Cleveland Indians: Five Players That Could Play a Key Part in 2016

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Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Lindor – SS

When the 2015 season began, many expected to see Lindor at some point in time this year. But few would have expected the Indians to pull the trigger and call him up in mid-June. But things were already unraveling at that point for a team that had high expectations, and Jose Ramirez couldn’t find the success at the plate he had last season. Enter the 21-year-old Lindor, the Tribe’s top prospect.

Upon his call-up, he was still struggling at the plate in the minors but his glove would be an immediate upgrade at shortstop. His first month wasn’t unexpected. His struggles continued, but he flashed that defensive talent over and over again. The Indians were willing to let Lindor get on the job training. But on the job training was a very short window for the talented Lindor.

Entering August, he was hitting just .265, but had hit five home runs and drove in 19 in 40 games. The Tribe was still playing sub-.500 baseball then, so the on the field education would continue. Oh my how quickly things change.

Lindor slashed an impressive .370/.413/.500 with eight doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI’s. The Indians play was improving, and it’s not a coincidence it correlates with his improvement at the plate. He currently sits at .304, with seven home runs and 33 driven in. If not for the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa he would likely be the AL Rookie of the Year. Still not out of the question, though.

Next: Short-term solution in CF?