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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | October 21, 2020

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Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 10

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 10

| On 14, Jul 2020

Did The Tribe Win Last Night is now back on track with a new day in the countdown to Opening Day. Follow along as we count down the days until the Indians kick off play in the pandemic-shortened 2020 schedule on July 24. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 10 days

The Indians outfield was one of the question marks coming into the 2020 season and even after three extra months to figure it out, those answers remain a mystery as manager Terry Francona has to sort out how his roster will look when play kicks off in a week and a half.

Oscar Mercado seems to have the center field spot locked down, and with strong performances around injury last year, Tyler Naquin also appears to be a lock for significant playing time this season in a corner outfield role. Franmil Reyes will either serve as a regular right fielder or will lock down the bulk of the time available at designated hitter in the short schedule, leaving just a few extra spots up for grabs.

Last year’s new number ten, Jake Bauers, is one of those candidates, but his mixed results a year ago in his second big league season leave him an unknown quantity for the club in a race featuring several other viable candidates (including platoon man Jordan Luplow, young options like Greg Allen and Bradley Zimmer, deserving rookie Daniel Johnson, veteran addition Domingo Santana, and offseason trade acquisition Delino DeShields Jr., who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday after reporting late to Summer Camp with a COVID-19 issue in Arizona).

Bauers, 24, came over to the Indians last winter as part of the three-team trade with Seattle and Tampa Bay that brought Carlos Santana home to Cleveland after a season in Philadelphia. A seventh round pick by San Diego in 2013, he grew up in the Tampa Bay farm system after coming to the club in another three-team trade that included the Padres and the Washington Nationals (most notably remembered as the eleven-player Wil Myers/Trea Turner deal). Bauers debuted in 96 games for the Rays in 2018, posting a .201/.316/.384 slash with 22 doubles, two triples, eleven homers, and 48 RBI in a partial season of work.

Bauers – AP Photo/David Dermer

Bauers came into spring training with the Indians looking to win a roster spot as an outfielder and a backup to Santana at first base and did just that, but his production matched the underwhelming numbers from some of the other outfield options on the roster. He hit three homers and drove in eleven over the first month of the season, hitting .241 with a .323 on-base percentage and .379 slugging mark in 26 games, but he cooled off in May, striking out 30 times in 106 plate appearances while posting just a .194/.292/.301 slash with four doubles, two homers, and nine RBI. The average perked up a bit in June when he hit .247, but strikeouts remained a big part of his offensive contributions as he racked up another 25 in 82 trips to the plate. It was midway through the month that he may have had the highlight of his young professional career as he went 4-for-5 on June 14 against the Detroit Tigers, hitting for the ninth cycle in franchise history in the team’s 13-4 win.

Bauers opened July with another four-hit gem against Kansas City on July 2 and had multi-hit games in five of six games sandwiched around it to go into the All-Star break hot, but he could not maintain the improved plate production after play resumed in the second half. Over the final three weeks of the month, he hit just .185 in an 18-game stretch (including 12 strikeouts over 28 plate appearances in the final six games of the month while rotating with Santana at first base and designated hitter). With outfield playing time already becoming more limited, the situation for Bauers got worse as the Indians acquired both Reyes and Yasiel Puig in a three-team deadline trade revolving around pitcher Trevor Bauer and with spots needed for their new outfielders, the Indians optioned Bauers to Triple-A Columbus.

He had a steady showing with the Clippers in a month with Columbus, hitting .247 with a .350 OBP and .427 slugging mark with seven doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI while stealing a surprising eight bases in ten attempts over 24 games before his recall on the final day of the month. With playing time still reduced, he made just nine starts over 16 games in the final month of the schedule, hitting .138 with a double, a homer, and four RBI. While his .350 OBP was encouraging (given the low average), he was not able to crack through for more ABs in a crowded outfield mix while the Indians fought a losing battle down to the final week of the season for a playoff spot.

In 117 total games for the Indians in 2019, Bauers provided a .226/.312/.371 line with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 homers, and 43 RBI.

Bauers is still young and unproven and has shown flashes of being capable of producing at the MLB level, but he has not been able to sustain any semblance of success so far. With a crowd of people in contention for roster spots this summer, Bauers could benefit from DeShields’ IL placement, but the team also needs to establish a game plan for the likes of Allen, Johnson, and Zimmer, while determining whether or not Reyes is capable of eating up innings in right field. Bauers may play to some as a more likely platoon offering to Luplow, but his splits are fairly even and may even indicate that he put up better numbers offensively overall against left-handers while seeing them for just 30% of his plate appearances. Adding more complication to matters, Bauers had a tough showing in this spring’s brief Cactus League activity, hitting .143 in nine games (three singles and a double in 28 plate appearances) with eleven strikeouts and two runs batted in.

The Indians have options in their crowded outfield mix, but that has led to more questions than answers, even just ten days away from the start of the 2020 season.

Other notable 10s in Tribe history (33 in total): George Uhle (1936), Jim Hegan (1947-50), Vic Power (1958-61), Max Alvis (1962-69), Ray Fosse (1976-77), Pat Tabler (1983-88), Mark Lewis (1991-92), Alvaro Espinoza (1993-96), Coco Crisp (2002-05), Kelly Shoppach (2006-09), Yan Gomes (2013-16), Edwin Encarnacion (2017-18)

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below!

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 99 (Daniel Robertson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 90 (Adam Cimber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 88 (Phil Maton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 77 (Jack Armstrong)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 76 (Tom Magrann)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 75 (Mike Walker)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 73 (Ricardo Rincon)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 72 (Jason Giambi)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 71 (Johnny Hodapp)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 70 (James Karinchak, George Kontos)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 69 (Luis Medina)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 68 (Jefry Rodriguez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 67 (Aaron Civale, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 66 (Yasiel Puig, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 65 (Zach Plesac, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 64 (Tom Kramer, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 63 (Josh Smith, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 62 (Nick Wittgren, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 61 (Dan Otero, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 60 (Jhonny Peralta, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 59 (Carlos Carrasco)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 58 (Neil Ramirez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 57 (Shane Bieber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 56 (Cody Anderson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 55 (Roberto Perez)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 54 (Hunter Wood)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 53 (Logan Allen)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 52 (Mike Clevinger)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 51 (numerous)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 50 (James Hoyt, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 49 (Tyler Olson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 48 (Emmanuel Clase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 47 (Trevor Bauer)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 46 (Jon Edwards, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 45 (Adam Plutko)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 44 (Nick Goody, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 43 (Josh Tomlin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 42 (Mike Jackson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 41 (Carlos Santana, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 40 (Bobby Bradley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 39 (Oliver Perez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 38 (Eric Haase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 37 (Cody Allen, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 36 (Tyler Clippard, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 35 (Oscar Mercado, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 34 (A.J. Cole, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 33 (Brad Hand, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 32 (Franmil Reyes, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 31 (Danny Salazar, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 30 (Tyler Naquin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 29 (Andre Thornton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 28 (Corey Kluber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 27 (Kevin Plawecki, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 26 (Max Moroff, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 25 (Jim Thome)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 24 (Carlos Gonzalez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 23 (Michael Brantley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 22 (Jason Kipnis)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 21 (Bob Lemon, Rocky Colavito, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 20 (Frank Robinson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 19 (Bob Feller)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 18 (Mel Harder)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 17 (Brad Miller, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 16 (Mike Sarbaugh, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 15 (Sandy Alomar, Jr.)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 14 (Larry Doby)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 13 (Hanley Ramirez, Omar Vizquel)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 12 (Francisco Lindor, Roberto Alomar)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 11 (Jose Ramirez)

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