Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Four Former IU Baseball Stars Having Breakout MLB Seasons in 2019

In many ways it is to be expected.

As a program has evolved over the last decade measurably into the Big Ten’s best, and clear national relevance, of course that means there is talent on the field.

Never was the talent more evident than during then 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, when an Indiana school record 10 players were selected.

A so-called “northern school” when it comes to collegiate baseball, IU was right there with the big boys when it came to players being drafted this year.

Of course getting drafted is one thing.  The school has had 104 players chosen in the draft all-time, and according to Baseball Reference, 32 former Hoosiers have at least registered an appearance in the big leagues.

But actually thriving at the highest level of the game?  That’s a different story.  Only four former Hoosiers have appeared in more than 500 MLB games, and only two — Ted Kluszewski and Mickey Morandini have seen action in more than 1,000 games.

That’s why when four former IU stars are all compiling career best seasons in the majors — all at the same time — we take note.

It’s further evidence of that evolving program — and further evidence that the “northern school” thing is becoming a moniker of the past.

Take a look at the seasons currently being compiled by Alex Dickerson, Josh Phegley, Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis:

ALEX DICKERSON

A career .257 hitter coming into the season, Dickerson has overcome two season ending injuries in 2017 and 2018.

A trade to the Giants seemingly rejuvenated his career, with Dickerson hitting .386 with six homers and 25 runs batted in since being dealt to San Francisco.

Dickerson is coming off a brief stint on the disabled list, and this graphic perfectly illustrates his value to the Giants.

JOSH PHEGLEY

A thumb contusion currently has Phegley rehabbing his way back to Oakland, but this has been the most active and most productive season for the Terre Haute native in the big leagues.

Phegley is hitting .243 with 10 home runs and 47 runs batted in.  He is putting up his most production of his seven year career including at bats, hits, runs, home runs and runs batted in.

According to iubase.com, this homer by Phegley, his 10th on the season, was the 500th all-time by a former IU player.

KYLE SCHWARBER

Schwarber is of course the name that needs the least introduction here.

Breakout may not be the proper way to describe his 2019 season, but the former Hoosier slugger is on pace for a career best campaign by most measures.

Schwarber is currently hitting .231 with 27 home runs and 61 runs batted in with one and a half months remaining in the season.  His previous best seasons are .238 (2018), 30 (2017) and 61 (2018/2019), respectively.

The Ohio native’s next home run will be the 100th of his five year career.

(Update:  Schwarber hit No. 100 on Thursday night.  He is the fastest ever (by games) to 100 by a Cub)

SAM  TRAVIS

Quietly in Boston, Travis is emerging.

His third tour of duty with the Red Sox this season has been his best in the big leagues.

Travis is hitting .270 with five home runs and 14 runs batted in through 96 plate appearances on the season.  He has been with the Red Sox since mid-July after multiple call-ups from AAA Pawtucket.

He had previously hit in the .240s with one home run and eight runs batted in over 121 plate appearances during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.


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