Projecting the 2017 Cleveland Indians Lineup

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By Tony Bogan

Spring Training is nearing its end and several spots are still up for grabs, but with just over a week until the season opener, we're taking an educated guess at what the lineups will look like.

The injury to Jason Kipnis creates question marks for the lineup early in the season and first, here's my projected opening day lineup:

Vs. LHP (without Kipnis)

1. Carlos Santana (1B)

2. Austin Jackson (CF)

3. Francisco Lindor (SS)

4. Edwin Encarnacion (DH)

5. Michael Brantley (LF)

6. Abraham Almonte (RF)

7. Jose Ramirez (3B)

8. Michael Martinez (2B)

9. Yan Gomes (C)

Vs. RHP (without Kipnis)

1. Carlos Santana (DH)

2. Francisco Lindor (SS)

3. Michael Brantley (LF)

4. Edwin Encarnacion (1B)

5. Abraham Almonte (RF)

6. Jose Ramirez (3B)

7. Tyler Naquin (CF)

8. Yan Gomes (C)

9. Michael Martinez (2B)

Vs. LHP (with Kipnis)

1. Carlos Santana (1B)

2. Austin Jackson (CF)

3. Jason Kipnis (2B)

4. Edwin Encarnacion (DH)

5. Michael Brantley (LF)

6. Abraham Almonte (RF)

7. Francisco Lindor (SS)

8. Jose Ramirez (3B)

9. Yan Gomes (C)

Vs. RHP (with Kipnis)

1. Carlos Santana (DH)

2. Francisco Lindor (SS)

3. Jason Kipnis (2B)

4. Edwin Encarnacion (1B)

5. Michael Brantley (LF)

6. Jose Ramirez (3B)

7. Tyler Naquin (CF)

8. Yan Gomes (C)

9. Lonnie Chisenhall (RF)

Bench: Michael Martinez, Brandon Guyer, Roberto Perez, Austin Jackson

The Tribe can mix and match outfield positions frequently, but given Almonte's impressive Spring (.390 batting average), he looks like he could be poised for a breakout year.

I could see the switch-hitter starting 100+ games.

One of the strengths the Indians have is the ability to match up against righties and lefties well.

Brandon Guyer is one of the best lefty mashers in the game.

Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin are both serviceable options against righties.

This will come in handy for days the Indians want to rest Michael Brantley.

Until Kipnis returns, the Indians will at least have a solid defensive second baseman, who has a knack for making heads up baserunning plays and can do the little things, like going from first to third.

That being said, Kipnis' spot will be one of the only blemishes on an otherwise dangerous lineup.

When he returns, it's fun to think about what this offense could do. For this team, the main objective is to get to October healthy.

As we've seen with Brantley, let's hope Kipnis gets all the time he needs to make a full recovery.

And Cleveland's depth on the bench is something that could be a huge help if one or two of the outfielders do happen to miss an extended period of time.

Brandon Guyer vs. Lonnie Chisenhall

Comparing the two side by side, Lonnie Chisenhall has the advantage, having been with the club for five years. He transitioned from third base to the outfield, starting 118 games for the team in the absence of Michael Brantley. Chisenhall will get around 60-80 starts, and will end up with at least one or two of those at first or third base.

Even though Brandon Guyer, hit better in the postseason than Chisenhall, Guyer will probably get about 20-40 starts. If he proves himself and hits well, he will be staying with the club, but if he struggles, non-roster invitees Wily Mo Pena (if he can find that spark from his younger years), and Chris Colabello (who had a great start to 2014, and his best career year in 2015 before his suspension the following season) will be waiting in the wings.

If you'd have a different lineup you'd throw out there, comment in the article or tweet us @NEOSportsInside.