These 8 Indians have impressed this spring

March 9th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- At the beginning of Spring Training, Indians manager Terry Francona said that camp can be divided into three groups: young talent making a first impression, players competing for a roster spot and the veterans who are preparing for a long season. During the first three weeks in Goodyear, the Indians have had a handful of players who have stood out in each of those categories.

Let’s take a look at eight players who have impressed so far this spring.

The future is bright

The Indians’ No. 22 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, has turned some heads in his first camp with his new team. Johnson was part of the trade that sent Yan Gomes to the Nationals on Nov. 30, and he has made a solid first impression with the Tribe, leaving Francona excited for his future.

Johnson has displayed some power, but his speed and arm strength have especially stood out. He will not break camp with the Indians, but he’s someone to keep an eye on in the farm system.

Of all his tools, the scouting report says that hitting is Mercado’s weakest, but he’s shown potential at the plate thus far. Mercado has hit better than Francona expected, batting .409 (9-for-22) through 12 Cactus League games.

Because the Tribe’s No. 19 prospect has already demonstrated he has above-average speed and defense, Mercado’s hitting is the last tool he needs to lock down before getting called up to the Majors. He seems to be on the right path so far.

It’s a name that gets Francona excited every time it’s mentioned. The manager has been clear that statistics do not matter during Spring Training. Although Clement is hitting .318 (7-for-22) through 11 spring games, what he has really brought to the team is excitement, playing every inning as hard as he can.

“The way he’s gone about his business has everybody’s attention,” Francona said. “If you’re a young player, that’s what you’re trying to do is make a good impression.”

Martinez started last season in Class A Advanced, but he worked his way up to Triple-A Columbus, where he made 10 appearances. In four outings for the Indians this spring, the 24-year-old right-hander has attacked the strike zone and hasn't allowed a run.

“He’s been one of our real, I don’t want to say a surprise, but one of the real pleasures of Spring Training,” Francona said.

On the bubble

Edwards made nine appearances for the Indians in 2018 and is one of many pitchers competing for a spot in the bullpen. Through his first four spring appearances, Edwards has looked sharp, striking out seven in four innings.

The outfield has been a main focus regarding the Indians during the offseason and early in camp. With the corner spots up for grabs, Allen, Tyler Naquin, Jordan Luplow, Brandon Barnes, Jake Bauers, Matt Joyce and Trayce Thompson are all competing for two open spots.

As the race continues to heat up, Allen has proven his versatility, playing all three outfield positions and seeing the ball well at the plate, hitting .421 through his first 19 at-bats.

The locks

The 31-year-old center fielder went 9-for-22 (.409) through his first eight spring games with two home runs and three RBIs. Although Francona is not one to focus on batting averages in Spring Training, it’s hard not to notice the numbers Martin has been putting up since his return from a life-threatening illness.

Francona has said it’s almost like Santana never left. After playing for the Phillies in 2018, Santana, who played for the Indians from 2010-17, is back with the Tribe and has provided quite a bit of power through his first eight spring games. The veteran is batting .409 (9-for-22) with three homers, including one that was launched out of Goodyear Ballpark, and eight RBIs.