Pirates minor leaguer Tyler Eppler heads to Japan

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Robert Murray of The Athletic reports that the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League have purchased the contract of right-hander Tyler Eppler from the Pirates.

Eppler, 26, was a sixth round draft pick of the Pirates back in 2014. He just completed his second season of Triple-A ball, going 13-6 with a 3.59 ERA but with a relatively low strikeout rate that, in this day and age, is the difference between being a big leaguer and becoming the mayor of Indianapolis (or whatever Triple-A town is applicable). He was left off the Pirates’ 40-man roster and went unselected in the Rule 5 draft, so it would seem that no other big league team considers him big league material either.

That’s not great for Eppler, but having the chance to go to play in Japan, where pitchers with his stuff are a bit more valued, is not a bad fallback. He’ll likely make more money there than he would even if he somehow got a callup here. And, hey, it’s always better to be appreciated, right?