CLEVELAND — On Sunday, the Cleveland Indians' position players will report to Goodyear, Arizona, for the start of the team's Spring Training.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how the Indians' batting lineups currently project entering the team's 2020 campaign.
1. Francisco Lindor - SS
As one of the most dynamic players in baseball, Francisco Lindor will return to the top of Cleveland's lineup, ensuring that he'll receive as many at-bats as possible. With his name having been the consistent subject of trade talks, the only question regarding the 4-time All-Star's place in the Indians' lineup in 2020 is how long he'll remain a part of it.
2. Cesar Hernandez - 2B
With experience as a leadoff hitter, Cesar Hernandez should fit in nicely toward the top of the Indians' lineup. Plus, his status as a switch-hitter and ability to get on base (career .352 on-base percentage, .333 in 2019), should help Cleveland maintain some consistency regardless of who's on the mound.
Depending on how Hernandez performs early, the Indians may be tempted to swap his and Lindor's spots.
3. Carlos Santana - 1B
Much like with Mercado, why fix what's broken? Returning to the No. 3 spot of Cleveland's lineup, Carlos Santana enjoyed a career year, hitting for a .281 average (.911 OPS), 34 home runs and 93 RBIs in 158 games.
4. Jose Ramirez - 3B
After starting the 2019 season in the No. 3 spot of the Indians, an early-season slump resulted in Jose Ramirez being dropped to the No. 5 hole. The reality, however, remains that if Cleveland is going to live up to its potential, it's going to need Ramirez to return to All-Star form and continue build on his strong finish to the 2019 season.
5. Franmil Reyes - RF
With the Indians seemingly unlikely to re-sign Yasiel Puig, they'll enter 2020 with a void in right field. And despite Cleveland taking a conservative approach with him last year, it will be hard for the Indians to keep the other player they acquired in last year's Trevor Bauer trade, Franmil Reyes (.237 average, .772 OPS, 10 home runs, 35 RBIs with the Indians last season), out of the outfield this season.
6. Domingo Santana - DH
Given both of their fielding deficiencies, Domingo Santana and Reyes may very well platoon with one another between right field and designated hit. But as two of the more powerful bats on the Indians' roster, neither should find themselves too far from the other in the team's lineup.
7. Roberto Perez - C
Roberto Perez is more known for his glove than his bat. But in his first season as Cleveland's primary catcher, the right-handed hitter turned in a career-year hitting for a .239 average (.774 OPS), 24 home runs and 63 RBIs.
If Perez can keep up those type of numbers, he'll be an asset in the back half of the Indians' lineup regardless of who's on the mound.
8. Jake Bauers (vs. RHP) - LF
Jordan Luplow (vs. LHP) - LF
After being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason, Jake Bauers struggled in his first season in Cleveland, hitting for a .226 average (.683 OPS), 12 home runs and 43 RBIs before being sent down to Triple-A Columbus after the trade deadline. The Indians, however, aren't close to giving up on the 24-year-old formerly highly prospect, whose left-handed bat and positional versatility could prove valuable as Tyler Naquin continues to recover from his torn ACL.
Meanwhile, Jordan Luplow will likely begin the season as a platoon left fielder against left-handed pitchers, but could also start against righties depending on Bauers' success. Delino DeShields Jr., Greg Allen and Bradley Zimmer may also get reps in a still unsettled Indians' outfield.
9. Oscar Mercado - CF
After a successful stint in the two-hole last season, Oscar Mercado may start 2020 at the bottom of the Indians lineup thanks to the addition of Hernandez. Only that doesn't mean that Cleveland isn't counting on the 25-year-old to build on his promising rookie campaign in what is expected to be his first full season as the Indians' starting centerfielder.
Depending on how Mercado and Hernandez each perform, it may only be a matter of time before the right-handed hitter makes his return to the front end of the team's lineup.