The inevitable finally happened over the weekend when Bobby Bradley was called up to take over first base for the Cleveland Indians.
That meant Jake Bauers was designated for assignment, ending a tenure that lacked promise from the start.
This is not Bradley’s MLB debut so he should be settled in a bit more than a true rookie.
He launched a home run in Sunday’s blowout loss, providing hope that he can be a long-term piece at the position.
That may be a lofty goal after a few at-bats, so let’s just say there is hope he can hold down the position for at least a few months.
Bradley is finally here and several things about the situation should have fans excited.
The one positive from today: Bobby Bradley just launched his first homer of the year. He's 3-for-4 with a double, single and a homer.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) June 6, 2021
3. His Home Run Ability
Bradley has always been hyped as a slugger in waiting.
He hit 156 home runs in his minor league career and had nine in only 26 Triple-A games so far this season.
The real problem for him has been strikeouts.
However, his minor league OPS of .842 is a promising sign.
The Indians can live with strikeouts if Bradley is still getting on base and slugging at an above-average clip.
The main question with players like Bradley is if they will fall into the dreaded “Quad-A” area.
Indians fans have seen plenty of top prospects falter at the MLB level.
Big fly for Bobby Bradley!@b_bradley_44 | #OurCLE pic.twitter.com/7zUsqMAVHT
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) June 6, 2021
But few showed up with the power bat of Bradley and his bomb Sunday proves he brought his home run abilities up with him form Columbus.
2. Finally Witnessing The Hype
Bradley is 25 years old and has been in the organization since 2014.
That means fans have been hearing all about him for years and years.
While the Indians were competing for a World Series, Bradley was slowly making his rise as the first baseman of the future.
Indians fans did get a brief glimpse of him in 2019, but he only appeared in 15 games and was never given a proper shot to hold down the job.
Now everyone can see if Bradley truly deserves a spot with this team.
Keeping him in the minors only delays the necessary evaluation of him at the MLB level.
1. A Much-Needed Change
Bauers was just not cutting it and a change was needed.
The fact he was out of minor league options may have been what led the team to keep him around in the first place, just in case he had a breakout year.
But another negative-WAR start to the year was all the team needed to see.
The Indians were patient with Bauers as he was once a nice piece in a trade.
Bradley, however, is a homegrown talent with far more upside and power.
It is fair to say Bauers was put at a disadvantage from the start.
Then came the wiped out 2020 minor league season.
If the Indians were not contending, there may be more patience.
But the playoffs are a realistic goal this season and struggling players cannot continue to get at-bats.
Thus, it is Bradley’s time to shine now.
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