It’s Now or Never for this Indian

By Chris Fedor

With spring training opening up this week, there are a number of storylines that will dominate the offseason for the Indians. All eyes will be on Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana as they try and recover from knee surgeries. Also people will be monitoring Travis Hafner hoping Pronk stocked up on his Claritin so he’s not allergic to hitting homeruns again this year. All those things will be important to watch and all those answers will have a huge impact on the Indians’ record this season.

However, the number one player that I will be following this spring and into the season is none other than Matt LaPorta. All of you remember Matt LaPorta right? At one point he was the top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Heck he was considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball regardless of organization thanks to his tremendous power. If that isn’t enough for you then maybe this will jog your memory: The Indians traded one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and targeted his bat in return.

While he is still just 26-years-old, it’s safe to say the Indians have yet to see the Matt LaPorta they thought they were getting when they dealt away CC Sabathia. I admit it’s extremely difficult to judge his 2009 season because he was sent down to the minors and then called back up to the bigs a number of different times. He never got consistent at-bats or consistent playing time and played in just 52 games, which makes it extremely difficult for a young player to develop.

But last year LaPorta disappointed once again. He had the opportunity to take the first base job for the Indians and run with it in 2010. He didn’t exactly capitalize. The former top prospect dealt with a number of injuries so maybe that’s the reason that he struggled mightily, but a .221 average, 12 home runs, 41 RBI’s, and 82 strikeouts in 376 at-bats is just not good enough for an everyday first baseman in the majors.

This year there are no excuses. It’s time for LaPorta to produce. Not only was he the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia deal, but LaPorta as plays a position in Major League Baseball where it is imperative to get run production from.

Once again the first base job belongs to Matt Laporta. Let’s all hope that LaPorta doesn’t trip out of the starting blocks again this season while trying to run with it like he did last year.



  1. I think your right about Laporta because we traded CC for him he has to produce. Over the last few years we have traded away a lot of pitching and to no avail. Some of these prospects need to step up and produce and by some I mean Laporta.

  2. I also agree that we need to see Laporta step it up this season. I will say that it is also key for Justin Masterson to capitalize on a decent finish to last season and stay consistent enough.

  3. Nice piece Ned! Hard to argue with any of that…he needs to produce and now. If Choo builds on a great seson last year and Hafner, Astrubal, Sizemore and Santana bounce back form their respective injuries, the Tribe can have some decent regulars. Let’s not forget about contributions needed by Brantley, Kearns and our newest Cabrera. Then we need the pitching staff to be more like the one we saw in the second half last year, including the bullpen and our closer. After the recent Brown’s and current Cav’s debacles, we deserve it! Go tribe!!!

    • Yeah it would help if they wouldn’t start the season 2-30 it makes it hard to dig yourself out when you start in such a huge hole. The second half they played well but they have to come out of the gate stronger this season and it has to start with pitching especially when the weather is cold and rainy hitters are going to struggle the pitching staff has to pick em up.

  4. First base is crazy. Goedert may be a candidate if Laporta flops…will Santana eventually be destined for 1B ? Hoping Laporta is OK in the long run. Funny how the people who Milwaukee and Philly would not trade to US eventually got traded, ie JA Happ for Oswalt and the SS we could not get went in the Greinke trade. ????

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