Image: Matthew Carper/Columbus Clippers
2021 age: 25
Bats: Right; Throws: Right
2020 stats: 2-11 .182 avg, RBI, R .289 OBP .551 OPS
2020 in review: Due to COVID and without a minor league season, Chang had just 11 PAs all year after being one of the best players in Summer Camp (or Spring Training 2.0). He played short, second and and third. making him valuable as a utility infielder. He’s still relatively young. He has produced some pop this spring so far leading the team with three homers in spring training early on. In 2019, Chang played 28 games for tribe at major league level with slash line of .178/.286/.274
Offensive: Chang hit .253/.332/.427 with nine HR and 39 RBI at Triple-A Columbus in 2019 in total of 253 AB’s. His minor league OPS hovers in range of the .700’s. He strikes out in the high 20% range (24%-27%) but manages to walk a little (8%-9%) and has even walked more in his limited MLB experience. In the minors, he’s hit the ball in the air at a much higher rate but in the majors he’s hit a lot more groundballs, which has limited his power potential. He doesn’t hit for a high average and only walks at an average rate, so his value lies in his positional versatility and average power.
Defensive impact: While Chang isn’t considered an upper level defender he has played third base, shortstop, and second base throughout his career. He’s got plenty of arm strength and the reaction time to play third base. He lacks range to play shortstop everyday but he can fill in there. He graded out positively at third and second base in the majors in 2019 at +1 DRS and -1 at shortstop.
Beyond the stats: As mentioned, Chang was primarily a fly ball hitter in the minors but that hasn’t translated in the majors. In the minors in 2018 he had a 0.73 GB/FB rate and 1.10 in 2019. In 2019 in the majors it was 1.10 and 1.53 in his limited time in 2020. With his value being tied to his power he needs to figure out how to get the ball in the air at the major league level.
2021 role: Chang is off to impressive start in spring training in his first handful of games at the plate. His first two homers of the spring were off Triple-A type arms and his third was off an MLB starting pitcher. There’s nowhere for him to start in 2021 with Jose Ramirez at third, Cesar Hernandez back at second and shortstop being decided between Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario. Chang could claim the utility role, but Rosario and Mike Freeman may also be in play for that. It also wouldn’t do Chang much good to sit on the bench in Cleveland and play once a week. But given that there won’t be a minor league season until at least May, it’s not like he has somewhere to go and play either. He’s in a tough spot but ultimately his upside is a utility infielder with pop.
Fantasy outlook: Though he could qualify at shortstop, third base and second base, Chang is depth and utility for the Tribe’s infield and will not receive tons of at bats or playing time. His minor league stats will not provide you enough offensive talent to pick him in most fantasy baseball league drafts. Not worth it.