When the Cleveland Indians traded CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers back in the summer of 2008, the key player they received in the trade was 1B/OF prospect Matt LaPorta. LaPorta was a top-10 draft pick (No. 7 overall in 2007) and was one of the best prospects in all of baseball.

The Indians hoped LaPorta would blossom into their next young star, but it has been rough sledding for the former Florida Gator since the Sabathia trade. Through 87 games over the last two years, LaPorta hit just .236, with eight HR’s and a .299 OBP.

Things got so bad for LaPorta that he was sent down to the minors at the beginning of June.

However, LaPorta has been on fire since he’s returned to Cleveland.

Since being recalled from the minors, LaPorta is hitting .333, with four HR’s, a .412 OBP, and a 1.178 OPS in 30 ABs. While that may be a small sample size, Indian fans take it as a hopeful sign that LaPorta has finally figured things out.

As I have said many times before, small market teams maintain success over a long period of time through the players they get back after trading their stars away.

One of the main reasons the Kansas City Royals have stunk for the past 15 years is because they got nothing back for Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye.

If the Indians want to get back to where they were in 2007, they need players like LaPorta to become what the team thought he could be when they traded for him. It’s starting to look like LaPorta is becoming that player.

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