Sunday Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus released the top of the lineup for the first game of spring training. While there are a couple of changes, most of the order will remain the same.
The lineup will be for one at-bat, possibly more for a select few, and the remainder of the lineup has yet to be released. It is the first of many games and the regular season has yet to get under way, so the lineup may change because spring training is just that, training.
The leadoff spot for the first game of spring training will go to second baseman Ian Kinsler, followed by Torii Hunter. Miguel Cabrera will bat third, Victor Martinez fourth, and Austin Jackson will take up the number five spot.
While nothing is set in stone for opening day as of now, Ausmus has told reporters that the Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Jackson lineup is what he will be going with for now.
Ian Kinsler batting leadoff offers the first glimpse into who could occupy that spot when opening day rolls around.
Whether he remains in the number one spot will depend in part on how he performs both at the plate and defensively during spring training.
If the current lineup is indeed a hint of the regular season, it will be a useful motivation tool for the second baseman to prove he belongs in that position.
Torii Hunter remaining in the number two position is to be expected. The nine-time Gold Glove outfielder can hit with power, advance a runner and get on base efficiently.
Don't let his age fool you; Hunter can still run, averaging 15 stolen bases per season.
Miggy has been in the number three position for awhile now so it's not surprising that hasn't changed, although it doesn't matter where you place Cabrera. He's going to hit no matter where he's placed.
Victor Martinez is no stranger to hitting behind Cabrera. Before Prince Fielder came into town Martinez had been batting cleanup. Coming off of a solid 2013, it's expected he will continue to put out numbers reminiscent of the second half of 2013.
If anything, Martinez may get more at-bats in part due to the mystical 'protection' that exists batting after Miggy.
When Austin Jackson was moved down the lineup during the postseason last year, he said he was more comfortable and it showed at the plate.
Brad Ausmus isn't going to mess with that and it stands to reason he'll wait and see if the comfort level continues this year.
If he performs well and Kinsler struggles, Ausmus may switch things up. But for spring training, hitting fifth may be just what Jackson needs.
Ausmus also told reporters last week he is 95% sure that Miggy and V-Mart will be hitting in the number three and four positions respectively for the regular season.
The lower portion of the lineup, however, remains to be seen. Ausmus said he has yet to talk to players regarding those positions and will not make a decision until he's discussed it with them first.