Baseball fans are eager to turn the calendar over to February!
Spring Training officially begins in the middle of February with pitchers and catchers reporting.
Spring Training games are set to begin on Saturday February 27th.
The Cleveland Indians will take on their intrastate rival Cincinnati Reds on this day.
The real question for Tribe fans is what will the 2021 lineup look like for Opening Day in April.
2021 Cleveland Indians Projected Lineup
1. Jose Ramirez (3B)
2. Josh Naylor (OF)
3. Franmil Reyes (DH)
4. Roberto Perez (C)
5. Jake Bauers (1B)
6. Bradley Zimmer (OF)
7. Andres Gimenez (2B)
8. Oscar Mercado (OF)
9. Amed Rosario (SS)
What about Mr. Jones?
— mdthompFWFB (@mdthompFWFB) October 11, 2019
Folks in C-town cannot wait for highly touted prospect Nolan Jones to make the Major League roster.
While the 22-year-old has an excellent chance of making the club, assuming Jones will automatically start right out of the gate may be a stretch.
The 6-4 195 pounder is having to learn a couple of new positions (OF and 1B) and that could take a bit of time.
There are two paths for Jones to crack the starting lineup.
Jones could have such a huge spring at the plate that he overtakes either Jake Bauers at first base or Oscar Mercado in the outfield.
The most likely scenario is that Terry Francona will ask Jones to start out the season as a pinch hitter off the bench with some spots starts here and there.
Will the Tribe have Ramirez Lead-Off?
While it is a bit unusual to have a top rated slugger hitting lead-off, it is not unheard of.
Terry Francona will want to get Jose Ramirez as many at-bats as possible and putting him the 1-hole would accomplish that.
Most baseball folks often forget that Ramirez is not just a power hitter.
The 28 year old has good speed and the ability to steal bases as well.
What are the other options in the lead-off spot?
Former Mets Amed Rosario or Andres Gimenez could easily fill the leadoff role assuming their on-base percentage is high enough.
Speedster Oscar Mercado could also be a good option to lead-off assuming he overcomes his sophomore slump from last year.
What about the Middle Infield?
Yu Chang had a strong debut at home yesterday.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 26, 2019
Although Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are both good additions for the Tribe, there is no guarantee that both will start.
Tribe fans cannot forget about Utilityman Yu Chang.
The 6-1 righty from Taiwan had double digit home runs in three straight minor league seasons.
Chang has the power to overtake either Rosario or Gimenez from their respective starting positions.
Bringing it Home
What will the Cleveland Indians lineup look like in 2021?
Most of the above questions will be sorted out during Spring Training in a few weeks.
The better question is how much offense will the Indians lineup produce?
Tribe fans hope that some of the organization’s hot new prospects will finally break through with some good numbers.