Cesar Hernandez stepping up in leadoff role
Last year Cesar Hernandez was commonly atop the Tribe’s lineup, but the team experimented with moving around the lineup early in the season. After trying a few things, Terry Francona approached Hernandez about returning to the leadoff role. While reluctant at first, according to Francona, Hernandez soon embraced the role. Thank goodness for that because he’s been stellar in the spot compared to the rest of the lineup.
When batting in a leadoff role, whether it be to start a game or an inning, Hernandez has been one of the better players in the lineup. Among qualified players, only Franmil Reyes has a better on-base percentage when being the first batter of the inning, but Reyes isn’t going to occupy the first spot in the lineup.
When leading off the game or an inning, Hernandez has also been able to knock four doubles, tied for the most with Reyes, while leading the roster in home runs and RBI in the role with five round trips and six RBI. He’s also been able to draw four walks.
For a player that was struggling in the early going, the resurgence of Hernandez in the top spot of the lineup has been refreshing. If he can get the team going early, the odds of winning go up. Francona has been an advocate that when the leadoff man reaches base twice the team has a good shot of winning more times than not. Hernandez offers the best chance of doing that game-in and game-out.