Waiting is over: Leaner Bradley wants 1B job

March 6th, 2021

MESA, Ariz. -- When Indians first-base prospect Bobby Bradley showed up to big league Spring Training over the last two years, he knew that Carlos Santana was locked in at his position on the Tribe’s roster. But knowing the job was up for grabs heading into 2021, Bradley took it upon himself to be more prepared for the season than he’s ever been.

Bradley, the Indians' No. 14 prospect, has experimented with his weight in the past, trying to play both at heavier numbers and at a lighter weight. When he dropped over 30 pounds in 2018, he didn’t feel like he had the same power at the plate. So, he decided to bulk back up for 2019 and saw better power numbers, but not the best overall results. That’s when he decided to find the right way to get slimmer without losing strength.

And he certainly hasn’t lost strength.

Bradley launched his second homer of the spring in the sixth inning of the Tribe’s 10-4 victory over the Cubs at Sloan Park on Friday afternoon. With runners on first and second, Bradley smacked a 1-0 pitch deep over the wall in center field.

“I kind of want to know,” Bradley said, when asked how far he thought his ball went. “If I had to guess, I'd say 410-415 [feet].”

Bradley’s weight transformation began with the 24-year-old deciding to go for a run one morning.

“I went through three phases during the offseason,” Bradley said. “The first one was a lot of functional movement, getting the weight off, opening the hips up a little bit, being able to move, being a little more dynamic. Then phase two, around November, the beginning of December was the power phase. That's where I was just trying to lift every weight I could find and just get as heavy as I could.

“Phase three coming into January, took it back a little bit. Stayed functional to keep that strength. Now it's just about staying conditioned and staying ready for the season.”

Bradley ended up losing 35 pounds over the winter, and he’s noticing a difference in all aspects of his game, including on defense.

“I just feel lighter on my feet,” Bradley said. “My first step has gotten a little bit quicker and I feel like I've gained a little bit of range out in the field and I'm just a little more mobile at the plate.”

If mobility is what he’s looking for to sustain his power, it’s working. He already had a monster blast after crushing a ball deep over the right-field wall at Goodyear Ballpark on Monday in his first game of the spring.

“I wish the wind was blowing out that day,” Bradley said, with a laugh.

With Bradley’s main competition at first being Jake Bauers, who is now out of Minor League options, he still has his work cut out to get penciled into the Opening Day lineup, and he’ll need to showcase the improvements he’s made on defense, while showing more consistency at the plate to break camp with the Tribe. But if he continues on the path that he’s on already this spring, Bradley will be hard to ignore.

“Spring Training in the years that I've come to learn is just a huge confidence booster coming into the season,” Bradley said. “Just getting back into the grind.” 

Clase hits triple digits

Emmanuel Clase has clocked in at 100 mph at least once in each of his two Cactus League appearances this spring. While the first didn’t go as well as he may have liked, Clase was lights-out in his second trip to the rubber on Friday, striking out one batter without allowing a hit in one frame.

“I thought his stuff was really good. Really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He and Anthony Gose, one from the left, one from the right. You're looking at upper-90s fastball with breaking ball. I thought Clase used his breaking ball [well] today.”

Bieber named Professional Athlete of the Year

The 21st Greater Cleveland Sports Awards went virtual this year due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop Shane Bieber from getting some recognition. SportsTime Ohio’s sideline reporter Andre Knott announced that Bieber was named the Professional Athlete of the Year.

“Thank you to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission for this incredible honor,” Bieber said in a video message during the ceremony. “2020 will certainly be a memorable year for many reasons.”


After Aaron Civale’s three perfect innings and Yu Chang’s two long balls on Thursday, the two received the game MVP honors. Francona awarded them each $50 on Friday morning in front of the team. 

“I think they’re both a little on the quieter side,” Francona said. “I think there was a little bit of almost, not embarrassment, but, ‘Give me the money and let me get out of here.’ We try to have fun with it every morning and I think the guys enjoy it. I know nobody’s gonna get rich off of it, but it gives us something to do team-oriented where we can talk to the guys.”