sports   |   baseball

Four former Hoosiers make the 2020 MLB playoffs



aaron-slegers

Then-sophomore Aaron Slegers pitches against Valparaiso during a game May 31, 2013, at Bart Kaufman Field. Slegers is currently playing professionally with the Tampa Bay Rays. IDS file photo

Four former Hoosiers got to experience the MLB postseason this season making the 2020 Wild Card Series, with one advancing to the American League Division Series.

Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

The most well-known alumnus to be drafted into the majors is outfielder Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs. Schwarber, drafted in 2014 as the fourth overall pick, remains the highest draft pick in IU history. He is also in the top 10 at IU for slugging percentage, home runs, hits, triples and runs.

While playing for IU from 2012 through 2014, Schwarber was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to college baseball’s top catcher, a two-time First-Team All American and Big Ten Most Outstanding player. 

Schwarber won the 2018 World Series with the Cubs, and most recently made it to the 2020 National League Wild Card Series against the Miami Marlins Oct. 2, where the Cubs were swept in two games. 

Schwarber struggled in this short season, finishing with a .188 batting average and only 24 RBIs on the year. He only had four at-bats in the postseason, drawing three walks but was unable to deliver his typical talent to help the Cubs move forward.

Josh Phegley, Chicago Cubs

Alongside Schawrber on the Cubs is catcher Josh Phegley, who played for IU from 2007 through 2009. He was a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection and a two-time semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. He also finished the 2008 season with a .438 batting average, ranked second in the nation.

The Chicago White Sox drafted Phegley in 2009 and he made his debut with them in 2013. He posted an impressive record making him the first White Sox player to hit a grand slam within his first five career games and the first rookie in franchise history to have at least one RBI in his first three career games.

He joined the Oakland Athletics in 2015 and remained with the team until signing a contract with the Cubs in January. He played in 11 games and finished the season with a .063 batting average.

Jonathan Stiever, Chicago White Sox

Also originally drafted by the White Sox is pitcher Jonathan Stiever. He is the second-highest draft pick to come out of IU since Schwarber and Sam Travis at pick 138 in the fifth round in the 2018 MLB draft. The selection also made him the sixth IU pitcher to be drafted in the top five rounds.

Stiever played at IU from 2016 through 2018, leading the Big Ten in strikeouts in 2018 with 97 and holding a 3.56 career ERA.

Ranked as the No. 6 White Sox prospect, Stiever made his debut in September. However, with the White Sox losing to the Athletics in the National League Wild Card Series Oct. 1, Stiever pitched only two games in the season and finished with one loss and a 9.95 ERA.

Aaron Sleger, Tampa Bay Rays

Finally, there is pitcher Aaron Slegers. He played for IU from 2011 through 2013 and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins.

Slegers was forced to redshirt in 2011 after injuring his wrist, shoulder and forearm, and didn’t pitch for the Hoosiers until 2012. His best season came in 2013 when he threw 106 innings and finished the season with a 2.04 ERA. He was drafted 140th in the fifth round.

After being drafted by the Twins, Slegers bounced around the minor leagues and the disabled list until he made his debut with the team in 2017. In 2019, he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.

This season, Slegers pitched in 11 games for the rays with a 3.46 ERA. He did not pitch in the Wild Card Series against the Toronto Blue Jays but he did close the Rays’ regular season finale against the Philadelphia Phillies in the team’s win. 

Slegers is the only Hoosier still in the 2020 postseason, since the Rays swept the Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Serieson Sept. 30. They will now play the New York Yankees in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Sports



Comments powered by Disqus