Follow the author: @_JacobMorehouse
It is finally here, the time we have all been waiting for: The 2017 Cleveland Indians are 100% healthy. Jason Kipnis has returned from the DL and is starting at second base. Skipper Tito Francona has to be having fits on where to pencil Kip in. For the first two games of the Chicago series, Jason hit 6th right behind Jose Ramirez. But is that where he should be hitting?
But is that where he should be hitting?
As we saw last year, Kipnis provides 20 home run power and timely clutch hitting that this team desperately needs right now. According to teamrankings.com, as of 4/25/17, the Indians lead the league in leaving runners in scoring position per game at 4.06. Kipnis has been a great clutch hitter throughout his seven years in the MLB. He has had over 70 RBI three times since 2012 and 82 this past season. Kip has been consistent throughout his career being a two-time all-star and having a career .272 BA. Now where exactly should he be hitting:
Now where exactly should he be hitting:
Carlos Santana has hit in the leadoff spot every game this season and Tito has no thoughts of moving him out of that spot. “Los” provides great power at the leadoff spot and even though he is not your common leadoff man, he has a great eye at the plate to where he gets on base for guys like Lindor or Brantley.
Last year, Kipnis hit in the two hole and had a great season. So far with Kip out, Lindor has stepped in and has provided power and somehow always finds a way to get on base. Lindor has tremendous hitting ability and could bat 1-9, but he is too good to move anywhere other than in the top of the order. Frankie could also hit in the three spot, but our 1-9 order is so good that there is an all-star already in that spot.
That all-star in the three spot is none other than Michael Brantley. He is one of the best hitters in the game and gives the Indians a player that can drive in many runs and is right up there as one the best hitters on the team. There is not much else you can say about Brantley other than he is a great hitter that belongs in the top of the order.
This offseason we saw the Indians do something that we have never seen them do before…go out and spend BIG money on a free agent. Dolan and company signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion; he has averaged a little over 38 homers and 110 RBIs over the last five seasons. In the lineups this season, EE has hit in the cleanup spot and Tito has no intentions of moving him and he shouldn’t. Edwin is the typical power hitter and although he started off slow this season, he will pick it up throughout the season and be a big part of the offseason.
This is where it gets interesting and exciting. As of right now, Jose Ramirez hits 5th in the lineup. Francona has gone on record saying Jose batting 5th protects Edwin and makes pitchers pitch to him or else they will have to face Jose. He is one of the most clutch hitters on our team in the past season and he continues to prove that last year was not just a fluke. Jason could do the same thing and is an outstanding player over the past years. He could hit 5th but Jose makes the most sense there because if Jose hits 5th, he will have Jason behind him to protect him.
I firmly believe that having Kipnis hit in the 6th spot is the right spot to have him. Like I said, he can provide protection for Jose, along with Encarnacion. Kipnis is one the best hitters on this team and while he may deserve to be higher up in the order, there is just nowhere to put him at. Batting 6th will have an extremely dangerous bat in the middle of an already scary lineup. He will have the chance to break 100 RBI this season and I believe that he will along with Jose and Lindor could as well. As always, when it comes to the Cleveland Indians roster decisions…”IN TITO WE TRUST!”
Follow the author: @_JacobMorehouse