Cleveland Indians: 4 Prospects to Watch for in 2017

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians
MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians /

Giovanny Urshela

Giovanny Urshela burst onto the scene two seasons ago around the same time Lindor did. The rookie duo on the left side of the infield is in large part what led the Indians to their strong finish in 2015. Their defense dazzled and helped eliminate many balls that would normally be hits.

Unfortunately for Urshela, his lack of plate discipline cost him consideration for the third base job going into 2016, as the Indians signed veteran Juan Uribe to fill the whole. Utility man and now full-time third baseman Jose Ramirez later filled that role. Urshela did not see time in Cleveland in in 2016.

On the bright side for Urshela, a year in AAA saw his hitting improve. After a dreadful .225 batting average with the Indians, Urshela hit .274 with 24 doubles and 57 RBI in Columbus. These do, however, match his previous numbers from AAA.

Urshela will likely need more time on the Indians to adjust to the pitching at that level. He might not have been ready in 2015, as his call-up was unexpected, but he should be now.

While Ramirez is slated to be the starting third baseman after his impressive 2016 campaign, the Indians do not have a clear-cut backup at the position. At this time, it seems that Michael Martinez and Erik Gonzalez are the top contenders for that role, but the Indians will likely want an upgrade. Urshela could be that guy.

Also, with Yandy Diaz right behind Urshela, this will open up more playing time for Diaz at third base in AAA. It will also give Urshela a type of “showcase” so that the Indians can shop him on the trade market since they have Diaz ready to make the jump to Cleveland as well.