Bradley has been assigned to Double-A Akron to open the 2018 season, Zack Meisel of The Athletic Cleveland reports.
In a somewhat surprising move, Bradley will open the 2018 season back at Double-A despite hitting a respectable .251/.331/.465 with 23 homers in 131 games with the RubberDucks in 2017. The 21-year-old doesn't have much left to prove at the Double-A level, so look for the highly-touted prospect to join Triple-A Columbus early on in 2018.
With Opening Day about two and a half weeks away, the Indians have begun to clear some of their prospects out of camp in order to open up more at-bats in Cactus League action for players who are more serious candidates for the 25-man roster. Bradley, who is viewed as one of the top sluggers in the minors after amassing 79 home runs over the past three seasons, is expected to open the 2018 campaign with Triple-A Columbus.
Bradley will head to Glendale to play in this year's Arizona Fall League, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
Bradley's second-half performance at Double-A Akron dipped compared to his first-half numbers. However, the first baseman's .249/.331/.460 slash line, 22 home runs and 88 RBI were impressive marks for his first season at MiLB's higher levels. Bradley is still a couple years from making a big-league impact, but Cleveland's third-round pick in 2014 is moving in the right direction.
Bradley, 21, is batting .389 with two home runs and nine RBI over his last 10 games for Double-A Akron.
After a horrific start, Bradley's slash line is making its way back to respectability. He is hitting .246/.333/.461 in 117 games. The power numbers will always be there, as he has eclipsed 20 home runs for the third straight season. The Indians have Edwin Encarnacion through 2019, so there is no reason to rush Bradley to the big leagues. That being said, he could emerge as an option at DH as early as the end of next season.
Bradley is working hard to improve defensively at first base in hopes of making his major-league debut in 2018, Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com reports.
Bradley made 30 errors in the last two seasons, but has just four through 77 games with Double-A Akron this year. Improving in the field will help his chances of making the Tribe's 25-man roster considering not many hitters can make a long-term living in MLB serving solely as a DH. Bradley is hitting .265/.354/.504 with 32 extra-base hits, including 15 homers, in 268 at-bats this season, and the 21-year-old is undoubtedly the organization's best power-hitting prospect.
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