As the days of Summer Camp quickly wind down the Tribe prepares for the 60 game sprint that lies ahead. Each game will be of importance in what equates to a post-trade deadline (in a “normal” season) playoff push. The unique aspect every club is tied for first and no teams have clear separation. If the season occurs as planned (and that’s a big if) baseball fans could be in for one of the most exciting and potentially surprising postseasons in years. There are numerous factors that can impact a club and any team/player could play “hot” for a short sample. This season is that with only 37 percent of the normal games on tap. Ineffectiveness, injury, and illness will impact each club to varying degrees. With that in mind here some unexpected players/prospects that could impact the 2020 Tribe.
Bradley Zimmer– essentially forgotten by some the left-handed-hitting outfielder returns this season healthy. With injuries in the rearview mirror, time off to clear the cobwebs, and untapped potential still ahead. The former first-round pick will have to perform by showing he’s back healthy and that he’s capable of performing (from the still-new upright batting stance). The talent here is undeniable but the results have yet to match the outcome for a player with his toolset.
Christian Arroyo – Arroyo was once a top 100 overall prospect in the game the versatile infielder finds himself in his third organization at the age of 25. Arroyo has no options remaining and his ability to stay healthy and perform on the field at the big league level have yet to come to fruition. That aside, the talent real but so are the obstacles ahead of him. Arroyo finds himself at a make or break point in his career. He seems likely to make the club because of the upside but he will have to prove his worth throughout the year. He like Chang (mentioned below) will have limited at-bats and will need to perform when on the field to get more opportunities.
Daniel Johnson – He has all the tools to be a successful player at the big league level. At this point, there are concerns Johnson is a platoon bat. With numerous options; Tyler Naquin’s return from injury, and Jordan Luplow and Oscar Mercado’s emergence, last season playing time will be hard to come by. For Johnson to see the field injuries, ineffectiveness, and illness will have to sting deeply. That said, there is a possibility the toolsy outfielder sees some time as a fourth or fifth outfielder with positional flexibility.
Ernie Clement – The former fourth-round draft choice from Virginia provides infield depth and some positional flexibility with experience at short and second base. Offensively, Clement displays an advanced contact oriented approach with minimal power and plus speed. He’s a solid defender and could help either side of the keystone. Clement is a near ready prospect that will put up professional at-bats when given the opportunity.
Beau Taylor– If Taylor gets time with the club it’s an indication something has gone array. Taylor is a veteran backstop with a capable glove and he is generally regarded as a sound defender. Offensively, he lacks a track record of success at Triple-A and above. He would assume the backup role if Roberto Perez or Sandy Leon were injured or ill.
Yu Chang – Versatility is the key for the native of Taiwan. With no clear spot on the opening on the roster, the 25-year-old infielder his experience at second, short, and third will open opportunities for him. Defensively, he has a strong arm and above-average power. Finding regular at-bats could be difficult and with no minor league season in place. His best-case scenario may be as a reserve for the big club where he’d gain exposure at the big league level and some playing time. With an option remaining, Chang could end up getting at-bats with the reserve unit.