The Cleveland Indians have an interesting competition taking place at first base now that Carlos Santana is in Kansas City.
One player right in the mix is Bobby Bradley.
The 24-year-old was taken in the third round by the Indians back in the 2014 MLB Draft and has been in the organization ever since.
He did reach the majors in 2019, but only appeared in 15 games.
Bradley’s 20 strikeouts, compared to eight hits, proved he still needed some time to develop.
He is now fighting with Jake Bauers and potentially Josh Naylor for that starting spot at first base.
So far, he is off to a great start.
Here it is! @Indians (1B) prospect Bobby Bradley w/ the rocket shot to dead center today for the 3 run HR vs the Cubs. Bradley's 2nd HR of the spring.@b_bradley_44 #Assassin #CLESpring pic.twitter.com/3BGfCPJBFB
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 5, 2021
Bradley finally evolving into a great power hitter would be a huge boost to the Indians in 2021.
Bradley Off to a Nice Start
Entering play Sunday Bradley had hit two home runs to mark his only two hits of spring training so far.
But it is the first week and one notable positive is the fact he only has two strikeouts in four games.
Getting consistent power from the first base position could be a huge X-factor for the Indians in 2021.
Power is what Bradley has shown throughout his minor league career and it is what the front office is hoping translates against major league pitching.
Bradley hit 33 home runs with the Columbus Clippers in 2019 and has 147 in his MiLB career.
The main issue has been the strikeouts.
He had 153 in 2019 with Columbus in only 107 games.
But he did still manage to post a .912 OPS.
Bradley has lost weight this offseason and that will hopefully mean he is a bit quicker at the plate.
Getting more experience is only going to help as well and we have not seen him in game action for nearly two years.
So this may be the year he finally puts it all together.
The Competition at First Base
Naylor seems safe to make the Opening Day roster in some capacity, whether that be at first base, in the outfield, or as a designated hitter.
Outfield or DH seems more likely because the focus this spring is on Bauers getting work as a first baseman.
But what if Bradley outshines Bauers and is the clear winner of the competition?
Bauers is out of minor league options so if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster he must be let go.
That may just be what has to happen if he is not looking like the right option.
If Bradley can keep his strikeouts down and continue to hit home runs, Bauers is going to have a tough time beating him out.
The only way that would happen is if the team wants to give Bauers a month or two to try to turn things around before a possible release.
Bradley has the chance to outright win a starting job this month.
Bauers’ situation shouldn’t affect the team’s decision-making if the goal is to win in 2021.
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