CLEVELAND -- It can be fun trying to predict precisely how a manager will align his starting lineup come Opening Day. Until that day arrives, though, Indians manager Terry Francona does not waste much energy toying around with the possibilities.
"I think everybody thinks that during the winter we're like mad scientists and we put up lineups in the bathroom," Francona said with a laugh recently. "I really, honestly, don't spend much time thinking about it during the winter. The reason being: You don't know what your team is really going to be until you have all the parts. And then, when you have all of the parts, the lineup kind of makes itself out."
One advantage Francona has for making out his lineup this season is the fact that the majority of Cleveland's offense from 2014 remains intact. This winter, the Indians' only major addition to the local nine was slugger Brandon Moss, who can play first base and the corner outfield spots, and will surely have a home in the heart of the Tribe's lineup.
Over the past several days, MLB.com has examined various aspects of each team's roster leading up to the official start of Spring Training. With Cleveland's pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Goodyear, Ariz., on Wednesday, now is the time to project the lineup, rotation and key bullpen spots for an Indians' club that expects to be in the postseason hunt this year:
85-77, third place in the AL Central
Projected batting order
1. CF Michael Bourn:
.257 BA, .314 OBP, .360 SLG, 3 HR, 28 RBIs in 2014
2. 2B Jason Kipnis:
.240 BA, .310 OBP, .330 SLG, 6 HR, 41 RBIs, 22 SB in 2014
3. LF Michael Brantley:
.327 BA, .385 OBP, .506 SLG, 20 HR, 97 RBIs, 200 H in 2014
4. 1B Carlos Santana:
.231 BA, .365 OBP, .427 SLG, 27 HR, 85 RBIs, 113 BB in 2014
5. RF Brandon Moss:
.234 BA, .334 OBP, .438 SLG, 25 HR, 81 RBIs in 2014
6. C Yan Gomes:
.278 BA, .313 OBP, .472 SLG, 21 HR, 74 RBIs in 2014
7. DH Nick Swisher:
.208 BA, .278 OBP, .331 SLG, 8 HR, 42 RBIs in 2014
8. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall:
.280 BA, .343 OBP, .427 SLG, 13 HR, 59 RBIs in 2014
9. SS Jose Ramirez:
.262 BA, .300 OBP, .346 SLG, 2 HR, 17 RBIs, 13 SH in 2014