Former Twin Aaron Slegers Announces Retirement From Baseball – Twins

Aaron Slegers took to Twitter the other day to announce that, due to a shoulder issue, he is ending his career as a pitcher. For 10 professional seasons, the walk-on Indiana University product hopped between four franchises, accruing 931 1/3 innings spread across the minors and majors; he pitched in three postseason games for the 2020 Rays.

A Long Beach-born pitcher, Slegers dominated his junior season with the Hoosiers, earning Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in a year he allowed a 2.03 ERA over 106 frames for a team that made it all the way to the College World Series. . With future big-league players Sam Travis, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hart, Scott Effross, and Slegers himself, the team claimed surprising depth for a program not known for baseball. Chuck Knoblauch’s nephew served as the backup at first base. In the series, Indiana beat Louisville before losing to Mississippi State and Oregon State in two one-run losses. Slegers took the hard-luck loss against Oregon State, allowing a lone run in a complete game overshadowed by Matt Boyd’s 11 strikeouts.

The disappointment stung, but Slegers moved on. The Twins called his name in the fifth round, perhaps hoping that the immense downward plane—calm yourself, Bert Blyleven—created from his 6’10” stature in conjunction with his sinker would translate to a groundball machine in the pros.

Never a strikeout machine, Slegers worked diligently through the minors, absorbing innings by limiting hard contact and throwing strikes—the perfect pitcher for the Terry Ryan Twins. Although his numbers never popped off the page, Slegers consistently earned promotions and always remained younger than his competition level; his fabulous 2.87 ERA at High-A Fort Myers in 2015 served as his signature season.

The great 2016 leadership migration did not change Slegers’ spot in the organization, and the righty debuted in 2017, making three spot starts for a team on its way to a surprise Wild Card game.

Minnesota kept Slegers around for 2018 but shipped him to Pittsburgh following the season. He never appeared for the Pirates, instead joining the Rays before the start of the 2019 season.

Tampa Bay proved to be a kind home for Slegers. The Rays—always looking for outcasts to turn into stars—squeezed 29 effective innings out of Slegers between 2019 and 2020; they even found him five postseason frames in the grueling 2020 bracket, albeit all in decided games.

Slegers joined the Angels in 2021, pitching in 29 games to end his MLB career. The Rays re-signed him in 2022 on a minor-league deal, but Slegers appeared in just two games—the final outings of his professional career.

Although it could be easy to paint Slegers’ career as a disappointment, the path to baseball stardom is fraught with the hopes and potential of talented individuals; all cannot achieve greatness. Thousands of players tossed fewer MLB frames than Slegers; most never reached the grand stage. With a pocket full of major league money, Slegers is now free to pursue whatever venture he pleases, and he’ll do so with less pain emanating from his right arm.

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