Francona Gives an Indication of How the Lineup May Look Come Opening Night
There has been plenty of speculation as to how Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is going to work his batting order once the season begins on July 24th at home against Kansas City.
The manager has an interesting luxury of having four batters sitting at the top of the batting order that are all switch hitters, something you rarely see at the Major League level.
That still does not give an idea of just who is going to bat leadoff, and how the top four are going to play out.
Francona did give the media and fans a hint on Sunday of one thing that likely we won’t see, which is shortstop Francisco Lindor leading off.
In speaking to the media Francona said that he envisions Lindor hitting third in the Tribe order.
“That’s my sneaking suspicion,” Francona said.
Which leads again to the question of who will leadoff and who will bat second in front of Lindor, one player who the team wants to get as many at-bats as possible.
Right now it looks like new second basemen Cesar Hernandez, who came over this offseason from the Philadelphia Phillies signing a one-year deal, might wind up hitting leadoff, while second in the order would be either Carlos Santana or Jose Ramirez – both switch hitters.
That would mean at least the first four batters in the order would look like this – 2B Hernandez, 3B Ramirez, SS Lindor, 1B Santana.
All four of those players are switch hitters, giving the Tribe a lot of flexibility at the top of the lineup.
After those first four batters one would think that Franmil Reyes would hit fifth behind Santana.
Last season Santana hit .281 slamming 34 homers and driving in 93 runs. Reyes hit 37 homers with 81 RBI hitting .249 in his time with the San Diego Padres and then the Indians.
The remaining four spots in the lineup will go Roberto Perez at catcher, two outfielders (Tyler Naquin and Jordan Luplow seem to be early candidates to start), and a designated hitter (Jake Bauers?).
The lineup will be a work in progress for the Tribe, but it seems like the coaching staff is getting a little closer to getting some decisions made on how it will line up.