Ryan Raburn has had an impressive spring training for the Cleveland Indians as he looks to make the opening day roster this April. The 32-year-old utility man drew a ton of trade buzz towards the end of the trade deadline. Raburn surprised many in 2013 when he hit 16 home runs and 55 RBIs, while also hitting .272. On Wednesday, Raburn had two hits and two RBIs against the Seattle Mariners. He is now hitting .556 for the Indians as they improved to 6-1 in Spring Training play after an 8-5 win over the Mariners.
With his unique skill set, Raburn was able to play in 87 games for Cleveland. He is a glue guy and one of Terry Francona‘s favorites. But he ended up staying in Cleveland, which turned out best for both parties. The Indians have one of the best outfields in all of baseball with Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. In fact, all three played over 130 games last year. But, Raburn is a valuable player to Cleveland because he can play multiple positions.
Hoping that his versatility could work here, the Indians have already said that they will try out Raburn at first base. Jason Giambi is a shell of his former self, and there is a clear need at this position. Raburn gets on base more than Giambi, and he is simply a better player at this stage of their careers. If you can remember, Raburn was the starting second basemen for the first half of the 2012 season for the Detroit Tigers. It makes a ton of sense why the Indians love Raburn. He is on a two-year contract that is only worth $4.85 million, and the Indians have a team option on him in 2016.
Raburn is also one of the best hitters on the Indians against left-handed pitchers. In 2013, Raburn hit .305 against lefties. Raburn also had an OPS of .901, which was one of the highest numbers on Cleveland. He fell out of flavor during his time in Detroit, but Raburn has been extremely underrated since getting a minor-league invite with Cleveland late into the 2013 season. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Raburn hit around 20 home runs with more at bats in 2014.