Indianapolis Indians players to watch
The Indianapolis Indians are back — and there's a good chance you don't know who any of the players are.
Why it matters: The Indians are a popular summertime attraction whether you like baseball or not. But the games can be more fun when you know what (and who) to look for.
Between the lines: Expect the Pittsburgh Pirates, with one of the deepest minor league systems in baseball, to cycle exciting players through Indianapolis — its Triple-A affiliate — this year.
State of play: Several top Pirates' prospects are starting the season here, including a strong group of pitchers.
1. Endy Rodriguez, catcher
Rodriguez, who plays multiple positions, hit .412 with three doubles in 17 spring training at-bats after finishing last year with a flourish in Indianapolis.
- What they're saying: The Athletic's Keith Law writes: "He might not be a star, but I'm not ruling it out."
2. Quinn Priester, pitcher
Priester, a right-hander, is a soon-to-be starting pitcher in the majors with rookie-of-the-year aspirations.
- What they're saying: "This year, if I'm not in the big leagues … we're going to look back on it and say, 'Hey, what happened?'" Priester told Triblive.com.
3. Mike Burrows, pitcher
Burrows spent most of last year "shredding Double-A," per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He used the winter to teach himself a slider, a new pitch that could help him move up.
- What they're saying: Burrows "is on the doorstep of transforming PNC Park (in Pittsburgh) into his office," MLB.com reports.
4. Luis Ortiz, pitcher
Ortiz joins the Indians after pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The right-hander tops 100 miles per hour and played four games for the Pirates last year, striking out 17 batters in 16 innings.
- What they're saying: "He's still trying to perfect a changeup and sometimes experiences issues with his control. The stint in the minor leagues is certainly temporary," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.
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