A Major League Baseball batting order is sometimes a thing of national security – at least that’s how many managers handle the batting order, especially early in Spring Training. It is often for good reason – players are coming back from injury, younger players are ready to take on more of a defined role, new players join the team – and managers need time to see how all the parts fit.
For the Indians, all three reasons given above can be given for Manny Acta rightfully taking his time determining what the Indians’ batting order will be come April 1.
INJURIES: Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana, two huge parts of the Indians offense, are still rehabbing from serious knee injuries. If both can come back healthy, the Indians’ offense will look dramatically different that if they cannot.
YOUNG PLAYERS: Matt LaPorta didn’t hit for average – only .257 – but he did show the power that excited the Indians when they made him the focal point of the C.C. Sabathia trade. LaPorta hit 22 home runs last year and could be primed for a big season, but his average makes him a liability higher in the order. In a perfect world, Acta would probably like to hit LaPorta 7th or 8th, but if the Indians struggle to score they may need to move him up.
The same could be said for Jason Donald and Michael Brantley. If Sizemore can come back healthy he will be at the top of the order while the youngsters get more experience down low. That would allow them to be spark-plug players.
NEW PLAYERS: The Indians latest signing, Orlando Cabrera, has yet to pass his physical so he isn’t officially an Indian, yet. Position players don’t need to report until next week, so Cabrera isn’t required to be in camp. If he is, the Indians have a solid veteran to place right in the middle of the order – 5 or 6. If Cabrera can’t play anymore, the Indians will be forced to jumble the lineup.