Cleveland Indians: Seeing where the team stands a week in
Spring Training is in full swing. We’re a little over a week in now, and there’s close to 16 games on any given day. Now while spring training games up to the speed of the normal MLB game, it’s still nice to have baseball back. And with that, it’s nice to be able to finally assess some of the new pieces the Cleveland Indians have, and even some old ones.
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Mike Napoli (.417, 1 HR, 3 RBI): The Indians got Mike Napoli this offseason in the hopes that he would be the power bat that they needed, and so far this spring he’s been that. In 12 at bats, he has five hits, a walk, and a home run. He’s been getting it done with the leather too, as he made this sweet diving play against the Mariners. Overall Napoli has looked good when he’s played and looks like he could make an impact right out of the gate for the Indians.
Tyler Naquin (.444, 2 3B, 1 RBI): The Indians have a problem. Michael Brantley still looks like he could start the season on the disabled list (more on that in a little bit,) and this didn’t seem like a huge problem, that was until Abraham Almonte was suspended for 80 games for taking a banned substance. This then opens up an opportunity for someone in the outfield, and it looks like Tyler Naquin is making that his opportunity. Naquin has been hitting the stitches off the ball, picking up eight hits in 18 at bats, and looking very comfortable in the field and on the base paths. Many were disappointed that the Indians didn’t sign Austin Jackson this offseason to help fill the gap, but Tyler Naquin looks like he’ll have people forgetting about that quick.
Giovanny Urshela (.357, 2 HR, 6 RBI): Giovanny Urshela had an up and down 2015. He made some great plays in the field, but more often than not he looked lost in the batter’s box, leading to the Indians signing Juan Uribe this offseason to command the hot corner. Urshela isn’t going down without a fight though as he has blasted two home runs so far this spring, good for a tie for first on the team with Jose Ramirez (yes, Jose Ramirez, I’m as surprised as you are.) If Urshela uses this year to hone his hitting skills, then the Indians will be set when Uribe (presumably) leaves after this year.
Rajai Davis (.063, 1 H, 2 RBI): Rajai Davis was brought to Cleveland to give the Indians some life on the base paths, and supply some pop from the top of the order. So far this spring, Davis has only had one hit in 16 opportunities. Now again, it is only spring, but here’s to hoping that Davis doesn’t carry his struggles into the regular season.
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Michael Brantley (No games played): Michael Brantley has arguably been the Indians most important player over these past couples years. So any time that you lose a player of his caliber, you know that there’s going to be some rushing trying to replace their production. Well, the Indians very well might not have to do that, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has reported that Brantley could take BP this weekend. Now this doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be able to play opening day, or that he’ll even be healthy once April 4th rolls around. But this does give the Cleveland Indians piece of mind knowing that he’s healing quicker than expected, and his injury shouldn’t carry over that much into the regular season.