#TBT: Dazzling Cleveland Indians’ spring training performances

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It is Throwback Thursday and, this week, we are throwing it back with some of the Cleveland Indians’ most masterful spring training performances.

Let’s face it: We all read far too much into spring training performances.

We, as fans, get far too excited about meaningless statistics and begin believing – or maybe just hoping – that a great player in March would finally translate into the regular season. From highly touted prospects to aging veterans Tribe fans hoped were reborn, the Indians have had some huge performers in spring training who fell flat when it counted.

Here is a look at a few of those flubs:

Jason Dubois (2006)

Jason Dubois was a big, power-hitting bat from the right side of the plate and teased Tribe fans near and far with his performance during the 2006 spring season.

In 22 games, the then-27-year-old Dubois clubbed seven extra-base hits to the tune of a .417 batting average. He was everything the Indians ever dreamed of and more, mashing the ball through seemingly every gap. At 6-feet-5-inches, Dubois was the type of imposing figure they needed as a staple in the middle of their lineup.

And he was – until it counted and Dubois never appeared in another MLB regular season game again.

Adam Miller (2007)

Adam Miller was a coveted prospect until a flurry of injuries threw his entire career off course, but not before Tribe the big right-hander teased fans in the spring of 2007.

In his first and only big league spring training with the Indians, Miller threw 14 innings of shutout baseball. Appearing in four games that spring, Miller struck out eight and allowed eight hits, holding opponents to a .160 batting average.

Miller was finally ready to make an impact in Cleveland – until he didn’t. Miller still has not made an appearance in the majors.

Matt LaPorta (2009)

At one time, Matt LaPorta – not Michael Brantley – was the centerpiece in the deal that sent C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008.

LaPorta came into the spring season that year and absolutely torched opposing pitchers, hitting .361 with seven extra-base hits. He was thought to be giving Tribe fans a little preview for what they could expect from the future cornerstone of the franchise.

But LaPorta never made it.

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He played parts of four seasons for the Tribe, hitting just .238 with a whopping 223 strikeouts in 967 plate appearances. He was a complete bust and, had it not been for Brantley – the player to be named later in that deal – the Tribe would have really gotten robbed in the Sabathia trade.

Travis Buck (2011)

Before there was a whole lot to be excited about in Cleveland, Travis Buck provided Tribe fans with a slight glimmer of hope in the spring of 2011.

After a horrific showing for the Oakland Athletics in 2010, Buck signed on with the Indians and absolutely exploded during spring training.  The Washington native played 20 games and crushed opposing pitchers, hitting .393 with four homeruns and 12 RBIs. Even better, he fanned just five times all spring.

Then the regular season happened.

Buck hit just .228 in 50 games, recording 34 hits and 30 strikeouts over that span. Cleveland quickly found a replacement and Buck went on to enjoy one more (unsuccessful) season with the Astros in 2012 before falling out of the major leagues for good.

Use the comment section below to add other dazzling spring training performers-turned-flubs to the list.

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