The back-to-back International League West Division champion Indianapolis Indians have announced their Opening Day roster for the 2014 season. Managed by the 11th-winningest skipper in the Tribe’s 100-plus year history, Dean Treanor, the Indians boast 17 players with major league experience, including 11 who reached the big leagues last season, as well as the Pirates top-ranked prospect Gregory Polanco.
As the Indians chase history in matching the franchise record of three straight division titles, the team will rely on its impressive talent around the diamond, as six of 11 players in the infield and outfield are included on the Pirates 40-man roster.
Beginning in the outfield, the Indians Opening Day roster includes 40-man players Polanco and Jaff Decker, both of whom impressed at big league spring training with Pittsburgh this year. Polanco, rated as the No. 10 overall prospect in all of the minors (by Baseball America), is riding an outstanding offseason which featured recognition as both the Dominican Winter League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. The “five-tool” farmhand played across three levels of Pittsburgh’s system last season and combined to hit .285 with 30 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 71 RBI and 38 stolen bases. Decker, on the other hand, played in two stints at the Major League level with the San Diego Padres, where he homered off Jhoulys Chacin for his first MLB hit.
Roaming the outfield alongside Polanco and Decker will be major league veteran Chris Dickerson and organizational standout Adalberto Santos. The pair of newcomer outfielders joins the Indians with Dickerson boasting 314 appearances at the big league level and Santos having led Altoona in runs (62) walks (59) and stolen bases (21) last season.
Among the Tribe’s infielders, 40-man players Andrew Lambo, Chris McGuiness and Brent Morel each spent part of the 2013 season at the Major League level, with Lambo suiting up for Pittsburgh (18 games), McGuiness for Texas (10 games) and Morel for the Chicago White Sox (12 games). Lambo, who may split time between the infield and outfield, is returning to the Indians after earning recognition as Pittsburgh’s 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, while McGuiness, who knocked a career-high 29 doubles with Round Rock last year, and Morel, who led Charlotte in RBI (54) doubles (30) and runs (54) in 2013, are both newcomers to the Tribe’s locker room.