The Cleveland Indians outfield struggled in last year’s shortened-season. Of course, that must be taken with a grain of salt due to the various circumstances that came it.
The Tribe’s outfield had the second-worst wRC+ (54), average (.194), on-base percentage (.238) and fWAR (-0.9), while recording the lowest number of RBIs (62), homers (11) and slugging percentage (.300). Statistics via MLB.com.
Here in 2021, it’s a new opportunity for the outfield to redeem itself.
*The averages listed along with the players below are from the 2020 season.
Firstly, the addition of corner outfielder Eddie Rosario (.257) will make a big impact. This .277 career-hitter with 119 home runs in six seasons with the Minnesota Twins will give some pop to a lackluster offense.
Oscar Mercado (.128) made some adjustments to his swing and is now completely healthy. He, along with Bradley Zimmer (.162), will battle for that starting center field job.
The Tribe has a few other players in the mix that include Jordan Luplow (.192) and Josh Naylor (.247).
Now, none of these names really stick out as players that could serve as any type of massive threat for an offense that is yearning for some production this upcoming year.
Many of those averages are poor, to say the least. It’s going to be a matter of the aforementioned players taking it to their own personal next-level in order to help the Indians win by providing for the pitching staff with run support.
Finally, Billy Hamilton (.125) and Ben Gamel (.237) are the Indians’ two outfield non-roster invitees to camp. It will take a lot for either of these two to make the team. If there happens to be an injury or issue, it could be one of them serving as the replacement.
Every great baseball team needs a great outfield core. The Indians have a few promising players for this season. However, expect these players to improve if the Indians want to have any success in 2021 and beyond.