Photo Credit: Indians Prospective
The moment has finally happened. Bobby Bradley has been called up from AAA Columbus and has joined the Indians’ roster. He is in the starting lineup today, hitting seventh and playing first base as the Indians go for a sweep against the Detroit Tigers.
Bradley has been having a career season at AAA Columbus. In 67 games, he has hit .292 with 24 home runs and 55 RBIs. His 24 home runs lead the International League this season. In just the last week, Bradley powered his way to three multi-homer games, which caused many fans to take to Twitter/other social media to demand the Indians call up Bradley (for the record, the Indians’ Twitter account does not make roster decisions).
The downside to Bradley is his strikeouts, as he struck out 91 times in his 257 at-bats this season in Columbus. As a highly-regarded prospect by the Indians, Bradley needs to find a way to cut down on his strikeouts to be successful at the major league level.
With all that in mind, now is a perfect time to call up Bradley and at least get a sample of what he can do in the majors. The Indians are still nine games back of Minnesota for the AL Central division lead, but are currently tied with Boston for the second wild-card spot. The Indians do not play a team with a record above .500 going into the All-Star break and can gain some leverage in the standings heading into the second half of the season. With outfielders such as Jake Bauers and Leonys Martin struggling offensively (Martin was designated for assignment yesterday), and Jose Ramirez’ seemingly endless slump, giving Bradley a look has a lot more upside than downside for the Indians. Additionally, Oscar Mercado has been a huge boost for the lineup since being called up in May, hitting .311 in 32 games in Cleveland.
Bradley has been an infielder his whole career, but Terry Francona has shown willingness in the past to put players in new positions. Francona played Carlos Santana in the outfield during the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs and put second baseman Jason Kipnis in center field during the 2017 Division Series against the Yankees. Don’t be surprised if Bradley is playing in a different spot than the infield during his time in Cleveland.
Even if he struggles, calling up Bradley is the right move for an organization in need of an offensive boost. Bradley has the power to overshadow his struggles making contact, and I am excited to see how he does in Cleveland.