Projecting the Cleveland Indians Opening Day 25-Man Roster & Starting Lineup

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Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona recently assured the media and fans that Tyler Naquin will make the Opening Day Roster, while relief pitcher Joe Thatcher will not.

Francona gave his reasoning, saying that the Tribe will start the season with five outfielders and only seven relievers, opposed to his usual eight-man bullpen.

With this new information, it makes the Opening Day Roster a bit easier to picture. So here is our projected Opening Day 25-Man Roster.

Starting Rotation:

1. Corey Kluber
2. Carlos Carrasco
3. Danny Salazar
4. Trevor Bauer
5. Josh Tomlin

The area where it could be somewhat of a question mark is if Francona wants to use Tomlin out of the bullpen to start the season because the Tribe has five off days in the month of April, which means they may not need a five-man rotation to start the season.

If that's the case, you can count Tomlin as a member of the bullpen on Opening Day, making him the seventh man in the bullpen at least until the schedule gets back to a normal six or seven games per week.

Bullpen: *UPDATES*

1. Jeff Manship
2. Kyle Crockett
3. Austin Adams
(I was wrong on this one. Adams Optioned to Triple-A on March 26th. Joba Chamberlain told he'll make the team.)
4. Zach McAllister
5. Bryan Shaw (Setup Man)
6. Cody Allen (Closer)


1B/DH: Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana
2B: Jason Kipnis
3B: Juan Uribe, Giovanny Urshela
(I was wrong on Urshela. He was optioned to Triple-A on March 26th.)
SS: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez (utility man)


1. Yan Gomes
2. Roberto Perez


1. Michael Brantley (Left field)
2. Tyler Naquin (Center field)
3. Lonnie Chisenhall (Right field)
4. Rajai Davis (Left/Center/Right field)
5. Marlon Byrd (Left/Right field)

With that in mind, here is a projected starting lineup against right-handed pitching.

1. Kipnis 2B
2. Lindor SS
3. Brantley LF
4. Napoli DH
5. Santana 1B
6. Gomes C
7. Byrd RF
8. Uribe 3B
9. Naquin CF


Chisenhall, Davis, Ramirez, Perez

Here's a projected lineup against left-handed pitching.

1. Kipnis 2B
2. Lindor SS
3. Brantley LF
4. Napoli DH
5. Santana 1B
6. Gomes C
7. Byrd RF
8. Uribe 3B
9. Davis CF


Chisenhall, Naquin, Ramirez, Perez

These lineups are just speculation and with the way Ramirez has been hitting in Spring Training, it won't be a surprise if he gets plenty of starts throughout the season, but seeing as how Uribe was brought here to be a key piece of the lineup, it is reasonable to expect him to get the majority of starts at third base unless he starts to play poorly.

The only other big question mark of those two lineups is the choice of who to play in right field. Chisenhall or Byrd?

Because Byrd has a proven track record of three straight seasons with at least 20 home runs, and Chisenhall has been struggling throughout Spring Training, Byrd has the edge coming into the season to get more starts.

However, if Chisenhall's struggles are solely due to an injury he has been playing through, and he gets back to 100 percent, it's possible we see him start to get more playing time and take away some starts from Davis and Byrd.

For now, Uribe and Byrd appear to be the guys to pencil in as the main starters.

If you disagree with these lineups, feel free to comment what you would change!