Lynchburg, Va. - Former Lynchburg Hillcats right-hander Cole Sulser made his Major League debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, September 6, against the Toronto Blue Jays. He entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless frame, including a strike out of the first hitter he faced in Rowdy Tellez. The Rays blanked the Blue Jays, 5-0, at Tropicana Field.
The Poway, Calif. native was drafted by the Indians in the 25th Round of the 2013 MLB Draft after playing his college ball at Dartmouth. The right-hander was traded to Tampa Bay as part of a three-team deal between Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Seattle on December 13, 2018.
Sulser appeared in 12 games in a Hillcats uniform during the 2016 season. Pitching exclusively in relief, he went 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA across 19.2 innings, striking out 25 batters with just four walks over that span. Sulser spent the majority of the 2016 campaign with Double-A Akron, where he logged a 1-4 mark with a 4.81 ERA in 28 games (two starts) for the RubberDucks.
After pitching in Triple-A Columbus in the Indians organization for most of the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Sulser remained at the same level when he joined Tampa Bay in 2019. Pitching for Triple-A Durham, the 29-year-old posted one of the best years of his career. He appeared in a career-high 49 games (four starts), going 6-3 with a 3.27 ERA over 66 frames. He fanned 89 batters, good for a strikeout rate of 12.14/9IP, the best of his career in any full season. International League hitters batted just .208 against him, another career mark for Sulser.
Sulser was one of the best pitchers in Dartmouth history. His 20 wins over four years rank as the second most all-time for the Big Green. He overcame two Tommy John surgeries (one in 2012 and another in 2015) and played seven Minor League seasons before his call-up to The Show on September 2.
Sulser is the 181st Hillcats player to make his Major League debut since 1995. He becomes the eighth former Hillcats player to make their MLB debut this season, joining Sam Haggerty, Willi Casto, Aaron Civale, Bobby Bradley, Yu Chang, Zach Plesac and Ryne Harper.
The Hillcats are back in action in April 2020, and 2020 Season Ticket plans are on sale now. Lynchburg will host the Carolina League All-Star Game at City Stadium on Tuesday, June 23. It will be the first time Lynchburg has hosted the event since 1995.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com
, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.
The Lynchburg Hillcats are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Hillcats are eight-time Carolina League Champions, having most recently won the Mills Cup Championship in 2017. The Hillcats play their home games at City Stadium, which has been home to Minor League Baseball in Lynchburg since 1963. Visit the Hillcats online at Lynchburg-hillcats.com, and follow the Hillcats on Twitter (@LynHillcats), Instagram (@LynHillcats) and Facebook (Lynchburg Hillcats). For more information about the Lynchburg Hillcats, please contact Max Gun at email@example.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.