Coming into spring training in 2017, several Cleveland Indians position players are battling for roster spots and eventual opening day lineup nods.
Last year, the Cleveland Indians added players like Marlon Byrd, Juan Uribe and Rajai Davis to compete with younger players like Jose Ramirez and Tyler Naquin for starting roles. While the veterans won the starting jobs in spring training, the younger players eventually took over as everyday players.
The younger players proved they belonged on the major league roster in spring training, which ultimately led to their success later in the year.
Fast forward to 2017 and players are again looking to prove they belong on the major league roster.
With this healthy competition chasing Tribe talent from close behind and the high expectations of Tribe fans and management for this year’s team, it is possible that pieces get plugged in and removed throughout the year to ensure success for the team.
Last season, fans saw this when Uribe was removed from third base and eventually released in favor of Ramirez, or when Naquin began splitting time with Davis in center field.
Whether it be youth, a past injury or a position competition, several players have much to prove in spring training if they hope to make the major league roster or secure a long-term starting spot.