WHY JAKE BAUERS ABOUT BOBBY BRADLEY?
That’s what I was thinking when looking at the Tribe’s roster decisions before opening day, which is Thursday in Detroit. Let’s look at some of the decisions:
1. I don’t think Jake Bauers succeeds. In spring training, I saw the same guy hit .214 (.691 OPS) with 23 HRs and 91 RBI in 811 major league plate appearances in 2018-19 with Tampa Bay and the Tribe. He showed so little last season that the Tribe never promoted him from the “alternate spot” despite having an outfield with a combined batting average of .190 in 2020.
2. Bauers can play left field, as he did for 73 games in 2019. His best position is first base and the Tribe considers him superior to Bobby Bradley on the field. Bauers hit just .179 (.645 OPS) this spring with two doubles, zero HR. Bauers made two mistakes early on in Friday’s game. I saw him launch a popup last week on Goodyear, but they didn’t charge me with a bug.
3. Why did Cleveland keep Bauers over Bobby Bradley (.305, 2 HR, .951 OPS), who had a better spring? “The most important thing is that if Jake doesn’t make it to the club, it’s irreversible,” Terry Francona said. “Jake has done enough, we have to watch him play.”
4. Francona refers to Bauers having no minor league options. Before the Tribe can send it to minors, it has to go through exemptions. Any baseball team can claim it. The Tribe doesn’t want to risk losing him and finding out that the 25-year-old Bauers finally plays like the highly regarded prospect he was a few years ago.
5. I wish I could say that Bradley seems absolutely ready, but it’s hard to be sure. He fanned 196 times in 581 Class AAA plate appearances, hitting .262 (.876 OPS) with 36 HRs. He has power, but when a guy strikes out every three at-bats in Class AAA, that’s a concern. At least he has legitimate power in the majors. The Tribe will take turns at first base, and they moved Bauers to the front of the line.
6. With Bauers and Bradley both being left-handed hitters, look for Yu Chang to play against left-handed pitchers. Chang made the team as the utility infielder. He’s a natural shortstop, but the 25-year-old Chang can handle first base.
7. Francona on Chang, who has four home runs this spring: “When I see him at the plate, he always seems dangerous to me. … He’s gotten along pretty well to first (base). “
BRADLEY ZIMMER TO THE MINORS
1. When Daniel Johnson was sent to the minors 10 days ago, I thought that meant Bradley Zimmer would make the pass. They are both left-handed outfielders. Well, I thought wrong when they sent Zimmer to the alternate site.
2. The Tribe is counting on Ben Gamel to play center field, along with converted shortstop Amed Rosario. Gamel played a lot of center in the minors, but the 5-year veteran has only played 39 major league games in center. But Gamel has played 24 games there over the past two seasons. Francona calls Gamel “really reliable in center field.”
3. Cleveland would love for Rosario to prove capable. He has not had any problems at CF since his debut with 3 errors. Nor has he received many balls in his direction. Rosario has had a good spring at the plate, hitting .296.
4. The message to Zimmer was that he needed to make more adjustments at the plate. “We want Zim to have the opportunity to be more consistent,” Francona said. “We think April can be a pretty cruel month in Ohio. We want to give him the best chance to succeed. “
5. The Tribe also has only two right-handed hitters in the outfield: Jordan Luplow and Rosario. They are both career .300 hitters against left-handed pitchers. The Tribe played a bit of Luplow in CF. But he has battled ankle problems for most of the spring.
SOME GOOD NEWS FROM GOODYEAR
1. Andrés Giménez has been a revelation in spring training, playing a solid to sensational shortstop as well as being a reliable hitter. That is why Rosario could go to the gardens. Giménez has shown a short and quick swing with his left foot. This spring, he’s hitting .293 (.878 OPS).
2. In Friday’s game, Gimenez singled and stole the second. He moved to third on a deep fly and then scored on a sacrifice fly. He’s just 22 years old with just 49 MLB games, but he plays with the confidence of a veteran.
3. Logan Allen has been the Tribe’s best pitcher in Arizona, allowing just one run in 14 innings. He has 18 fans, only walked three and deserves a spot in the rotation.
4. Franmil Reyes has had a strong spring, especially after he began concentrating on hitting the ball down the middle rather than throwing most pitches. He’s hitting .324 (1,107 OPS) with four home runs.
The Talkin ‘Tribe Opening Day event will take place virtually on April 5, 2021 from noon to 1:30 pm, and will feature Indian sports writers and columnists from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Tickets can be reserved here. Plus, join our VIP experience for a chance to mingle with former Cleveland Indians players and more. There are only 150 tickets available for this exclusive experience and tickets can only be won through our sweepstakes.
RECENT TERRY PLUTO COLUMNS
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Talking to myself about Jake Bauers, Bobby Bradley and The Tribe
Is Bradley Zimmer the best option in center field?
Terry’s Talkin ‘Browns: Andrew Berry’s defensive makeover
Paul Dolan talks about tribe and money
A hitter named Miller, Rosario in CF – Goodyear Scribbles
Goodyear Scribbles: Rosario in CF, a hitter named Miller
Rashard Higgins is back and I’m happy about it!
Goodyear Scribbles: Class dazzles, Bauers fights
Goodyear Scribbles: Giménez, Allen impress. Karinchak dominates.
New Indian face masks for sale: This is where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds were donated to charities.