CLEVELAND, Ohio – Native American pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training in Goodyear, Arizona on Wednesday. The constellation discussions will begin soon.
What line-up will manager Terry Francona use against right-handers? What about left?
Francona doesn’t worry about the line-up until late in spring training. He lets it develop over time. But at least we can warm up to the idea while there is still snow on the ground and ice in the driveway in northeast Ohio.
Here are my left and right lineups for the 2021 season.
Indians line up against right-handers:
1. 2B Cesar Hernandez (S).
2nd CF Oscar Mercado (R).
3.3B Jose Ramirez (S).
4th LF Eddie Rosario (L).
5. DH Franmil Reyes (R).
6. RF Josh Naylor (L).
7. SS Amed Rosario (R).
8.1B Bobby Bradley (L).
9. C Roberto Perez (R).
The thin one
* Switch-hitter Hernandez gives Francona a good starting point. He fought for the lead for most of the 60-game sprint last year.
* Without a doubt, Mercado is a number 2 gamble based on the 2020 troubles it had on its plate. But I’m counting on him to bounce back to 2019 when he hit from 2nd to 0.269 (110 for 409) with 63 runs, 14 homers and 50 RBI. He stole 14 bases in 17 attempts.
How’s that for a wildcard entry in the middle, switch hitter Billy Hamilton? Indians bring him to the camp for a minor league deal. If Hamilton shows he has something left, would you beat him first and give Francona the potential to have three switch-hitters at the top of the lineup?
Bradley Zimmer remains a possibility in the center too, but he’s not a No. 2 hitter.
* Ramirez can score from first to fifth. I like it when Mercado is sandwiched between the two switch hitters in Hernandez and Ramirez. In his career, Ramirez cut .302 / .399 / .601 to 3rd place. That includes 63 homers and 170 RBI in 258 games.
* Rosario is another player who can score anywhere in the top five or six places. He can face both left and right, but has much more power for left-handers.
* Reyes can handle left and right, but he showed a lot more power against right last year (nine homers, 34 RBI, 0.796 OPS).
* Right now, Naylor will likely be a draft man. The majority of his big league bats were against right wingers, but he’s a .304 (17-for-56) batsman against left-handed in limited work. In 2019 at Triple-A for San Diego, he hit .292 (14-for-48) against left-handers.
* Rosario joined the Indians in trading with Francisco Lindor-Carlos Carrasco. In his career he’s a .300 (115-for-383) left-handed batsman with 11 homers and 42 RBI.
* I’m not sure if Bradley will win the first base job or not. If he doesn’t, it could be Jake Bauers or Naylor. This is a great resource for Bauers and Bradley. Bauers has run out of options, Bradley has one.
* Perez won his second gold glove last year but struggled offensively with a right shoulder injury. He hit 24 homers in 2019 with 63 RBI. If he’s healthy, can he repeat that?
Indians line up against left-handers
1. 2B Hernandez (S).
2. CF Market (R).
3.3B Ramirez (S).
4. DH Reyes (R).
5. LF E. Rosario (L).
6. RF Jordan Luplow (R).
7. SS A. Rosario (R).
8. Perez (R).
9.1B Bradley (L).
The thin one
* Hernandez is a .287 left-handed batsman, but his average and OPS have suffered over the past two seasons.
* In 2019, Mercado had an OPS of 0.755 against the left and 0.753 against the right. Hamilton, another option at the center, played for the Mets and Cubs last year.
* Ramirez scored with eight homers and 14 RBI against left-handers .386 (22:57). He posted an OPS of 1.407 against her (0.478 base percentage + 0.930 slugging percentage).
* Reyes has a career slugging percentage of .508 against left-handers. He’s a lifelong hitter of .299 (75 for 254) against them.
* Eddie Rosario only hit 0.236 (13:55) against left-handers last year. In 2019, however, he scored with five homers and 27 RBI .287 (43 for 153). When Rosario needs a break, newly signed Ben Gamel, another left-handed player, is a .284 (74-for-261) batsman against left-handed. Of course, Gamel has to form the team. Room is also an option.
* Luplow has beaten .309 (51 for 165) against left-handers with 15 homers and 34 RBI in the past two years.
* Amed Rosario scored six of his 15 homers against left-handers in 2019 .311 (46: 148).
* Perez hit .154 against left-handers last year and .264 with nine homers and 19 RBI in 2019.
* At the moment the Indians do not have a right-handed first baseman. So it has to be Bradley, Bauers or Naylor. Bradley met 147 homers in the minors. Is this the year he breaks through?
New Native American Face Masks For Sale: Shop for Cleveland Native American-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds are donated to charity
New Indian face masks for sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds are donated to charity.
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