OF Starling Marte (2012, 2014, 2017), RHP Trevor Williams (2016, 2019)
Marte, 33, will return to the New York (NL) lineup after being placed on the 10-day injured list with a partial non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger. In his first season with the Mets after signing a four-year deal last November, the toolsy outfielder hit .292 (136-for-466) with 24 doubles, 16 home runs and an .815 OPS in 118 contests. In eight seasons with Pittsburgh from 2012-19, he hit .287 (1047-for-3647) with 108 homers and 239 stolen bases. He was traded to Arizona in January 2020 for INF Liover Peguero, RHP Brennan Malone and international bonus slot money and has played for the Diamondbacks, Marlins, Athletics and now Mets since his Pirates tenure. Over parts of three seasons with Indy, Marte batted .284 (124-for-436) with an .831 OPS in 111 games. Marte has appeared in nine MLB postseason games spanning four Octobers (Pittsburgh, 2013-15; Miami, 2020).
Williams, 30, has traded in a full-time starting role for a bullpen position in 40 career games (12 starts) in two seasons with New York (NL) and is gearing up for his first career postseason appearance at any level this October. His major league career began with five years in Pittsburgh, and in that time he owned a 31-37 record, 4.43 ERA (263er/534.2ip) and 416 strikeouts. Between 2016 (20 appearances, 19 starts) and 2019 (one start), Williams registered a 9-7 record and 2.62 ERA (33er/113.1ip) with Indianapolis. He was Indy’s Team MVP and the Team Player Award recipient in 2016.
San Diego Padres (89-73, No. 5 seed)
Player(s): INF Josh Bell (2015-16)
Bell, 30, hit .261 (496-for-1900) with 86 home runs in five seasons with Pittsburgh – including his 2019 All-Star campaign – before being traded to Washington in exchange for RHP Wil Crowe and RHP Eddy Yean prior to the 2021 season. After hitting .301 (113-for-375) in 103 games with Washington this season, he is now nearing his first career MLB postseason appearance after being traded from the Nationals to the Padres with OF Juan Soto at the deadline. Bell was one of Indy’s best hitters in 2015-16, and in 149 total Triple-A games with the Indians owned a .306 average (166-for-542) and .872 OPS.
Coach(es): Bench Coach Ryan Christenson (2002), Third Base Coach Matt Williams (2001), Catching Coach Francisco Cervelli (2016, 2019)
The Philadelphia Phillies (87-75, No. 6 seed) do not have any former Indianapolis Indians on their coaching staff or postseason roster.