Observations From the First Week of Indians Summer Camp at Progressive Field

Matt Loede

The Cleveland Indians first week of “Summer Camp” is in the books, and there’s been plenty of interesting things that have happened over the first week of action.

Manager Terry Francona has liked the attitude the team has shown in their first few days of workouts, and now that the team is playing intersquad scrimmages on an almost daily basis, there’s more to play for as those that take the field are looking to win roster spots.

“You can either complain about it, or embrace it and attack it,” Francona said. “Our guys have done a really good job of that.”

It’s officially less than two weeks before the team takes the field against the Kansas City Royals for real at Progressive Field in the opener, and a lot will need to be decided upon before that first game takes place.

For now, here’s some observations from a busy first week of camp and how things are shaking out down at Progressive Field.

The Reyes Incident

Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes made a calculated error on the 4 of July when he went to a party with friends without wearing a mask, therefore protecting himself from the dangerous covid-19 virus.

The incident forced the Indians to tell Reyes to stay away until he tested negative, which he did and then was allowed to return to Progressive Field.

The entire incident was something the team could learn from, and Francona said that Reyes was and is not in any trouble for not wearing a mask.

The outfielder apologized for letting the team down, and it seems like everyone can move on and learn from the off the field mistake.

Chang’s Power Display

One player who looks like off the field training this past offseason paid off was that of utility infielder Yu Chang.

Chang is fighting with veteran Mike Freeman and offseason pickup Christian Arroyo to try and make the roster and get some playing time, and this last week he proved he’s got a lot of pop in his bat.

The infielder hit two long homers in intersquad games, including a bomb off Carlos Carrasco on Monday afternoon at Progressive Field.

“The guy is scary,” said Carrasco, “I’ve got two home runs from him already…it’s really good man, I can tell. He’s got some power. He’s seeing the ball really well.”

Francona made it known that people are taking notice of Chang, but it’s still an uphill battle for him to get playing time with Freeman and Arroyo as two players ahead of him on the roster.

“I know you can’t make all of your evaluations based off of Spring Training, but I love watching our guys do well,” Francona said.

The Batting Order

There are plenty of chances to mix up the batting order before opening day, but a couple things did stand out for the Tribe as they took the field for their intersquad games this past week.

Maybe the biggest thing to stand out was not having Francisco Lindor in the leadoff spot, something that may continue with the addition of Cesar Hernandez, who did leadoff in the game Thursday.

The one thing that is of interest with the batting order is the amount of switch hitters, four to be exact and all who could be at the top of the order.

Those hitters include Carlos Santana, Hernandez, Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

“There's a chance those guys hit first, second, third and fourth in the order. Is that the best use of switch-hitters? I don't know,” Francona said.

“But you want your guys hitting at the top of the order. But those are all things to think about.”

DeShields in the Mix

After testing positive for the covid-19 virus keeping him away from the team for the first full week of Summer Camp, outfielder Delino DeShields is finally in Cleveland with his teammates.

DeShields needed two negative tests, the first to travel to Cleveland and the next to be able to workout with his teammates.

He was able to pass both tests, and is now ready to take the field and try and work to earn a spot in a crowded outfield.

There’s 10 outfielders currently on the Tribe’s roster, and it’s going to be a fight to see who in fact wins those spots.

Oscar Mercado and Franmil Reyes seem to have two of the spots already locked up or are at least close to it, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be playing time for the other players on the roster.

Mercado, Tyler Naquin, Jordan Luplow, Reyes and Domingo Santana seem to have the inside track to make the roster.

Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, Daniel Johnson, Bradley Zimmer and DeShields are all looking to make a big enough impact to make a decision on keeping them on that final roster a tough decision.