Thursday, May 19, 2016

Krunch Time With Katelin 5.19.16: Why Won't The Indians Give Naquin a Chance?

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

When are the Indians going to give Tyler Naquin a chance to just take over the starting center field spot? This question got be wondering after the Indians sent him down today to make room for rookie starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, who will make his MLB debut tonight against the Reds.

Naquin made the team out of spring training after playing lights out in March and because of injuries to Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall. Naquin who was the Indians' first round pick in 2012 (15th overall) has played in 27 games this year for the tribe and is hitting .317.

Now I get it, he is still a  rookie who has only been in the MLB for two months but the way the Indians are projected to use him is interesting.

Obviously any rookie is a work in progress but I don't understand the Indians thinking. You have Tyler Naquin, a 25 year old rookie, who has shown he could hit for contact and play a decent center field with pretty good speed and he is a natural center fielder being sent down to triple A. Instead of Naquin the Indians are still hoping for Lonnie Chisenhall to become the power hitting bat they initially thought back in 2008 when the Indians drafted him in the first round.

My main concern is that the Indians might waste another first round pick while desperately trying to get every little ounce of another. Lonnie has been a major disappointment, once projected as the third basemen for the next 10+ years he his now a platoon outfielder with a soon to be 39 year old Marlon Byrd...and I can't forget the Indians now are trying to have Chisenhall play center field. Yes, Lonnie is 27 and has just entered the "prime" of his career but the Indians will have to choose sooner rather than later.

My other concern is again wasting a first round pick (Naquin) just to be the Indians' 4th or 5th outfielder for the next 5-7 years. Now I know having someone like him is valuable for depth on the 25 man roster but with the way guys like Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier have progressed it seems that Naquin might be the odd man out. Now this is not saying Naquin is better than those two but with Frazier and Zimmer progressing as quickly as they are and with youth on their side this year might be the only real chance Naquin gets to become a starter.

I get the Cleveland Indians are known for their patients while developing young players but at what point can they just take a chance? Instead of watching a converted outfielder who has a career .258 BA.  play 5x a week, why not let Naquin develop on the fly in Cleveland?

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