Home' Island Sun : ISN 073115 Contents ISLAND SUN - JULY 31, 2015
It’s Fastballs, Not Dunks For
6-Foot, 10-Inch Hoosier Slegers,
Tops Among Miracle Pitchers
by Ed Frank
In basketball crazy Indiana, baseball is fast becoming the
headline sport, and 6-foot, 10-inch Aaron Slegers – the fast-
ball hurling pitcher for the Fort Myers Miracle – is part of
this changing phenomina.
If you question this statement, let’s look at the facts even
before we review the breakout season of Slegers, the leading
pitcher on the Miracle staff.
Slegers teammate at Indiana University, Kyle Schwaber,
the amazing rookie catcher for the Chicago Cubs, played less
than a year in the minors before being called up. A year ago at
this time, he was catching for the former Daytona Cubs of the
Florida State League. He had been the Cubs first-round draft pick
(4th overall) in last year’s draft.
Schwaber began this week with a .391 batting average, 11 RBIs and three home
runs in just 15 games since summoned to the “big show.”
Now here’s another fact about Indiana University baseball: A total of six Hoosiers
were recently selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. Are you beginning to
get the picture?
Let’s get back to Slegers, who at nearly 7 feet, was often confused as 7-foot bas-
ketball star Cody Zeller on the I.U. campus. Once a Bloomington, Indiana restaurant
owner, thinking he was Zeller, asked to pose with him for a photo. He went along with
the ruse before telling the owner of the joke.
Before long, however, the imposing Slegers made a name of his own as the Big
Ten Pitcher of the Year, leading I.U. to its first conference championship since 1949.
He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, and
in his first full year of professional baseball in 2014, posted a 7-7 record at Low A
He was promoted to the Advanced A Miracle before the end of the season where
he has played since.
As the week began, Slegers topped the Miracle staff with 106.1 innings pitched,
a sparkling 2.88 ERA and a 7-5 season record. Last week, he pitched seven strong
innings allowing just five hits in a 2-1 vic-
tory over the Jupiter Hammerheads.
He is the tallest player in the Twins
organization “and is having a really nice
year for the Miracle. He has steadily
improved throughout the year and July has
been his best month,” said Brad Steil, the
director of Minor League Operations for
“He has certainly pitched well enough
to be considered for promotion to Double
A Chattanooga if something opens up.
His fastball is probably his best pitch and
he does a good job of keeping it down in
the zone resulting on ground balls,” Steil
His towering presence on the mound
reminds Miracle fans of 7-foot Loek Van
Mil, who pitched here several years ago
but later was released. He played in Japan
We all know that the road from minor
league to major league baseball is a long,
long road for most aspiring athletes. And
the odds are not great as probably less
than 10 percent ever earn to wear a major league uniform.
But the 255-pound Slegers has shown in the past that he has the determination to
He played high school baseball at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in
Scottsdale, Arizona, where he was a described as a well-mannered teenager who looked
a “big giraffe.” Between his junior and senior year he grew from 6-foot 2-inches to
continued on page 43
photo provided by Minnesota Twins
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1. When was the last time before 2014 that the Baltimore Orioles won the A.L. East?
2. Who was the last Oakland A’s player to have 100-plus RBIs in a season?
3. In the 2014 Super Bowl, Seattle’s Malcolm Smith became the third linebacker to be
named MVP of a Super Bowl. Who were the other two?
4. Who was the last No. 7 seed before UConn in 2014 to reach the Final Four in men’s
5. In the 2014-15 season, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL
history to have six seasons of 50-plus goals. Who are the others?
6. At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Ted Ligety became the fifth American male with two or
more Olympic Alpine skiing medals. Name three of the other four.
7. Who was the last repeat captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup squad before Tom Watson
1. It was 1997. 2. Frank Thomas had 114 RBIs in 2006. 3. Dallas’ Chuck Howley (1971) and
Baltimore’s Ray Lewis (2001). 4. Virginia, in 1984. 5. Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario
Lemieux, Marcel Dionne and Guy Laﬂeur. 6. Bode Miller, Phil Mahre, Tommy Moe and An-
drew Weibrecht. 7. Jack Nicklaus, 1983 and 1987.
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