After getting swept in the American League Wild Card Series by the New York Yankees last season, the Cleveland Indians have a great deal to prove to their devoted fanbase in 2021.
If the Tribe ends up trading All-Star Shortstop Francisco Lindor, other players must step up to contribute some offensive production at the plate.
Here are 3 Indians with something to prove in 2021.
1. Second Baseman Yu Chang
Yu Chang had a strong debut at home yesterday.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 26, 2019
Yu Chang is a young 6 foot 1 180 pound infielder that hails from Taiwan and is loaded with power potential.
Chang made his Major League debut with the Tribe in 2019 when he played in 28 games.
Unfortunately, the 25-year-old did not get many opportunities to contribute in the shortened 2020 season as he only got 11 at-bats.
The Indians front office likes Chang’s ability to play three infield positions (SS, 2B, and 3B).
This versatility will help Chang get plenty of chances to make the starting lineup on Opening Day.
Chang showed some serious “pop” in his bat in 2017 when he smashed 24 homers with Akron (Double-A).
Can he eventually show this level of power at the big league level?
The Indians sure hope so!
2. Catcher Roberto Perez
1st #WorldSeries game, TWO homers?! Go ahead, Roberto Perez!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 26, 2016
It’s hard to believe this, but Roberto Perez has been with the Indians big league club for 7 years!
Perez tasted World Series success in 2016 when he hit 2 homers against the Chicago Cubs in Game 1.
So why does Perez make our “something to prove” list?
Perez struggled mightily during the 2020 campaign.
The 32-year old catcher posted a paltry .165 batting average with only 1 bomb while striving to overcome the ankle surgery he had in October of 2019.
Even with the rough 2020 season, the Tribe still decided to bring Perez back in 2021.
The Indians would love to see Perez return to his 2019 form when he swatted 24 home runs and drove in 63 runs.
3. Right Fielder Jordan Luplow
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) September 24, 2020
Jordan Luplow had a breakout year for the Indians in 2019 when he hit 15 homers in only 85 games.
Unfortunately, Luplow had a disappointing 2020 season by posting a .192 batting average with only 2 home runs.
The 6 foot 1 195 pound right fielder will be out to prove that his 2019 season was no fluke.
Luplow is still only 27 years old and should be coming into his own as a big league ballplayer.
2021 will be Luplow’s fifth season in the Majors, and it normally takes most young players a few years to get comfortable at the big league level.
As we have mentioned in some previous articles, the Tribe desperately needs more run production from its outfielders.
Jordan Luplow could be a huge help to the Indians offense in 2021 if he gets back to his 2019 form.
A Final Word
Which Cleveland Indian player has the most to prove in 2021?
Yu Chang, Roberto Perez, and Jordan Luplow are all chomping at the bit to prove that they belong in the Major Leagues.
Tribe fans will find out soon enough as Spring Training is just a few short weeks away.
Pitchers and Catchers will report (this may be the most beautiful phrase in baseball) in the middle of February.