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Projecting the Cleveland Indians' 2021 lineup

The Cleveland Indians will kickoff the 2021 MLB season when they face the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from March 4, 2021.

Earlier this week, the Cleveland Indians made the final decisions for their 26-man Opening Day roster.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at the Indians' latest projected lineups heading into Thursday's season opener against the Detroit Tigers.


Vs. Right-handed starters

  1. Ben Gamel - CF
  2. Cesar Hernandez - 2B
  3. Jose Ramirez - 3B
  4. Eddie Rosario - LF
  5. Franmil Reyes - DH
  6. Josh Naylor - RF
  7. Jake Bauers - 1B
  8. Roberto Perez - C
  9. Andres Gimenez - SS

Vs. Left-handed starters

  1. Cesar Hernandez - 2B
  2. Jordan Luplow - CF
  3. Jose Ramirez - 3B
  4. Eddie Rosario - LF
  5. Franmil Reyes - DH
  6. Josh Naylor - RF
  7. Roberto Perez - C
  8. Yu Chang - 1B
  9. Andres Gimenez - SS

Analysis: While Cleveland's lineup vs. right-handed pitchers appears to be settled -- and will feature seven left-handed or switch-hitting hitters -- the Indians' strategy against left-handers remains uncertain. Perhaps most notably, the team is working to get Amed Rosario reps in centerfield, as he continues the transition from previously playing shortstop with the New York Mets.

With Rosario unlikely to handle centerfield duties to start the season, Jordan Luplow could find himself platooning with Ben Gamel. That would also limit Josh Naylor's availability to play first base -- a position Cleveland has thus far been reluctant to let him play -- and require that either the left-handed-hitting Jake Bauers or utility infielder Yu Chang play first vs. left-handed starters.

At this point, there are still plenty of moving parts, including the performance of Andres Gimenez, who is expected to be the Indians' everyday shortstop. Should the left-handed-hitting 22-year-old struggles vs. lefties, it could open the door for Rosario to make the move back to the infield.

For now, Cleveland's lineup looks much stronger against right-handers, with the team prepared to bat more lefties vs. lefties than usual. Perhaps the only certainty about the Indians' lineup at this point is that it will likely look different in a month than it does at the start of the season.

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