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Projecting the Cleveland Indians starting lineups ahead of Spring Training

With Spring Training on the horizon, we take a look at the Cleveland Indians' projected lineups for the 2021 season.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Feb. 5, 2021.

Next week, the Cleveland Indians will depart for Goodyear, Arizona, where they will hold their annual Spring Training ahead of the 2021 MLB season.

RELATED: More Cleveland Indians coverage from WKYC

With that in mind, let's take a shot at projecting the Indians' starting lineups for the 2021 campaign, which will mark Cleveland's first since 2014 without Francisco Lindor.

vs. RHP

  1. Cesar Hernandez - 2B
  2. Jose Ramirez - 3B
  3. Eddie Rosario - LF
  4. Franmil Reyes - DH
  5. Josh Naylor - 1B
  6. Roberto Perez - C
  7. Daniel Johnson - RF
  8. Oscar Mercado - CF
  9. Andrés Giménez - SS

Analysis: While the Indians made an effort to move Lindor to the middle of their lineup last season, by the playoffs, he was back hitting leadoff. Now Cleveland doesn't have a choice but to find a new leadoff hitter, which will likely be Cesar Hernandez, who has plenty of experience in that role.

With Jose Ramirez presumably sliding from the No. 3 spot to second in the Indians' order, the middle of Cleveland's lineup becomes muddled. Eddie Rosario, Franmil Reyes and Josh Naylor figure to hit 3-4-5 in some order, with their individual performances likely dictating what that order will ultimately be.

Roberto Perez never batted higher than seventh last season but may be forced to do so considering the inexperience in the backend of the Indians' lineup. Daniel Johnson possesses the potential -- and power -- to leap him, and if the 25-year-old rookie can also play centerfield, it would open the door for another left-handed bat, Jake Bauers, to consistently play against right-handed pitchers.

Another wild card comes in the form of Bradley Zimmer, who has shown promise when healthy -- which admittedly hasn't been that often in his MLB career. Should the 28-year-old Zimmer prove capable of contributing this season, it would add another left-handed bat -- and perhaps some more pop -- to Clevelands' outfield.

vs. LHP

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

Analysis: Barring any changes to the roster and/or surprises in Spring Training, the Indians' lineup vs. left-handed pitchers shouldn't look drastically different. A right-handed hitter, Jordan Luplow is likely to platoon with the left-handed Johnson, with Amed Rosario replacing Andrés Giménez at shortstop.

Perhaps the most notable change about Cleveland's lineup is that as currently constructed, the Indians will likely be fielding two left-handed batters in Rosario and Naylor against left-handed starting pitchers. Last year, Cleveland could throw all-righty lineups at left-handed pitchers, which is a luxury it appears it will no longer enjoy.

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