Asdrubal Cabrera likely to bat second in new-look Tribe lineup

All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera may find himself batting second in a Cleveland Indians lineup that is rife with new names.

The goal of new Tribe skipper Terry Francona would be to put a switch hitter between the left-handed Michael Bourn — currently slated to bat lead-off and play center field — and the left-handed Jason Kipnis.

“Cabrera is certainly a candidate for something like that,” Francona said on Monday. “Just because we want to split it up and balance the lineup. There’s a lot of different options — Bourn, it’s not really an issue, because his splits are almost identical. It’s just trying to not make it harder, especially Kipnis and Brantley. It’s not that they can’t hit lefties, but I’d rather not have a manager look up and say this inning is made for [a lefty pitcher].”

Batting Cabrera second would then allow Francona to then bat newly labeled switch-hitting first baseman Nick Swisher in the clean-up spot, with the switch-hitting Carlos Santana and right-handed Mark Reynolds likely rounding out the team’s top six. This is all in stark contrast to the predominantly left-handed lineup the Indians used in 2012 that saw the team struggle mightily against southpaw pitchers.

Cabrera, before he was forced to move into the middle of the Indians’ lineup due to a lack of alternative resources, predominantly hit second throughout his career in the majors. Through 326 games at that slot in the lineup, the Silver Slugger-award winner has produced a slash line of .281/.332/.425 (.756 OPS) with 33 home runs, 75 doubles and 164 RBI.

[Related: The Diff: Debunking myths about Michael Bourn]

  • Mac

    interesting… didn’t think of him in two hole. did well there in 08-10. love the flexibility for this team. you can probably find 90 different ways to make up this lineup. With this, I see the lineup looking like this: 1. Bourn, 2. A-Cab, 3. Kipnis, 4. Swisher, 5. Santana, 6. Reynolds, 7. Chisenhall, 8. Stubbs, 9. Brantley.

  • I long for the mid to late-90’s when you knew almost every day what the lineup was going to look like.
    So….our lineup will look something like below day to day?
    1. Bourn CF
    2. Cabrera SS
    3. Kipnis 2B
    4. Swisher 1B
    5. Santana C
    6. Reynolds DH
    7. Brantley LF
    8. Chisenhall 3B
    9. Stubbs RF
    Aviles Util
    Marson C
    I think Brantley/Kipnis are interchangeable and will be battling for the 3rd slot in the batting order. However, I think Brantley will probably have the leg up because of his experience in the league. It’s time for the Chiz-Kid to produce, as he won’t have much pressure on him batting 8th in this lineup.

  • I could obviously be wrong, but I see us putting a reliable hitter (Brantley or Kipnis) at 7 to hit in our doubles-machines (hopefully) 4, 5, 6 hitters. If we have a good-contact hitter at 7 they could have a lot of RBI opportunities. I don’t see us counting on Chisenhall much this season. Any production out of him would be a bonus.

  • ThatAlex

    We’re really gonna have Kipnis bat third? That’s a lot of pressure for a young guy. You’d think you’d put someone there with more experience.

  • ThatAlex

    This is good against LHP. Against RHP, I’d find a way to take Stubbs out whenever possible, because he has nasty splits. In that scenario I’d move Swisher to RF, have Aviles or Reynolds play 1B, and maybe even have Giambi DH if he makes the team.

  • mgbode

    maybe Francona feels he is best when under such pressure. some players focus better with a bit of pressure applied.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And sometimes pressure can burst pipes! (AC impression included)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Seriously doubt Kipnis ever bats lower then fourth as a member of the Indians.

  • Jaker

    Bourn, Cabrera, Kipnis, Swisher, Brantley, Santana, Reynolds, Chiz, Stubbs

    That would be the most balanced lineup I can think of, but I’m sill not sure if Kipnis will be the choice for the #3

  • Steve

    Our best hitter at #6? Pass.

  • Steve

    Swisher is that switch hitter who should be hitting second, and I have no idea why it isn’t completely obvious to people. Swisher has a serious OBP advantage on Cabrera, and once you account for the each’s home park, the difference in power between 2011/12 Cabrera and Swisher is negligible.

    And any moves that knock our best hitter, Santana, below 4th in the lineup should be scrapped.

  • mgbode

    I’m actually excited to see who turns out to be our best hitter this season. Kipnis was last year until the end of July. Santana made up for alot of lost time after the allstar break.

    Brantley, Swisher, and Asdrubal all have a shot at laying claim to that title this season as well (I think if Bourn, Stubbs, Chis or Reynolds ends up being our best hitter than something went wrong).

  • Steve

    Cabrera was the best first half hitter last year, and in fact, by the end of July, Santana was back to out OPS-ing Kipnis, though only by two points.

    Kipnis and Brantley may make big jumps, but they are significantly behind Santana and Swisher, and I’m expecting the 27 year old to really come on strong this year.

  • mgbode

    i’d still argue Kipnis over Asdrubal. it was close enough that the base-running and SBs I think trump the modest advantage that Asdrubal had in OPS.

    either way, I hope that Santana has a huge season. I hoped the same last season and he did; it just didn’t start until July 🙂

  • Steve

    According to bb-ref, adding Rbat, Rbaser, and Rdp, Santana led the team with 12 last year, and Kipnis and Cabrera both had 9.

    I’m ok with either Kipnis or Cabrera third, but I think Swisher is the best option at #2, especially after looking at Francona’s comments.

  • I think Michael Brantley might be better suited to bat 6th than Reynolds. He gives us some speed right in the middle of the lineup, is a good contact guy and can hit alot of doubles. Those doubles should drive in alot of runs with Kipnis,Swsher and Santana hitting before him. It should also work nice for Reynolds who can come to bat with a runner on 2nd often.

    On the other hand batting Brantley 7th and Chisenhall 8th will put two lefties up right before Stubbs who does much better vs lefties then righties. So, we could make managers put in a lefty to start the inning and then have to face Stubbs to end it.