The first Cleveland Indians spring training exhibition game is in the books and all is right with the world in C-Town.
The Indians outlasted their intrastate rival Cincinnati Reds en route to a 5-1 victory.
So many questions will need to be answered during this month of March.
One of those key questions is which young hotshot hitters will step up and help the Tribe offense.
Here are two Indians hitters that are poised to have breakout seasons in 2021.
1. Bobby Bradley
— Bobby Bradley (@b_bradley_44) February 26, 2021
It is no secret that Bobby Bradley took his offseason training program seriously!
In fact, the 6-foot-1 first baseman did tons of cardiovascular work and cleaned up his diet over the four month layoff.
It is certainly hard to argue with the results as Bradley reported to spring training 35 pounds lighter.
Normally checking in at around 225 pounds, Bradley is now a lean 190.
This will hopefully result in a quicker swing and improved agility at first base.
Bradley was drafted in the third round by the Indians in the 2014 MLB Draft.
The left-handed hitter made his big league debut in 2019, appearing in 15 games and batting .178 with one home run.
There is no denying that Bradley possesses stratospheric power at the plate.
Heck, the 24-year old smoked all levels of the Minor Leagues by hitting 147 bombs and driving in 490 runs over a six-season span.
The talent is definitely there, Bradley simply needs more big league at-bats.
In order to get that much needed playing time, Bradley must beat out Jake Bauers for the starting job at first base.
If that does indeed happen, 2021 could be a year to remember for the newly slimmed down power hitter.
2. Josh Naylor
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) October 1, 2020
Josh Naylor absolutely torched the New York Yankees pitching staff during the 2020 American League Wild Card round.
Naylor posted an insanely high .714 batting average while hitting one homer and three doubles.
Tribe fans hope and pray that Naylor can build on that huge amount of positive momentum in 2021.
At 5-foot-11 and a muscled-up 250 pounds, Naylor has the physique of a professional wrestler, which will strike fear into many opposing pitchers.
The former first-round draft pick of the Miami Marlins had a very respectable rookie year in 2019 with the San Diego Padres.
Naylor hit eight home runs in only 253 at-bats and this gave the baseball world a glimpse of his freakish power at the plate.
Terry Francona has mentioned this spring that Naylor will be used primarily in right field.
However, Naylor could also fill in at first base or slide into the designated hitter spot whenever Franmil Reyes needs a rare night of rest.
If Naylor stays healthy all year and gets enough at-bats, there is no reason that he cannot hit at least 15 bombs during the 2021 campaign.
If that happens it would be huge for the Indians, and that added power would go a long way toward another postseason berth.
A Final Word
In order for Bradley and Naylor to have breakout seasons in 2021, they both need to nail down starting jobs in the lineup.
Neither Bradley or Naylor made in appearance during the Tribe’s first exhibition game, but they will both get an ample amount of playing time this spring.
Doesn’t it feel great to have baseball back?