Weekly Wroundtable: Judging the Cleveland Indians’ New-Look Lineup

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Slight Adjustments Could Make the Lineup Better

Apr 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) hits a RBI single during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Norman: I really like the way the lineup has shaken out. How could you not, when the Tribe is averaging almost two more runs per game in May than they did in April? A healthy Kipnis is really a perfect mix of power, speed and on-base ability at the top of the lineup. And a high-OBP guy like Santana is the perfect candidate to hit in front of the team’s most prolific hitter, Brantley. While the first three guys in the lineup are a near-lock to continue at those spots, the middle- and bottom-third still needs a little tinkering. Whether it comes via personnel adjustments or increased production from the current cast, though, remains to be seen. Once Gomes returns to the field, the lineup will really be at full strength, and manager Francona will have an opportunity to find something that works. Even after that point, this lineup is looking more and more like it will have to rely heavily on incredible production from the top. This team goes as Kipnis, Santana and Brantley go.

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Katrina Putnam: I am incredibly pro- Kipnis leading off, and pro- Moss batting cleanup. What I’m not excited about is the way Santana and Brantley are slated into the Tribe’s lineup, because I think they should be reversed. Pitchers seem to be avoiding Brantley and waiting on the middle of the order, where Moss, Chisenhall and Nick Swisher make up a strikeout-prone trio of hitters. If Santana were reversed, I think they would have difficulty doing that. Kipnis and Brantley are both solid hitters who happen to walk and hit home runs as well. Santana has a much better eye, and much more power, but he’s not as good of an all-around hitter. If they switched the two, I think it would provide more protection for Brantley and Kipnis, while still enabling him to plenty of at-bats and get on base for the middle of the order. Santana isn’t as fast as Brantley is, either, and switching them would give Brantley the opportunity to steal or take an extra base if necessary. It’s a minor tweak, but with as heavily as the Tribe relies on the top of the order, it might make a major difference.

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So is this the perfect lineup? Everyone has their own opinion, but only time can really tell.

Next: Yan Gomes could make his much-need return to Cleveland Indians’ lineup sooner than expected