The Cleveland Indians may need to make one major shakeup in its lineup.
The Cleveland Indians have already shifted around its batting order lineup pretty dramatically. They dropped Cesar Hernandez from first to second in the lineup, moved Francisco Lindor to leadoff, and dropped Jose Ramirez from second to third in the order. Yet, the offense is still struggling, mostly because key contributor Carlos Santana is barely hitting over .200. So what if there was a better lineup, or at the very least one that’s worth trying out?
The problem with Santana in the lineup is that he’s hitting too poorly to be the cleanup hitter, (why he’s there is anyone’s guess) yet, he’s walking enough times to feel confident that he’ll get on base. Santana’s batting average is so low they’re thinking about changing the baseball term “Mendoza line” to the “Santana line”. Despite that embarrassingly low batting average, he’s actually leading all of the MLB in base on balls (walks).
So what’s the solution? Well, admittedly this might not work because it’s pretty unconventional, but then again, the team is doing the conventional thing and that’s not working. So why not try the unconventional? Regardless of where in the lineup, it’s safe to say that everyone agrees Santana needs to not be in the cleanup spot in the lineup, but who says you have to drop him down?
The Pittsburgh Pirates used to run out catcher Jason Kendal as their leadoff hitter. Granted, Kendal was a career .288 hitter, and hit .300 six of the nine seasons he led off for the Pirates. So while Kendall wasn’t overly fast, he did smack singles and get on base. Santana is even slower and his bat is not Kenall’s at all, but he can get on base nearly every game, just like Kendall.
So instead of dropping Santana to 9th in the lineup, why not move Santana up to 2nd? With Francisco Lindor hitting well in the last month, you can drop Lindor down to fourth and have Franmil Reyes and Ramirez bookend him.
Here’s what it could look like.
- 2B Cesar Hernandez
- 1B Carlos Santana
- 3B Jose Ramirez
- SS Francisco Lindor
- DH Franmil Reyes
- RF Tyler Naquin
- CF Delino DeShields
- C Roberto Perez
- LF Josh Naylor/Jordan Luplow
The idea is that if Santana can sit on pitches and work the count early in a game, then that might open up more opportunities for Ramirez, Lindor, and Reyes. While Hernandez has struggled as of late, he hasn’t been a terrible leadoff hitter, comparatively, and it could juice the lineup a bit. Sure, you’re basically quitting after Naquin to ever score runs in a game, but you’ll at least put your best hitters in a position to play well.
It’s by no means a guarantee to work, but why would you ask your best on-base player to drive in RBI’s for you? Santana isn’t doing that this year and could easily be the set up for others to score runs. Sure, he’s as fast as a boulder, at the bottom of the ocean, with a sunken ship on it but his bat speed is the issue. It’s not there, for whatever reason. He’s not able to get around on pitches like he did last year. Maybe it’s the yips, maybe he’s done as a high-level hitter. Who know? He can still get on base, however. So why not see what happens?
This idea is at least worth trying, even if it ends up sucking. Why not? It’s not like there hasn’t been one other lineup that’s produced results yet.