A strange and stressful pandemic journey for minor league baseball players is turning into a momentous occasion for a former IU pitcher.
Left-hander Caleb Baragar has made the San Francisco Giants opening day roster as Major League Baseball gets set to kick-off its long awaited 2020 season. This is Baragar’s first appearance on an MLB roster after spending four seasons in the minor leagues.
Baragar was a late addition to the Giants’ 60-man roster and seemed like a long shot to make the opening day squad.
But a couple strong exhibition outings were enough to convince the Giants to keep Baragar as one of 16 pitchers on the 30-man roster.
After Baragar pitched two strong innings in an intrasquad game last week, Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler had high praise.
Kapler said the left-handed reliever’s delivery reminded coaches of Andy Pettitte.
“I’m not saying Caleb is a Hall-of-Famer,” Kapler told reporters. “But the delivery reminded us in the dugout of Pettitte.”
The Giants are hoping that Baragar can provide needed left-handed depth in their bullpen.
“He has really attacked the strike zone in both outings,” Kapler added. “He has missed bats. His fastball has had carry. It’s definitely encouraging to see him come out and be so aggressive and comfortable on the mound.”
Baragar was the first Hoosier taken off the 2016 draft board when the Giants selected him in the ninth round.
Baragar made 27 career starts in a Hoosier uniform, including 15 starts in 2016. A native of Jenison, Mich., Baragar posted a 2.88 career ERA at Indiana, as opponents hit just .216 off him. He allowed 114 hits over 143.2 innings and struck out 124 for his career.
The Southpaw finished 2016 fourth in the Big Ten in opposing batting average (.205), tied for fifth in ERA (2.49), 11th in strikeouts (74) and 13th in innings pitched (86.2).
Former IU slugger Alex Dickerson is also on the Giants’ 30-man roster.
San Francisco opens the season tonight at 10:08 p.m. ET in Los Angeles when they face the Dodgers with no fans in attendance. That game will air on ESPN.
TWO MORE HOOSIERS MAKE 30-MAN ROSTERS
Former IU stars Kyle Schwarber and Josh Phegley also made the final 30-man rosters for the Chicago Cubs. It will be Phegley’s first season with Chicago after several campaigns in Oakland.
Pitchers Kyle Hart and Aaron Slegers were on the 60-man rosters of Boston and Tampa, respectively. Neither player made the final 30-man roster but their inclusion on the 60-man rosters keeps them eligible to be called up later in the season.
The pandemic shortened 2020 MLB season consists of 60 games and runs through to the league’s normal late September end point.
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