There’s plenty of questions to be asked about the Cleveland Indians outfield, but one interesting question is one involving Oscar Mercado’s chances to start.
The complaints about the Cleveland Indians outfield situations have been heard. There’s no doubt that Michael Brantley was an irreplaceable piece of this team and that things just look different without him.
As of now, Tyler Naquin, Leonys Martin, Jake Bauers, and Greg Allen all seem to be the consensus outfielders on this team. Bradley Zimmer will have a part to play once he returns to full health. These aren’t daunting pieces in the Indians lineup. Most of them will hit in the bottom part of the order, save the few times we may see Greg Allen lead off.
But someone who has outplayed all of the competition thus far in Spring Training is Oscar Mercado. Mercado may be on the outside looking in when it comes to making this team, but he’s chomping at the bits with every opportunity he gets.
In 32 AB’s he’s batting .438 and slugging .844. with six XBH’s. That includes three home-runs that have all been moonshots. He also has himself 8 RBI’s and a stolen base to add to his name. Something that strongly benefits Mercado is the fact that he bats right-handed. All of the aforementioned outfielders are lefty bats, save the switch-hitting Greg Allen.
Mercado has no MLB-level experience. During his time in the Cardinals system, he made it as high as Triple-A and continued to play Triple-A in the Tribe system in Columbus. He has all of his options remaining, and why his chances of making the Opening Day roster could be slim, the Indians would do well to bring him in ASAP.
Service time is always a funny topic for young players. Mercado sits at number 16 in the Indians Top-30 prospect list according to MLB Pipeline. His value for the Tribe is increasing this spring. The Indians need outfielders and while they may try to fill that whole at the trade deadline, they still have to make it to that point with the resources at their disposal.
Oscar Mercado is one of those resources. If he continues to play as he has so far this spring, the Indians will have to give him a chance at the MLB level. With two weeks left in Spring Training, it’s safe to say everyone is excited to watch Mercado make his case.