Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Triple-A Indianapolis Awards

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, have been eliminated from the International League Playoff contention.  Let’s recap their season.

The Indianapolis Indians had a really strong season, falling a game short in making the International League playoffs.  The Pittsburgh Pirates did the Indians no favor by calling up some of the team’s strong performers recently, which could be part as to why they were eliminated. Still, that is what Triple-A is for, and just to see the team get so close to making the playoffs suggests that there is some talent getting closer to joining the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Indianapolis Indians have finished their 2018 season with a record of 73-67.  Although they had a good record, it was not good enough to sneak them into the playoff.  The team was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss on Sunday to the Louisville Bats.  Still, a winning team, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw a lot of their prospects perform very well at Triple-A this year.  Who were the top performers?

Most Valuable Player

The Indianapolis Indians had several key contributors this year, including Jose Osuna, Kevin Newman, and Chris Bostick (who was traded a few weeks ago).  However, there was one player who really made a big impact for the Indians and really should be on the Pittsburgh Pirates radar as soon as tomorrow. That player would be second base prospect Kevin Kramer.

Kramer, a second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015, has become one of the most intriguing prospects in the upper minors after the way he hit this year.  On the year he played in 129 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, batting .311/.365/.492.  He led the Indians in home runs with 15, doubles with 35, and was tied with Jose Osuna with 59 RBIs. He also was steady in the other facets of the game, as he swiped 13 bases and played solid defense at second base.

Pitcher of the Year

Many would say that Tyler Eppler would be the obvious choice for the Indians Pitcher of the Year.  Albeit Eppler’s general numbers are solid, going 13-6 with a 3.59 ERA and leading the team in innings.  However, this was his second go around in Triple-A, so he performed as he should with repeating the level.

The pitcher who really made a big difference on the Triple-A team was Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 draft pick JT Brubaker.  Brubaker started the year with Double-A Altoona but was still able to make 22 starts for Triple-A.  In his 22 starts, he pitched 119 innings and struck out 96 batters while only walking 36. He led the team’s staff with a 3.10 ERA.

Next. Altoona Curve Awards. dark

What’s next for the Indianapolis Indians in 2019?  Well, the team will likely be saying goodbye to Kevin Newman.  Newman was promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates a few weeks ago and projects to be the big league starter next season at shortstop.  Meanwhile, Kevin Kramer should not be far behind him graduating from Triple-A.  So the Indianapolis Indians should look forward to getting the next top infield prospect in Ke’Bryan Hayes.  Along with Hayes, the team will also have Mitch Keller starting the year and looking to build off his strong finish.  Triple-A Indianapolis will have the Pittsburgh Pirates top two prospects overall in 2019.