By Trey Wilson
Six former Altoona Curve players reached the Majors for the first time in 2015, raising the franchise’s total to 123 in its 17 seasons dating back to 1999.
Two players, Keon Broxton and Elias Diaz, debuted as members of the Pittsburgh Pirates this year. Fellow Curve alumni Yhonathan Barrios (Brewers), Alex Dickerson (Padres), Ramon Cabrera (Reds) and Diego Moreno (Yankees) reached the Show with other Major League teams.
After spending 2014 with Curve, Keon Broxton began the 2015 campaign back in Altoona again.
“Honestly, I don’t want to be in Double-A or Triple-A. I want to be in the big leagues,” Broxton said in an interview early in the season.
In September, that desire became a reality. Broxton debuted with the Pirates on Sept. 21 at Colorado as a pinch runner and promptly picked up his first MLB stolen base. He was also included on the Pirates’ Postseason roster for the N.L. Wild Card Game.
Elias Diaz was the MVP of the Altoona Curve in 2014 and spent most of this season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. He earned a call up to the Pirates in September and appeared in his first Major League game on Sept. 12.
Yhonathan Barrios began his professional career as an infielder with the Pirates organization. He flipped to pitching in 2013, and it did not take him long to rocket up the ladder. He began 2015 with the Curve, posting a 1.46 ERA with 10 saves in 20 appearances. After a promotion to Triple-A in June, Barrios was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in July for Aramis Ramirez. He made his MLB debut out of the Brewers’ bullpen on Sept. 24.
Alex DIckerson was the Altoona Curve MVP and Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2013 after hitting .288 with 17 homers and 68 RBIs. After his All-Star campaign with Altoona, Dickerson was traded to the San Diego Padres for Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas that September. He was the PCL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star with Triple-A El Paso this season and earned a promotion to the Majors this summer, making his debut with the Padres on August 6.
Ramon Cabrera played 112 games for the Curve in 2012 prior to being traded to the Detroit Tigers for lefty pitcher Andy Oliver in the offseason. After bouncing between Erie and Toledo in 2013, Cabrera was claimed off waivers and returned to the Pirates organization in 2014 and played 12 more games with Altoona, but was released in the offseason. Cabrera signed with the Cincinnati Reds in December and made his MLB debut on Sept. 5. He performed well in limited September action, posting a .367 batting average over 13 games.
Diego Moreno pitched for the Curve in parts of 2010 and 2011 prior to joining the Yankees organization in 2013. He debuted at Yankee Stadium on June 22 against the Philadelphia Phillies.