Friday 5: Key players who will propel the Cleveland Indians to the top

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Jun 3, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder

Michael Bourn

(24) is safe at second base against Kansas City Royals shortstop

Alcides Escobar

(2) with a double in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bourn

When healthy, there is no denying the impact Bourn has on the game.

His speed, while not what it used to be, changes the dynamic of games and allows the Tribe to do a number of different things with his bat at the bottom of the lineup. Since moving into the bottom-third of the order, Bourn has posted the second-highest batting average on the team.

Yes, second-highest. Meaning, behind only Jason Kipnis and ahead of Brantley.

Bourn has hit .316 across 30 games, adding four extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and four stolen bases. As he continues to regain his confidence, Bourn has become an impactful baserunner, which was on full display in Kansas City this week. The 32-year-old center fielder was 4-for-9 in the series, including a stolen base and an impressive double that was made possible only by his speed and hustle, as he tested the arm of Lorenzo Cain in center field.

While he isn’t the most popular guy in Cleveland, given his struggles since the Tribe signed him to a lucrative contract two seasons ago, Bourn could play a significant role in the Indians’ stretch run toward a division crown. His speed at the bottom of the lineup helps set the table for Kipnis, Santana and Brantley at the top of the order.

The Tribe must get production from the lower-third of their lineup to field a more complete (and consistent) offensive bunch. Bourn is only a small piece of that goal, but his contributions are undoubtedly essential to the success of the Cleveland Indians.

Who do you think will have the biggest impact on the Tribe’s offensive success this season?

Next: Friday 5 - Roster moves the Tribe should make

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