The Cleveland Indians came into Spring Training with quite a conundrum in the outfield. One of the team’s core members, Michael Brantley, was rehabbing from shoulder surgery, leaving his status questionable for the first month of the season. A potential starting lineup of Abraham Almonte, Lonnie Chisenhall and Rajai Davis inspired few. Then, Almonte flunked a drug test, getting dealt an 80-game suspension for his trouble.
Suddenly, the Tribe seemed destined for another one of its patented April slumps. Fans who were once again buying into the hype that maybe, just maybe this team could get back to the postseason were now dreading another opening month filled with cold weather and bad baseball. There was still talent, sure, but the outfield looked too grim to ignore. You couldn’t help but think fans, as well as the Indians themselves were hoping for someone to step up.
Enter Tyler Naquin.