Seven Hoosiers went to summer camp, four remain on big league rosters, and after a month of workouts, it’s clear there are two cities that love the Hoosiers.
The San Francisco Giants opened the 60-game Major League Baseball season on Thursday with Alex Dickerson and Caleb Baragar on the roster, while the Chicago Cubs will open the season Friday with Kyle Schwarber (obviously) and Josh Phegley both in the same uniform.
Baragar is the biggest surprise of the bunch, earning his spot after impressing Giants brass in recent days. The left-hander wasn’t added to San Francisco’s camp roster until July 8, almost a week after workouts began. He seemed to clinch a spot in the Giants’ bullpen with a solid outing in a scrimmage last week, receiving praise from manager Gabe Kapler in the process.
“I’m not saying Caleb is a Hall-of-Famer,” Kapler said. “But the delivery reminded us in the dugout of (Andy) Pettitte.”
Phegley, too, wasn’t a lock to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster — the taxi squad seemed most likely for the 32-year-old career .227 hitter. But Chicago opted to carry three catchers, giving Phegley an extended opportunity. He’ll team with Schwarber, who could see some time at DH during this extremely odd campaign for National League teams, in particular.
The same goes for Dickerson, who could be a DH candidate for the Giants after hitting .290 with 22 extra-base hits in 56 games with the team last season.
“We saw him as especially dangerous against right-handed pitching,” Kapler said. “We had to have left-handed pitching ready for him. We were aware of his health history, and now, our No. 1 concern is making sure we keep him healthy. We think if Alex Dickerson is healthy, he’s a very, very dangerous weapon against right-handed pitching.”
A few more Hoosiers could hit The Show later in the summer. Pitchers Kyle Hart (Red Sox), Aaron Slegers (Rays) seem to be just a call away. Jonathan Stiever (White Sox) feels like a long shot to debut in the big leagues this summer, but his addition to Chicago’s alternate roster means he’s merely a few weird bounces (and a few positive COVID-19 tests by teammates) from getting the promotion.