Ben Heller

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Benjamin Heller

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Ben Heller was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the 22nd round of the 2013 amateur draft; the scout was Les Pajari. He began his pro career that same year with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League going 1-3, 3.13 in 21 games. He split 2013 between the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League and the Carolina Mudcats of the Carolina League going a combined 5-1, 2.38 with 5 saves in 45 games. He pitched exclusively in relief, logging 53 innings, during which he struck out an impressive 81 batters. In 2015, he split his time between the Lynchburg Hillcats, the Indians' new Carolina League affiliate and the Akron Rubber Ducks of the AA Eastern League. This time, he was 0-2, 4.02 in 41 games, with 12 saves.

Ben started the 2016 season back at Akron, but after going 1-0, 0.55 in his first 15 appearances, during which he also collected 7 saves, he was promoted to the AAA Columbus Clippers on May 21st. He continued to pitch well there, with a record of 2-2, 2.49 in 28 games and another 5 saves. He was on the brink of making his big league debut when on July 31st, he was one of four prospects traded to the New York Yankees in return for closer Andrew Miller. Accompanying him were OF Clint Frazier and Ps J.P. Feyereisen and Justus Sheffield. He made his debut with the Yankees less than a month later, on August 26th, and pitched 10 times in relief, with a win and a 6.43 ERA in 7 innings. He was back with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at the start of the 2017 season. He was called up to make a one-off appearance on June 13th, pitching only a third of an inning and letting two men reach base, but his next major league appearance was more memorable on July 15th. Facing the Boston Red Sox, he entered the game in the bottom of the 15th inning and struck out the side around a walk, then after the Yankees had scored three times in the top of the 16th, ended the game with a perfect inning to be given credit for the win in a game that had lasted almost six hours at Fenway Park.

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