4. Left Field, Josh Naylor
2020 Stats (with SD & CLE): .247/.291/.330 1HR, 6 RBI’s
Josh Naylor came over to the Indians as part of the Mike Clevinger trade last August and now finds himself having gone from fringe major leaguer in San Diego to having a chance to hit cleanup every day for the Indians.
Naylor was Cleveland’s best hitter in their playoff series loss against the Yankees, hitting .714 with a home run and three RBI’s in the two-game set.
He has the ability to play multiple positions, but the Indians plan to use him in left field, where he’ll likely find himself a starting role and spot smack in the middle of the Indians batting order.
5. Catcher, Austin Hedges
2020 Stats (with SD & CLE) .145/.231/.290 3 HR, 6 RBI’s
Hedges struggled in 2020 at the plate but is not far removed from three-straight double-digit home run seasons (2017-2019) and establishing himself as a fringe top-10 catcher in all of baseball.
The Indians added him in the Clevinger trade for a reason, so expect him to earn a significant role on the 2021 squad, even if that is in an attempt to boost his trade value come summertime.
6. First Base, Jake Bauers
2019 Stats (DNP in 2020): .226/.312/.371 12 HR’s, 43 RBI’s
Perhaps the biggest question for the Indians entering 2021 is who will play first base. Carlos Santana manned that position last season and for much of the past decade and with the patient switch-hitter now in Kansas City, Cleveland has a hole to fill.
Look for former top prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays Jake Bauers to be given the first opportunity at first. Bauers spent the entire 2020 season in Lake County at Cleveland’s alternate site. After spending his rookie season of 2018 with the Rays, he joined the Indians via trade in 2019 and hit 12 home runs.
The left-handed bat plays first base and left field and could provide the team with much-needed middle of the order power from the left side of the plate.