Tyler Naquin's rookie season was a mixed bag of success. He showed a willingness to accept his walks, hit for average, and smash for power as Terry Francona set him up for success in platoon matchups. Naquin does not look comfortable against lefties, so Francona used him nearly exclusively against righties, and he hit .301/.372/.526 over 325 plate appearances. A good bit of that success came from his .411 batting average on balls in play, an extremely high number. The larger issues are the limits to his playing time with the struggles against lefties and his poor outfield defense, the latter of which was on display during the postseason. The 31 percent strikeout rate will need to improve moving forward because the batting average will normalize as his BABIP comes down to a more sustainable rate. As a result, Naquin will also need to prove that his power surge is legitimate skill growth to remain in consideration in mixed formats.
Naquin was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Naquin was 4-for-17 in his first six games, which apparently made him expendable with the return of Lonnie Chisenhall from the disabled list. With Naquin's departure, center field looks like a timeshare between Abraham Almonte, Austin Jackson and Brandon Guyer moving forward based on platoon work, but we'll have more on how the club will handle things as reports come out. Naquin, meanwhile, will hope to get back in the organization's good graces at the highest farm level, though he'll have to contend with top prospects Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen for a future role with the big club.
Naquin is not in the lineup Wednesday against the White Sox. With Derek Holland taking the mound for Chicago, manager Terry Francona opted to deploy a righty-heavy lineup, leaving Naquin on the bench. He'll be replaced in center field by Austin Jackson for the evening.
Naquin is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. The Indians are facing a left-handed starting pitcher for the third time this season, and after sitting out the first two of those contests, it's no coincidence that Naquin is on the bench again Sunday. He'll continue to occupy the larger portion of a timeshare in center field with Austin Jackson, who will pick up the start Sunday and bat eighth.
Naquin is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Rangers. Naquin will sit out against a lefty starter for the second straight game, as manager Terry Francona remains resistant to exposing the youngster to same-handed pitching. Austin Jackson will once again fill in for Naquin in center field.
Naquin is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Rangers. Manager Terry Francona seemed intent on letting Naquin prove himself against left-handed pitching this season, but it appears that those plans will be put on hold for another day as the 25-year-old heads to the bench with southpaw Martin Perez taking the ball for Texas. Austin Jackson will patrol center field and slot in as the nine hitter in his stead.