Minnesota Twins: Five potential batting lineups for 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Byron Buxton (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Byron Buxton (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Starting lineup against LHP

1. CF Byron Buxton

2. 1B Joe Mauer

3. 3B Miguel Sano

4. 2B Brian Dozier

5. DH Eduardo Escobar

6. LF Eddie Rosario

7. SS Jorge Polanco

8. RF Max Kepler/Robbie Grossman

9. C Jason Castro

Against left-handed pitching, there’s a couple of changes to the original batting order. The biggest change is Eduardo Escobar moving up to the fifth spot in the lineup. After looking at his 2017 numbers against left-handed pitching, he clearly had more punch against lefties than Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler. Specifically, eight of Escobar’s 21 home runs came against left-handers, while Rosario and Kepler had two and Polanco had four. Not to mention, the switch-hitting infielder put together a .255 average against lefties.

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Now, Rosario had a better average against lefties at .279, but his .294 on-base percentage against left-handers is concerning. On the other hand, Escobar had a .320 on-base percentage against lefties. In result, Escobar is a good fit for moving up the order against left-handed pitching and this isn’t a crazy thought considering he spent some time in the cleanup spot last season. As matter of fact, he led Minnesota with nine home runs in September as well.

As for Kepler, he moves down to eight in the order until he proves that he can hit left-handed pitching. For his career, he hits .176 with a .242 on-base percentage. Nevertheless, I expect Molitor to give him an opportunity to figure out left-handers because he’s simply too talented not to be playing every day. Yet, if he isn’t able to do so, expect Robbie Grossman or possibly Zack Granite to fill in for the right fielder against lefties.