Cleveland Indians: Position Preview for 2021, Outfield

Josh Naylor #31 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Josh Naylor #31 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Oscar Mercado
Oscar Mercado #35 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Oscar Mercado

Perhaps the biggest unknown and wild card piece to the outfield of the Cleveland Indians in 2021 is Oscar Mercado. If Mercado plays well, then there’s a strong chance that the Indians could have three solid and productive outfielders. If he falls short of expectations, then the center field position could be a rotating door once again.

Mercado had a breakout campaign in 2019, but splitting time with Delino DeShields Jr. last season disrupted his stat line and saw his numbers slouch, resulting in a brief demotion to the taxi squad. If Mercado can return to his 2019 form that gained him Rookie of the Year consideration, then this could be one of the more promising outfields for the Indians in long time.

At 26-years old, there’s still a lot of time for Mercado to find his rhythm. During the 2019 season, Mercado was able to slash .269/.318/.443, which is more than serviceable. What he did with those opportunities was just as impressive. His stat line from the season included 15 stolen bases, 15 home runs, 25 doubles and 54 RBI.

However, this past season those numbers dipped heavily. His slash line became .128/.174/.174. He had just one double and one home run and only three stolen bases. The sample size was much smaller at just 36 games, but it’s a bit of a red flag regardless.